Kent auctioneers offer local gateway to international market

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The Canterbury Auction Galleries, is Kent’s premier saleroom for fine art and antiques, operating from premises built in 1911, thought to be the first purpose-designed saleroom outside London. There’s nothing old fashioned about the way the firm operates, though. Today, its two and three-day weekend auctions attract a worldwide audience of both private and Trade buyers, thanks to live Internet bidding platforms, notably its own bespoke,, which is operated in-house and free to use. All serve to achieve prices that consistently match and often exceed those in the big London houses, but without the costs associated with selling in the capital.

Managing Director David Parker  is the specialist valuer of Jewellery and Sporting Guns and Militaria), while Director and Senior Valuer Cliona Kilroy, Specialist Justin Ball (Ceramics and Glass), Edward Smissen (Cataloguer and Trainee Auctioneer) and Consultant, the well-known James Linington, offer vendors the benefit of more than 200 years’ of combined experience.

Professionalism and expertise, combined with local knowledge, makes the level of service offered by The Canterbury Auction Galleries unassailable. A saleroom valuation service every Friday between 10 a.m. and 1 pm continues to uncover rare and valuable objects that fetch consistently high prices. People are invited to take objects to the saleroom for identification and appraisal, a service that is given freely and without obligation, and advice on the suitability of objects for sale and the entire auction process is offered to anyone uncertain about how it works.

Whether you have a house full of furniture and works of art or a lifetime collection of Chinese ceramics, the Canterbury team members are confident they can obtain the best prices possible. Similarly, for the newcomer to buying at auction, staff can assist in the process and give impartial advice on the suitability of pieces on offer. Additionally the company provides a full valuation service for insurance and probate purposes, which is carried out in clients’ homes by Cliona or another member of her fully experienced and qualified staff.

The Canterbury Auction Galleries present six two-day auctions every year, each accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue listing each lot in turn and giving a full description of the objects in the sale. Sales run generally at around 1,500 lots, covering every imaginable antique and collectors’ item from paintings to picture postcards.

To learn more about The Canterbury Auction Galleries, visit the website at or contact Louise Harding, telephone 01227 763337 or by email at Also check out the saelroom’s Facebook and Instagram posts @thecanterburyauctiongalleries. It costs nothing to look and who knows, you might see something to buy and collect!

2022 Highlights

18th-century embroidered Qing cushion

Dating from the 18th century, this Qing dynasty embroidered silk cushion cover from the back of a throne sold for a staggering £26,000. The imperial yellow ground embroidery, now protected in a glazed mahogany frame, was worked in silk and gold threads with a design showing nine dragons poised amid clouds above the terrestrial diagram emerging from rolling waves inside key and scroll borders. It measured 32.5ins (82.5cm) x 37ins (94cm) and was estimated at £3,000-5,000. It was sent for sale from a West Kent vendor whose mother clearly had an eye for fine antiques.

Chinese Kangxi blue and white porcelain bowl

This Chinese Kangxi blue and white porcelain bowl painted with lotus flowers and a six-character mark to its base measured just 6.5ins diameter x 3.25ins high and sold to a UK-based buyer for £11,500 against an estimate of £3,000-5,000. It was sent for sale by the family of a Kent man whose collection was dispersed at The Canterbury Auction Galleries for a total of just over £62,000.

A.E. Halliwell Wimbledon Championships poster

The saleroom dispersed the A.E. Halliwell Studio Collection of vivid period poster artwork from the Twenties and Thirties  on behalf of the family, which was warmly received by collectors and dealers, It raised a total in excess of £90,000, setting a new benchmark for this previously unsold artist. Most wanted among the more than 300 designs, done mostly in gouache, were London Underground commissions. “Lawn Tennis Championship Meetings”, 1.5ins x 18.5ins, which was estimated at £600-800 sold for £3,800.

9th century, 18-carat gold articulated necklace designed as a snake devouring a heart

When Prince Albert proposed to Queen Victoria, he gave her what is now regarded as the very first engagement ring, which was shaped like a serpent, the head set with small rubies, diamonds, and an emerald, her birthstone. In mythology, the snake is an emblem of goodness, wisdom and eternal love and soon, serpent jewellery was all the rage. Recalling the fashion, this 19th century, 18-carat gold articulated necklace designed as a snake devouring a heart set with a small keepsake window, the snake’s head decorated with turquoise and red stones, sold for £2,600 against an estimate of £500-700.