Auctioneers Gildings of Roman Way, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, have completed an exciting and highly successful 2011 when a total of almost 30,000 lots have come under the hammer of father-and-son John and Mark Gilding.
Regular Fine Art and Antique & Collectors Auction Sales are held in Market Harborough, and in the more recently opened Leicester Saleroom at 63, Morris Road, which features Victorian to Modern Furnishings & Collectables Auction Sales.
There was an undisputed auction highlight in summer 2011 – it created not only local, but also national and international drama – culminating in the sale of a brooch by the famous Victorian architect and designer William Burges for £36,580 (inclusive).
On the day the sale was filmed for television and there was widespread interest in the price achieved.
Interestingly, the silver brooch set with a central garnet and 4 turquoise first "came to light" as a result of television when it was highlighted by BBC Antiques Roadshow jewellery expert Geoffrey Munn as his "most wanted" jewel, if it even existed.
Mark Gilding explained: "Geoffrey Munn had included the design by Burges for the brooch in a book he had co-written 30 years earlier. At the point the programme was made, he did not know whether it had been made. But within hours of the programme being transmitted, I was contacted by a local woman who had a brooch matching his description at the bottom of her jewellery box.
"In fact, she did not like it and had been close to selling it for around £10 at a collectors fair. But all that changed dramatically when I was able to confirm it was indeed the rare, historic piece by William Burges.
"It was a wonderful outcome not only for her, but also for everyone interested in such an important piece. Geoffrey Munn described it as his "Tutankhamun moment" it was such a thrill and I could understand how he felt.
"But, importantly, it illustrates just what is "out there" and the experience could be repeated because so often items of all kinds, especially probably smaller pieces, can be in families for years, provenance largely unknown, just tucked into a drawer, put at the back of a cupboard or wardrobe, and forgotten.
"This is a hugely exciting part of my job really to be able to help and advise someone who finds something that has been overlooked for years, regarded of little or no significance, yet has been kept because of a family feeling it is special in some way.
"I think many people do not realise, or know, that we are here to help them with identification and valuation, not just to sell. There is a great deal of intensive behind-the-scenes research that can often go on before a lot appears in a saleroom. It is painstaking, time-consuming, but extremely rewarding.
"No-one should be reluctant to ask what we think – it is a free, friendly service – and it could lead to an important find."
Oriental items of all kinds, including ceramics, have been highly sought after in the past 12 months, so have gold and silver pieces, and it is a trend that looks set to continue in 2012, along with keen interest in unusual collectors items, always likely to create demand.
The range is enormous coming through the saleroom’s – from the now world famous Burges brooch to the Washington Lafayette gold button, linking the two great personalities of the foundation of the United States of America – sold at Gildings in October – and the vast collection of old irons made by a Leicestershire couple as a lifetime’s hobby. Then there are classic pieces of porcelain and pottery, first edition books, paintings of all kinds, important furniture and other jewellery – necklaces, rings, brooches, bracelets and watches – as well as other magnificent timepieces ancient and more modern.
Mark Gilding added: "Just pop in to see us and seek our opinion at either of our saleroom’s. We are always willing to help. There is no charge or obligation.
"It is important too to realise that viewing sessions of up to 500 different lots or more are open to anyone whatever their particular interest. So whether you are building up a unique collection, or just want to track down some good value furnishings, pop in to a viewing, decide if it is something you like and if you want to go ahead, then you can makeup your own mind on what it is worth to you, then bid in the saleroom, on the internet, or by telephone on the day and it could become part of your own family future."
You can Contact Gildings Online or by phone on: (01858) 410414.