Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
23 Nov 2019

Lord Byron’s Greek Blunderbuss

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Auctions Imperial LLC, November 30, 2019, 9:00 AM PST
Cheyenne, WY, Lot 250: A FINE GREEK BLUNDERBUSS OF LORD BYRON

Est: $7,000 – $8,000
Opening Bid: $3,500

An exceptional example of a “tromboni” made in Epiros, covered entirely in superbly embossed and engraved silver displaying naturalistic flowering vinework. The brass buttplate and triggerguard engraved en suite. The fine matched flintlock mechanism and barrel with flared muzzle elegantly chiseled in relief with vinework and a stand of arms highlighted with gold. Set on the left side of the stock with a silver plaque with foliate border engraved, GGB for George Gordon Byron. From the Samuel Gridley Howe Collection. Early 19th century. Very minor wear.

George Gordon Byron, Sixth Lord Byron, was England’s greatest Romantic Era poet. He led an adventurous, often dangerous, existence and at age 35 journeyed to Greece to join the revolution and fight the Ottomans. Given command over a brigade of Suliots, he was preparing an attack on the Ottoman stronghold of Lepanto, but died in Missolonghi on April 19, 1824. Byron’s passing was mourned throughout the world. He became a national hero to the Greeks and his renown as a poet grew in England, Europe and America.

Samuel Gridley Howe M.D. (1801-1876,) noted American abolitionist, was so inspired by Lord Byron’s cause, that he sailed for Greece in 1824 with the intention of fighting by Byron’s side. Howe arrived just weeks after Byron succumbed to fever; he nonetheless fought for six years against the Ottomans at Missolonghi, Crete, and other locations, and assisted Byron’s close friend and protégé, Alexandros Mavrokordatos, among other Greek notables. Howe acquired Byron’s helmet, sword and a number of other military effects before returning to the U.S. in 1830; the helmet was repatriated to Greece in 1926, donated to the Ethnographic Museum, Athens (now the National Historical Museum) by Howe’s daughter, Maud Howe Elliot, which memorialized her father’s service to Greece as well. Howe’s eldest daughter, Laura Elizabeth Richards, celebrated American author, presented the blunderbuss to her son, Henry Howe Richards, at the beginning of the 20th century.

Late 18th-early 19th century. Minor wear. Overall length 51.4cm. Condition II


Samuel Gridley Howe, 1801-1876


The images of a portrait of Samuel Gridley Howe as a Greek freedom fighter, painted by John Elliot c. 1830, now housed at Brown University.

20 Nov 2019

To Be Auctioned: New Alleged Photograph of Billy the Kid

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Billy the Kid and three Regulator friends playing cards. From left, Richard Brewer, Billy the Kid (with tall hat), Fred Waite, Henry Brown.

Sofe Design Auctions, November 22, 2019, 11:00 AM CST
Richardson, TX, Lot 241: Sensational Authenticated 1870s BILLY THE KID Tintype Image with Great Provenance. Opening Bid: $50,000. Estimated price: $500,000 — $1,000,000.

A HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT, INCREDIBLY RARE ONE-OF-A-KIND 1877-78 BON-TON TINTYPE PHOTO IMAGE OF THE OLD WEST’S MOST FAMOUS AND MYSTERIOUS OUTLAW, WILLIAM BONNEY, AKA BILLY THE KID. THE IMAGE ALSO CONTAINING THREE IMPORTANT BTK FRIENDS AND FELLOW NEW MEXICO LINCOLN COUNTY WAR REGULATOR VIGILANTES: RICHARD BREWER, FRED WAITE, AND HENRY BROWN. (BILLY THE KID WILL HERETOFORE BE REFERRED TO AS BTK). THIS AMAZING PHOTO IMAGE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED, ANALYZED PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE OF BTK. AS WELL AS THE ONLY KNOWN GROUP IMAGE KNOWN TO INCLUDE BTK. POSSESSING METICULOUS AND IRREFUTABLE TEXAS/NEW MEXICO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE DATING BACK THREE GENERATIONS. AS WELL AS 101 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY POSSESSION AND SAFEKEEPING. THIS NEVER BEFORE SEEN NOR PUBLICLY OFFERED (LIKELY ONE OF A FOUR-PLATE) PHOTOGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED AND FORENSICALLY ESTABLISHED BTK IMAGE. AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH BEING THE ONLY AS YET UNEARTHED GROUP IMAGE OF BTK, POSITIVELY ESTABLISHED THROUGH BOTH SCIENTIFIC AND FORENSIC STUDY. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, CRUCIAL AND CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY CHAIN OF PROVENANCE DATING BACK FROM THE PRESENT DAY, BACK TO 1918, WHEN TOMAS ANDERSON SR. RECEIVED THE SUBJECT PHOTO DIRECTLY, AND WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATION OF IDENTIFICATION OF IT POSITIVELY CONTAINING BTK. COMING DIRECTLY FROM, AND GIVEN TO MY GRANDFATHER BY THE WIDOW OF DAVID LAWRENCE ANDERSON, (MY GRANDFATHER’S 2ND COUSIN) ALIAS BILLY WILSON, (WHO RODE WITH AND BEFRIENDED BTK DURING THE LINCOLN COUNTY WAR, AND WHO WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH TO HOLD AS SAFEKEEPING PRIOR TO BTK’S 1881 MURDER). …

HE IMAGE DEPICTS THE FOUR MEN PLAYING A FRIENDLY GAME OF CARDS AND DRINKING, IN WHAT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A “STAGED” PHOTO SITTING BY AN ANONYMOUS TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER. MOST LIKELY THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS PART OF A FOUR-TIN PLATE, WHICH WOULD HAVE COST AROUND, AND SOLD FOR, 25 CENTS, AND DISTRIBUTED INDIVIDUALLY TO EACH OF THE FOUR MEN. ALL PERTINENT DOCUMENTATION PAPERWORK INCLUDED WITH SALE (SHOWN IN AUCTION PHOTOS): PERSONALLY WRITTEN AND ATTESTED-TO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE CONTINUOUSLY DATING BACK TO 1918 IS PROVIDED TO THE WINNING BIDDER. AS WELL, THE APPROXIMATE AGE AND SPECIFIC TYPE OF ORIGINAL BON-TON TINTYPE BEING POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE ESTEEMED GEORGE EASTMAN MUSEUM’S HEAD CURATOR. (THE APPROXIMATION OF DATE STAMPING THE PHOTO FROM MID-1877 TO EARLY 1878, COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE FOUR SUBJECTS IN THE PHOTO ALL WORKED AT THE JOHN TUNSTALL NEW MEXICO RANCH TOGETHER STARTING IN MID-1877, AND RICHARD BREWER, THE SUBJECT ON THE FAR LEFT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS MURDERED IN APRIL,1878). IN ADDITION, A TOP WESTERN PHOTO FORENSIC SCIENTIST WHO RESEARCHED AND WORKED ON SCIENTIFIC FACIAL RECOGNITION AND OTHER PERTINENT RESEARCH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BTK AND FRED WAITE AS TWO OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO. (THE OTHER TWO SUBJECTS: BREWER AND BROWN ARE TURNED PROFILE, THUS PRECLUDING FORENSICALLY IDENTIFYING THEM. HOWEVER, AS SEEN IN THE SUPERIMPOSED PHOTO OF PREVIOUSLY DOCUMENTED IMAGES OF THE FOUR MEN, THEN PLACED ON TOP OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO, THE EXTREMELY CLOSE SIMILARITIES OF THE FOUR MEN, INCLUDING BREWER AND BROWN ARE QUITE EVIDENT. IN ADDITION, NOTED ENGLISH APPRAISAL FIRM BARNEBY’S HAS APPRAISED AND COMMENTED VERY POSITIVELY ABOUT THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH, ASSIGNING AN APPROXIMATE PRE-AUCTION ESTIMATE OF 100,000+. BESIDES ALL THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION INCLUDED IN THE SALE, IS THE ORIGINAL 1872 LEATHER PHOTO ALBUM WITH BILLY WILSON’S CARVED INITIALS IN WHICH THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS ORIGINALLY ACQUIRED BY TOMAS ANDERSON SR. IN 1918. …

