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.
 
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£4,000-£6,000: George III mahogany tallboy
 
FABULOUS FURNITURE
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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