Hallmarks

Jenny Knott, Silver and Jewellery Specialist

Download this article

Hallmarking is one of the oldest forms of consumer protection. It dates back to 1300 when Edward 1st instituted a statute for the assaying or testing of precious metals. The purpose of this was to make sure that silver in production for domestic use would have the same fineness as that of coin silver. The standard of silver was therefore set as the same as that of coinage. This is ‘sterling’ silver and denotes silver in which pure silver makes up at least 92.5% of the content, the rest being alloy. This alloy is necessary to make pure silver, which is soft and malleable, into silver that is more user friendly, but still attractive and workable.

The hallmark for Paul Storr. London 1810

The hallmark for Paul Storr. London 1810

There is a theory that the term ’sterling’ comes from the word Easterlings – who were people experienced in coin making, from the Eastern German states brought to England in the reign of Henry II to improve the quality of the coinage.
The original statute allowed wardens from the Company of Goldsmiths in London to circulate around the workshops in the city and test the silver and gold. At that time, silver was assayed and marked with the lion’s head, which is still the symbol of the London assay office today. The term for a lion at the time was ‘leopart’ and so it became known as a leopard’s head, though as you can see from the images it is a lion.
Gradually gold too came to be assayed and bore the same leopard’s head mark. In 1363, the maker’s mark started to be added. Originally this was a pictorial mark, as literacy was negligible in much of the population. Over time this changed, and the maker’s or sponsor’s initials became more common. Silver plate, however, bore pictorial marks for many centuries and sometimes still does.
A century later the date letter was added. This came about when the Goldsmiths acquired their own hall and employed an assayer to test and mark pieces that were submitted for testing. The date letter enabled people to know who the assayer at the time had been, and therefore who could be held to account for standards.

Below Victorian hallmark for London 1860

Below Victorian hallmark for London 1860. Maker’s Edward and John Barnard

This gives us three of four marks which we are accustomed to seeing on silver and gold. The final mark is the town of the city. In theory, the Goldsmith’s Hall in London had jurisdiction over the whole of the country, but in practice, it was difficult for provincial makers to bring items to London to be assayed. It is also likely that the London makers took little interest in their provincial colleagues dismissing them as inferior. However, there is plenty of evidence that gold and silver work of high quality was being produced all over the country and there was a demand to have this recognised. In 1423 Henry VI appointed York, Newcastle, Lincoln, Norwich, Bristol, Salisbury and Coventry as having their own borough mark or ‘touch’; albeit that the London Goldsmiths still claimed the right of control over all silver and gold. These days early provincial marks are highly sought after as these assay offices have long since closed. It’s worth noting that although certain cities have a reputation for particular items, for example Sheffield cutlery, Birmingham small wares, London marks are still associated with the largest and most prestigious commissions.
These days only four assay offices remain in Great Britain – London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

Hallmark above for Birmingham 1927

Hallmark above for Birmingham 1927. The maker’s mark is Elkington and Co.

Birmingham’s town mark is an anchor, which seems odd given Birmingham’s lack of proximity to the sea. Silversmith, plate maker (and, incidentally, partner of James Watt the engineer) Matthew Bolton set up camp in London to campaign for an assay office in Birmingham so that his burgeoning business could assay their goods locally. The silversmiths of Sheffield adopted a similar campaign. Whilst this lobbying continued, they stayed at the Crown and Anchor Inn and according to tradition, when they were successful in their submissions, they decided to use the symbols of the inn in which they had lodged as their city marks. They tossed a coin and Birmingham and got the anchor and Sheffield the Crown.

The £50 note with Matthew Boulton and James Watt.

The £50 note with Matthew Boulton and James Watt

In 1975 Sheffield changed its mark to a rose and in the same year, the assay offices brought their date letters, which had been individually attributed to each office, into alignment. Now all assay offices have the same year letter. Originally the date letters were changed on the day that the Goldsmith’s guild wardens were elected, which was St Dunstan’s day – May 19th. The Hallmarking Act of 1973 bought the remaining four British offices London, Birmingham, Sheffield, and Edinburgh into line with each other the date letter now changing on January 1st each year.
So next time you glance at the back of your fork and see those four little marks winking at you, you will know the centuries of history that caused them to look as they do.

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Download this article

Alastair Meiklejon, Senior Valuer

Back to Life, Back to Reality… Time to Review Home Security and Update Insurance Valuations?
Cobwebs.
Not something I thought I would ever write about, but this week I went to my summer house and caught a glimpse of the fantastic, top of the range Peloton exercise bike that I thought would be a great investment during the first lockdown. My justification was completely sound; “who knows how long this will last, if we can’t go outside then how am I going to get any exercise?” and so it arrived and it was coveted, admired and used extensively for the entire first three weeks of lockdown!
image of peloton bike
However, and possibly along with the rest of the country I then realised that I was maybe not going to see anyone for a while…was it going to be three months, a year? If this was the case, then why was I worried about my appearance! It was around this time it was also considered universally acceptable to maybe have a glass of wine around 3pm…. So, the lovely Peloton bike was now a rather expensive ugly ornament.
images of a home office
Many people during lockdown have made home improvements, refurbished rooms, purchased new items or even gone so far as to build the office or gym in the garden! Online shopping positively boomed during lockdown.


• In 2020 Global sales of art and antiques reached an estimated $50.1billion, and although the figure is down 22% on 2019, it is still above the 2009 recession low, when sales fell by 36% to $39.5 billion.
• Online Sales proved the big winner in 2020 as, despite overall sales dropping, online sales reached a record high of $12.4 billion, doubling in value from 2019 and increasing from 9% of total sales by value in 2019 to 25% in 2020 – the first time e-commerce sales exceeded that of general retail
• 90% of HNW collectors visited an Art Fair or Gallery Online Viewing Room in 2020


As for us, we were on first name terms with our local DPD driver who was bringing items from John Lewis pretty much on a daily basis, and whilst I had never even looked at a KitchenAid mixer before, I now knew it was my destiny to own one and it would somehow make this lockdown better. The similar fuzzy logic that was applied to the purchase of the Peloton bike.
image of kitchenaid mixer
So fast forward to today…
We are all gradually getting back to some form of normality, and as we all leave the house for longer periods of time and some of us return to our workplaces, we should not neglect home security. We need to remember to be vigilant and always think about ‘what the window cleaner can see!’
image of burglar entering a window
In some areas, burglary was reduced by up to 60% during the first lockdown (Source BBC) and whilst we could only hope that those figures will remain, the unfortunate fact remains that with increasing unemployment, they probably won’t.


