There was a round of applause at a Cockermouth auction house last week when a vintage Lamborghini that had been stored in a barn for 30 years was sold to a local classic car enthusiast for £25,000, which makes it the best-selling lot of the sale.
The 1973 Lamborghini Espada Series 3 was a rare right-hand drive model in remarkably good condition but still in need of a full restoration.
White with a blue leather interior and just 44,461 miles on the odometer, it had been stored in a barn in the Lake District for decades.
New owner Mike Ross of Workington was surprised to win the lot against two other telephone bidders at Mitchells.
“I didn’t think I would get it,” he said. “It’s good to stay local, in Cumbria.”
He wants to run the car and enjoy driving it before restoring it. “In the past it’s always been Fords, Triumphs, Jaguars and MGs – nothing like that,” he said.
Mike bought a Rolls Royce from Mitchells a few years ago which he restored and then sold. He was then featured on Top Gear with Paddy McGuiness at the wheel in Ireland.
Another highlight of the sale was a substantial early 20th century portrait of Marjorie Hall-Smith by provincial artist ‘TH Smith’ which fetched a hammer price of £7,500 from an estimate of £400-600.
Marjorie Hall-Smith was a lady of independent means who lived locally in Ellerslie Hall, Gosforth, and raced a succession of race cars in top-flight motor racing in the mid-1930s.
Despite the staged composition, the portrait had an attractive informal feel, good color and loose finish, making it a good choice for a modern interior.
James Forster, who recently joined Mitchells after working for auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Bonhams as an image appraiser, said: “This striking large oil more than performed at our auction. last week and the price demonstrated the strength of the market for attractive portrait.
“Edwardian babysitters are rare at the moment. It was a time of emancipation and I think that resonates with many young shoppers today.
“The fine art market is constantly evolving with current areas of historical interest and this is a very good example of that process.”
Another oil on canvas portrait of a lady ‘A Yuletide Visitor’ also far exceeded its estimate of £100-150 selling for £950.
Other valuable paintings included a watercolor by Percy Kelly (1918-1993) “High Road Above Lorton Vale Cumberland” which fetched a hammer price of £1,300 from an estimate of £500-800.
Two cards also far exceeded expectations. An antique map of the Isle of Zeloan 1762 with an estimate of £50-80 and a hand-tinted map of Herefordshire after Christopher Saxton valued at £60-80 surprised bidders by selling for £800 each.
The Asian art market is known to be difficult to predict and some lots have significantly exceeded their estimates in this section. The biggest surprise was a 19th century Chinese blue and white lidded ginger jar decorated with fishermen with a humble estimate of just £100-150 which eventually sold for £5,000.
Other surprise lots were a pair of 19th century Chinese blue and white hexagonal lidded pots which fetched £1,000 from an estimate of £150-£200, four pieces of Chinese porcelain including a vase and bowls of a value £50-£80 which sold for £900 and a Chinese pottery standing male figure with a child with an estimate of £120-£180 which fetched £600.
The best-selling lot among the jewels was a 9ct white gold ring with emeralds and diamonds that sold for £1,900 and a 14k three-tone gold Milanese bracelet that fetched £1,600. A Tiffany & Co 18kt gold brooch and matching earrings sold for £1,100.
The most valuable piece of furniture which also greatly exceeded expectations was an unusual Regency mahogany library chair which fetched a hammer price of £2,600 from an estimate of £200-300.
A fully illustrated catalog with all prices made at the sale can be viewed online at www.mitchellsantiques.co.uk.