Romantic plate could be the perfect – if late – Valentine's gift

WHILE in the world of Valentine's gifts "late" rarely equates to "perfect gift" a unique antique plate might be worth holding out a week for.

The early 19th century plate is decorated with an image of two lovers preparing to embrace.

Their dress is 17th century European, as is the setting – which could be 'fair Verona' – but there's something distinctly Oriental about the eyes that gaze into each other.

This plate was produced in China for a European market.

And while the facial features belie its origins, it is no less beautiful.

Experts at Moore Allen & Innocent in Cirencester, where it will be offered at auction on Friday, February 23, expect bids of between £100 and £150.

The plate forms part of a larger collection of Chinese ceramics.

A late 19th century Gu vase decorated with bowls of fruit on tables, which will be sold along with a teapot and pair of smaller vases, commands an estimate of £100 to £150, while a collection of carved soapstone figures, including scholars and animals, from the early 20th century is expected to achieve £80 to £120.

There's also a decent selection of toys, including a couple of battery powered Japanese tin toys sold under the Rosko brand in the mid 1960s.

Charley Weaver the Bar Tender was originally designed to shake a cocktail and pour it into his glass before knocking it back himself, while Pat O'Neill, "the fun loving Irishman" would lift a cigar to his lips and exhale smoke before raising himself from the suitcase on which he sits to his feet.

These toys, though, are being sold as untested.

Anyway, another thoughtful gift idea, perhaps, just in time for St Patrick's Day in March.

A bid of £50 to £80 should secure the lot.

Speaking of gift ideas, there's also a very large collection of boxed Sylvanian Families toys.

A bid of £200 to £300 could keep a parent in anthropomorphic cats, hedgehogs, and rabbits for many birthdays and Christmases to come, and will include the Grand Hotel – which retails new at over £150 – the Field View Windmill and the Pleasure Boat along with numerous cars, furniture sets, and figures.

Staying in the nursery, but moving into the extensive fabrics section of the auction, dozens of lots of brand new, boxed and wrapped children's bedroom furniture, bedding and decorations will be offered for sale with no reserve.

Quality moses baskets, bedding, rugs, bedding, lampshades, pictures, mirrors and teddy bears will all be offered for sale.

From new to old, a genuine all-the-way-from-the-USA 19th century American quilt – hand sewn, roughly patched, re-patched in places, and absolutely brimming with character – commands an estimate of £150 to £200 while, besides dozens of pairs of cotton and silk lined curtains, upholstery, and vintage clothes we return to the Far East, and a Japanese silk kimono decorated with pink flowers and butterflies: a real beauty with an estimate of £80 to £120.

For a full auction catalogue, visit