Auction success for Mid Wales sellers as snuff box collection makes £12,000

Two Mid Wales vendors are in the money following a successful Asian art auction in Shrewsbury yesterday (Wednesday).

The owner of a large collection of Chinese snuff bottles saw her 43 lots make £12,000, including buyer’s premium, while another seller from the Welshpool area saw an small Tibetan gilt bronze figure make £4,600 at Halls Fine Art’s auction.

Top sellers in the snuff bottle collection were a group of eight Chinese jade and hardstone snuff bottles from the 19th and 20th centuries which made £1,400 and a Chinese blue and white porcelain snuff bottle bearing the Yongzheng mark which sold for £1,350.

“The snuff bottles were collected over a long period by a couple, but the husband has now passed away,” explained Alexander Clement, Halls Fine Art’s Asian art specialist “His widow, who lives on the Mid Wales coast, has kept some of her favourite pieces but decided to part with the rest because they were being kept in boxes.

“I was delighted with the prices achieved for the snuff bottles, with all but a couple of the lots selling.”

The 18th or early 19th century Tibetan figure of Padmasambhava, one of the founding fathers of Tibetan Buddhism in the eighth century, was originally purchased by the seller’s late grandfather.

The 9.5cm high figure was acquired by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Moore Kirkwood (1865-1933) while serving with the Indian Army in Tibet from 1903-04.

“These figures are normally hollow cast and they either have a flat metal plate on the base or are completely open,” explained Alexander. “Those with a plate are filled with prayers and offerings.

“The one we sold didn’t have a plate but it did have tiny paper scrolls that were rolled up tightly inside, which made it an interesting example.”

Top seller in the auction was a Chinese carved celadon-glazed ruyi vase and cover bearing the Qianlong seal mark which sold for £21,000.

“The main message from this auction is that the Asian art market remains very selective but the right objects are still able to make headline grabbing hammer prices,” added Alexander. “These objects are still out there waiting to be discovered which is really exciting for us as auctioneers.”

Specialists from Halls Fine Art are holding an antiques valuation event at the Monty Club, Newtown on Wednesday next week from 11am to 2pm to raise money for Newtown Marie Curie Fundraising Group.