• Lockdown and Covid means that Valuations are more than ever needed
• Overall sales figures might be down, but prices are not
• Valuations are still vital if a client wishes to be fully covered


So are the figures that you or your client have for home contents accurate, or do they need an up-to-date valuation? Is it time to review assets? To ensure home contents and valuables are correctly valued, so that you are protected and fully covered in the event of a claim?
We think so…

Art Deco Cartier Jewellery

Aurélia Turrall, Jewellery Specialist

The Early Days of Cartier
In 1847 Louis-Francois Cartier takes over a studio in Paris, joined by his son Alfred, and later by his three grandsons, Louis, Pierre and Jacques. Within a decade their reputation precedes them and they provide jewellery to the Empress and Napoleon’s extended family.
The years 1910-1940 are considered by many experts to be the golden era for Cartier. It employed the finest designers and craftsmen, but not necessarily jewellery designers. They preferred to hire designers from all backgrounds: furniture designers and architects to get a fresh pair of eyes on jewellery design.
During the early 20th century, peace rules and the Exposition Universelle of April 1900 attracts over 50 million guests in 7 months. The Ritz opened its doors in 1898. It is overall a prosperous time during which Cartier move into their new quarters in the luxurious rue de la Paix, in Paris. From then, everything takes off. They have international purchasers, organise exhibitions abroad such as in St Petersburg to showcase exceptional pieces inspired by Easter and Christmas. When they officially open their new atelier (“shop”) rue de la Paix, they combine it with launching a new technique of jewellery making: setting stones and jewels into platinum all the while keeping the traditional style.
It was the beginning of a revolution yet to come in jewellery design and making.
The Beginnings of the Art Deco Movement
It’s generally agreed that the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris was the official launch of the Art Deco movement, though the style can be traced back at least a decade before.
The Great War is the catalyst for the movement to emerge. Women, having done men’s jobs during the war, come out of the shadow and step away from the delicate and fragile attire of the Belle Epoque era with bows, ribbons, swags, flowers, items mounted en-tremblant. From now on, angular stones, baguette and calibré-cut diamonds are favoured along with short hair “à la garçonne” (“like a boy”) and suits, giving women a masculine but sexy look.
Cartier Tank watch
Cartier Tank Original 1919
Art Deco was Synonymous with Freedom and Order
Launched in 1917, created by Louis Cartier and inspired by chaos, comes the Tank Original. This first wristwatch is rectangular, has a creamy-white dial which offsets the bold Roman numerals, chemin de fer chapter ring, with blue steel sword-shaped hands and a sapphire cabochon winder. The prototype was presented to General John Pershing of the American Expeditionary Force by Cartier himself and has become a symbol of chic and luxury.
It is a clear step away from the curves and fussiness of Art Nouveau with clear lines and no frills.
Louis Cartier, supposedly, was inspired by Renault F-17 tanks as seen from above: the brancards representing the tracks of the tank and the square case its main housing.
The wristwatch is a real symbol of freedom. No longer attached to your attire, there is freedom of movement in the wrist. It resonates the desire for structure in the midst of chaos, it celebrates technology and new machinery.
Art Deco Jewellery Echoes New Clothes and Hair Fashion
In jewellery, the Edwardian and Belle Epoque style are no longer accepted. Heavy tiaras are replaced with head pieces called bandeau.
Cartier bandeau
Bandeau Cartier
Queen mother wearing a Cartier bandeau made up of three of the five bracelets which her husband, King George VI bought for her.
Cartier diamond bandeau Christie's
A diamond bandeau by Cartier sold by Christie’s in November 2019 for almost £900,000.
Some more “modest” bandeau would have been set with tarlatan and beads rather than diamonds. Or if jewellery was adorned with diamonds, smaller sized diamonds and gems were used, breaking from the past which favoured very large stones. Pieces were now set with detailed calibré-cut stones, meaning they are usually square or rectangle and cut to fit a piece.
The Art Deco head pieces were light and had straight lines rather than garlands found in Belle Epoque jewellery for example. It fits short hair and with that comes longer earrings for example and sautoir (long necklaces).
Cartier pearl sautoir
A Cartier pearl and diamond sautoir, circa 1925, sold at Christie’s in May 2012. Estimate £60,000-85,000 sold for approx. £400,000
Pearls are an important component for Cartier and were a sure thing to buy, until the Wall Street crash in 1929.
Monochrome Art Deco
In the earlier years of Art Deco jewellery, pieces were monochrome, black and white were key. Using rock crystal, onyx and diamonds as key gems. In the wake of the Great War, many were in mourning.
Cartier rock crystal bangle
A diamond and rock crystal bangle, sold at Christie’s for $204,000 in Oct 2000.
This price reflects the constant desire for the sleek sober but luxurious look of Art Deco monochrome pieces, a style always in vogue and not likely to disappear anytime soon.
Vogue states that “A woman, in Paris, who knows how to dress, is almost always dressed in black. Not through laziness but by sophistication.”
The Move to New Materials and Daring Combinations
As we move forward so does the colour scheme in jewellery. Cartier attempts daring combinations of colours which no one had previously tried. There are two factors which contribute to this new direction. In the Cartier archives, we find that Leon Bakst, a Russian painter and costume designer, and part of the Ballets Russes, was a great source of inspiration for Charles Jacqueau, one of the great designers for Cartier from 1909 until 1954. Leon Bakst had designed costumes for a ballet, Scherehazade, mixing only blues, greens and red. This had a big impact on Jacqueau. This colour combination had always been considered to be of bad taste until Jacqueau decided to take a risk and integrate it in his jewellery designs. Simultaneously, the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922 created waves in the Cartier design. Louis Cartier pushes his designers to familiarise themselves with all things Egyptian: heading to the Louvre to study their collection or simply walking through Paris, filled with Egyptian artefacts, to understand the style. Never before had anyone combined carnelian with turquoise and lapis lazuli, until now.
Renewed interest in Asian art meant that jade, lacquer, coral and enamel were also integrated. At this time, Jacques Cartier, who was running Cartier London, often travelled, and would return with many exquisite gems to be added to the Cartier jewels. These stones could be carved or made into cabochon. Cartier was the first to create these new colour and gem combinations. In the 1970s the style was named Tutti Frutti.
Contrast and Colour comes into Vogue
Collier Hindou
The Collier Hindou
Fransesca Cartier Brickell speaks about this necklace in her book “The untold story of the family behind the jewellery empire, The Cartiers”. The necklace belonged to Daisy Fellowes, the heiress to the Singer sewing machine. She had this necklace commissioned, using her own stones. It was designed to be tied at the back with a black silk cord, as would Indian jewels be. However, the big difference here is the use of sapphire, thought to bring bad luck in India. This is a statement of combining far away travels and traditional Western European gems. His daughter, the Comtesse of Casteja, inherited the necklace and in 1991 it was sold at Sotheby’s for $2,655,172. It was a world record for an Art Deco piece of jewellery sold at auction.
The Constant Desire for Exceptional Jewels
Tutti Frutti bracelet
Tutti Frutti ruby, sapphire, emerald, diamond and enamel bracelet, by Cartier, circa 1930
The meandering vines, set with carved rubies, emeralds, sapphires, calibré-cut onyx, black enamel and diamonds is the perfect marriage of West meets East, a perfect artful arrangement. It belonged to an American family and had been in the family for 30 years. It came up for sale at Sotheby’s on 28th April 2020, during the pandemic. It was presented online only, during a four-day sale, during which five bidders competed to purchase the bracelet. Its estimate was $600-800,000 and sold for $1,340,000. It has become a record for any jewel sold in an online-only auction and any jewel sold at auction in 2020. Sotheby’s stated that it “follows a trend observed across all our global jewellery auctions in 2019 in which more than half of the jewellery buyers place their bids online.” This bracelet also illustrates that demand for such exceptional jewels, even during the most challenging times, will always exist. Cartier’s exceptional savoir-faire is timeless.