Billy The Kid (born Henry McCarty 1859-1881, also known as William H. Bonney) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21. He took part in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly committed three murders.After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney became a wanted man in Arizona Territory and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, the Regulators killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other Regulators were later charged with killing all three men. Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month. In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney aged 21 in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. During the following decades, legends that Bonney had survived that night grew, and a number of men claimed to be him.

Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (February 19, 1850 – April 4, 1878), was an American cowboy and Lincoln County, New Mexico, lawman. He was the founding leader of the Regulators, a deputized posse that fought in the Lincoln County War. Brewer was born on February 19, 1850 in St. Albans, Vermont. At the age of four, he and his family moved to Boaz, Wisconsin. Brewer moved on to Missouri before arriving in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Brewer tried farming as a profession, and he bought a farm in Lincoln County with this in mind. In the spring of 1871, Brewer began working for Lawrence Murphy, but soon left that job. By 1876, he was working as a cattle foreman for cattleman John Tunstall, owner of one of the largest farms in the area. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered. After Tunstall’s murder, a posse was deputized to serve arrest warrants on his killers, with Brewer chosen to lead the posse. The Regulators originated from that posse, and included Billy the Kid and Jose Chavez y Chavez. Dick Brewer established a bond of friendship with Billy the Kid, Chavez and the rest of Billy the Kid’s gang, and he was often accompanied by gang members. Being one of the founders of the Regulators, Brewer sometimes assumed a leadership role when around Billy, Chavez and the rest of their company, and was the first leader of the Regulators during the early stages of the Lincoln County War. The pair remained friends until Brewer’s death, and evidently he followed Brewer’s lead. Brewer was the most mature of the group, by all accounts, and the rest of the Regulators accepted him in that role.

Frederick Tecumseh Waite, occasionally spelled Fred Wayte (born September 23, 1853 – September 24, 1895), was a Chickasaw cowboy who joined Billy the Kid’s gang. His father was a farmer and operated a trading store and stage stop southeast of Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite left Indian Territory to work as a cowboy in the New Mexico Territory. While working for John Tunstall as a ranch hand, he met Bill Bonney and several other men who worked for Tunstall. After Tunstall was killed in the Lincoln County War, Bonney, Waite and the others called themselves the Regulators while they pursued Tunstall’s killers. After that, they became known as the “Billy the Kid gang.” In 1880, Waite left the gang, returning to live in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite married, became a rancher and started a family. He lived a law-abiding life thereafter and became involved in Choctaw and Chickasaw politics. Elected to the legislature as a representative both as a representative and as a senator, he was even elected Speaker of the House for three sessions. Then he was appointed Attorney General of the Chickasaw Nation. He died of rheumatism at the age of 42.

Henry Newton Brown (1857 – April 30, 1884) was an American Old West gunman who played the roles of both lawman and outlaw during his life. In 1877, Brown landed in the New Mexico Territory, and became embroiled in the Lincoln County War. Brown joined Billy the Kid and cowboys as “The Regulators”, working John Tunstall’s Rio Feliz Ranch. On April 1, 1878, Brown, Billy the Kid, Jim French, Frank McNab, John Middleton and Fred Waite ambushed and murdered Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady, who was indirectly responsible for the death of Tunstall. Three days later, at the Gunfight at Blazer’s Mill, Brown and the Regulators engaged in a gunfight with Buckshot Roberts, another man they believed involved in Tunstall’s murder. Roberts received a serious gunshot wound from Charlie Bowdre which later proved to be fatal, but not before he managed to kill the Regulators’ nominal leader, Richard M. Brewer. Retreating into proprietor Blazer’s office, Roberts continued a prolonged firefight with Brown and the Regulators. He died the next day.

