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Digital Subscriptions > Antiques Trade Gazette > 2289 > Tales of the unexpected at home

Tales of the unexpected at home

In the first of a series uncovering stories behind data from, Noelle McElhatton looks at the increasingly esoteric nature of high-value finds from house clearances

Review of January-March 2017

House clearances remain a vital supply line for salerooms.

And for vendors and auctioneers alike, such clearances can generate a gamut of emotions – from disappointment and delight through to shock and occasionally, even horror.

Steven Parkinson, auctioneer and valuer at Thomson Roddick, experienced the full range when, on valuing the contents of a rural estate in 2016, he stumbled upon a table full of plaster-cast heads of executed criminals. “There they all were, all nine of them seemingly looking right at me,” he recalls.

Parkinson then faced the challenge of valuing these rare objects. This was despite an inscription to the base of one head indicating that the subject, Francois Benjamin Courvoisier, was noted for having inspired a William Makepeace Thackeray essay denouncing capital punishment.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Antiques Trade Gazette is the essential publication for everyone with a serious interest in art, antiques and collectables. Every week it is packed with up-to-the-minute news on the market, with individual items beautifully illustrated throughout. Since 1971 it has been the most reliable source of information on what is really happening at auctions in the UK and around the world. Each issue is filled with auction advertisements and detailed auction reports written by expert journalists. The Dealer’s Diary section keeps readers constantly updated on what is happening at the fairs and markets and in the galleries and shops. Market professionals and serious collectors throughout the world rely on ATG to keep them informed on developments and issues which shape the art market. It is here that they learn about the prices achieved at auction in every area - from antiquities to pop memorabilia, from impressionist paintings to Chinese art. With 500 or more art objects pictured, every issue is a treat to the eye and a visual education. Whatever the topic Antiques Trade Gazette is well-informed, up-to-date and entertaining.

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