How I met the FBI

by David Dallas, Old Master Specialist

Download this article

This article is for those of you who missed the webinar about how I met the FBI.
Twenty years ago when I worked for Johnny Van Haeften in his Duke Street, St James’s Gallery, we became friendly with one of the top guys in the Art Squad.  One day we got a call from him asking us if we could help. Two colleagues in the Danish Art squad, who had been working undercover in Eastern Europe posing as dishonest collectors, were rumbled by the thieves and murdered.  It transpired that when they were confronted with the stolen paintings, they handled them in a very timid, unconvincing way.
So we were asked to give a demonstration to about 20 members of Interpol on how to handle a painting, what to look for and how to pass oneself off as a connoisseur.  Somehow the FBI got to hear of this and asked if they could send two operatives as well. Of course we said “yes” and a husband and wife team of FBI agents duly arrived with the European contingent.
We started by showing them what sturdy things pictures really are, whether they are painted on canvas, panel or copper, they don’t need to be handled with kid gloves.  We didn’t exactly throw the pictures at them, but we let them hold them and pass them around to one another.

The agents were mildly surprised that Johnny and I started examining the pictures by looking at their reverse side first.  We pointed out that Old Master paintings (those painted before 1800), often have collection seals made of sealing wax glued to the panel or stretcher, if it is a painting on canvas.  These seals are the clue to the provenance or history of the painting.  King Charles I even branded the panels in his collection with the royal cypher CR!  In the case of 19th Century paintings, the reverse can often reveal inscriptions and signatures of the artists and 20th Century paintings are very likely to have Exhibition labels glued to the stretcher or frame and these too, can be clues to provenance and also add glamour and prestige to a painting if a label shows it has been exhibited in a major public art gallery.

We also taught them to look at the frames and try to determine what materials they are made of.  If the frame is made of carved wood and then gilded in 24 carat gold leaf, which are very expensive materials, the implication is that this is a painting that someone thought highly of in the past and you should take it seriously, too.
Finally, we turned to the front of the pictures.  We showed our pupils that before we looked at the surface under a magnifying glass, we took in the whole picture to see how well the composition works. Then came the magnifying glass.  If a criminal is watching you whilst you handle the magnifying glass, you have to wield it in a believable manner. You can’t just randomly explore the surface. Johnny and I showed them that we were looking for two things under magnification.
We would look at various different parts of the painting to see how well executed the details were and at the same time, we could determine the condition of the paint layer.  Historic restoration can leave the surface abraded, as the action of wiping a solvent on a rag or cotton wool swab across the paint causes friction and a cleaning solvent that can dissolve old varnish can dissolve paint too.  Original condition is crucial to the value of a painting and any true connoisseur would know that.
The final tool one needs to know about, especially when determining condition, is the Ultra Violet lamp. All experts carry one.  They are just as useful for examining porcelain or furniture as they are for paintings.  They only work in a darkened room.
When you bombard a painting with UV light it gives off a slightly green haze, but any later paint, such as restoration to a damage, shows up black. It gives you a very precise indication of condition.
We showed them how dirty varnish fluoresces turquoise and how to assess what proportion of the surface is new paint.  There then followed a lively session of Q and A and we and the cops parted as good friends. The FBI visited us whenever they were in London.
If you are going to pass yourself off as a connoisseur you have to be confident. So whatever you do, as an undercover cop, when handling a painting do it with brio and you might just live to tell the tale.
To show how tough paintings are I am reminded of a wonderful vignette that took place in New Bond Street one mid-July afternoon in the 1970s.

The last Old Master sale of the season had just taken place at Sotheby’s and a dealer called Raymond Romari had bought a large Flemish landscape on a piece of wavy copper. As chance would have it, New Bond Street was being re-tarmacked and when Raymond stepped out on to the sunny street, he had an idea. In those days, there was a news stand on the street outside Sotheby’s and you had to pay for the Evening Standard then.
Raymond bought two copies and flagged down the driver of the steam roller. He asked him if he would mind driving over his picture! He said he would be delighted to do so. As a small crowd gathered round, Raymond laid one open copy of the Evening Standard on the tarmac, placed the copper panel face down and the second copy of the Evening Standard on top of it. To cheers from the crowd, he waved the steamroller forward. When it had finished its manoeuvre, Raymond had a perfectly flat picture and no paint loss. I think he might have been lucky that he got away with it! Don’t try this at home!

