Valuable Stuart Devlin collection goes on auction in Selsdon

The latest large sale staged by TV auctioneer Catherine Southon next Wednesday will feature a collection of work by the world-famous silversmith, Stuart Devlin.

Some of the treasure hoard of Stuart Devlin items up for auction in Selsdon next week

The auction, being staged at Selsdon’s Farleigh Court Golf Club on October 3, will also be filmed by the BBC as part of its Children In Need Bargain Hunt special.

Wednesday’s featured lots come from a private collection, including a large collection of Devlin’s distinctive “surprise eggs”, plus a complete set of the Christmas boxes, where each one is one of the 12 days of Christmas – only 100 sets of these are known to exist.

Also included is a range of items that would look perfect on any dining table such as silver gilt beakers and goblets as well as other domestic wear including cruets, trays and flat wear. Estimates of the likely sale prices range from £100 up to £6,000.

“We are extremely excited to be auctioning this incredible and diverse collection which perfectly illustrates Devlin’s creative talent and unique design,” Southon told Inside Croydon. “Each item is beautifully crafted and demonstrates Devlin’s great skill as a silversmith and goldsmith coupled with his sense of amusement and intrigue.”

The pieces coming under Southon’s hammer come from a lifetime’s collection of one woman. “While I was a young married teacher in the 1960s I read a newspaper article about Stuart Devlin, who was a promising young silversmith who had moved to London having won renown for designing the Australian Mint,” the collector said.

“The accompanying photo showed a pair of the most elegant and stylish candlesticks I had ever seen. At that moment, the urge to buy some of his work was born although I had to wait quite a few years to afford it.”

The collection began with a small dish bought at an antiques fair in Harrogate. “I loved the originality and humour of the exquisite eggs and over the years my Harrogate contact sent me several pieces of his work. Sadly the time has come to downsize so I have kept several favourite small items and hope the new owners will have the same pleasure and fun that I have had from the collection.”

World renowned silversmith and designer Stuart Devlin (pictured left) died earlier this year. He was 86.

He studied goldsmithing and silversmithing in Melbourne and at Columbia University, New York, and made his name when winning the competition to design Australia’s first decimal coinage, which was introduced in 1966.

In 1975, he designed the medals for Australia’s honours system and subsequently many of their defence force and civilian medals, as well as coins for more than 30 other countries.

The Devlin-designed Australian two-cent coin

For the Australian coins, he supervised the cutting of the dies at the Royal Mint in London and in 1965, using his prize money, he bought a small house in Clerkenwell with a basement workshop where he started a goldsmithing and silversmithing business.

Among the highlights of the collection of his work up for sale next week is a pair of parcel-gilt-silver three light candelabrum, hallmarked London 1970, which are expected to fetch up to £6,000, while a set of six parcel-gilt-silver champagne flutes, hallmarked London 1973, is estimated at between £1,000 – £1,500.

For those already thinking about Christmas gifts and what to buy the person who has everything – “A partridge in a pear tree” Twelve Years of Christmas Limited Edition Surprise parcel-gilt-silver box, hallmarked London 1970, is estimated at £400 – £600 and “Three French Hens” Twelve Years of Christmas Limited Edition Surprise parcel-gilt-silver box, hallmarked London 1972, carries a similar estimate.

Among the eggs is a silver-gilt “Two Love Birds Surprise Egg”, hallmarked London 1981 which is expected to fetch £250 – £350, while a silver-gilt “Surprise Egg”, hallmarked London 1972, is estimated at £200 – £300.

For the sale catalogue and more information about the auction, visit the Catherine Southon website here.

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