“Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.”
Where else could I start in reviewing eBay for November? I reckon there are a few of you out there at the moment that would gladly set light to the fuse! Politicians, eh? Who’d have ‘em? Man the barricades, Carlton Ware Brothers in Arms! Slaughter ‘em to a man! Ok, enough of fermenting bloody revolution (for today at least). Well, what happened this month? There were a few gob smackers for sure and the usual crop of goodies, overpriced stuff and mad items.
Mad Item of the Month
Speaking of mad items, I reckon I have a contender for Mad Item of the Year here, not merely of the Month! Back in 1966 a young Californian musician named Frank Zappa and his band The Mothers of Invention became tired of “old square” people making comments that clearly indicated (usually fairly robustly) that their music was not entirely melodious and was “Commie influenced” (seamless link to the intro, eh?), so they set out to answer their critics. They created a little ditty called It Can’t Happen Here. It was aired one Saturday evening on a TV programme called “Juke Box Jury”. This was hosted by a gentleman called David Jacobs (who was firmly among the “old and square” generation). He played new songs and 3 people (celebs) decided whether the song was a “Hit” or a “Miss”.
It Can’t Happen Here was entirely outwith his ken. Sadly (?), it was voted a “Miss” by the panel. However the song has a huge cult status, both here and in the States amongst hardcore Zappa fans. This month I spotted an original 7″ vinyl version on eBay by UK seller onlygnom for £70.00. It didn’t get any takers.
I will leave you to judge for yourselves whether this was a surprise when you play it by clicking on the record above.
Overpriced Item of the Month
Once again we have 2 contenders. In the blue corner we have occasional UK seller trampuss who gave me the pip with a pair of 6″ Stellata or Wild Cherry 3326 406 shape vases. The starting price was £550.00. Nope. Too much. 2 other Stellata/Wild Cherry listings this month, one for an 8″ candlestick which went for £75.00 and a second for a 3 piece cruet which went for £40.00 back this up.
In the mottled pale orange corner (ok, it isn’t exactly a red corner as tradition requires, so sue me, ok?) was one of the gob smackers of the month. Unfortunately the price was quite a bit toooooo gobsmacking. nwantiquesandcollectables thought an eBayer might be persuaded to pay at least £2500 for a CHINESE BIRD 3527 coffee set with a restored cream jug. Surely not, when 2 similar quality sets, the BELL on yellow and the PARADISE BIRD on yellow listed recently by pre82 didn’t attract a single bid at £1000.00 in perfect nick, which I can vouch for as I have seen them. The winner this month is nwantiquesandcollectables. Well done sir or madam. Da-dit-dit-da-dit-dit….. Latest news – early in December it has been reduced to £1650.00 (still too much).
At the opposite end of the over/under pricing scale, a denizen of Torquay and CWW member, puffett almost sold a beautiful statement 10¼” tall pair of candlesticks in Flower Basket 2194 recently at the CWW Get-together in The Potteries for £40.00. He got no takers at that price (although sadly, I have to tell you readers, that both I and Mrs Masterspy hovered over them indecisively for a long while). So he listed them on eBay and our favourite auction platform did him proud with a 10 bid battle culminating in a bid of £194.99. There are two morals to this tale, readers, firstly where the hell were you when such bargains were floating about at our sellathon (I can promise you this as I benefitted from several of them myself, he he he)? Secondly, eBay will find what something is worth one way or the other. There is no need to list at daft prices.
Right then, I suppose it is time to go for the gob smackers. You will have to imagine my tears, readers. Trust me, there were plenty. The first one I want to mention is the absolutely wonderful and extremely rare FIGUREHEAD shape coffee set for 4 in pattern number 3796 (with a cracked sugar bowl). I remortgaged the house, I sent Mrs Masterspy out every night for a week in the local cruising area and I flogged the company car to try to buy it, but at the end of the day I finished a mile short. Hey ho. Portuguese seller melofrei saw it rise to a stunning £1701.00. The last 4 of the 17 bids were from the same buyer, so it could have gone even higher.
Naturally I can’t go any further without mentioning the 8″ 442 shape Scimitar 3651 vase sold by daisy-jack as a BIN for a mere £4000.00. I wonder who is gloating over that big and bouncy beauty? In fact I am dying to know. Go on, reader, you know you want to tell us. I did hold this incredible and well nigh perfect pot in my hot and sweaty paws at the NEC Antiques for Everyone fair, but I don’t suppose I will ever see it again. Sob.
Continuing with the gob smackers, one of my fave patterns is Awakening 3450. Although the ruby and green (and other) colourways of this pattern are rarer than the brown, I think this may be my preferred colour (not that I will ever own one – sigh). I promised last month that I would be including items from catstealer this month now that he has recovered enough strength in his mouse finger to list again (hmmmm, cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry – one of my puns is trying to claw its way to the surface here, but I will let you think up your own this time). I have also held this trinket/ciggy box in my hands and it is gorgeous. As I said in my last blog seller catstealer has made a pact with the devil! I can also add, that having now had the brief pleasure of meeting Mrs Catstealer, I can clearly lay this to rest once and for all! Lovely lady! He HAS INDEED made a pact with the devil. Luckily for the Cat he has £329.99 in his pocket to spend on his lovely lady.
Very early in the month a Yankee seller listed a 10″ ginger jar with lid in excellent condition in FOREST TREE 3254. He said in his listing that he wouldn’t post to the UK. I emailed him twice to ask him why not, or if he would entertain a bid from me. He didn’t answer. The auction ended short of his reserve price at a ridiculous £27.94. Fool.