Meet the Doerr Dallas Jewellery Department

Download this article

As the team expands, we wanted to share how hugely proud we are of the unique breadth of industry experience, knowledge and impressive qualifications that our team have between them.
From James Lowe who has worked within the jewellery sector for an amazing 40+ years and is recognized as one of the most industry-respected Watch Specialists, to our amazing team of Gemmologists and NAJ Institute of Registered valuers, to our youngest and newly appointed jewellery specialist Aurelia Turrall who also speaks four languages!
They bring an eclectic mix of expertise in all areas, including modern, period and antique Jewellery. This allows us to not only send an industry-renowned Jewellery Specialist to clients, but further, we are able to provide an even more bespoke service by tailoring the valuer specifically to the items or collection to be valued.
We work throughout the UK and Europe, providing personal, professional, friendly and completely discreet valuations for Insurance, Inheritance Tax purposes, Divorce and Family Division and independent advice on buying and selling.
So, let’s meet them…
staff_set_0001_jameslowe

James Lowe  – Silver, Jewellery and Watch Specialist

James has over 35 years’ experience in the industry and has worked for the Queen’s jewellers, The House of Garrard, London and enjoyed three years with Garrard in South Africa, buying and selling jewellery on behalf of their clients.
James is a qualified Fellow (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) member of The Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
James has also worked for both Bonhams and Sotheby’s in the Jewellery Departments but enjoys nothing more than working alongside Rachel which he has done since 2009!

Mary Waterfall – Jewellery Specialist


Mary Waterfall has over eighteen years’ experience in the jewellery trade, working in a variety of sectors.  Having successfully completed her Gemmology Diploma, FGA, in 1999, Mary started her career in Hatton Garden working for the prestigious manufacturing company, Stephen Foster Jewellery and then for the diamond and gemstone dealer Bass Premier Company. She went on to obtain her Diamond Grading Diploma, DGA and gained valuable retail experience working for Tiffany & Co, Old Bond Street, London.
In 2003 Mary moved into the auction world, relocating to Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter and working as a specialist and cataloguer for Fellows, one of the leading auction houses in the West Midlands.
In 2014 Mary gained her qualification as a Registered Valuer and is proud to be a member of the NAJ’s Institute of Registered Valuers and The Gemmological Association of Great Britain.

Image of Annabell Parry

Annabell Parry – Jewellery and Watches Specialist

Annabell has worked with international fine jewellery and watch brands for over 20 years. The daughter of an auctioneer and valuer, it was no surprise when she followed the family into the Jewellery industry after leaving University. Since 1995 she has worked with, amongst others, Boodles, Leo De Vroomen, Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Frank Muller where her work has revolved around certificated gemstones, high end watches, antique and handmade fine jewellery.
During those 25 years, she attained internationally recognised industry qualifications and affiliations and is a Registered Valuer with both valuing institutes of the United Kingdom. As an established specialist she enjoys finding forgotten gems and uncovering their family history.
MIRV – Member of the Institute of Registered Valuers / MJVA – Member of the Jewellery Valuers Association / Member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain.
Professional Qualifications:

  • GA Cert – Gemmology Foundation from Gemmological Association of Great Britain (GEM-A)
  • PJ-Dip – Professional Jewellers’ Diploma from National Association of Jewellers (NAG)
  • CAT – Certificate of Appraisal Theory from National Institute of Registered Valuers (IRV)
  • CPAA – Certified Pearl Specialist with the Cultured Pearl Association of America (Pearls as One)

image of Jenny knott

Jenny Knott – Silver & Jewellery Specialist

Jenny has been working in the Silver and Jewellery industry for over 35 years, she is a graduate of Reading University where she gained a BA Hons in English literature.  She joined Bonham’s auctioneers in Knightsbridge as a post-graduate in the silver, jewellery and clocks and watches departments, specialising in silver and jewellery, Jenny soon rose to the position of deputy head of department.
Her career has seen her run Bonham’s highly successful Gentlemen’s sales alongside her passion for everything silver or that sparkles.   Jenny also worked with the John Lewis Partnership for 25 years supplying them with antique jewellery for their retail sales.  She also enjoyed working with Bloomingdales in the United States for many years, supplying cufflinks and gentlemen’s accessories. Both these roles involved training their staff.
During this time, she has been employed by The Royal Collection, lectured extensively in the UK (including lectures to NAFAS and the National Association of Jewellers) and in the States on her specialist areas.  Jenny has also co-curated a cufflink exhibition with The Goldsmiths Company.  She is highly experienced in insurance and probate work and continues alongside doing valuations supplying antiques, particularly wine related items, to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust and National Trust.

 

Rebecca Bohle – Jewellery and Ceramics Valuer

Rebecca started her career over 25 years ago with Phillips Auctioneers in Edinburgh and Newcastle Upon Tyne where she rose to the position of Associate Director specialising in Ceramics and Glass before moving into the Jewellery department at Bonhams in Edinburgh.
With a passion for jewellery, Rebecca completed her certificate of gemmology and is a Member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain. She has an accreditation of the De Beers Diamond Foundation Certificate.
Rebecca is adept at evaluating the authenticity, quality and value of both ceramics and jewellery and has catalogued a number of large private collections for both insurance, probate and sale.

Aurélia Turrall – Jewellery & Watches Specialist

Aurélia has over fifteen years’ experience in the auction industry. She started her career in Business Development and Client Services at Christie’s and Sotheby’s Paris. She went on to obtain her Graduate Gemmologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Relocating from Paris to London, Aurélia joined the Jewellery department at Bonhams, dealing with client valuations and auction preparations.
Aurélia has a Bachelor of Arts degree from King’s College London and a Baccalaureate in Economics and Literature. She speaks English, French being her native language, and some Spanish and Italian. Aurelia has also had experience of working with specialist lenders Borro and working for SYMEV (French Association of Auctioneers), Paris where she was Head of Communications.
Being able to value clients’ jewellery is what she loves to do and she has been privileged to value some amazing pieces.

