After what seems like an age the masterspy has triumphed once more on eBay! Yessssssss!!! I feel like a thirsty man in a desert with a glass of cold beer in front of him (think of the end of the film Ice Cold in Alex and you should get the drift). I will leave it up to you, readers to imagine the humungous triumph which has engendered this explosion of relief and joy. Suffice it to say that I am currently a very happy man (it won’t last long, but I might as well write my blog while I am in such a good mood). So then, what caught my eye this month, readers?
Mad Item of the Month
I am sorry to say that while you get a happy blog, my humour does occasionally descend to the 14 year old schoolboy level. So here we have such an item, seller shineyredshoes has plumbed the depths of the Mariana Trench and has come up with one which made the masterspy smirk in the aforementioned schoolboy way. He or she auctioned a copy of Oh Yuck, The Encyclopaedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff. Just the picture is enough to put anyone off…. and it did indeed put everybody off…… No takers whatsoever, even at only £0.99!
Over Optimistic EBayer of the Month
Once again I find myself hard-pressed to make a decision between 2 very different offerings this month. US seller lukantiques has a 15.5” charger in Stork & Bamboo on bright yellow (“puke up yellow” as a friend of mine somewhat unkindly calls it but you should see the colour of his car!). Notwithstanding my friend’s less than enthusiastic endorsement of the colour, it may look very striking to many of you and me, but I bet the price doesn’t…. £1240.44. Yarooo!!!
Carlton Ware baby plates are a specific collectable genre and they have devoted adherents with plenty of nice examples, not least of whom is the CWW Chair herself. I doubt if she would be reaching for her mouse to buy robinsonsrelics1’s monochrome plate though, not unless she reduced the £100.00 asking price.
After deep and meaningful thought and agonising consideration I award this month’s Over Optimistic Seller award to……. robinsonsrelics1 . Well done, sir or madam!
This Month’s Goodies
The Stork & Bamboo charger reminds me of two other bright yellow lots eBayed during the month, coincidentally both by pre82, a UK seller from Norfolk. They were coffee sets, one in PARADISE BIRD & TREE 3151
The other in BELL 3774. Both were priced at £1000.00 to start and but neither sold. The BELL set is right up my street, but my bank manager would have committed hara-kiri, so no bid from me (come on now, readers, none of us would like to see a poor innocent banker bleeding to death on the floor with his entrails spread out across the concrete, would we???). You are right; I should have bid after all.
There were some other pieces this month which I reckon also exhibited stunning colours. I have a little HANDCRAFT vase in GREEN TREE 3569 in my collection, which I adore, so the 9¼” plate in the same pattern and colourway auctioned by prosch1900 floats my boat for colour. What a green! OMG, what a green! At £51.15 the buyer will surely be really chuffed to own this one.
Reliable seller glad-findings had 2 beauties. First up was a 10½” ginger jar in DRAGON & CLOUD 3331. What a green this one is too! 8 of you thought so too and bid it up to £216.00.
Secondly, yea and verily, she brought forth unto the world of eBay another DRAGON, this time a 406 shape 6” vase in pattern 3251 on an absolutely stunning matt blue ground. I bet Harry, Ron, Hermione and the buyer are all well pleased with this fearsome fire breather. Certainly 8 intrepid members of the Order of the Phoenix swished their wands 13 times and the lucky wizard with the Elder Wand had to pay £217.34 to slay this particular dragon. I bet it is on the mantle at number 12 Grimmauld Place right now.
I reckon it is time for some rarities…. There is a saying in Manchester that you wait for ages and then two 53 buses turn up together (mainly because “that part of Manchester” is somewhat “iffy” and there is strength in numbers), so when a little ruby ground 4¼” globular vase in Awakening 3456 rolled up it was followed closely by a pair of candle sticks in the same pattern and colourway from the same seller, mthroness. Unfortunately one of the sticks had a restuck chip on the base. The vase made £621.15 and the pair of sticks only £97.93.
Now, I reckon both these prices are cheap. I have been watching eBay for a long time now and I don’t recall any pieces in Awakening in ruby. Even if I have missed one (I am unbelievably old after all and I have long since made the acquaintance of Dr Alzheimer) they are still extremely unusual. I was ready for a 4 figure job for the vase, so I bet the buyer was pleased. Were you, buyer?
