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.

No flight of fancy

07 November 2002

In May 1919 New Yorker Raymond Orteig offered a $25,000 prize for the first non-stop aeroplane flight from New York to Paris. In the ensuing eight years dozens of people managed to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air, but no one met Orteig’s criteria until eight years later when on May 20-21, 1927 Charles A. Lindbergh made the longest non-stop, heavier-than-air transatlantic flight in his plane, the Spirit of St Louis.

Disaster of a collection, triumph of a sale

05 November 2002

FINE ART buyers may recoil from bloodied dead game or memento mori skulls on still lifes, but the rest of the market knows no such delicacy. Death and disaster, after a suitable lapse of time, become marketing opportunities, as was demonstrated at the Chiswick rooms of Harmers (15% buyer’s premium) on October 22 when their wide reputation as philately auctioneers brought them the remarkable Günther Heyd Disaster Mail collection from Germany.

Pleased to do their duty by Nelson

30 October 2002

Few historic characters are guaranteed to generate more interest than the one-armed, one-eyed figure of Britain’s most celebrated admiral, Lord Nelson. Sotheby’s (19.5/10% buyer’s premium), Bond Street, 93-lot auction of Nelson memorabilia from the Alexander Davison collection sold on Trafalgar Day (October 21) to a room so packed that buyers had to spill over into an adjacent gallery.

Bligh relics acquired by National Maritime Museum, but it is not all plain sailing and there were other…

30 October 2002

Pick of the Bligh relics sold at Christies King Street last month was the cup that he used to hold his meagre rations of bread and water, a coconut shell that bears his incised initials, the date April 1789 and, inscribed in ink around the rim, the words “The Cup I eat my miserable allowance of”.

Valuable stolen atlases were broken up and maps sold off

28 October 2002

UK: A man who stole two extremely rare atlases to remove maps and sell them individually over the Internet has been jailed for 15 months.

Guide to signs of the times

23 October 2002

Masonic Memorabilia for Collectors by Bill Jackman, published by Gemini Publications. ISBN 0953063720 £17.95sb.

Duke’s uniform success

22 October 2002

This full dress uniform of an officer from the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding regiment, right, was an important diversion from the main proceedings at Duke’s auction in Dorchester. Under normal circumstances this would have been a standard lot of textile militaria for the trade, but this uniform actually belonged to the sixth Duke of Wellington and had passed by descent to the vendor.

The History of Quantum Theory and the Theory of Relativity

17 October 2002

On October 4, Christie’s New York sold the Harvey Plotnick Library on ‘The History of Quantum Physics and the Theory of Relativity’ for a premium-inclusive total of $1.78m (£1.15m).

Nelson’s crest on a farewell wave

17 October 2002

Shot by a sniper when aboard HMS Victory at the crowning moment of his career, Admiral Lord Nelson is without doubt Britain’s finest maritime hero. When news of his death, after triumping at the Battle of Trafalgar, reached London George III made the decision to break with tradition and give Nelson a state funeral.

Coming up in Rugby...

11 October 2002

“A fine and rare Märklin gauge III spirit fired live steam locomotive with tender and two hand-painted coaches... presented to the Tsar Nicholas II on the occasion of the Russian royal family’s state visit to Paris in 1905...complete with unpublished photograph of the Tsar and Tsarevich in the hotel”.

Heirisson’s 1801 Swan River map sells for £160,000 as part of the £1.57m Freycinet Collection

08 October 2002

Bligh relics sold as part of the Travel Week at Christie’s, attracted national media headlines, but the most successful of this series of four sales was the Freycinet Collection, which on September 26 raised a premium-inclusive total of £1.57m.

Philip Marlowe & Nero Wolfe

08 October 2002

RAYMOND CHANDLER’S Philip Marlowe first appeared in The Big Sleep of 1939, and the copy seen above right, in a slightly chipped and torn jacket, sold for $8000 (£5160) in Pt. II of the ‘Detective Fiction Library of Richard M.Lackritz’, sold by Christie’s New York on September 24, but Chandler was not the writer who enjoyed the greatest success.

A welcome sense of horror in the saleroom

08 October 2002

Vintage Film Posters: For some people there is nothing more enjoyable than watching a late-night horror movie alone in pitch darkness. The fascination with terror extends to the world of vintage film posters where horror is the most sought-after genre.

Fruits of the earth yield top prices

08 October 2002

With the antiquities market suffering from high prices and criminal scandals and a shortage of good material, it is no real surprise that collectors have turned to natural, as opposed to man-made, artefacts of greater age and, arguably, equal beauty.

AA books and a garage sale find

08 October 2002

Two copies of Alcoholics Anonymoussigned by the founder of movement, Bill Wilson, were among the more successful lots in an August 15 Pacific Book Auctions sale of ‘Books in all Fields’.

Too much to swallow – the fish, not the story

03 October 2002

Fishermen’s tales are usually too tall to swallow, and the following account of a frenzied struggle on a Dorset riverbank in May 1912 would be scarcely credible were it not for the stuffed and cased evidence, right.

Still a dreamboat at 101

03 October 2002

It’s difficult to imagine how many children and would-be children have enjoyed a trip on this very original ride since it was first constructed by Savage Bros Ltd of Kings Lynn in 1901. Known as Harry Lee’s Famous Steam Double Yacht Ride, its two yachts, Columbia and Shamrock, carry an impressive capacity of 30 passengers.

Gypsy heritage heads home at £24,000

03 October 2002

Internationally recognised specialist carriage auctioneers Thimbleby & Shoreland (6% buyer’s premium) rated their quarterly outing on September 4 outing in Reading as one of their best yet. “We were lucky to have quite a few pieces in the sale which were a bit different,” said specialist Sarah Needham.

Sermons are Awakening

03 October 2002

THEY LIKE a good sermon in this part of the world and in this September sale, a 1611 (seventh or eighth?) edition of the sermons of Henry Smith, a puritan divine who was known as “silver-tongued Smith”, and whose collected wisdom first appeared in print in 1592, sold at £320 (Humber) in a binding of contemporary calf gilt, while a 350pp manuscript collection of sermons, this time bound in 19th century calf, made £1100 (Lachman).

A cup that pours forth joy and sorrow in equal measure

01 October 2002

THE Coppa Italia is the Italian equivalent of the English FA cup. When the example shown right was won by Torino in 1943 it was the second occasion on which they had taken home the trophy.

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