The owner of a ceramics collection is celebrating after pieces fetched £250,000 in a Lichfield auction. Richard Winterton Auctioneers sold off the 250-piece collection of early Derby ceramics on August 20. The entire collection sold for record prices, supporting the theory that top-end fine art is bucking the recession. The collection came to be sold after a phone call to Adrian Rathbone, Associate at the Auction House. He explained: “I received a call asking me if I would like to try and sell some ceramics. Naturally I said yes and we collected about 20 boxes of bubble wrapped ceramics from the Staffordshire client. We had no idea what was in the boxes until we started carefully unwrapping the contents. It was a bit like Christmas as every piece emerging turned out to be a rare and early example of Derby and Chelsea porcelain dating from the eighteenth century. There were numerous figures, tea pots, coffee pots, tea cups and plates. It was a valuer’s dream come true.” The mammoth task of cataloguing and photographing every item took many weeks of painstaking research. Many of the figures have names and had to be correctly identified with the help of the Derby Museum. The run-up to the sale resulted in a huge response from specialist dealers and collectors who travelled from all of the country for the private and public viewing days. Many took a whole day to assess the condition of each piece, astonished by the sheer quantity and quality of the collection. The packed saleroom on the auction day was buzzing with excitement and a bank of telephone bidders were also at the ready. Richard Winterton took the auction selling every lot within two hours. Among the items sold were a pair of c.1750’s Derby boars attributed to Andrew Planche at £4,400 and a rare eighteenth century butter boat also bid to £4,400. A seated figure of a hare took £4,000 and a Chelsea mug painted with an owl fetched £6,000.