No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
I first met Alan Wagstaff in the mid 1960s when he became an enthusiastic though infrequent visitor to the Horological Students' Room in the British Museum. His interest in old clocks was already kindled, and it was obvious that here was a man who deserved encouragement. Over the next forty years our friendship and trust developed, although I cannot claim to have known him really well as he would insist on talking about clocks almost to the exclusion of any other topic. He seldom mentioned his work or family in conversation, and I had to build on a few snippets of personal information he let fall.
Initially Alan's ambitions as a fledgling clock collector were not clear. However, I judged that his interests were generally confined to English clockmaking, that he appreciated good craftsmanship, and was excited by complexity. I assumed that turret clocks would have no appeal to him, so I was therefore surprised to find that he had amassed five excellent and interesting examples over the years. I also realised that he had very strong opinions on how a clock should look, and this gave rise to several good-natured debates on how far a restoration should be carried forward.
Although it is natural for any collector to be impressed by "famous makers", Alan was not initially influenced by the name on the dial. If it seemed likely that a particular maker would be forever elusive, then another clock by one of that maker's apprentices or school would be acceptable. Later, good commercial instincts, sound business acumen and shrewd investments allowed him to stretch his ambitions and from the early 1990s he was able to consider clocks from the second half of the 17th Century and by such makers as Tompion, Graham, Knibb and Fromanteel. Many of his purchases were made privately, but I gradually became more involved after my own retirement, attending auction views, advising and bidding on his behalf.
By the start of the new millenium, the Collection was beginning to reach its final form, although subsitutions and fresh aquisitions were still being made. Installed in the splendid surroundings of Alan's home at The Old Hall, Grassington, North Yorkshire, the Collection effectively traced the history of English clockmaking from the 1670s to the late 19th Century, albeit with the occasional eclectic departure from the main theme. In an attempt to broaden the history of the Collection, Alan's final purchase was the small renaissance table clock (lot 64), which we had both known about since the 1960s. This was to lead to further diversification into the realms of early Continental horology.
It was sensible and typical of Alan to insist that his entire Collection should be sold at auction subsequent to his death. The sale will release a large variety of clocks from all periods and will ensure that clock collectors from all over the world will find something of interest. Concluding on a personal note, I shall miss our conversations on the telephone, at sale views and over the occasional pub lunch, but I am glad to be linked in a small way with bringing a relatively unknown collector's achievements to a wider audience.
Beresford Hutchinson F.B.H.I.
The Collection of the Late Alan Wagstaff Esq.