The sale of the Barratt Collection of fine art and antiquities at Christies, yesterday (December 16), passed all expectations to bring a total of £3.2m ($4.9m).
The auction - which was expected to raise £1.8 million - featured the contents of Crowe hall in Bath, one of the city's finest Regency villas. It included Old Master and British pictures, English furniture, silver, porcelain and Italian 'Grand Tour' bronzes. Over the course of six hours, 80% of the 383 lots were sold.
The star item of the sale, however, was a surprise to everyone. A Roman marble cinerary urn, circa 1st century AD, sold for an incredible £445,250. It beat its high estimate of £10,000 almost 45 times over.
Many other items also sold for considerably more than their estimated prices. A beautiful Italian Maiolica Istorato dish dating from 1546 (with a pre-sale estimate of £50,000 - £80,000) sold for £157,250, and a pair of paintings by 18th century artist Hendrik Frans van Lint sold for £139,250 (over their estimate of £40,000 - £60,000).
The collection had been built up by three generations of the Barratt family since 1961, and the variety of objects in the sale was remarkable.
A pair of George III white marble Cassolette vases and covers sold for £115,250 (once again beating the estimate of £30,000 - £50,000), and a Regency Ormolu and cut-glass 12 light chandelier doubled its pre-sale price of £40,000 to sell for £85,250.
Some other items, including books from an extraordinary collection built up by wartime scientist Sir Sydney Barratt and his family, had already been sold in separate sales.
The auction saw bidding from around the globe, as collectors and investors competed for this highly sought-after and valued collection.
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