Marks makes vendor happy on a modest estimate

Gilbert Marks bowl – £5000 at Hansons.

The catalogue description correctly read ‘Art Nouveau silver powder bowl by Gilbert Marks, hallmark London 1900, weight approx 8.79oz, 273.4gms, decorated with stylised thistles repousse’.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Terence Ryle

Marks, of course, was, and remains, a hugely respected name. During his short career – he switched from being a silversmith’s clerk to a silversmith and after years of illness died at 43 in 1905 – he designed and made about 800 pieces by hand. Each was unpolished and unturned and, as he never used dies, none was duplicated.

High pre-sale interest in the bowl did not surprise the auction house, Hansons (20% buyer’s premium), which put it in the September 12 sale at Etwall.

So why was the estimate set at just £100-200? Hansons explained: “The object was initially booked in by a general valuer and an estimate was agreed with the vendor at the time.

“Later, when our silver specialist came to assess the object, she immediately recognised its important maker and catalogued it accordingly but left the original estimate as agreed with our vendor.

“We knew it would make much more and with six phone lines booked, we were confident it would achieve the desired result for the seller. It did extremely well and sold to a private UK buyer at £5000.”