End of year review

2018 will be remembered as the year of the Dunton, Reading wagon. One of the finest such wagons to be offered for sale at a Reading Carriage sale, it kicked off the year in style. It was not the only notable vehicle to be sold in the year however, with a very original example of a late 18th century travelling chariot also making the headlines. Both examples of the continuing demand for exceptional items.


March – link to auction page

Dunton Reading Wagon
The first carriage sale of the year saw an impressive entry in the shape of a 1914 Dunton & Sons, Reading, wagon (55). It was an archetypal example of a high-bodied wagon, the body set inside the larger rear wheels, but taken to a new level in its finish. Every piece of wood had been carved and embellished and the owner, a private collector of such items and himself an undisputed authority on the subject, had ensured that in restoring the wagon to its original glory, no detail (or expense) was overlooked. The wagon made £84,000.
Also in the sale, a Roof-Seat Break by Mendyka of Poland sold for £8,850 (28); a Sporting Dog Cart (26) made by Fenix to suit a large pair or team fetched £3,300 and a Farm Wagon built by Peter Buck sold for £2,450 (4).

A fine set of trade harness by Geoff Dudley (142) attracted a lot of interest and eventually sold for £2,650, and a pair set by Zilco sold for £1,000 (130). A set of artillery wheels with tyres and axles made £360 (354) and a set of coaching bars sold for £240 (284).

The Sundries section received a lot of good quality items including a pair of Mills of Paddington lamps with screw-in stems which achieved £1,800 (945); a pretty angel lamp from a Gypsy Wagon sold for £650 (947) and a pair of pony size lamps by Alfred Hales made £330 (1236). Selling to a funeral director, a pair of whitemetal rails for the interior of a Hearse made £650 (924), followed by a rare front coffin casket (944) from a Shillibeer Hearse which fetched £320. Not normally seen in such good order was a pair of fine Musgrave stalls with the metalwork and timber selling for £1,900 (1496). A pair of old framed prints showing WW2 scenes made £480 (1594) and a reproduction model of a Pickfords Pantechnicon made £250 (1668).







Caroline Dale-Leech Dispersal Sale – link to auction page

The day of the sale was blessed with a much needed change in the weather, turning into a beautiful warm day. Buyers came from all over the country and from overseas, all interested in items ranging from garden tools to elegant carriages.

The star of the ‘show’ was a Travelling Chariot by Coates & Blizard of Park Lane, London. Owned by the same family, the Wrights of Eyam Hall in Derbyshire, since it was commissioned and built, it had been in the museum for many years and carefully looked after by Caroline. Foreign phone bidders, domestic buyers and far-travelled clients all battled for ownership, which ended with the hammer coming down at £60,000 (920) to the intrepid bidder who had travelled all the way from Norway. A beautiful Siamese Phaeton by Mulliner sold for £10,000 (907) and an Arthur Cowley Bread Van entered by another vendor made £3,850 (911).

Sundries-wise, an exceptional pair of Shand Mason fire engine lamps fetched £1,050 (279) and a brass Merryweather fireman’s helmet made £480 (413). A decorated postilion jacket displayed in a framed case made £1,800 (429) and three fine copper milk churns made £730 (540). Included in the sale were a quantity of interesting models of various carriages one of which was a Road Coach making £190 (669), a Hansom Cab for £240 ( 671), a Landau for £260 (673) and a Reading Gypsy Wagon and piebald horse for £380 (677).



May – link to auction page

As seems to be becoming the norm, we received a number of late carriage entries, one of which was a Gypsy Caravan built by F.J. Thomas of Chertsey (47), and used in the 1983 film Hound of the Baskervilles. It sold for £8,000. A brightly coloured London Trolley (31) to suit 12 to 13.2 hh pony fetched £3,100 and an American Surrey for a single or pair (22) went for £1,400.

In the Sets of Harness a complete set of black leather trade harness with yellow insets (157) to fit 14 to 16 hh made £1,200 while another set (123) made by the late N. Brown of Essex with red flashings made £880.
In the General Tack section saddles achieved some good prices – a 16ins side saddle made £580 (340); a 15ins pony saddle by Fieldhouse £200 (375), and a jumping saddle by Baines £240 (376). Twenty driving cones (495) made £240.