Testimonials:-
I was asked to procure a jewellery valuation by my insurance company and my insurance broker recommended Doerr Dallas Valuations.  Rachel called me to arrange a time for the valuation and explained the process very clearly.  I asked for a quote and was pleasantly surprised as it was much lower than I had expected.  When the valuer came, he was extremely diligent and efficient and I was very impressed with the valuation report when it arrived.  Everything was photographed with detailed descriptions and I now realise that it is extremely important to have a proper record of what you own.  I would highly recommend Doerr Dallas Valuations.
Nicola Horlick, CEO Money & Co., London
Rachel, we would like to say that your Jewellery specialist did a brilliant job and we want to thank her for her professionalism and dedication to get to the bottom of a few issues. Really great customer service.
Mr D. Nelson, Staffordshire
I wasn’t aware of the detail that your valuations would go into, my wife was so impressed.  We did look up Annabell’s qualifications and experience etc and she certainly knows her subject.  We didn’t realise how under valued/under-insured the jewellery was until we received your report.  So thank you Rachel for looking after us.
Mr D. Boyle, Surrey
Jewellery valuations
We recommend a review of a jewellery insurance valuation at least every 3 years, due to price fluctuations in gold and diamonds.  Also, some insurance policies have a clause requirement that clasps and settings require checking every 2-3 years.  As part of our service we include a claps and a settings check.   For collector watches we would suggest a desktop review annually to ensure prices are up to date.

How Art Galleries & Auction Houses Have Adapted During COVID

Download this article

By Jonathan Horwich, Modern Art Specialist

‘Never waste a crisis’ they say in the art business. The various lockdowns, and Covid itself, has forced the art market to adapt quickly to the new challenges we all face in our lives and businesses. When you think of the art business, it’s about people and face to face meetings, parties and major auction gala openings etc. So how, in the face of the pandemic, are they going to manage, when indeed the very people they need to see and sell to are no longer allowed to travel or even mingle in any way shape or form!
Brilliantly and swiftly auction houses reacted almost overnight. Having worked in the auction industry myself for over 30 years, I’m well aware of how many great ideas were sitting on the shelves in auction houses just waiting for the right moment to be put into practice, now suddenly, that ‘right moment’ is now and all the ideas are in play. Realising that it would now be impossible for people to view in person, they switched to remote live and timed online auctions. The latter, prior to Covid, had only been mildly successful, but now, with no other option and with bidders locked up at home, they found tens of thousands of new bidders.  We were about to witness the reality of presenting auctions live to the public- with nobody at all sitting in the saleroom! Those of you who have attended auctions will recognise the buzzing atmosphere with people here, there and everywhere all bidding and crammed shoulder to shoulder. Well, none of that was going to be possible now.
Christie’s mounted what they called a ‘global auction’ which was an extraordinary feat of logistics and engineering. There was an auctioneer in Hong Kong passing on to the auctioneer in Paris, passing on to an auctioneer in New York, so literally back-to-back auctions spanning almost 15 hours!  What was truly remarkable was the numbers. Over 160,000 people were either watching or bidding around the world, whereas normally they might expect 30,000 online viewers and the prices achieved were every bit as strong.  In some cases, even stronger than pre-pandemic, mainly because new people were involved so bidder numbers were significantly higher than would have been seen before. In fact, there were so many people attempting to log on to watch, me included, that it was impossible for the system to cope! They reacted quickly though and adapted things. So much so that one year on 160,000 + people watching an auction in various locations around the world is normal and they no longer run out of bandwidth.
To further develop the online offering, new visual aids have appeared. You can now gauge the size of the picture you were thinking about buying on a virtual wall. To be able to gauge the size of the piece is genius, as sometimes in our heads it’s bigger or smaller than it really is.
Auctioneers around the world are still adapting to the new norm. However, not all of them are doing auctions in exactly the same way, which is rather refreshing.  Some are conducting live auctions with an auctioneer, sometimes in his own living room, with images and bidding increments being presented on your screen so everything is there for you, while the actual pieces are safely in the warehouse.
Condition reports for multi million dollar lots are essential so that at a distance you can be comfortable with what you’re buying, Covid rules allow for independent restorers to visit the rooms to do reports on behalf of the vendors and are flat out doing just that!
We’re only a year on, however it seems like five years’ worth of ideas and development have been squeezed into less than a year of real time when it comes to auctions. You can now bid on either a live auction in one session with an auctioneer and nobody except staff in the room, or on a timed online auction which is spread over a week or so.  Everyone is doing it in their own slightly differing ways and yet all are instinctively seeming to get it right.  
Major auctions now appear on YouTube so you can search Christie’s auction and watch a recorded New York auction from beginning to end, followed by a second session in London if you have the energy! The 160,000 people worldwide watching in 2020 has now grown to nearer a million in some cases with auction houses using multiple cameras and angles just like a football match.
For art dealers, international art fairs are the lifeblood to their businesses as it’s where they meet new clients, re-engage with existing clients and show exciting new pieces and discoveries for the first time.  The buzz of fairs, such as Masterpiece, the London Art Fair and the Armoury and Frieze fairs are all suspended. The galleries are no longer able to use their physical shop space to garner interest, so to reach out they are turning increasingly to newsletters, updates and new stock reports, knowing that we’re all locked down so much more likely to read what they are sending us.  While it’s not possible to go into the galleries themselves, new virtual portals have opened, run by those dealers usually involved with art fairs. This allows them to showcase on other platforms such as Love Antiques, The Bruno Effect and 1st dibs and 2covet – all of whom are benefitting from added interest in this lockdown world.
It’s fair to say that pretty much everything is virtual in the art world now. The upshot I think is that for many people buying at auction and galleries has been totally demystified so encouraging new buyers. When lockdown ends and we get back to something near normal, I think that the art world will bounce back with a vengeance. People will still want to buy at auctions but will accept and enjoy attending virtually too, and there will be an equal number of people who have been introduced to buying art via virtual fairs and exhibitions.
Virtual Auctions

Live auction at Christie’s London on March 1st 2021, here we see the hammer about to come down on the only wartime painting completed by Winston Churchill ‘ called the Tower of the Koutoubia Mosque. it was completed by Churchill in 1943 after the allied conference in Morocco and given to President Franklin D Roosevelt and much later bought by Brad Pitt for his then wife Angelina Joli and sold in this auction on her behalf for nearly 6 times its pre-sale estimate of £1.5 million for a record breaking £8.3 million. The auctioneer is the only one not wearing a mask, see below

Staff bidders at the March 1st auction, not black tie anymore for gala auctions, it’s now matching black masks for everyone. You can’t see but there are no members of the public in the saleroom at all, they are either on these phones or online, only these masked phone bidding staff , the auctioneer plus a few masked art handlers showing the works are the only people in the room. The room would normally be packed yet despite everything this sale and all the others have been rip roaring successes. The sale was filmed using multiple cameras and angles and is therefore fun to watch it is on you tube, just search Christie’s auction where it can be viewed in full, on the night the auction was viewed by over 100,000 people. It appears that watching auctions under lockdown has gone viral !

