Antiques with provenance: aristocrats and royals sell the family silver at Christie's sale

Aristocrats and royals are selling off the family silver. We take a look at the lots on offer in a new Christie’s auction — and ask the experts what to buy
Whether it’s a tomato or a T-shirt, most of us like to know where our food and clothing come from. Antiques are no different — provenance matters, which is one reason why the European Noble & Private Collections sale at Christie’s next week is special.
Each one of the 264 lots has a story to tell and many of the sellers are either of noble or royal descent. If you are interested in starting to collect, this sale is a great place to get a feel for what to go for, and what might be a good buy. As well as some rare items, there are plenty of collectables at lower prices, along with good-quality “brown” furniture that is a steal given its quality.
£4,000-£6,000: George III mahogany tallboy
So, what is good value? “If you want to buy brown furniture, now is the moment,” says Van den Biesen. He points out several chests, a tallboy and wardrobe from the Earl of Harewood’s house in Orme Square.
A handsome George III mahogany tallboy (lot 140) is estimated to fetch from £1,000 to £1,500. An attractive set of four 1830 Swedish chairs with gilt dolphins (lot 241) carries the same estimate. Items of furniture of this quality, were they ever made today, would cost a whole lot more. 
  • The European Noble & Private Collections sale is at Christie’s South Kensington on April 30.

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