In Sundries a pair of bullseye lamps (598) made £340 and another similar pair made £420 (927). A harness horse believed to have come from the Royal Mews made £230 (717) and a postilion saddle by Wilkinson & Kidd fetched £250 (718). A jointed whip on a board by Swaine & Adeney sold for £350 (754). A fine driving apron (816) with two large pockets, mother of pearl buttons and monogrammed ‘W’ sold for £130, and a fur-lined carriage rug made £160 (819). A set of tandem bars with steel fittings (1020) and a set of team bars (1021) each made £190. An original oil painting of a Hackney horse called Kings Proctor sold for £135 (1191) and two lots of 19th Century hand-drawn carriage drawings each sold for £100 (1209/1210). A dapple grey rocking horse (1299) with horse hair mane and tail sold for £410 and a model of a horse and cart fetched £300 (1305).



North of England – link to auction page

We were blessed with a glorious summer’s day in North Yorkshire which encouraged a large number of both new and regular buyers from across the north of England, the Midlands and Scotland to attend our third North of England Carriage Sale at Richmond Equestrian Centre, near Catterick.

It was year of the Wagonette, eight to be precise, with a pretty Bent Sided example (483), made in Harrogate by G. MacKay & Sons for a 14 to 15 hh, achieving £2,000; and another (482) made by Bogajewicz of Poland fetched £1,200.
The first of a number of late entries was a very pretty and ornate Horse-Drawn Ice Cream Van (498) built in the 1920’s, complete and ready for work, along with a fibreglass horse and set of harness, all on a trailer. With a phone bid and interest in the room it eventually sold for £5,000 to a buyer at the sale. A Clarence (486) to suit 15.2 hh plus made £2,400; a Landau (488) built in Norfolk circa 1890 made £1,900 and a Four-Wheel Dog Cart (503) built by Wellington Carriages in Telford making £1,950

There were nearly 400 lots in the Sundries & Accoutrements section, the best-selling item being a pair of large octagon lamps (111) measuring 25 ins, which fetched £380. A pair of rectangular lamps (275) by Prudence & Dennison of Halifax sold for £170, and another with bird pediment (195) which made £140. Two full-size wheeler pads (13) and a driving collar (56) each fetched £200. A nice selection of whips was entered and made good money. An unusual cane riding whip with crocodile skin handle with a pommel in the form of a horse’s head (110) made £250; a Carter’s-type whip with 9 ferrules and a Crawley trade mark (119) £220; a four-in-hand whip by George Schomberg (116) £150; and a holly whip with silvered ferrule and butt cap (117) £190.

In the Pictures, Models and Books section a signed artist’s proof of a hunting print by Lionel Edwards (331) fetched £60. A lovely original Victorian horse tricycle in good condition (357) made £130. Over 50 lots of books sold for reasonable money, including; Working Drawings of Horse-Drawn Vehicles and Restoration of Horse-Drawn Vehicles plus one other (432) £65; Coaching Days of Old England (414) £50; a number of Bailey’s Hunting Directory’s (416) £40, as did lot 445 Over the Grass and A Handful of Leather by Lionel Edwards with 8 coloured plates. English Pleasure Carriages and A Treatise on Carriages (443) sold above reserve for £30.

There were relatively few Sets of Harness on offer but some good sales were achieved, one being a pair set by Huskisson of Walsall to fit 15 to 16 hh (599) which made £1,000; another set by Huskissons (614) with a 21½ ins collar sold for £550; and a set of black/brass driving harness by Houghton’s Darwen with 19 ins collar made £500. In the vehicle parts a pair of hand-decorated wooden shafts (526) suitable for a barrel wagon made £130. A black dressage saddle by Barnsby in the Saddlery & Tack section (676) made £190.



September – link to auction page

Another Gypsy Caravan (26), this time in the style of Bill Wright, sold after the sale for £11,000. A 1900’s Flat Bed Railway Trolley (12) and a Roof Seat Break (33) built by Mendyka, both destined to a life in the film industry, sold for £1,700 and £3,400 respectively. An Australian Sydney Sulky (24) that had been in a couple of sales was sold for £1,400 

