Auctions: Speculators make way for collectors

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HARD times bring interesting decisions: Sotheby's has put its mid-season sales of Impressionist and modern art (Wednesday, 10.30am) and contemporary art (Thursday, 11am) in the same catalogue. Its big summer sales were pretty dismal: Impressionists only 49 per cent sold, contemporaries 63 per cent. It hopes to arouse some 'cross-over' interest. Christie's claimed 91 per cent sold in its equivalent summer sale. Its contemporary sale is on Thursday (2.30pm).

Now speculators have been driven out of the Impressionist market, collectors are venturing back. Affordable works on paper are sought after; so are corners of art history such as the neo-Romantics of the Twenties and Thirties. Sotheby's has 17 lots of pictures connecting the neo-Romantics such as Jean Cocteau and Eugene Berman. A Berman ink and wash of vagrant beachcombers is est pounds 800- pounds 1,000. Rodin sculptures are being edged up by collectors. A smaller (16in high) version of his bronze, Ugolin et Ses Fils, is est pounds 40,000- pounds 50,000.

Christie's says prices for contemporaries Yves Klein, Jean Dubuffet and Lucio Fontana, which plunged 50 per cent after the speculative buying of 1988- 90, are on the move again. But Klein's fire series did not dip so deeply. It would like pounds 70,000- pounds 90,000 for Feu nr. FC5.


The Charsky collection of finest Georgian and Victorian jewellery - 250 lots - at Christie's, Wednesday (2pm): doves, flowersprays, Cupid's bows, forget-me-nots, from pounds 500 to pounds 10,000. Phillips has fine jewellery Tuesday (1.30pm).


Lunch with Robert Kilroy-Silk (no estimate) is among the lots at Bonhams' sale in aid of the Fight for Sight charity, Monday (7pm). A charcoal by Sir Joshua Reynolds is est pounds 600- pounds 800.


First complete skeleton at auction of the extinct Giant Irish Deer, 6ft tall with 10ft antlers - which tended to drown it in water-weed. Estimate pounds 30,000- pounds 40,000 at Phillips, Wednesday (11am) together with more than 300 other lots of deer bones collected by a farmer. The Japanese are said to be interested.


Newbury: Private collection of the late Anthony Belton, antiques dealer, Tuesday (ceramics, pictures, books) and Wednesday (plants, furniture). Both 10am. Dreweatt Neate, Donnington Priory (0635 31234).

Glasgow: Football memorabilia, Wednesday (11am). Bill (Manchester United) Foulkes's 1968 European Cup Winners medal: pounds 8,000- pounds 12,000. Christie's (041 332 8134).

Also in Glasgow: Art Nouveau, decorative arts and studio ceramics, Wednesday (11am). Phillips (041 221 8377).

Hockley, Birmingham: Police- recovered goods, clothing, hi-fis, household wares, no reserve, Thursday (10.30am). Fellows & Sons (021 212 2131).

Exeter: Computers and accessories tomorrow (11am). South West Computer Auctions, The Lord Haldon Hotel, Dunchideock (0934 642437).

Putney: Metropolitan police recovered goods, Thursday (9.30am). Dowell Lloyd (081- 788 7777/8).

Information by Antiques Trade Gazette (071-930 4957); Government Auction News (071-734 8291/4, hotline 0891-887700).

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