The Enduring Appeal of Silver

A George III silver teapot of compressed circular form made by Robert Garrard I and hallmarked in London in 1808

Over the centuries the artistry and workmanship of silver objects has delighted connoisseurs and collectors and today it is still highly valued and fashionable.

Nevertheless, I still visit so many people across our county who have been persuaded that silver objects are only worth the value of the silver from which they are made, which is heartbreaking, and very often could not be further from the truth. The high price of silver certainly has to be taken into consideration but the maker, date, quality of design, manufacture, condition, and the rarity of the piece have a significant impact on values too. It really is weight plus artistry.

Take for example the George III teapot and pair of George III candlesticks which sold recently in Toovey’s specialist silver auctions for more than three times their scrap value.

The George III silver teapot had a beautifully conceived putto finial. The body, spout, handle and foot were profusely cast, engraved and chased with scrolling flower and leaf sprays, and with a wonderful mask to the handle. It was hallmarked in London in 1808 and made by the celebrated silversmith Robert Garrard I. In 1802 he had taken over the firm founded by George Wickes in 1722. The firm would remain in the family until 1946 specialising in elaborate domestic silver and fine jewellery. The name Garrard remained synonymous with pieces of the finest quality. The company was appointed as Crown Jewellers by Queen Victoria in 1843, a position it held until 2007. The teapot sold for £900.

A pair of early George III cast silver candlesticks by Richard Morson & Benjamin Stephenson, hallmarked in London in 1772

The pair of early George III cast silver candlesticks were made by Richard Morson & Benjamin Stephenson whose partnership was founded in 1762 and lasted until 1774. They were known for producing candlesticks and chambersticks. This pair of candlesticks were made in 1772. The elegant hexagonal shell and gadrooned edges to the feet, beneath wrythen stems and detachable nozzles, displays a real artistry and quality of craftsmanship. They realised £1600.

The market at auction for silver objects is particularly strong at the moment with people looking to buy teapots and services, candlesticks, canteens of cutlery, as well as finely worked and novelty pieces even when they are of later date.

So before you consign your silver to be melted down please ask the unbiased opinion of Toovey’s silver specialist and Director, Tom Rowsell, or you risk throwing the baby out with the bath water!

Celebrating 40 Years as an Auctioneer and Valuer

Toovey’s Toy specialist, Auctioneer and Valuer, Chris Gale

Chris Gale is celebrating his 40th anniversary as an auctioneer and valuer.

40 years in a profession is cause for celebration and the depth of expertise that time, experience and wisdom brings is apparent in all that Chris does.

He is one of the people I most respect in our profession.

I first met Chris Gale in Horsham, some 39 years ago when we were both starting out and working at Horsham Auction Galleries in the Carfax.

Chris says “Even in those days you wanted your own saleroom, or to be a Vicar.”

The friendship that was born in those days has endured and we have worked together continuously over all these years.

A hugely respected valuer and auctioneer. He maintains an unwavering care for the interest of our clients and the highest professional standards.

Throughout his career Chris has focused his exceptional eye on all the major collecting disciplines. He says “We forget that nothing was ever made in isolation. A Georgian cabinet was made to have a Georgian painting and a pair of candlesticks to accompany it.” But alongside his extraordinary breadth of knowledge Chris is one of the most highly respected toy specialists in the country. Over the years several millions of pounds worth of toys have been sold under his gavel.

An array of toys at Toovey’s

Chris comments “Dinky, Corgi, Matchbox, model trains, dolls, teddy bears, and tinplate toys are still celebrated by collectors and those recapturing their childhoods. Often objects speak of happy times in our lives. When I grew up, the youngest of six, the few toys we had were precious. As a boy my Dad took me to the Tank Museum at Bovington in Dorset and bought me a Dinky Toys, 155mm tank which I’ve never forgotten. Dads Hornby, Dublo OO gauge model railway was to be admired but not touched in those days. These days, it’s too busy in the toy department to play with them – but they’re still to be admired!”

I ask Chris what he loves most about his job. He replies “The thing I love most about my job is the team at Tooveys – it’s like a family, it is family. There is something special in helping people as they acquire or sell their collections. The trust they place in you and how appreciative they are once the things have been sold. I still look forward to every day and the future. Even after 40 years, you never stop learning in this business.”

As I thank Chris his face breaks into a smile and he sets out to take the auction.