At times of political upheaval and crisis you could do worse than invest in gold.
Once again, its price has zoomed northwards of $1,000 an ounce as other commodities are ditched for some of the hard stuff. It’s no surprise. Negative interest rates – or charges – are increasing for deposits, and money is being diverted to other assets.
So to a piece of Scottish-related gold – and I challenge you to find me a more elegant example.
This is a finely-woven gold mesh purse, which appeared last month at Chiswick Auctions in London.
Dating to around 1908, and in a polished 9 carat gold frame, suspended from a curb-link chain with a finger ring for hanging on to it for dear life, it was offered in its original fitted case by Aird & Thomson of Buchanan Street, Glasgow.
The interior of the purse was inscribed ‘MRS ROBERT C. MARSHALL. BURNTSHIELDS. KILBARCHAN.’
Robert Cowan Marshall was a wealthy Glasgow manufacturer by the time he acquired the historic house Burntshields in 1896. The origins of the house dated from the mid-16th century, the land upon which it stands having been gifted by Robert the Bruce for service at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Marshall was well known for his involvement in the world of high-stepping Hackney horses, including breeding a mare at Burntshields which made a world record price when she was sold in 1916.
Upon his death in 1935, his son, Ian Marshall, inherited the estate. A bon viveur, he enjoyed a life centred around Clyde racing yachts and fast cars.
The purse sold for a mid-estimate £720. I hope such a bonny thing continues to enjoy the odd outing.
Gold mesh purse, £720 (Chiswick Auctions).