Novelty silver pin cushions take flight

Pin cushion by Crisford and Norris, Birmingham, 1909, possibly modelled on the Farman III plane - £800 at Woolley & Wallis.

Pin cushions have their own niche market in the novelty silver field. Nineteen Edwardian examples were offered at a sale at Woolley & Wallis (25% buyer’s premium) in Salisbury last year.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Roland Arkell

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Animals are the most typical subjects (chicks, pigs and elephants far more common than foxes, cows and camels) but the eye-catching top-seller was a rare model of a biplane.

The 6in (15cm) pin cushion was by Crisford and Norris, Birmingham, 1909, and possibly modelled on the new plane of that year, the Farman III. An item with obvious cross-over appeal, it sold to a collector on the lower £800 estimate.

If the Farman III was the cutting edge of technology in 1909 then the large parcel-gilt model of a fully rigged and armed galleon shown above was an anachronism when fashioned by Brook and Son of Edinburgh in 1912.

Weighing 196oz, this 2ft 2in long (66cm) vessel was last bought by John Entwhistle, The Who’s bass guitarist, from Harrods in the 1970s. Since his death in 2002 it has been owned by descent. Put into the October 29 Salisbury sale with an estimate of £4000-6000, it outsold more academically minded pieces at £22,000.