A rare early picture by Vincent van Gogh, Rue Montmatre , estimate £5-8 million for sale at Sothebys on March 25th 2021 ,this is the image from the online catalogue, it has a ‘zoom in’ facility and condition report, lot essay etc see below

Same Van Gogh picture shown on a virtual wall, next to a virtual window, to give you a sense of its scale

Arg-Ala by Damien Hirst,
Estimate £150-200,000
In a Sothebys online timed auction 26th March, 2021, bidding is over a week usually and progress is shown 24/7 like e bay, bidding ends at a specific time and day with a delay if bidding is still active and will continue until bidding stops , at the time of writing it was £150,000, the picture is 50 x 50 cms and is seen here with an art handler nearby to give scale. These online timed sales were mainly used for lower value lots or collection sales pre- covid , however they have now fully proved their ability to sell very high value lots well.

The latest big news in the auction world is digital art , known as NFT’s ( Non Fungible Tokens) this is a brand new development as of March 2021. This image shows a work with multiple images titled ‘The First 5,000 days ‘ created over 5,000 days by Mike Winkelmann, aka ‘Beeple’ sold for $69,000,000 in Christie’s New York . Again this was not a live traditional auction it was a timed sale as for the Hirst in fig 6. Amazingly the starting estimate was only $100 and there was no reserve , bidding only began actively a few minutes before the auction was due to close, bids rose from $100 to $69,000,000 in a matter of minutes ! It was bought by Vignesh Sundarasen a Singapore based investor. The work doesn’t exist in a tangible form, so you can’t hang it up anywhere nor have you bought the copyright which stays with Beeple the artist. However you can trade it via the unique access code you receive with the work.

Another digital work made up of multiple individual images again by Beeple, called ‘The Next Chapter’ Beeple first began making his ‘Everydays’ (one image per day) in 2007, however lockdown and its full embrace of live online auctions seems to have provided the catalyst to go global with offering digital works at auction online.
Virtual Art Dealing

Unlike the auction houses Art Dealers don’t have the monkey of back to back auction calendar to manage, however they do rely on major Art fairs and events such as Frieze, The London Art Fair and Masterpiece to showcase new works and meet new clients and make sales. Many of the events have been postponed, however The London Art Fair went digital, showcasing individual galleries such as Alan Wheatley in this image. The image and details will have been shared with all registered attendees of previous year’s fairs and is teamed up with experts and other curators to present a series of lectures, webinars and virtual events to drive sales.

More London Art fair 2021 images, featuring works for sale by Bridget Riley, Ian Davenport and others

Welcome page for 2covet a new online dealer platform enabling dealers to continue to have access to sales and new clients while their shops remain closed.

2 covet dealer page showing more traditional pictures from a dealer in late 19th and early 20th century
Pictures.

2 Covet website showing the range of categories available to buy.

A new site, ‘The Bruno Effect, due to open June 2021 focussing on antiques vintage and 20c design.

Bruno Effect’s dealer focus page

1st Dibs is an established online dealer platform, they have a full range of art and antique dealers who pay commission on sales along with a monthly subscription so it’s quite an investment , if you also have a closed shop, lockdown will have encouraged many more dealers to move online to this site. They hold online dealer and object focus events plus editors picks so many more dealers are moving online

A current ‘Editor’s Picks’ event page on 1st Dibs featuring items from different disciplines chosen by the Editor.

Looking for Lowry

By Jonathan Horwich, Modern Art Specialist

L S Lowry, (1887-1976) is perhaps our most famous English painter of the 20th Century. Certainly, if you were appearing as a contestant on ‘Pointless’ then good luck trying for a pointless answer by naming Lowry as your answer in any question category! Most people in the UK today, young or old, and for some reason mostly male, will in some way or other have heard of Lowry.
As a Victorian, born in Manchester in 1887, he was the only child of Robert and Elizabeth Lowry. It seems he was always a disappointment to his mother, who really wanted a girl. Early photographs show him still wearing girls’ clothes aged 4 or 5. He also wanted to be an artist, which was yet another disappointment to his mother.
However, as the Lowrys were not wealthy enough to support the family, he was thwarted by having to work full time at his father Robert’s work place. This left no time for painting in the day, leaving him only the evenings to study, so that is what he did. Always older than everybody else, it took him the best part of 20 years to fully qualify. Even then, (although he never admitted it to anybody he knew), he had to continue to work full time, Monday to Saturday, and so only painted at night for many, many years. Indeed, probably through habit he continued to do this his whole life.
He was at his most productive after he retired from the Pall Mall Property company in 1952, when at least he had the whole day at his disposal. He was by then famous for his Industrial Landscapes which he began painting in the 1920’s. On retirement, he was keen to move on but inevitably his collectors still mostly wanted his ‘Industrials’.
He switched to a lighter, brighter, whiter, palate by the early 60’s and began to make small, quickly painted pictures, mainly with people and animals.
He has always been a popular artist at auction and as early as 1964 pictures were reaching record sums of near to £2,000, a very significant sum back in the day. His exhibitions in London at the Lefevre gallery were always a sell-out and so now prices for even small, genuine drawings and sketches are out of the reach for many collectors.
Limited edition prints had been around since the beginning of the 20th Century, with artists such as Picasso and Henry Moore signing limited editions of their printed work.
Lowry became involved in the late 60’s and early 70’s, signing everything personally. It is these that offer the new collector at least an entry level starting point as a collector. Generally speaking, the price range runs from £2,000 up to the dizzy heights of £20,000 for particularly rare examples.
This article gives a brief introduction to the 25 to 30 different signed prints by Lowry that are still available. They regularly come up for auction and are available in private galleries all around the UK. As they are multiples, they are a bit like buses – if you miss one, there will be another along soon. Hence, there is no need to jump in quickly. If this is something that you want to get involved with, see what’s out there and then dip your toe in the water .
Things to watch out for are – condition and colour, (some prints fade if they’ve been in strong sunlight), and avoid stains and rips. Good luck and enjoy the process!
LS Lowry (1887-1976)
1-3 are all original Lowry paintings