“Wabbits” fans prick your ears up now. Danger lurks in the long grass. Several pieces of Rabbits at Dusk 4247 and one in the rarer 4257 came up for auction this month.
Some pretty tasty (sorry animal lovers) prices were paid. Amongst these there was a 10″ shouldered vase from Scottish seller a.kerr which saw 10 foxes chasing the bunny up to £811.30 and a lovely 10″ diamond tray shape 1286 which was offered up to the shotguns by candleman38. Six pot shots later the stew was boiled up for £650.87. The same seller must be inundated in the furry little critters because he also had a 7″ 1676 shape jug in the pale green 4257. Somebody else has it now and paid £415.00 for the privilege. Cheap perhaps, compared to the others.
Now it is the turn of Chinoiserie and Chinese influence fans to be gobsmacked. BARGE 2519 is one of the finest patterns produced by CW before Art Deco became the house style of the factory. I love it. The only problem with BARGE pieces is that the orange is prone to flaking off because it was applied over large areas. A vase in the DON shape (ice bucket to you and me) with a few such slight orange flaking imperfections was listed by markyeva1968 during the month as a BIN at £154.99. I have one of these (luckily without any flaking) and I can tell you readers that it is front and centre in my Chinoiserie cabinet. Incidentally, for those of you who love the pattern there is a 10″ lidded ginger jar and an excellent large jardinière on eBay at present.
Next up is a 9″ cabinet plate in CHINESE BIRD 3527. Just the thing to go with your overpriced coffee set in the same pattern and colour. A curious pattern, this. It has an unfinished look, but comparing it to other pieces this plate is not unfinished, so it isn’t just this piece. Seller thekemporium frisbee’d this across the ether and back came bids up to £135.00. Not bad for a 9″er.
Finally, I saw a 7” Rumidor in CHINESE BIRD & CLOUD 3274 listed by US seller bearyscloset11, but due to an overoptimistic asking price of £623.95 he still has it.
Lovely piece though – a definite gobsmack.
After all these gob smackers, what about a dose of “less is more”? Mrs Masterspy loves little pieces and there were 2 tiny beauties this month in the same shape and size. One was a lovely 3″ bowl in Gazania 3592 sold by delnjane for £45.00 and the other was in Mandarins Chatting 3654 sold by pixie5144 in OZ for £109.64.
A Violet Elmer triumph next. Rosetta 3505 6″ vases in 406 shape don’t grow on trees (ooops), but they weigh heavy with fruit, certainly for seller thirdeye76 who can afford a few goes on the lottery now, having trousered £432.15. A very very nice piece. What do you think readers?
One of my favourite sellers’ names is glums. I bet they aren’t living up to their name at the moment though, having achieved a selling price for the “less is more” sparely-designed MODERN WARE tea for two in orange of a stunning £375.00. Very nice….
Definitely in the “less is more” envelope design-wise is my old friend Medley 3599. catstealer put this lidded preserve pot complete with its oh-so-deco saucer up for auction and it went for plenty of money for this pattern. I bet the cat has ripped the lid right off this preserve pot and is currently sticking his paw inside and licking off all the jam!
This next piece was featured back in the October blog when it sold for £161.00. The buyer was not happy with it and returned it because it had “less (is more)” paint on it than it should have had (ha ha). It has now sold again for £20.00. Perhaps more like it under the circumstances.
Finally in the “less is more” section, seller delnjane auctioned a 6.5″ Peach Melba 2448 jug vase. For me this pattern has an almost impressionist quickly drawn feel to it, as if the design was never quite fully finished, but, as I say…. less is more. The seller managed to get a sweet and tasty mouth watering £100.00 for it after 6 bids. Lucky lucky seller. A really good price, don’t you think?
So, what else did I like? The rose bowl in the very rare Jagged Bouquet 3457 which seller mauliz auctioned for £162.23 comes immediately to my mind. Bargain of the month for the lucky buyer.
Naturally I loved the 8¼” ANEMONE 3694 REVO tray sold by nunraw for £225.00. As I turn now to my left as I type I can see my own 10″ example. Just beautiful. So vibrant, so colourful, positively exuberant. Lucky buyer.
And while we are doing a spot of Anemone-ing what about this 8″ NEW ANEMONE 4245 lidded ginger jar in one of my fave colourways (the pale blue shading into pink, or is it pink shading into pale blue)? So delicate.
As you know I do like my BELL 3786, so when catstealer found an 8″ 457 shape vase it was bound to be sought after and so it proved. After 19 bids the cat pocketed another £601.00 to take that lovely lady of his somewhere special. What do you mean; stop feeding her ideas, cat? Me?
Lastly I don’t want to miss the 9″ conical dish in Devil’s Copse 3787 BIN/ONOed by inspiration54 which went for £420.00. Why don’t I want to miss it out? Because mine has now proved itself to be a bargain!
Once again I intend to write both a final monthly blog for 2012 covering items listed in December when the time comes to do so and also a masterspy “Items of the Year” article. If you have any suggestions for pieces to be included feel free to respond to the blog.
Regrettably (and somewhat angrily), I must also report that one of the items I mentioned 4 months ago has reappeared in a restored condition (as I fully expected) without being described as such by an unscrupulous seller. Outcome, almost £400.00 profit for a bit of effort and some white spray paint. Not on. Be very careful out there, buyers.
As ever, I hope to hear from you with comments, ideas, information etc. Feel free to do so.
Good hunting (but make sure you bag what you expect) and of course Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.