Silver shines in salerooms as buyers look for quality

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The Independent Online
SPECIALISTS working for Phillips the autioneers have been taking stock of what has been selling well and what is likely to have a good run in the salerooms this year.


Usable silver such as coffee pots, candle sticks and canteens of cutlery has been selling well and demand remains strong. 'Faddy items will continue to drop away, to be replaced by quality, traditional silver, says Michael Prevezer.

'Buyers will go on paying high prices for the very best pieces, but where previously a good name was enough to make a piece appealing the emphasis will be placed more and more on the actual quality of the item.'8

Demand for foreign silver is often driven by the home market. In spite of Germany's political and economic troubles, the demand for 17th and 18th century German silver remains high. French silver from the same period is also likely to continue fetching phenomenal prices. But Scandinavian and Italian silver are likely to be on the wane.


Philip Duckworth says fine 18th century English and French furniture has been in the limelight over the past six months, and he expects this trend to continue.

'For 1993 we anticipate that good 18th century Italian furniture, Dutch marquetry, 19th century Decorative and Edwardian pieces will prove reliably consistent performers.'

House sales are extremely popular, which has stimulated interest in private collections. Private provenance becomes increasingly attractive across the8 price range.


Among Keith Baker's tips are the three-piece suite and silverware and jewellery sold by Liberty. 'People will pay good money for an art deco three-piece suite of the period of a strong design, even if it's not by a named person. They are good value compared with the chipboard furniture from a superstore.'

Bronze and ivory art deco figures are still popular at all prices from hundreds of pounds to around pounds 5,000.

Phillips is holding a sale in March with a section dedicated to Liberty-ware. This will include candlesticks in silver and pewter for around pounds 1,000 to more elaborate ones by Archibald Knox for around pounds 3,000 to pounds 4,000.


John Sandon says Ceramics did not enjoy a great boom in the 1980s, so there was no great collapse in the slump.

But buyers are being more selective. 'Pieces that are damaged or over-restored have been difficult to sell. But well-established names like Worcester and Wedgewood have held up well.'

Useful pieces such as plates and tea services have been selling well.


Speculators and investors have had their day in this market and the time has returned for the serious collector, says Charles Young.

After two or three years in which Italian paintings have been the backbone of the market, recent auctions have shown a return to favour of the Dutch and Flemish Old Masters.

(Photograph omitted)

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