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Items sold for pounds 2m; Estimated value is smashed.

Byline: Brendan Hughes

RARE Japanese antiques owned by the late Northumberland environmentalist Edward Wrangham sold for more than pounds 2m in a London auction.

One piece from Mr Wrangham's collection - a 19th-Century traditional Japanese case, known as an inro - sold for a record-breaking pounds 162,000 while other lots sold to global collectors for many thousands of pounds over their pre-sale estimates.

The collection was formed by renowned mountaineer and scholar Edward Wrangham OBE, who died in June last year, aged 81.

Mr Wrangham, of Harehope Hall near Alnwick, became interested in art when his uncle, William Wilberforce Winkworth, gave him his first piece at the age of eight.

From then on he continued to add to his collection until his death, gathering works of art from all over the world.

Mr Wrangham, affectionately known as Ted, was widely regarded as the father of the ambitious Kielder Water project in the North Tyne valley. He spent 23 years, from 1959 to 1982, guiding the 200-billion-litre lake development through a succession of public inquiries and environmental objections.

Despite criticism at the time, the lake today attracts more than 250,000 visitors each year and provides clean water for the region.

Mr Wrangham's Japanese antiques have been sold at auctions Bonhams in London.

The collection contained more than 1,000 traditional Japanese gentleman's accessories and sword fittings.

Mr Wrangham's collection of 18-19th century inro proved particularly popular with bidders worldwide.

An inro made of iron sold smashed its pounds 3,000 pre-sale estimate, selling for pounds 96,000 - 32 times greater than expected.

A gold-varnished inro, depicting Japanese poets at work sold for over 10 times its pounds 5,500 pre-sale estimate at pounds 60,000.

Collectors also competed for an 18th century wooden netsuke of a dog. The 3cm-high figurine, traditionally used for secure a pouch to Japanese kimono robes, sold for pounds 38,400.

Senior consultant for Bonham's Japanese Department Neil Davey worked as an apprentice for Mr Wrangham's uncle.

He said: "At that time, Ted was already an established serious collector and, as I came to know him better, I realised that he was one of the most scholarly collectors of his time. I feel proud to have known him and am honoured to have the opportunity of helping to disperse, as he would have wished, his collection to other, like-minded collectors."

Head of the Japanese department Suzannah Yip said: "The collection is not only breathtaking in quantity but also in quality, material and subject matter.

"It is simply the most comprehensive and finest single-owner collection of inro ever to have been offered at auction."

pounds 2m INTRICATE A gold lacquer case by Koami Nagaharu, dated 1852


COLLECTOR Edward Wrangham DAINTY Carved dog by Masanao Kyoto, circa late 18th century INTRICATE A gold lacquer case by Koami Nagaharu, dated 1852
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 12, 2010
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