It will be interesting to see if the market accepts its authetication and it sells.

31 Oct 2019

Mid-17th Century Ebony Cabinet

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From Hermann Historica GmbH, November 13, 2019, 10:00 AM CET,
Grasbrunn / Munich, Germany, Lot 2275: A museum-quality ebony cabinet, Antwerp, mid-17th century. Starting bid: €25,000.

The large cabinet veneered in ebony, with fittings of fire-gilt bronze. The pedestal with two lockable drawers. The cabinet with an arrangement of three pillars, the doors, sides and lid decorated with finely partitioned coffering. The hinged, lockable lid drawer with a concealed keyhole, the interior lined in blue silk. An old, octagonal mirror in the lid. The inside of the cabinet with an architectural structure, the side drawers and the doors adorned with fine silk embroidery, three-dimensional in places (slightly worn here and there). The central door opens to reveal a further nine small drawers. Several concealed drawers and various secret compartments. Original, gilt locks and fittings, some of the keys replaced. The left side stamped “R” with a crown, presumably a French tax stamp, used between 1754 and 1749 for objects containing copper. Dimensions 80 x 84 x 42.5 cm. Extremely sumptuous cabinet of courtly quality. The embroidered silk interior is of the utmost rarity as it is extremely perishable, unlike cabinets embellished with metal or ivory décor. Thus, only very few specimens have survived. Similar pieces may be found in the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels or the Snyders&Rockox House Museum in Antwerp, for example. A virtually identical cabinet can be seen in the painting entitled “Vanité” by Cornelis de Vos (1584 – 1651), which today forms part of the collection of the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum in Braunschweig.

Check the photos.

30 Oct 2019

Recently Discovered Cimabue Sold for €24million

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The auction sale of the Cimabue painting whose discovery made news last month shattered estimates and (understandably enough) hit record levels for Old Master paintings.

The Guardian has the story.

An tiny early Renaissance masterpiece found in a French woman’s kitchen during a house clearance has fetched more than €24m at auction, making it the most expensive medieval painting ever sold.

Christ Mocked, by the 13th-century Florentine painter Cimabue, had hung for decades above a cooking hotplate in the open-plan kitchen of a 1960s house near Compiègne, north of Paris. It had never attracted much attention from the woman, in her 90s, or her family, who thought it was simply an old icon from Russia. It might have ended up in a bin during the house move this summer had it not been spotted by an auctioneer who had come to value furniture.

At an auction outside Paris on Sunday, the unsigned work, measuring just 26cm by 20cm, fetched €19.5m under the hammer, rising to over €24m when fees were included.

The Actéon auction house in Senlis said in a statement that the sale was the biggest for a medieval painting and the eighth highest for a medieval or old master painting. The painting now ranks alongside works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt and Raphael in the top 10 of most expensive old painting sales.

“When a unique work of a painter as rare as Cimabue comes to market, you have to be ready for surprises,” said Dominique Le Coent, who heads the Actéon auction house in Senlis. “This is the only Cimabue that has ever come on the market.”

As 800 people gathered in the auction hall in Senlis, the crowd fell silent during the nail-biting final moments of bidding. Some bids came in by telephone to agents. As the auctioneer brandished his hammer as the price crept up, he said: “There will never be another Cimabue at auction.”

Actéon did not reveal the identity of the buyer but said a foreign museum had been among the bidders.

The painting had hung on the kitchen wall for so long that the woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told the auction house she had no idea where it had come from or how it had come into the family’s hands.

Cimabue, also known as Cenni di Pepo, was one of the pioneering artists of the early Italian Renaissance. Only 11 works painted on wood have been attributed to him, none of them signed.

