Scarborough auction this week for family collection of jeweller-watchmaking dynasty begun by Samuel Sharpe

The private family collection of an historic jeweller-watchmaking dynasty is up for auction in Scarborough this week.

Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:14 pm
Updated Monday, 17th August 2020, 4:18 pm

The collection has been sent for sale by executors handling the estate of a Bridlington man who was a descendant of goldsmith Samuel Sharpe, who went into business in 1790 in Retford, Nottinghamshire.

His son, grandson and great grandson kept the firm going through the Regency, the reign of Queen Victoria, the Edwardian period and on into the 20th century.

The family’s links with Retford and the jewellery trade finally came to an end in the 1920s when another Samuel Sharpe bought a farm in East Yorkshire.

Left: An early 20th century 18-carat gold ladies fob watch from the Sharpe collection. Right: A Victorian gold curb chain bracelet.

The extensive private family collection of jewellery and watches has been passed down in the family for over a hundred years.

The Sharpe Collection is to account for almost a quarter of the lots going under the hammer in the Jewellery, Watches, Silver and Coins Auction at the David Duggleby Salerooms in Scarborough on Thursday August 20.

Duggleby jewellery specialist Charlie Ward said: “We don’t have anything going back quite as far as 1790 but the collection does include some beautiful pieces dating from the second half of the 19th century onwards.

“This was a period when the Sharpes were producing some particularly fine watches and we have a number of them in the auction.

Edwardian Style: A multi-gem necklace.

"The collection includes an 18-carat gold pocket watch that was made in 1880 by Samuel Sharpe, grandson of the founder. We wound it up and, after 140 years, it started ticking away.”

“Another of Samuel’s timepieces is a pretty 18-carat gold ladies pocket watch dating from from 1888. As was the common practice at the time, he made the movement and bought-in the case from a London goldsmith."

As well as items made by the family, the collection also contains jewellery they sold including rings, bracelets pendants and necklaces, many in their original boxes.

She added: “The quality and the variety of the Sharpe pieces would make this a standout collection at any time but to have the connection to the jeweller-dynasty that actually made and sold these treasures back in the Victorian period is very special.”

An 18-carat gold ladies pocket watch made by Samuel Sharpe in 1888.

In total the auction extends to 278 lots.

The sale includes rings that are expected to make multiple thousands of pounds including two emerald and diamond rings that each have pre-sale estimates of £2,000-£4,000, two ruby and diamond rings that are each expected to make £3,000-£4,000 and an aquamarine and diamond ring with a pre-sale guide of £2,000-3,000.

The full auction catalogue is available at

The viewing sessions are on Tuesday 18 August (10am-4pm), Wednesday (10am – 6pm) and on Thursday (20th) from 9am until the start of the auction at 11am.

Bidding is at The Vine Street Salerooms on the day or online via the live webcast, available for those who pre-register on the website

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