Smith Auctions have been so overwhelmed with entries for their May auction that they have had to close the sale early. With nearly sixteen hundred lots for the two-day sale they had run out of both space and rostrum time for anymore. Some of the consignments have been of exceptional quality – particularly the ceramic entries which include a very fine early 19th century Spode tea and coffee service decorated in the Imari style which is estimated at £800/£1200 but should perform even better on the day. Previous auction records show that a complete set such as this including the ‘London Shape’ teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug, twelve tea and six coffee cups and saucers has not been sold at auction for many years. On occasion even single pieces of this highly sought after pattern can command over a hundred pounds!

In the final days of ‘taking in’ a client arrived with a huge quantity of excellent ceramic entries including selections of Royal Worcester, Doulton, Meissen, Moorcroft and Copenhagen. Of particular note is a small selection of the very popular fruit painted wares by Worcester including signed plates and a beautiful two handled vase estimated at £300/£500. A large stoneware Doulton vase painted deer turned out to be by Hannah Barlow – one of the most popular of the Doulton artists, famous for her monochrome paintings of animals. As the client continued to unpack box after box of beautiful ceramics Smiths valuers became excited to see what would come out next. Last, but not least to appear on the table, was a large collection of Copenhagen figures and animals, the final item being a spectacular large bull measuring over one foot across. He joined an even taller white falcon and a number of smaller pieces such as shepherds, milkmaids and of course the odd mermaid and goose girl - for which the factory is famous.

The sale also includes a large selection of high-quality antique collectables such as a very pretty 18th century South Staffordshire enamel etui circa 1760 to 1770. With gilt metal mounts and painted reserves of flowers and fruit on blue and gilt ground, the cover opens to reveal full set of handy requisites such as scissors, needles, pencil, tweezers, toothpick, snuff spoon etc. These luxurious decorative boxes were made popular in France during the 18th century and were first produced here in Bilston from 1740. The South Staffordshire area was also famous for producing these small decorative pieces – particularly tiny boxes which were decorated with flowers and animals or small phrases of love and friendship such as ‘Remember the Giver’ or ‘A Token of Love’. This beautiful etui would have been a very expensive gift for a lady of it’s time and it is estimated at £300/£500 despite some minor restoration to the lid.

Antique Sapphire & Diamond Ring
An antique sapphire and diamond ring (Smiths)

Smiths Auction also includes a good selection of antique silver, fine jewellery, glass, books, textiles, furniture, paintings and a large range of interesting and exciting collectables. The sale is on the 16th & 17th of May starting at 10am and the viewing is on the Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the sale 10am-5pm as well as the morning of the

sales 9am to 10am. The fully illustrated catalogue will be available online from Friday, May 10 for a bit of early window shopping.