Banburyshire couple’s lifetime collection of antique treasures sparks worldwide bidding battle

An Adderbury couple’s lifetime collection of antique treasures sparked worldwide bidding battle at Hansons Holloways auction house, Banbury last month.
A Jiajing period bowl and late Ming Dynasty jar - two exceptional pieces sold at auction in BanburyA Jiajing period bowl and late Ming Dynasty jar - two exceptional pieces sold at auction in Banbury
A Jiajing period bowl and late Ming Dynasty jar - two exceptional pieces sold at auction in Banbury

Fine antiques gathered over a lifetime by the couple who had ‘outstanding knowledge’, produced one of the most successful single-owner sales ever witnessed by an Oxfordshire auction house.

All 380 lots in The James Anthony and Myrtle Hall Collection sold at Hanson Holloway’s Ross in Banbury on June 27 – and sparked a worldwide bidding battle. Together, the exceptional collection of porcelain, paintings, clocks and more achieving a combined hammer total of £152,000.

The top-selling object was lot 138, an unassuming blue and white bowl which just happened to be a masterpiece of porcelain from the Jiajing period of Chinese history, 1521-1567. It sold to a private UK buyer for a hammer price of £16,500.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, Holloways, Ross auctioneersCharles Hanson, owner of Hansons, Holloways, Ross auctioneers
Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, Holloways, Ross auctioneers

“It was expected to realise £3,000 to £5,000 but, despite some minor small chips and scratching to the glaze, sold for more than three times its top estimate.”

Another item to excel was lot 141, a blue and white late Ming Dynasty jar, circa 1550. It was contested to £14,000 and returned to China.

The sale included impressive clocks including lot 294, a Francis Robinson verge single fusee bracket clock. Robinson, who was born in circa 1670, rose to achieve fame thanks to his Inner Temple workshop in London. He became Clockmaker in Ordinary to the King in 1727 and worked for the Prince of Wales until his death circa 1747. The clock made a hammer price of £6,600 – double its estimate.

Antique silver spoons shone bright and lot 14, a 16th century silver Provincial diamond point spoon, possibly West Country, achieved £3,100. Following hot on its heels was lot 17, an Edward VI silver seal top spoon, possibly NB for Nicholas Bartholomew, London 1547. It reached £3,000.

The Jiajing period bowl, described by Charles Hanson as 'exquisite piece of porcelain, made for an emperor'The Jiajing period bowl, described by Charles Hanson as 'exquisite piece of porcelain, made for an emperor'
The Jiajing period bowl, described by Charles Hanson as 'exquisite piece of porcelain, made for an emperor'

In the artwork section, an Archibald Thorburn (Scottish 1860-1935) pencil and watercolour painting of a cock pheasant, signed and dated ‘Nov 1917’ made £3,000.

Jasper Marsh, senior valuer and auctioneer at Hanson Holloway’s Ross, said: “This was the epitome of the perfect antiques sale. For any would-be antiques connoisseur wishing to learn about collectables from A-Z, this auction catalogue provided a perfect starting pointing.

“From the magic of the Orient, a Cromwellian silver spoon and the artistry of a Queen Anne longcase clock to the finest English 18th and 19th century watercolours and a magnificent collection of porcelain, this sale had it all.

“It was an old-fashioned antiques auction in the traditional sense. It showcased the outstanding knowledge and antique passion of the late Anthony James Hall and wife Myrtle. Together over a lifetime they built up an incredible collection of antiques, all meticulously documented with full provenance.

Other items that were in the James Anthony and Myrtle Hall Collection sole at Hansons, Holloway's Ross auctionOther items that were in the James Anthony and Myrtle Hall Collection sole at Hansons, Holloway's Ross auction
Other items that were in the James Anthony and Myrtle Hall Collection sole at Hansons, Holloway's Ross auction

“Mr Hall was born in Adderbury, Oxfordshire, in 1940 and, though the couple relocated to Northumberland, it seemed fitting to use an Oxfordshire saleroom, especially as the sale included 17th century Richard Gilkes and early north Oxfordshire Quaker clocks.

“It was a privilege to manage and catalogue this important collection. It was a journey, the like of which I have not experienced for a long time.”

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