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Wearing my general valuer’s hat carrying out a routine valuation in Dunfermline where the contents were of little interest, high on a kitchen shelf I noticed an item in very dirty and greasy condition. However, the shape was immediately recognisable as a Russian kovsch, and after some careful cleaning it turned out to be a piece by Feodor Ruckert, one of Russia’s premier enamellers and a very collectable name. When offered at auction the piece eventually made in excess of £47,000 (premium inclusive)
Another highlight of my career was The Chen Collection, which comprised fine Russian silver and enamel works, as well as a comprehensive number of pieces from the leading English silversmiths of the 18th to 20th centuries. The opportunity to catalogue, handle and research items of this quality rarely comes along and, when it does, it is an absolute delight and a pleasure to work with. In total the collection made nearly £4.1 million.
Another surprising find came during a jewellery valuation for inheritance tax purposes, the jewellery was rather unusually stored in an antique cabinet with many drawers. The collection was fairly general but when packing up I noticed one of the drawers wasn’t closing properly. After pulling out the drawer, I discovered a battered "old ring". The client was rather dismissive of it due to its condition, but I on the other hand got rather excited. It was one of those moments when you discover something special, and due to experience and years of handling antique jewellery, get the pleasure of telling the client exactly what it is. The ring, as illustrated, was an exceptionally rare 16th/17th century Jewish gold wedding ring. This was a particularly rare example where traces of enamel were still present, and my original estimate was somewhat left behind when two international collectors of Judaica took it to nearly £19,000 (premium inclusive).
Even though I have over 35 years’ experience working with jewellery and silver, in this job you are constantly learning and never know what you are going to come across next.
Trevor Kyle, Director of Lyon & Turnbull, heads up the Valuations department in Edinburgh. He is also a specialist in silver and jewellery, with a particular interest in watches including the fine work of makers such as Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Parmigiani.
Trevor’s interest in art and antiques started at the young age of 10, while being taken round sales with his father who collected paperweights and ivory. This developed into a more general interest and a small part time job after school and at weekends with a local auctioneer in Fife.
After leaving school he worked full time for the same auctioneer for a number of years before moving to Phillips where he ran the valuation department, and later the jewellery & silver sales. This continued until 1999 when he left Phillips to become part of the team breathing life back into Scotland’s oldest auctioneers, Lyon & Turnbull.
As one of the founding directors, Trevor, heads up the Jewellery & Silver department whist also carrying out work with the valuations team in Edinburgh and the east of Scotland.