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As with all colleagues, it is the thrill of discovery that makes working as an auctioneer so exciting – guiding the path of a newly discovered object to a new home with a collector or institution is a fascinating process.
Hiding at the bottom of a box of old papers and manuscripts was an object that would later be discovered to be one of only two recorded 17th century Scottish silver hand seals. Made in Edinburgh in 1613 this piece came to us following the receipt of a grainy photograph by email sent by a new client. In the images, the item looked interesting but small, however when it was handed to me the impressive scale and sheer quality became apparent. Its discovery and entry into our Scottish Silver & Accessories sale caused a huge stir and with international collectors and institutions battling it out from the starting bid of £3,000 to a final premium inclusive price of over £37,000.
A classic example of a rags to riches story comes from an item found and saved (literally) from the bin bag! A pang of doubt crept into our clients mind after throwing a small leather cased silver golf medal into a rubbish bag while clearing a family member’s house. After research from our golfing consultant this beautiful medal was shown to be one of the earliest golfing medals in private hands and a very rare relic of an important early golf club, The Kingsbarn Golf Club, it sold to an international collector for £20,400 (premium inclusive). A lucky save indeed!
Colin Fraser, specialist in Silver, Coins & Medals and Arms & Armour. With a specialist focus on Scottish Silver & Accessories, becoming one world-renowned in this field over the last few years.
Having worked in antiques, and predominantly with silver, from a young age Colin has been with Lyon & Turnbull for eight years. Working within the department, he has seen many changes in its structure and been involved in the dispersal of many important items and collections.
A member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh his personal passion is with Scottish silver and related accessories, “the context and history which these objects portray is enviable the world over, and such a rich history for a small country we should be proud of the footprint in craft we have left behind”.
Colin has worked closely with many private collectors and institutions and has been involved in various recent exhibitions and publications, including Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Silver the Aberdeen Story and the National Museums of Scotland Silver: Made in Scotland.