Another pattern I haven’t seen on eBay this last millennium is Cloud Flowers 3568, a HANDCRAFT decoration, lifelinemacarthur, a charity seller in OZ, has though. A 7¼” vase was rummaged out of the attic and was quickly snapped up for £425.51. Another bargain? I reckon so. Damn that bank manager! Da dit dit da dit dit…. Late news. A fellow collector has sent me information about another Cloud Flowers vase sold recently in Canada! This was a 5” 467 shape vase with a rather prominent rim chip. Despite this it made £308.60, which says it all about the ££££s pulling power of a rare CW pot.
Carnival 3305 in matt pale blue is also part of the HANDCRAFT range. You can’t get much more geometric deco than this pattern. Well, Aussie seller bakerhoughtonantiques listed a little 3¾” squat jug and 6 bidders tripped the light fantastic to the Copacabana and the Brazilian beauty who danced to success paid £91.84 for it. I bet they are dancing in Rio tonight!
I am not sure how rare this one is, but again, I don’t recall it appearing before. Seller mackems1 auctioned a 6” 443 shape vase decorated with PRIMULA 3749, which had an unusual background of mottled pink with wide mottled green borders. This too is part of the HANDCRAFT range. 8 eBayers wanted it badly and it made £141.00 after a 12 bid battle.
Lastly, an honourable mention should go to UK seller puffett who finally, at the third time of asking, got £30.00 for a 4½” rimmed trefoil conical dish in what he thought was an example of the elusive RAINBOW LUSTRINE. Hardly a crock of gold for such a rare piece is it? Again, I have never seen this pattern either listed in books or websites, or on eBay, so I am surprised the big collectors didn’t have a nibble (I wonder if you all noticed it). Has anybody seen this pattern before? Do tell us if you have.
On the other hand there were some eBayers out there prepared to pay over plenty of good dough this month and no mistake. There could be nowhere else to start other than with the lidded preserve pot and stand auctioned by a.kerr in Rabbits at Dusk 4247 in orange. What is it with you lot and the blooming “wabbits”? Back in May 2011 an 8½” jug (in green) went for £1158.69 and 2 months earlier a cracked 10” 443 shape vase (in pale yellow) went for £595.00. More “common” pieces in the orange regularly fetch north of £300, often even when crazed, scratched or exhibiting gild wear. You really do love the “wabbits” don’t you, readers? Certainly 8 of you do, because the price ended up at an eye-watering £845.00. OMG! I hope the buyer puts this little piece where it can be seen easily. At that money it needs eyeballs staring at it all the time.
My wait for a Floral Comets 3406 piece in matt pale blue goes on. Damn, and damn again. Two identical pedestal REVO FRUIT bowls came up this month. One went for £263.79 while the other one did £439.99. UK seller jamesmiles2012 listed his with a couple of scratches, but Canadian seller harwil had some re-gilding of one handle, hence the disparity in prices.
Next in the high price section is a lovely petrol blue pedestal gondola in CHINESE BIRD 3196 auctioned by UK seller laughteristhebestmedicine for the not inconsiderable sum of £549.99.
I would have loved to grab this one and so would one of my acquaintances, however his Internet crashed shortly before the end of the auction and he was unable to bid. He tells me that he was going to bid quite a bit more than the winning amount. Sad for him, but I wonder if the seller is still laughing now he knows this.
Secretary Bird 4018, designed about 1937 by the late great Violet Elmer is an example of Carlton Ware at the forefront of British Art Deco design. It epitomises Violet at her artistic zenith only a year before leaving Copeland Street to get married (See, I have thoroughly read my copy of Cast Aside the Shadows by Elaine and Barry Girling – a great book by the way and not to be missed). Not only is the pattern stunning, but the shape of the finned tray on which the pattern sits in pre82’s offering is sublime.
Wile E. Coyote found himself alone at the winning post with a singleton bid of £350.00. “Meep Meep” as the Road Runner would say. Lucky buyer.
