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Fortune favours Maori art again

Cast-iron provenance boosts collection amassed by 19th century New Zealand missionaries

The currently vibrant market for Oceanic art was made plain to staff at John Nicholson’s (24% buyer’s premium) of Fernhurst in February this year when a Maori putorino or bugle flute, estimated at £50-100, sold to French dealer for £140,000. Surely, similar good fortune would not be repeated any time soon?

In fact, not long after that windfall sale the auctioneers were contacted by the owner of an archive of small Maori artefacts with an unbroken provenance dating back 180 years.

The collection amounted to the remnants of a package sent back to England from New Zealand by the son of John King, a missionary who headed to New Zealand in 1814 under the direction of Samuel Marsden, the senior Anglican minister in New South Wales. King and his wife Hannah stayed in the new territory, going on to have 12 children.

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About Antiques Trade Gazette

Published every week since 1971, Antiques Trade Gazette is affectionately known as ‘the Bible of the antiques trade’. A long tradition of authority, integrity and accuracy, makes it the essential read for everyone who loves antiques. With a subscription to Antiques Trade Gazette, you’ll stay ahead of all the developments in the art and antiques market, plus you’ll enjoy • A comprehensive auction calendar – see when and where every sale will be happening • Exclusive interviews with dealers, giving you the inside track on the trade • Breaking news on key industry developments • Secrets, stories and tips from leading specialists and collectors • Top lots advertised by auctioneers • Previews of the best art and antiques fairs and markets • Special supplements focusing on specific collecting areas

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