Harness was a bit thin on the ground but what was there made reasonable money, such as an English set of Havana leather pony harness with a 17ins collar (124) which sold for £440.
Saddles again made good money in places, with three English leather saddles (449/450/455) making £400, £380 and £200. Bids were left on the book for a 17.5ins Albion Legend saddle no. 32646 but it sold in the room for £140 (392), and an extra wide saddle by Ideal also 17.5ins made £220 (417).
A Danish telephone bidder won a pair of large square-fronted carriage lamps measuring 29ins for £1,300 (593); a pair of black/brass hexagonal lamps by Ripon Bros., still with their candle holders, sold for £750. A fine nickel silver coach horn by Köhler & Son (622) made £820. An Officer’s lined leather boot trunk (626) with four fitted trays and straps, stamped C.O.E Nicholson of the Royal Scots Greys, sold for £800. A rare 99ins State carriage holly whip (654) made by Geo. Schomberg, London hallmarked 1909, fetched £850. Three dealer’s whips made good money – two by Holland of London (634/926) making £460 and £400 respectively, and the other (638) stamped ‘Vulcan’ and with an illustration of a blacksmith striking an anvil, fetching £330. A rare pair of footmen’s staffs of Malacca cane (665) made £500.

In the Pictures section we had a couple of nice watercolours by H. Standing in 1911, commissioned by Joseph Lyons of Lyons Tea (1122/1123) each showing Mr Lyons standing by a harness horse with a ‘J. Lyons’ sash, each making £500. A volume containing 26 publications of the American magazine The Rider & Driver dated 1928 (1239) sold to a commission bidder for £400 and a very rare book dating back to 1662 entitled Markham’s Masterpiece by Gervase Markham containing ‘knowledge belonging to a Smith, Farrier or Horse Leech of curing all diseases in horses’ made £240.





November – link to auction page

Finally, November was a subdued affair largely due to the paucity of lots in the catalogue.
However there was a large number of entries submitted after the catalogue had gone to press, which is frustrating as it meant that it was thinner and thus less attractive than it needed to be. Selling anything is about marketing and telling the widest possible audience, so if something is not in the catalogue it makes this very difficult!

A very pretty four-wheel Dog Cart by Morgan & Co. of London (26) to suit a 12.2 to 13.3 hh pony, which graced the front of the catalogue, made £3,400. Unlike previous sales this year we only had one Gypsy Wagon entered and that was a Showman’s Burton Wagon built by Goodwith of Norwich circa 1928. With a number of people showing an interest it sold to a phone bidder for £4,500 (27). A drop-well Gig by Symes of Taunton (23) made £1,250. A Scandinavian Sleigh (11) was also sold to a phone bidder for £820. A 3-Phase
Competition Vehicle to suit a pair made £1,125.
We also received a consignment of 9 assorted vehicles from one vendor, ranging from a cast iron Roller (2) which made £50 to a Gig by Barker of Limerick (9) making £550.

The harness trade continues to be challenging: a set of black leather pair harness to fit 13.2 hh cobs fetched £450 (104) and another set for a single cob (126) made £140. A complete set of hand-made pair harness by Lee Buckfield of Devon to suit 11.2 to 12 hh ponies fetched £130, and a set of black/brass breastcollar harness for a 13hh pony made £250.

In the Sundries section a dash-mounted Goliath clock with a leather case (574) sold well for £600. Another carriage clock (511) made £140 and a leather fire bucket (615) fetched £170. A pair of Dog Cart-style lamps (680) made £140; a pair of brass lamps by Howle & Burrett (552) fetched £120; a pair of octagon lamps (607) made £280; a pair of silver plated trade turnout lamps by Hoskins of Ledbury (758) made £200, and another pair of trade lamps (892) sold for £345. A postilion whip (590) fetched £200; whilst an outrider’s whip by Thorn of Regent St., (591) and another similar (592) each made £180. A part set of trade harness and pad (991) made £210. 

Lot 1056, a large Victorian picture of the Coat of Arms of the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness  Makers, generated a lot of enquiries. On the day the bidding was between someone in the room and a phone bidder, eventually selling in the room for £980. And finally, a plate (1059) used on one of the London to Edinburgh Stage Coaches during the reign of King George IV, made £380.


Thimbleby & Shorland Director Chris Boreham says: “2018 has been a challenging year, but with some great “highs” to keep everyone buoyed up. The weak demand in places, particularly harness, has seen entries fall off quite dramatically. As a consequence the catalogues for the September and November sales were thin, and we have therefore decided to only have one sale in the Autumn/Winter going forward. In order to spread the sales out the May sale has been moved to the beginning of July. We will continue to have a sale in the North of England, but a bit later, in August.” 

The first Reading Carriage Sale of 2019 will be held on Wednesday 6th March, for which entries will be needed by 31st January.

2018 Sale Report – pdf