BELL 3788 (in the delectable mottled ruby lustre which the masterspy just adores) is another of the Violet Elmer patterns from her purple patch in the late 1930’s. A 4” squat vase in shape 467 came to eBay this month via seller clarendon_house27vx. 13 bids were placed and the division bell rang at £490.00. Well above the masterspy’s magic £100 per inch threshold.
I simply can’t leave out the superb JAZZ STITCH 3655 7” jug listed by a_perfectionist. It certainly attracted plenty of interest and 21 beefy bids, culminating in a killer blow of £510.00. Wo’a jazzoh (as we say in Manchester)! Rough translation…. “I say chaps, what a superb example of the potter’s art this piece is and no mistake”.
I have always loved FLOWER & FALLING LEAF 3949. US seller samjoelin listed two 7” conical dishes and one was quickly snapped up for a mere £527.59. Lovely lovely piece. I have an almost perfect Aztec dish in the same pattern and colour which you and any 10 of your strongest friends could not prise out of my cold dead hands with a jemmy. Good luck trying!!!
Another version of a pattern which is still on my list of unrequited loves is the matt turquoise Devil’s Copse 3817. South African seller ungaas has been listing a REVO dish for some months now, progressively reducing the opening price. It found its level as a singleton bidder took MY prize at £311.10. Grrrr. Just one more reduction and I would have been in there (the happy mode I started with seems to have dissipated now, doesn’t it readers?)
The same seller has been adopting the same periodic reduction tactic in listing and relisting a large 10” 457J shape vase in PERSIAN GARDEN 3894. A little rim gild wear and a restored base rim chip on this one, but a big old hunk in a rare colourway, so it eventually also found a new home with another singleton bid of £248.75. I would go Grrrr again, but I am all grrrrr’d out. I have only once seen a piece in this pattern/colour combo and it was stunning. Oh well, sigh.
Whilst mentioning pieces with a bit of damage, in some cases it can hold the price down dramatically, but still display well. A case in point is the Medley 3587 powder puff bowl offered by bumble.bee. This one has a perfect lid, but a crack and chip on the base. As I have said in this blog before Medley obviously has no main pattern display side, so turn it to the back and it is as good as new and for £19.78 who can sniff at such a price for such an unusual shaped piece?
Much more severely wounded, some may say fatally so, was an 8” jug in HOLLYHOCKS 3972 offered by US seller iraelvira. It wouldn’t be possible to display this one without showing some of the damage, but it could go on a top shelf perhaps. At £7.81 (plus postage and customs of course) it might still have a little life left in it. The seller hopefully says “a restorers dream,” more of a nightmare I would hazard (and expensive to repair too).
Sometimes sellers (especially when new to eBay) can make too much of damage while at the same time not making the most of a good pattern name. Out of focus photos don’t help either! This piece, listed as “Carlton Ware vase” with “damage” is a FOREST TREE 3244 vase in 406 shape with the tiniest of chips on the rim. It can hardly be seen and if the vase is turned round the pattern on the other side will display perfectly. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” as the Bard had it in Romeo and Juliet, readers. £60.00 seems good value to me, well worth snatching up a Buy it Now anyway. Are you happy with it, buyer? Do let us know.
Lastly for this month another item linked to me by a fellow collector in Australia certainly deserves a mention here. This is a little British Empire Exhibition novelty ash tray depicting Felix the Cat made in 1924/5. It caught the imagination of 7 bidders, who fought hard for it and went to a remarkable £412.97 to buy it. I imagine seller collektiques is off down to the tobacconist to buy a few extra-long Havana cigars to celebrate. It just goes to show the broadness of the church that is Carlton Ware.
I am sad to report that UK seller catstealer has not been very well this month (don’t panic readers, he has had a virus, not a heart attack), so his pieces have been a little thin on the ground on eBay recently, but he is well enough now to list some new pieces again as I am sure some of you have noted on eBay yourselves. I reckon they may well feature next month! He finds so many good pieces I asked him recently if he had made a pact with the Devil and do you know readers, he actually admitted it! Say no more (you heard it here first – lol). Anyway, do have a healthy month yourselves readers. Please feel free to make any comments you wish in the time-honoured fashion.