A fine 19th century leather pot-bellied fishing creel, which sold in 1951 for £1, made £12,000 at Bonhams Henley Sale of fishing equipment and boats on 19 July. Prior to the sale the creel was estimated to sell for £6,000 to £8,000.
Bonhams fishing specialist, Charles Kewley commenting on the price achieved for the creel, says: “This price is a clear signal that period fishing equipment is increasingly sought after and collectable. Previous best prices for period creels have been between £3,000 and £6,000. It is extraordinary that an object sold for £1 in 1951 is now worth £12,000. The two charming stories associated with this creel must be a factor in its value. Collectors range from ordinary fishermen with a passion for their hobby to wealthy fishing enthusiasts who are building serious collections of fish and fishing gear.”
The current owner of the creel bought it as a young lad, aged 10 in 1951, in a summer fete in the Rutland area with the money (20 shillings) he had just won for collecting the most ‘cabbage white’ butterflies, a popular practice in English villages.
This fine 19th century creel holds another interesting story. The heavily stitched leather pot-bellied creel was once owned by William Randell who attended a school for the deaf and dumb in Brighton where his future wife Edith White was also a pupil.
Research has revealed that William Randell was born in Bideford, Devon in 1855 and the census of 1891 declares William, 36, Edith 34, three children and five staff living by their own means at Hestholme, a house very close to the river Yore (Ure) between Aysgarth and Swinithwaite in Yorkshire. William died in 1905.
This wonderful creel has a white painted interior and a brass hinged leather lid embossed with a sun burst pattern. It is fitted with a brass hasp and semi-circular brass plaque engraved with the name and address: W. Randell Aysgarth Yorkshire. The main body of the creel is fitted with five brass plaques dated 1890-94 with details of trout and grayling caught in the respective years and a decorative shaped brass latch.
The Henley sale also featured a charming inboard river launch, `Venetian Poppy’ which sold for £7,820; and a Thames double fitted dinghy `Monks Folly’ sold for £4,025.