RTWT

25 Oct 2019

Bottle of 1926 Scotch Sells for $1.9 Million

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The BBC reports:

A rare bottle of Scotch whisky has sold for a world record £1.5m at auction in London.

The Macallan 1926 60-year-old single malt from cask number 263 had been estimated to sell for between £350,000 and £450,000.

Sotheby’s, which held the auction, did not release the identity of the buyer.

The previous auction record for a single bottle of Scotch was £1.2m, set by another bottle from the same cask in November last year.

Sotheby’s described The Macallan 1926 from cask number 263 as the “holy grail” of whisky.

The cask, which was distilled in 1926 and bottled in 1986, produced only 40 bottles.

The bottle featured at the auction as part of what Sotheby’s termed the “ultimate whisky collection”.

The entire collection of 467 bottles in 394 lots sold for £7,635,619 – about double the pre-auction estimate.

RTWT

10 Oct 2019

Gun That Fired the First Shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill Goes to Auction

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The musket will be sold along with John Simpson’s original military commission dated March 17, 1778.

Just Collecting:

The gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill is heading for sale Morphy Auctions in Denver later this month.

The Revolutionary War musket belonged to John Simpson, a Private in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment who fought during the historic battle in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775.

As the British troops advanced, Simpson fired his weapon prematurely – disobeying the famous order given to American soldiers not to fire “until you see the white of their eyes”.

Having been passed down by Simpson’s descendents for almost 250 years, the historic weapon will now be offered for sale for the first time, and is expected to sell for up to $300,000. …

Following the battle, John Simpson was the only American soldier court martialed for disobeying an order and firing too early.

However, he was only lightly reprimanded and went on to serve with distinction during the war, rising to the rank of Major before returning home to his family farm in New Hampshire.

His trusty musket was then passed down through generations of his family, creating a remarkable unbroken line of ownership, and has been described as “arguably the most significant, positively identified Revolutionary War long arm in existence”.

Not only is John Simpson’s name forever linked with the Battle of Bunker Hill, but his descendents played an even greater role in shaping the history of the nation.

Simpson’s grandson was Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War hero and 18th President of the United States; and his great-grandson was Meriwether Lewis, who explored the Western territories of the country as part of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition.

RTWT

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Morphy Auction Lot Description

27 Aug 2019

Rock Island Has Smith & Wessons

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Coming up September 6, 7, and 8: great Volcanics, a really cool Third Model Target complete with stock, a couple engraved by Nimschke, and a Kornbrath-engraved Registered Smith & Wesson to die for, and (for the icing on the cake) Elmer Keith’s own .38-44 with holster and Roper grips no less. If you recently won the lottery, you’re all set.

20 Jul 2019

The Last Walker Colt

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A great item, but so damn valuable that nobody will ever again drop the hammer, let alone shoot it.

25 Jun 2019

47 Moroccan Berber Belts

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Gros-Delettrez, Ethnographic & Indigenous Artifacts, June 28, 2019, 2:00 PM CET, Paris, France

Lot 57: Une exceptionnelle collection de 47 ceintures Berbères, Afrique du Nord — An unique collection of 47 antique Berber belts, North Africa, Moroccan Sahara

S’il est rare de rencontrer une de ces ceintures, en voir 47 réunies en une collection, cela nous semble unique. Certaines possèdent des fils métalliques dorés, d’autres, des fils métalliques argentés, d’autres sont toutes en laine, enfin d’autres possèdent des parties en coton. Usures mineures.
Milieu du XXe siècle
3 x 92 cm ou 3.5 x 97 cm de moyenne
It is unusual to find even one of these belts, but to see 47 united in one collection, seems unique. Some have gold wire, some silver wire, some are all wool, others have cotton parts. Minor wear.
Mid 20th century
1.2 x 36 inches or 1.4 x 38 inches on the average.

Starting bid €8,000 ($9115.60)

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Interesting visually, but just a bit expensive.

