STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET, U.K. – Sworders enjoyed a white-glove sale and a £406,000 ($517,400) total for the personal collection of antiques dealer Maurice Turpin (1928-2005). The January 25 auction comprised 267 lots from the London apartment of a dealer who achieved near legendary status during a 50-year career.

Born in Bow, England in 1928, the son of a London East End fruit seller, Turpin originally trained as a sound engineer for the BBC before taking work as a ‘runner’ in the summer of 1948. He began searching provincial shops and markets for objects he could sell to the London antiques trade before opening his own small premises on Portobello Road.

During what became known as the ‘golden age’ of the English antique furniture business, Turpin – known throughout the trade as ‘Dick’ – was a familiar sight at regional U.K. salerooms and was one of the first British dealers to undertake frequent buying trips to the U.S. The caliber of the pieces he bought and sold was only surpassed by his persona; a giant of a man with a large walrus-like moustache, thick-rimmed spectacles, and a trilby hat, and possessed of a curiously high-pitched voice.

Following his death in 2005, the stock from his Bruton Street shop was sold in two auctions at Christie’s, titled The Legend of Dick Turpin. Sworders sold the contents of the flat in London W14 he shared with partner Jackie Mann under the title Dick Turpin: The Legend Lives On.

Leading the January 25 Sworders sale from the late Turpin’s collection was a pair of George III blue john and ormolu ‘Cleopatra’ candle vases attributed to Matthew Boulton. Similar examples are pictured in Nicholas Goodison’s 1974 book Ormolu: The Work of Matthew Boulton. Estimated at a modest £2,000-£4,000, they hammered for £26,000 and sold for £32,500 ($41,390) with buyer’s premium. A particularly good example of Derbyshire fluorspar was a 9in (22cm) high George III campana form urn raised on a square base. Its strong colors encouraged a bid of £6,000, or £7,500 ($9,550) with buyer’s premium.

Three pairs of the distinctive ‘basso relievo’ embossed bird pictures by Samuel Dixon of Dublin, dating to circa 1750, performed well. The hand-colored prints The Canary Bird with a Group of Flowers and The Cock Butcher Bird with a Group of Flowers, both signed and dedicated ‘To Her Grace the Duchess of Hamilton’, hammered for £9,500 and sold for £11,875 ($15,120) with buyer’s premium. Also, a pair depicting A Pheasant and a Hen and A Rainbow Pheasant hammered for £8,000 and sold for £10,000 ($12,735) with buyer’s premium.

Another area in which Turpin held considerable expertise was Italian bronzes. An 18th-century group after Giambologna’s The Abduction of a Sabine Woman, presented on a cylindrical rouge marble plinth, hammered for £3,000 and sold for £3,750 ($4,775) with buyer’s premium, as did a North Italian model of a pacing bull after Gianfrancesco Susini.

In accordance with the market, the furniture proved more difficult to sell. However, some latitude with the reserves allowed a George III padouk and kingwood commode attributed to John Cobb to command attention. A similar model with the same distinctive serpentine-sided cockbeaded drawer-fronts was supplied by Cobb to James West of Alscot Park, Warwickshire, England circa 1765. Although estimated at £30,000-£50,000, the example at Sworders hammered for £20,000 and sold for £25,000 ($31,850) with buyer’s premium.

Less expected from a dealer who bought period antiques were four inter-war bronzes by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959). The quartet of portrait busts included a cast of the 1927 Zeda (Pasha), a Turkish model of whom Epstein made one bust and several drawings. This head, cast from the bust held in the Art Gallery of Ontario, hammered for £8,000 and sold for £10,000 ($12,735) with buyer’s premium.

Closing the sale were a few mementos of the man himself. A lot comprising four hats, including a favorite brown felt trilby by Lock & Co. of London hammered for £400 and sold for £500 ($635) with buyer’s premium.