Scouts do their best at snow-hit auction

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Their motto is ‘Be Prepared’, and Cirencester auctioneers Moore Allen & Innocent were lucky to have a troop of Boy Scouts on hand when snow bought the country grinding to a halt on Friday (January 18).

Sadly these semaphore flag-wielding Scouts weren’t much help in shovelling snow from the door.

But the 1:32 scale painted lead figures by toy manufacturer Britains did live up to their promise to ‘Do Our Best’, exceeding their £200 to £300 estimate to achieve a hammer price of £650.

In fact, it was the recent introduction of live internet bidding – along with telephone bidding – that helped many collectors and antiques dealers secure their desired lots from the comfort of their own homes.

But one determined dealer in oriental arts struggled in from London to secure his prize – a Chinese Kang-Xi period (1654-1722) jar – for which he bid £1,700, the top lot price of the day.

Elsewhere, a George III mahogany linen press made the third-highest lot price, at £640, while a large Edwardian silver cigar box, circa 1906, attracted considerable interest due to its un-inscribed lid.

The inscription, to the president of the Institute Automobile Engineers 1938-1943 in appreciation of his long service from his members, was hidden away inside the lid of the humidor, which achieved £600.

Also inscribed was a late 19th century figure in bronze of a young woman in Classical dress playing with two children. Signed by the sculptor G Trouillard, the bronze made £580, while a Victorian bonnet chest in mahogany – so called because of the cushioned drawer for the storing of a bonnet – achieved £400.

There was plenty of bonnet on show in a late 20th century oil painting of a green racing car on a hilltop road by the renowned automotive artist Alan Fearnley, which achieved £360.

Fearnley’s work has been widely reproduced, and bidders were excited at the prospect of getting their hands on an original.

And for a photo finish, a large collection of Instamatic-style cameras by names including Ensign, Voigtländer, Zeiss, Zenit, Yashica, Canon, Eastman and Kodak, and dating from the 1920s to the latter part of the 20th century, achieved a collective total of £1,400.

The next sale at Moore Allen & Innocent is the Sporting Sale on Friday, February 1. For a full auction catalogue, log on to

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