Sold on fan leaf paintings by Zhang Daquian and coins from Victoria’s Golden Jubilee

From the thousands of lots that appear at auctions every week on, here we focus on three exceptional lots bought by online bidders this month.

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A full 11-coin Golden Jubilee 1887 proof set, £11,000 at Hansons.


A full 11-coin Golden Jubilee 1887 proof set

Against the background of the Golden Jubilee in 1887, the Royal Mint issued a small number of full proof sets of the British coinage – the first since 1853. The engraver Joseph Edgar Boehm (1834-90) was chosen to create the obverse portrait of Victoria with his initials appearing on each specimen.

There were 11 coins in the 1887 set from the gold £5 piece to the silver threepence. A £2 piece made its first appearance in 56 years while the silver double florin was issued for the first time.

Relatively few full sets survive in original cases with the best examples retailing for over £30,000. This made the £2000-3000 estimate on a set offered by Hansons in Etwall on May 6 appear very attractive. So it proved when it sold via at £11,000.


Two fan leaf paintings by Zhang Daquian

These two 21in (52cm) fan leaf paintings, one with a panel of calligraphy, the other with an ink and colour landscape, are by Zhang Daquian (1899-1983). Later in life he was renowned as a modern impressionist and expressionist painter but he was originally known as a guohua (traditionalist) painter, producing many works like these prior to the 1960s.

Ironically, for an artist deemed one of the most gifted forgers of the 20th century, Zhang’s own work is today much-imitated so provenance is key. These two leaves came sale at Chiswick Auction’s Asian art sale on May 10 from the personal collection of the late Brian Morgan (1930-2018), formerly a director of London Asian art dealing powerhouse Bluetts.

Estimated at £10,000-15,000, the two leaves, framed together, sold at £32,000 via

A ventriloquist's doll in the manner of Arthur Quisto

The sale held by Swan Fine Art in Tetsworth on May 6 included this fine quality ventriloquist's doll c.1930. Although not stamped, it shares the characteristic of figures made by the revered maker Arthur Quisto (1882-1960) - real name Edwin Simms – who built vent figures for a number of well-known musical hall performers. He was the first to use electromagnetic devices to animate his figures.

In addition to a carved wood torso, the face, hands and feet are moulded papier mâché and the hair probably human. Appealing as both a quirky decorative object and a collectable, it sold at £1500 to a buyer using the, way above the £60-80 estimate.




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