A collection of Chinese snuff bottles found under a bed on the Isle of Wight have sold for more than £100,000 at Duke’s Auctioneers, Dorchester.
The collection of snuff bottles and small Chinese Works of Art, was formed by the late character actor Anthony Bate (1927-2012) who until his recent death, lived on the Island with his wife Diana.
Anthony Bate was a popular and well-known actor whose career spanned five decades of stage, television and film. He was probably best known for his role as Oliver Lacon in the BBC television adaptation of ‘Tinker Tailor Solider Spy’.
Tony had a passion for collecting snuff bottles and over the years developed an expert eye, acquiring many pieces at major auctions as well as from some of the best dealers in the UK.
The late actor’s family had kept the collection of over 72 snuff bottles and carvings hidden in a suitcase under the bed. Experts at Duke’s Auctioneers of Dorchester were amazed when the dusty suitcase was opened after several years under the bed and they saw the quality of the collection.
“Tony seemed to have collected only the very best examples of snuff bottles, largely in excellent condition”, says a spokesperson for Duke’s Auctioneers “…and this is exactly what collectors are looking for at the moment”.
The top price in the collection was for an inside-painted glass snuff bottle, measuring only 2 ¾” high. The painted decoration of a horse beneath a tree on one side and a mountain landscape on the other was typical for the painter Ding Erzhong who it is believed painted this bottle in 1902. It sold for more than three times its estimate at £10,755 to a collector in London.
Chinese snuff bottles which have painted decoration on the inside of the glass, quartz or crystal are amongst the most desirable and valuable examples.
The entire Anthony Bate collection sold for an incredible £128,000 at Duke’s Auctioneers, Dorset, the leading West Country Auctioneers. It is one of the largest, single-owner collections of Chinese snuff bottles to come to the market in recent years.