Rare bull is 100 percent beef

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With the horse meat furore refusing to die – unlike the poor horses – it’s good to know that a black galloway bull being offered for sale by antiques auctioneers in the Cotswolds is 100 percent beef: guaranteed.

The rare porcelain bull was designed by Arthur Gredington in 1961 and produced by the renowned Stoke-on-Trent pottery Beswick until 1969.

Stamped ‘Approved by the Aberdeen Angus Cattle Society’ the 20cm long figurine is expected to achieve between £800 and £1,200 when it goes under the hammer at Moore Allen & Innocent’s selected antiques sale on Friday, March 1.

From beef to biscuits, the recent publicity surrounding the sale of a rude biscuit tin has prompted owners of commemorative containers to get in touch.

The biscuit tin was unwittingly produced by Huntley & Palmer in 1980. Thousands of tins of ginger nuts were quickly pulled from supermarket shelves when the firm realised the genteel lid illustration contained a few cheeky surprises.

Among the ladies in bonnets taking tea on the lawn, eagle-eyed biscuit munchers spotted a pair of dogs rutting in the bushes, a naked couple making whoopee in the background, cannabis plants in the herbaceous borders, and a rude word on a jam jar label.

When Moore Allen auctioned a tin in December, it created a media buzz – even The Times recalled the story with relish – and the lot exceeded its £80 to £120 asking price, selling for £200.

Collectors at the March sale will be encouraged to bid for a second example of the risqué tin, along with 176 other biscuit, sweet, tea and chocolate containers from throughout the 20th century, including the popular Huntley & Palmer ‘basket’ and ‘handbag’ biscuit tins, which are being offered together for £50 to £80, and the Huntley & Palmer ‘literature’ biscuit tin – modelled as eight novels – along with the simulated ‘book’ biscuit tin, also commanding an estimate of £50 to £80.

One of the tins features a picture of a sailing ship slicing through the waves, a lot more successfully than the inspiration for our next lot.

The Wasa was supposed to be the flagship of the Swedish navy. It was launched before a crowd of thousands in 1628, but sank after sailing less than a nautical mile, after being blown over by the wind.

The top heavy warship was recreated in miniature in 1983 by Derek Bayliss. The detailed model is expected to achieve £600 to £800.

A far more successful vehicle was the 20hp Vauxhall which won the 2,000 mile RAC International Touring Club Trial in 1908 – a feat which scooped its owner a 25cm high silver tankard.

Weighing in at over 60 ounces, it’s no surprise that this presentation tankard carries an estimate of £3,000 to £,4000. And like silver, gold continues to carry a high premium, with a Charles II gold guinea expected to attract bids of between £300 and £500.

The 8.3g coin dates from 1684, but it’s far from the oldest antique in the sale. That accolade is reserved for an Egyptian miniature pottery scarab dating from around 1300 BC.

Sold as part of a lot with a miniature volume of Schloss’s English Bijou Almanac for 1839, together with a magnifying glass to study the tiny tome, the lot is expected to achieve £50 to £80

The oddest lot is an early 19th century ear spoon, intricately carved as two arms pulling on a chain, and described ‘Miss R. B.’ Crafted before the advent of the utilitarian cotton bud – or, presumably, the finger nail – the 19cm long earwax shovel is expected to achieve between £100 and £150.

And after 318 lots, everyone will need a drink. Lucky, then, that the auctioneers will be wrapping up the sale by offering a further 125 lots of wines and spirits.

Among the standout lots are a single bottle of Chateau Petrus Pomerol 1971, which is expected to achieve £500 to £800, and two twelve bottle cases of Chateau Haut-Brion Premier Grand Cru Classe 2007, which should command bids of £1,500 to £2,000 each.

For a full auction catalogue, log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk


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