By John Furphy, on 23-Feb-2017

Auction habitués must have thought the boom times for Victorian furniture had returned on Sunday 12 February when Philips Auctions in Melbourne sold a Victorian mahogany extension table for $12,000 hammer, even if it was only $2,000 above the low estimate.

Admittedly it was a large table, almost 5 metres with 6 leaves and had a made-in-heaven provenance, having been purchased by the vendor from Church Guild of St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne in about 1968.

Auction habitu├ęs must have thought the boom times for Victorian furniture had returned on Sunday 12 February when Philips Auctions in Melbourne sold a Victorian mahogany extension table for $12,000 hammer, even if it was only $2,000 above the low estimate.

Auction habitu├ęs must have thought the boom times for Victorian furniture had returned on Sunday 12 February when Philips Auctions in Melbourne sold a Victorian mahogany extension table for $12,000 hammer, even if it was only $2,000 above the low estimate.

According to the index of antique prices for Victorian furniture, published by the Antique Collectors Club of the UK for almost 50 years and based on annual prices for examples  of Victorian furniture published in Price Guide to Victorian Furniture in 1968 compiled by UK antiques expert John Andrews, the figures show that from a base of 100 in 1968, prices for Victorian furniture reached a peak of 3647 in 1998, but had declined to 1515 in 2015 (the latest available data), a decline of 3% on the previous year and its lowest point recorded.

The 2015 index figures may be the last published. The Antique Collectors Club has been publishing a monthly magazine and publishing and distributing antiques and art books since the formation of the "club" in 1966. Actually a business and a club in name only, as there were no elected officials, the business was purchased by Images Publishing of Melbourne in August 2016 who installed new management and replaced John Andrews as editor of the monthly magazine.

Elsewhere in the sale, a fine pair of Aesthetic movement leadlight and stained glass later 19th century panels, (Lot 273 ) each featuring painted storks in a water garden, in hardwood frames, just over 2.5 metres high, made $6,000, hammer, compared with the conservative estimate that was placed on them, sight unseen, by the auction house, of $200-400.

However the bar had been set high by Mossgreen Auctions in Sydney the previous weekend when they sold  a fine quality stained glass panel of lady and falcon in medieval dress titled 'Hawking', for $49,600 (including premium), well above the estimate of $4,000-6,000.

The Philips auction sold 216 of the 323 lots, representing a sell-through rate of 67%.

Sale Referenced: Fine and Decorative Arts, Philips Auctions Australia, Melbourne, 12/02/2017