Station approach Manchester print

 

1) Going to the Match, 1953
Signed, oil on canvas, 71 x 92. This is an image of the original oil bought at the 1997 auction by Graham Taylor on behalf of the Professional Football association pension fund, it’s now on view in  the Lowry Salford
Original oil painting, Sold at auction for £1,926,500 in 1997


Station approach Manchester
2) The original Lowry painting Station Approach, Manchester 1960, oil on canvas, 76 x 101 cm
Sold for £2,322,500 in 2014


Punch and Judy
3) The original Lowry painting Punch and Judy. Signed and dated 1943, Oil on canvas, 41 x 56  cm
This original painting has changed hands multiple time since it first came up for auction in 1995 when it made £152,000, last time it sold was in 2019 when it made £611,000
Sold for £962,500 in 2014


The following are all signed limited edition prints of various original Lowry pictures and drawings

Going to the match
Going to the Match, 1953. Signed Colour print from an edition of 300, 56 x 70 cm
While the price paid for the original is not the record price the print version is the top priced Lowry print! It is to do with the subject, ie football and the fact that there were only ever 300 produced
£20,000 in 2020
£18,000 in 2015


Station approach Manchester print
Station Approach, Manchester. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 40 x 50 cm
£3,187 in 2020
£3,100 in 2015


Punch and Judy print
Punch and Judy. Signed colour print from an edition of 75, 44.5 x 68.5 cm
Prices go down as well as up, the price for this particular print has gone down since 2015…
£5,062 in 2020
£8,100 in 2015


Britain at play
Britain at Play. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 47 x 60 cm
£4,200 in 2021
£2,500 in 2015


Fever van
Fever Van. Signed colour print from an edition of 700, 45 x 54 cm
£4,800 in 2021
£2,500 in 2015


The Pond
The Pond. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 45 x 58 cm
£4,000 in 2021
£2,200 in 2015



Market Scene in a Northern Town. Signed colour print, 46 x 60 cm
£5,000 in 2021
£2,700 in 2015



Man Lying on a Wall. Signed colour print. No 479 from an edition of 500, 40 x 50 cm
£7,200 in 2020
£6,000 in 2015


Group of Children
Group of Children. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 18 x 19 cm
£3,825 in 2020
£1,800 in 2015


The Contraption
The Contraption. Signed Colour print from an edition of 750, 31 x 30 cm
£4,000 in 2020
£2,100 in 2015


Great Ancoats Street
Great Ancoats Street. Signed b/w print, from an edition of 850, 26 x 36 cm
£2,800 in 2020
£1500 in 2015


Salford Viaduct
Salford Viaduct. Signed, monochrome, lithograph from an edition of 75, 52 x 64 cm
£7,000 in 2021
Rare print, only two have been offered at auction, one sold for £6500 in 2016


Deal Beach sketch
Deal Beach, sketch. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 26 x 50 cm
£5,000 in 2019
£3,500 in 2015


Burford Church
Burford Church. Signed colour print from a numbered edition of 850, 60 x 45 cm
£2,200 in 2020
£3,100 in 2015


A street full of people
A Street full of people. Signed b/w print from a numbered edition of 75, 62 x 97 cm. This particular print is no 2/75 and was embellished in blue crayon by Lowry himself which doubled its price to £20,000!
£10,000 in 2020. It’s a rare print only 5 have come up, one made £800 in 2012


Mrs Swindell's picture
Mrs Swindell’s picture. Signed colour print from an edition of 850, 40 x 30 cm
£3200 in 2020
£1600 in 2015


The football match
The Football Match. Signed and numbered black and white print from an edition of 850, 26 x 36 cm
£5,737 in 2021
£4750 in 2015


Three men and a cat
Three Men and a cat. Signed in blue biro, colour print, 25 x 17 cm
£3600 in 2020
£1800 in 2015


His familiy
His Family. Signed colour print from an edition of 575, 54 x 72 cm
£1785 in 2020
£1600 in 2015


Exploring the Bvlgari Jewellery Brand

Download this article here

Mary Waterfall, Jewellery Specialist

The luxury brand synonymous with style, power, boldness, vivacity and colour. As with most high end jewellers the story of Bvlgari is steeped in history.
It was founded in 1885 by Sotirios Boulgaris, a Greek Silversmith who relocated to Italy in 1881. He changed his name to Bulgari, which became Bvlgari in line with the classical Italian alphabet using a V in place of U.
Over the years the Bvlgari family have encapsulated the glamourous passionate Italian spirit in their jewellery design. They have produced magnificent pieces for royalty, the rich and the famous, truly embracing ‘The Dolce Vitta’
The Trombino ring is a classic example of this. Translated as ‘Little Trumpet’ the first was made in 1930 for Mrs Bvlgari. As you look at examples of this stunning ring you can almost hear a fanfare of trumpets serenading the central gem as it stands proud in a raised domed design complimented by pave set brilliant cut diamonds to the band and a line of graduated baguette cut diamonds. Both coloured gems and diamonds were used as the central stone, always of the finest quality and most spectacular colours. A real statement piece that has now become highly sought after and collectible at auction. One of the most famous examples being Elizabeth Taylor’s ‘Sugar Loaf’ sapphire and diamond Trombino ring which sold for $866,500 at auction in 2011.
Bulgari Trombino Ring
I have not yet had the pleasure to appraise a Trombino ring, however one Bvlgari design I do regularly come across is the B.Zero1. This elegant, bold design is very accessible and has become one of Bvlgari’s most popular and successful collections. It was launched in 1999 and true to the company’s Italian heritage it was inspired by the architecture of Rome’s Colosseum. The ring is designed as a flat core band composed of one to five spiral lines that are sandwiched between two flat rings engraved with the brands logo. It is made using the Tubogas technique, which creates flexible bands without the use of solder. It is a stylish, simple comfortable collection that has been adapted over the years to create variety, incorporating different metals, ceramics and gemstones.
Bulgari Bzero1
The B stands for Bulgari and the Zero1 marks it as the first design of the second millennium. The collection also includes pendants, bangles and earrings and it continues to thrive and evolve. The latest evolution is the Bzero1 Rock which is described by the company as an ‘unapologetic rulebreaker’ with its studded core.
Bulgari Bzero1 Rock
The continued strength and popularity of the collection means prices continue to rise. The current price for a ring purchased in 2005 would be significantly higher that the price originally paid. Is this reflected in your current valuations? An example is this Bzero1 18ct white gold four band ring, pave set with diamonds which currently retails for £9,800. Is this value reflected in your insurance documentation?

