Friday, May 04, 2007

Sun Shines at Cottees Shock!

Last Saturday saw the spring Poole Pottery auction at Cottees come round again. Unusually, the weather was glorious and, rather than freezing in the “shed” whilst trying to get near the solitary gas heater, everyone was roasted and the snack bar ran out of bottled water!

The event was a notable success this year, with more people attending than I have ever seen before. This can be attributed, I think, to the publicity surrounding the factory closure and also the activities of the All About Poole Pottery group. This group, founded by Dave Goddard, has recently published a Collector’s Journal, and is filling the space vacated by the official collectors club. Quite a few members attended the auction, some for the first time, and an enjoyable pre-auction dinner was held the night before at The Duke of Wellington in Wareham.

The catalogue estimates may have helped the turn-out as well, being set at a rather tempting level on the whole. Cottees also mailed a copy of the catalogue to everybody who had bought at the last auction, thus keeping interest up.


Unfortunately the number of people attending, along with an apparently healthy set of commission and telephone bids, meant that there were few bargains to be had. I was pleased to pick up a mixed bag of collectors club magazines and an old Christies catalogue for £10 hammer price on a maiden bid, but otherwise pickings were slim.

A lot I was particularly interested in was a Freya plate, designed by Ann Read in 1958, and featuring a hand-painted picture of Poole harbour with the bow of the vessel Freya in the foreground. This was estimated at £40-£60, although I had expected it to sell for around £120. In fact after fierce bidding it went for an astonishing £230 hammer!

In the end I had to make do with a Beardsley vase, replacing one I had sold a few months ago, a 1950’s contemporary cucumber dish and an early 8” Delphis “blue mark” studio plate. I paid slightly over what I had intended for all of them, so let’s hope the buoyant market continues!


Cottees must have been pleased with the auction results, there were very few unsold lots, the majority seemed to reach estimate and a good proportion far exceeded the top estimate. Despite the lack of bargain buys it was an enjoyable event and, as always, the opportunity to have a good look at rare items close up is a treat. There was a range of Tony Morris chargers, two Guy Sydenham Atlantis helmet lamps, a Harold Stabler galleon “door-stop” and some Phoebe Stabler figures that fetched good money. It was also a pleasure to meet fellow members of the AAPP group face-to-face. Roll on October.

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