Squash PR & Marketing

All the freshest
news from SQUASH -
and its clients

Local interest sees Hanley-made Victorian pocket watch sell for £900 at auction...

A large Victorian 18CT gold pocket watch marked for H. Piddock & Sons, Hanley, sold for £900 at Staffordshire auction house Cuttlestones’ May 28th Fine Art sale, smashing its estimated value of £200 - £300. Dated for 1891 the watch may have been made and retailed by the Hanley based firm – interesting in itself.

However, an inscription gives a fascinating insight into local history. Inside the watch it reads ‘Presented to Mr JW Salt by the officials & employees of the Chatterley Iron Co Ltd as a mark of sincere regard gained during his 27 years service with the Co. May 30th 1891’. Something of a North Staffordshire institution, the Chatterley Iron Company Ltd owned blast furnaces, an oil distilling plant and a colliery working ironstone in the Chatterley Valley west of Tunstall. In 1873 the company procured the Whitfield mine - now famous as the Chatterley Whitfield mining museum – as a source of coal for its furnaces.

The timepiece, which was purchased by a bidder in the room, is contemporary with a significant period of change within the company – in 1890 the Chatterley Iron Company was procured by a group of Lancashire businessmen who, in January 1891, re-named it Chatterley Whitfield Collieries Limited. The fact that the watch exceeded its estimate highlights the effect local interest can have on an item’s value, as Ben Gamble, MD and Head Auctioneer at Cuttlestones, explains:

We’re obviously delighted with the value the watch fetched – this item proved a real ‘sleeper’ but it just goes to show that people do enjoy collecting items with a local provenance and that this can considerably increase value. The fact that this piece was dated for a year where such huge change was afoot within the history of the Chatterley Whitfield mine probably made it of particular interest.

We have a rich history of industry in Staffordshire and the West Midlands that is worth celebrating – if you have items that are connected in some way to Staffordshire’s industrial past, be it mining or pottery related, it’s well worth getting them valued. If you don’t wish to sell, at least you will have a good idea of the amount you should insure them for but if you do, you may find they’re worth more than you anticipated!

Cuttlestones’ next Fine Art and Antiques sale is set to take place on Friday, 10th September, and commissions are already being taken. For further details on valuations and how to sell items at auction visit www.cuttlestones.co.uk – alternatively call 01785 714905 to book a valuation appointment.