Two bidders had their sights set on what is believed to be the world’s largest pair of binoculars, pushing the hammer price to £1,800 – the top price of the day – at Moore Allen & Innocent’s antiques auction on Friday (July 20).
The binoculars – measuring a whopping eight-foot long – were bought by a collector and restorer of binoculars, after some determined bidding.
The auctioneers were delighted with the sale price. They’d placed an estimate of £300 to £500 on the lot – an educated guess, as it’s not every day a massive pair of binoculars is wheeled into the Cirencester saleroom, and the firm was able to give very few details about the item.
The binoculars had spent their recent history in a hilltop house overlooking Cheltenham and the surrounding countryside, but why they were originally made is a mystery.
A plaque tells us that the brass binoculars were manufactured in 1946 – a year too late for the war – by Albert Lambourne Ltd, a Brighton-based engineering firm. The long plywood case and mount, meanwhile, was built by William Pacey, of whom nothing is known. Sadly, the question of for whom were they made, and why, remains unanswered.
Anyway, it proved to be the day for collectors with – or looking for – a bit of vision, as not long after a 19th Century brass field telescope by John Browning of The Strand, London, with original tripod stand and mahogany case, was sold for £300.
Another brass antique – this time a lantern clock by John Hicks of London – made the third highest lot price of the day, attracting bids of £760, despite its state of disrepair.
And gold and copper lots also fared well: a mixed lot comprising an 18ct gold bi-colour woven bracelet, together with an 18ct gold watch case, a 9ct gold chain with a yellow metal and amber-colour pendant, a 9ct gold bar brooch, and a further chain sold for £440, while a large copper copper – those big tubs once used for washing clothes, and now fashionable as garden planters – achieved £430.
And it was another planter – this time a 1913 Macintyre Moorcroft pottery jardinier, decorated with the Wisteria pattern and signed W. Moorcroft –that made the second highest lot price of the day, selling for £900.
Almost 1,000 lots went under the hammer during the sale, with an extremely high sale rate. “There were good prices across the board and the saleroom was buzzing – there were so many people bidding,” said auctioneer Philip Allwood.
“The value of antiques bought and sold was more than 15 percent greater than the corresponding sale last year.”
The next sale will be held on Friday, August 10. For an online catalogue log on to www.mooreallen.co.uk