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Vincennes porcelain candlestick, which sold for £70,000 (£94,500, or $120,600 with buyer's premium) at Kinghams.

Pair of Vincennes porcelain candleholders achieves $170K at Kinghams

MORETON-IN-MARSH, UK — A pair of mid-18th-century Vincennes porcelain candleholders of distinctive conical form that were discovered in a Warwickshire, England property during the course of a routine valuation sold for a total of $170,560 at auction on May 24.

Offered at a sale held by Kinghams, the 4.25in-tall soft paste candleholders (here and here) were of unusual hyacinth vase form and decorated with continuous scenes reminiscent of those on Meissen porcelain of near-contemporary date.

One shows a scene of Moorish and European traders at a coastal encampment with ships in the distance. The other depicts a courting couple and an equestrian figure with an attendant in a landscape setting, also with ships in the background. Both had the incised mark AM to the underside, one that is documented in the collecting literature.

A candlestick of the same shape and size with similar scenic decoration and also marked AM is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where it is cataloged as Vincennes and dating from circa 1745-1750. This is around six to twelve years before the factory relocated to Sèvres.

Kinghams decided to offer the candlesticks separately as consecutive lots. The first, the version painted with the trading scene, had sustained some damage, with cracks and a large chip to the rim, and was estimated at £2,000-£4,000 ($2,500-$5,100); while the second, in better condition, was estimated at £3,000-£5,000 ($3,800-$6,400).

There are some very keen collectors for this type of early French porcelain, and considerable pre-sale interest in both pieces emerged from across the globe along with numerous requests for condition reports. Some online bidders joined the fray, but the bulk of the competition came via the phones.

The more damaged of the two, offered first, ended up making the higher amount, probably due to the interesting nature of the decoration. It was finally sold for the substantial sum of £70,000 (£94,500, or $120,600 with buyer’s premium) to a US buyer. The second candleholder was carried off by a UK buyer at £29,000 (£39,150, or $49,963 with buyer’s premium).