There was the sound of success at a sale of Antiques, General & Mid-Century Furniture at Auction Antiques
in Devon on January 21st, when a series of important automatons unexpectedly went sky high at auction.
A continental automaton singing bird box in the manner of Karl Griesbaum, was a charming addition to the sale. It was in rectangular form, the body repousse with scrolling foliage and birds in flight. The box was button controlled to activate the feather singing bird above. Estimated to fetch £200-£400 it sold for £1, 600 (Hammer), £2,000 (with BP).
A showcase of the sale was an early 20th century silver and enamel singing bird automaton and clock by Mersmann. The piece was marked 935 WW and featured a decorative oval lid. It sold for a huge £2,800 (Hammer) and £3,500 (with BP), against an estimate of £100-200.
A satinwood Congress Chess Timer with twin dials and seconds dials also performed well. Chess clocks comprise of two adjoining clocks with buttons to stop one clock, while starting the other, so that they dont run concurrently. Chess clocks are used in chess and other two-player games where the players move in turn. Crafted by Jaques & Son, the example in the sale, featured a brass carrying handle on a satinwood plinth base and sold for £3,000 (Hammer) £3,750 (with BP), against an estimate of £80-£120.
The newly established Devon-based auction house is working hard to attain items that are accessible to all and are continuing with the successful formula of conducting sales online and on the internet via several platforms. After investment in high-level specialist knowledge, they are hoping to build on their success throughout 2021.