Collectables

The term ‘collectables’ (or collectibles) encompasses a vast range of items in fields as diverse as arms, armour and militaria, bank notes, cameras, coins, entertainment and sporting memorabilia, stamps, taxidermy, wines and writing equipment.

Some collectables are antiques, others are classed as retro, vintage or curios but all are of value to the collector. In any of these fields, buyers seek out rarities and items with specific associations.

Chronicle of Fortingall

Sixteenth century Scottish Highlands manuscript bought by Edinburgh museum

08 June 2021

A 16th century manuscript has been bought by The National Libraries of Scotland at auction.

Constable watercolour

‘Elegy’ from 1836 reveals original John Constable watercolours

07 June 2021

Discovered lying unrecognised on a bookcase in a Sussex cottage, a unique edition of Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard will be offered at Gorringe’s this month with a £100,000-150,000 estimate.

First World War Kitchener image

Pick of the week: The Kitchener call to arms that inspired a classic poster design

07 June 2021

The stern face, luxurious moustache and pointing finger are instantly familiar – but the message below Kitchener’s intense gaze not so.

Medals

Battle of Britain medal groups hit six figures

07 June 2021

Two impressive Battle of Britain medal groups offered a day apart at separate auctions both took six-figure sums.

Cigarette case

Present from Thai king to King of Rock ‘n’ Roll

07 June 2021

A combination cigarette case and lighter given to Elvis Presley by the king of Thailand sold for six times its top estimate.

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Map of Arabia and the Gulf and others break estimate boundaries in Oxford saleroom

07 June 2021

Captain EF Hunter’s 'Map of Arabia and The Persian Gulf' was one of the lots fetching sums considerably in advance of what looked to be quite modest estimates in an Oxford book sale.

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Fourteenth century ivory casket offered at Normandy auction

07 June 2021

Auction house Prunier in Louviers, Normandy, has a long tradition of holding sales of Haute Epoque or early works of art.

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David Lloyd George takes on foxy features

07 June 2021

Based on a slightly earlier American original called The Landlords Game, this example of Brer Fox an’ Brer Rabbit dates to 1913.

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‘Living saint’ Einstein proves he is not always deadly serious

07 June 2021

Sold for $42,500 (£30,795) was a very appealing Einstein lot that offered a short but amusing letter dating from November 1928 and a signed photo-portrait.

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Medal marks a springboard moment for Arts & Crafts

07 June 2021

A recent sale at Gildings (20% buyer’s premium) of Market Harborough included a number of medals of historical interest.

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Example of 'the first American board game' sold in San Francisco

07 June 2021

The Travellers Tour through the United States of 1822 was once described as the first American board game.

British and Irish book auctions: June 8-19, 2021

07 June 2021

Our regular listing of UK and Irish book auctions.

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Postcards of Cumbrian life (and loss of life)

07 June 2021

Trying to set a water-speed record is one of sport’s most hazardous competitions – with a high fatality rate as a result.

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Victoria Cross awarded for heroic defensive feat 'ranking alongside Rorke's Drift' comes for sale

05 June 2021

A unique Victoria Cross group of medals for “a feat that probably ranks alongside Rorke’s Drift in the history of famous defences against overwhelming odds” is estimated at £300,000-400,000 at London auction house Dix Noonan Webb on June 23.

Cigar butt

How much for a cigar butt?

01 June 2021

The answer, last week, was £3500.

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Master forger Mark Hofmann's infamous work comes to auction

31 May 2021

The 'Oath of a Freeman', one of the most infamous forgeries in US history, heads to auction at Heritage this month. It comes for sale from Justin Schiller, the antiquarian bookseller who in 1985 attempted to broker its sale for $1.5m.

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Museum hopes to buy Brontë manuscripts at Sotheby’s

31 May 2021

The Brontë museum hopes to raise funds to buy rare manuscripts from a rediscovered library collection coming up for sale at Sotheby’s.

Royal Academy of Music

Music academy promises historical instruments will be kept

31 May 2021

The Royal Academy of Music has said it has no plans to sell or dispose of any of its historic instruments after national media reported it was looking into ‘decolonialising’ its collection.

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Bureau cabinet rated highly as Mainz ‘masterpiece’ example

31 May 2021

Distinctive bureau cabinet form could have been intended for presentation to the guild.

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Chaucer and Newton make it big at Bonhams

31 May 2021

Famous Kelmscott edition and copies of unpublished letters both attract strong bidding at Bonhams' books sale

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