£5k spend – Jewellery Investment Mission

Download this article here

Mary Waterfall, Jewellery Specialist

The Brief: My Great Aunt Winnie has kindly gifted me £5K in her will. However she has also specified that I must spend it on something within my field of expertise, something that I believe will increase in value over the next five to ten years.
The Options:
1) Gold
My immediate thought is that I would invest it in gold. The gold price does fluctuate but over a long period of time it usually increases. As I write this, in the final months of 2020, the gold price is quite high. One of the reasons for this is because of the uncertainty in the stock market due to the COVID 19 pandemic, traditionally when share prices go down, the gold price goes up. My plan would therefore be to wait until the markets stabilise, which could take a year or two, to ensure I’m not buying gold at a price peak time. I would then go to auction and buy gold in the form of Sovereigns, chains etc., put it all in a safe for five to ten years, keep an eye on the markets and look for an opportune time to sell and hopefully profit on the investment. I wouldn’t sell at auction though because I would have to pay commission for the privilege. I would go to a jewellers/dealers who buys gold. Then tend to give you a better price per gram the greater quantity you have.
However, that all sounds very good but I wouldn’t get much enjoyment out of that experience. I don’t really wear plain gold jewellery so it would just be locked away and not looked at. Wouldn’t my Great Aunt Winnie prefer me to buy something I would actually wear and love? So my next thought is:
2) Vintage Designer Jewellery
Historically the vintage jewellery of certain brands, such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, can hold and increase in value. Pieces made in the early to mid-twentieth century can be very desirable and sought after. Clearly it’s a piece by piece case and does not apply to all jewellery made at this time. The ‘rule’ doesn’t necessarily apply to more modern designer jewellery such as the Cartier Love bangle. If you do an auction house online search for these bangles you will see many examples come up. The market is pretty flooded with them at the moment and some of them are the amazingly impressive fakes that are coming out of Dubai, some of which are hard to tell from a genuine bangle if you don’t know what you are looking for.

image of Fake Cartier Love Bangle

Fake Cartier Love Bangle

There is also a bit of a myth that if the jewellery is ‘old’ it will naturally increase in value. Again it depends on the piece but generally this is not the case. I was recently asked to value a diamond bangle that had been marketed as ‘Georgian’ and ‘very rare’. However in reality it was a modern piece manufactured in India and was not as valuable as originally thought.
So I know I need to have my wits about me if purchasing at auction. Another question is will I actually find such a piece that is £5k or under because such items can command high prices.
There are a lot of beautiful brooches out there, which were highly fashionable at the time but not so nowadays. I may be tempted by something like these earrings.

image of gold earrings

Cartier earrings c1970

They are by Cartier, circa 1970 and sold for £3800 plus buyers premium. They are beautifully made, signed and numbered by Cartier and I would wear and enjoy them. However I may also be tempted to extend my search and try and find something within my price range that was made by Cartier slightly earlier.
Conclusion
I think there is more certainty of a profit in strategy one but more fun and enjoyment in strategy two. Which would you choose?
 

Is The Smart Money Still In Watches?

Download this article

It’s a question that is asked of our specialists by all our high net worth clients who have wristwatch collections – whether that be a few ‘accidental’ investments or hardened collectors who purchase an item…. open the box and admire the marvel of what they have in front of them…… and then hide it away in a safe never to be seen again, that is until they need it to be valued or to provide proof to their authorised dealer that their name should be top of the list for that new GMT that us mere mortals have to wait more than a decade to get hold of.
As with most things of this nature, it is not an easy answer.
If I were to ask one of my extremely learned colleagues “Is the smart money still in art?” then the ensuing conversation could probably last hours, would definitely involve strong language, and ultimately would end with everyone having a subjectively correct answer.
Whilst we cannot predict the future, if the last decade has been anything to go by (including 18 months of complete global turbulence) the market has been strong beyond any comprehension that us watch enthusiasts could have possibly thought about 20 years ago.
Rolex, Rolex, Rolex.

The GMT MASTER II ‘Batman’
Brand new retail price – £7,750
Secondary market price – up to £17,000
Without doubt, the most recognisable brand of luxury watch in the world and probably the one that most people still aspire to own. Their marketing is exemplary, their product line is still world beating in many areas and owning one still makes you feel special…..but, the problem is actually owning one.
If you have mustered the courage to enter into one of their boutiques to actually try on some of their timepieces, you will notice that you are being visually credit scored by both the assistant and security guard making sure that you really should be in here……but when you finally see that Submariner that you have dreamt of since seeing Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill (Insert Connery & Dr No as required) you know it was all worthwhile, but just as you reach for your wallet, the blood drains from your face and you feel like Patrick Bateman trying to book a table at Dorsia.
You cannot buy a brand new Rolex Submariner.
Really.
Seriously.

The SUBMARINER (No date 41mm)
Brand new retail price – £6,450
Secondary market price – up to £12,495
The Rolex waiting list has almost achieved a mythical status amongst watch collectors with times of 25 years quoted in some places for certain Daytona models, however with the Submariner, you may be in luck and possibly could have that watch on your wrist in under five….but should you?
Included are three examples of watches with their brand new price, and what you would have to pay – today to get hold of one on the secondary market

The DAYTONA COSMOGRAPH (40mm Oystersteel)
Brand new retail price – £10,500
Secondary market price – up to £25,000
We could talk about examples such as the ‘Pepsi’, ‘Coke’, ‘Kermit’, and ‘Starbucks’ (seriously) models and show even larger increases in value, however this should give an overview on why your clients need to have their watches valued on a regular basis, and it’s not just Rolex – Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet, many other high end brands command eye watering prices on the secondary market.
So is the smart money still in watches?
We shall leave you to decide!