20 Jun 2019

Alleged Van Gogh Gun Sold at Auction

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Art News:

The rusty gun which Van Gogh probably used to shoot himself sold for €162,500 at a Drouot auction in Paris this afternoon. ArtAuction Rémy le Fur, which estimated the revolver at €40,000-€60,000, describes it as “the most famous weapon in art history”. The private buyer has not been named.

Although the seller has also not been identified by the auctioneer, she is believed to be Régine Tagliana, an artist and the daughter of Roger and Micheline Tagliana, who in 1952 had bought the café where Van Gogh lodged in 1890. The Tagliana family were given the gun in around 1960 by the farmer who had found it on his land, just behind the château in Auvers-sur-Oise. This is the village just north of Paris where the artist spent his final 70 days.

The auctioned Lefaucheux pinfire revolver is almost certainly the weapon used, although this cannot be conclusively proved. The type of weapon, its calibre, its severely corroded state and the location and circumstances of the find strongly suggest it is the gun. In the evening of 27 July 1890 Van Gogh suffered a gunshot wound while in a wheatfield and he then staggered back to the inn, dying two days later.

The discovery of the gun once again raises the question of whether Van Gogh committed suicide or was murdered. The 2011 biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith argued that he was killed by a local young man, René Secrétan, possibly by accident.

RTWT

Earlier post.

04 Jun 2019

Another Lewis Chessman

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Big news from the BBC:

A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London. …

Sotheby’s expert Alexander Kader, who examined the piece for the family, said his “jaw dropped” when he realised what they had in their possession.

“They brought it in for assessment,” he said. “That happens every day. Our doors are open for free valuations.

“We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it’s not worth very much.

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s one of the Lewis Chessmen’.”

Mr Kader, Sotheby’s co-worldwide head of European sculpture and works of art, said the family, who want to remain anonymous, were “quite amazed”.

“It’s a little bit bashed up. It has lost its left eye. But that kind of weather-beaten, weary warrior added to its charm,” he said.

Despite not knowing its significance, the late 12th/early 13th Century chess piece had been “treasured” by the family.

The current owner’s late mother believed it “almost had magical qualities”.

A family spokesman said in a statement: “My grandfather was an antiques dealer based in Edinburgh, and in 1964 he purchased an ivory chessman from another Edinburgh dealer.

“It was catalogued in his purchase ledger that he had bought an ‘Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman’.

“From this description it can be assumed that he was unaware he had purchased an important historic artefact.

“It was stored away in his home and then when my grandfather died my mother inherited the chess piece.

“My mother was very fond of the Chessman as she admired its intricacy and quirkiness. She believed that it was special and thought perhaps it could even have had some magical significance.

“For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been carefully wrapped in a small bag. From time to time, she would remove the chess piece from the drawer in order to appreciate its uniqueness.”

The Lewis Chessmen set includes seated kings and queens, bishops, knights and standing warders and pawns. Some 82 pieces are now in the British Museum and 11 pieces held by the National Museum of Scotland. As well as the chess pieces, the hoard includes 14 “tablemen” gaming pieces and a buckle.

Since the hoard was uncovered in 1831, one knight and four warders have been missing from the four combined chess sets.

The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword and the equivalent of a rook on a modern chess board, which “has immense character and power”.

The discovery of the hoard remains shrouded in mystery, with stories of it being dug up by a cow grazing on sandy banks.

It is thought it was buried shortly after the objects were made, possibly by a merchant to avoid taxes after being shipwrecked, and so remained underground for 500 years.

Mr Kader, who has kept the discovery under wraps for six months while authenticating the find, said: “We can safely say that a million pounds will transform the seller’s life.”

He added: “There are still four out there somewhere. It might take another 150 years for another one to pop up.”

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Sotheby’s write-up.

15 Apr 2019

If You Happen to Have All the Tea in China…

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How on earth did it survive in that condition all these years?

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