24/03/2014 News Stories & Press Release, Single Owner Collections
In an unprecedented auction result for the company, almost every one of the 560 lots belonging to the late Mr Nice offered for sale at Roseberys in South London last week was sold.
Collectors of freemasonry memorabilia from all over the UK and continental Europe converged on South London to battle it out for the extraordinary collection encompassing masonic jewels, medals, ceramics, glass, books and ephemera. The saleroom was full and there were more than 200 people bidding online and on the telephone, many from Russia and the United States.
The owner of the collection, the late Mr Albert Edward Collins Nice, died in 1969 and the lots were kept locked away for almost 50 years meaning they were fresh to the market.
The vendor was completely taken aback when Roseberys valued the collection at £100,000. He was delighted when the total ended up being more than double that figure. He was also pleased that the collection has gone to others who will love and appreciate the items as much as his father did.
Roseberys’ Peter Greenway said, “We knew this was a very significant collection and this was borne out by conversations with masonic collectors who rated it the best to come onto the market in living memory. Twitter has been buzzing with positive comments about the lots on offer and it is thought the auction catalogue will become a collectors’ item in its own right.”
Masonic jewels proved to be the most popular lots with a 100% sold rate. The most expensive (pictured below) sold for a hammer price of £3,000. It was of an unusually large size and set with multi-colour paste, making is one of the most attractive in the auction. It also had Scottish interest due to the inscription which made it as rare as it was aesthetically pleasing.
Lot 88: A large Masonic silver and paste set square and compass jewel, 19th century, inscribed with Masonic emblems, inscribed to verso To the Honorable Captain Jocelyn, from his friends in the Celtic Lodge Edinburgh, 1845, 12 cm high.
The auction also included not one but 35 jewels by the pre-eminent 18th century designer and maker, Thomas Harper. Roseberys had been concerned about flooding the market but demand was such that they all made more than twice their high estimate and some very much more.
The Thomas Harper jewel which made the most money was Lot 75 (pictured below) which sold for a hammer price of £1,500.
Lot 75: A Masonic Thomas Harper silver and paste set square jewel, early 19th century, inscribed with Masonic emblems, Globe Lodge 25, 11 cm high.
The book section of the auction was also highly competitive with several museums from around the world bidding. The highest hammer price was £5,500 for Lot 496, a Scottish Rite Album, with exquisite water-colour drawings of the regalia of the 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite .
Lot 496: Scottish Rite Album, with exquisite water-colour drawings of the regalia of the 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite, on thirty-three leaves; with ms descriptions of the regalia. French, n.p., c 1820. 4to.
Other masonic items in the auction included ceramics, glass, snuff boxes and regalia. One of the most popular was a large cowrie shell and silver masonic snuff box, the base of which was engraved with freemasonry symbols (pictured below). It achieved a hammer price of £1,150.
Lot 217. A large cowrie shell and silver Masonic snuff box, apparently unmarked apart from date letter, the base with engraved Freemasonry symbols, approx 8.5cm long.
A limited number of catalogues for this auction are still available for sale at £10 each (£12 with postage and packaging).
The hammer prices for every lot can be viewed on Roseberys’ website at www.roseberys.co.uk
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