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December sale at John Rolfe Auctions is biggest and best yet


An auctioneer is celebrating his ‘best’ sale to date. 

Billed as the Deck the Halls Sale, John Rolfe Auctions, based at Babdown near Tetbury, featured an eclectic range of lots, from a Victorian penny-farthing bicycle through to designer sunglasses and handbags.

One of the standout items in the sale was ‘Head’ by Ana Maria Pacheco, a polychrome carved sculpture on a plinth  fetched a whopping £7,500, far exceeding the estimate of £2,000-£4,000.

Other unusual items included a 1977 Silver Jubilee edition Raleigh Chopper that went  under the hammer for £750, and a Victorian penny-farthing bicycle, which sold for £540.

The next best was a collage attributed to the French modern master Georges Braque, Braque was great friends with Pablo Picasso and this piece only measuring 47 x 39cm was an homage to his dear friend, with an handwritten inscription verso.

From the modern to a traditional winter landscape by the 19th century Dutch master Charles Leickert, again all the phonelines were booked out to European collectors and after quite the battle it got away for £5700 to a very happy German buyer.

John Rolfe December sale 1 | December sale at John Rolfe Auctions is biggest and best yet
John Rolfe with the 1977 Raleigh Chopper bicycle. Picture: Matt Bigwood.

Other strong Sunday results include a carved oak lectern in the form of an eagle selling for £2,400 and a George Smith Signature sofa for £2,200.

“We had more than 100 lots from the estate of Peter and Joy Evans who were craftspeople from the Whiteway Colony, near Stroud,” said auctioneer John Rolfe.

The Whiteway Colony was founded in 1898 on Tolstoyan principles – private property was rejected and personal items shared. They didn’t believe in land ownership, so they burnt the deeds of the houses. The original community had eight colonists and embraced a self-sufficient lifestyle. The village now has 68 houses and more than 120 residents.

“Joy was born there in 1924 to her father, Basil Robert, who was one of the founders of the Whiteway-based Cotswold Handicrafts Co-operative. Lots include leatherwork pieces by Basil Robert, woven fabrics by Rene Mardel, pieces by other craftspeople such as Fred Foster, Eric Sharpe, Fred Banks and embroidery by Mary Robert. There were also hand tools from furniture maker Peter Evans and wood carver Joy Evans.”

John Rolfe December sale 2 | December sale at John Rolfe Auctions is biggest and best yet
Ali Lidbetter with the Victorian penny-farthing bicycle Picture: Matt Bigwood.

December’s sale was John’s biggest yet: “I don’t know how it keeps on happening, but happening it is! I naively thought I’d be offering around 500 lots in this sale, but it was only a few weeks ago that the scale of our popularity was realised,” said John.

“What a year it’s been for us here. Started the year with people still finding us and ending it with people really getting their heads around who we are and what we do.

“I set up John Rolfe Auctions with the hope of holding bespoke curated sales with a real sense of fun and that is exactly what is happening.

“I’m so grateful to every single customer who has supported me and my small team of staff here. I hope a merry Christmas is had by all and bring on more treasure hunting 2024.”

John Rolfe Auctions are still consigning goods for their February auction, if you have something you think might be of interest email a photograph to info@johnrolfeauctions.com

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