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.

Coin trade baffled by sale conundrum

17 December 2002

HOW can coins being sold on the rostrum in New York be sitting safely locked up in London and elsewhere at the same time? That is the conundrum facing the coins and medals world following the publication of a catalogue and results from a sale organised in New York by Riccardo Paolucci, a Yorkshire-based Italian dealer.

Do not lose your marbles…

13 December 2002

ONE of the most bizarre and unexpected results at Tennants’ sale in North Yorkshire on 21-22 December involved a collection of more than 200 19th century marbles, a selection of which are shown right.

Thumb’s up for grabs

13 December 2002

Pint-sized dealers might be interested in getting hold of this immaculate little suit in black wool and cream cotton, measuring just 2ft 1in (63cm) from collar to trouser bottom, which is being offered by Bonhams in Knowle on December 11.

A Stack of coins…

11 December 2002

Attentive readers of the Antiques Trade Gazette will remember the sale of the Lawrence R. Stack collection of English medieval coins at Sotheby’s in April 1999. He also had a good collection of French coins from the time of Henri IV (1589-1610) to about Waterloo. These were dispersed by Hess-Divo (15% buyer’s premium) in Zurich on October 24 in 380 lots.

Kelso gypsies, Walt Whitman and a hidden Dr Johnson

11 December 2002

ONE of the more expensive lots in this Cumbrian sale at Thomson Roddick & Medcalf on 6 November was an 1881 [Philadelphia] limited edition of the Complete Poems and Prose of Walt Whitman. An ex-library copy in well worn cloth and bearing a typescript note that it was bought “...at the sale of the library of the late Lord Rosebery”, it made £920. Some copies are signed, but the catalogue referred only to a manuscript limitation statement.

Beano achieves the highest price ever paid for a British comic

11 December 2002

The Beano and Dandy were the first British comics to be published entirely in colour when they appeared within months of each other in 1938. With a cover price of two old pennies, this first edition Beano achieved the highest price ever paid for a British comic when bidding closed at Comic Book Postal Auctions in London last week.

An unabashedly Copernican treatise

28 November 2002

A PRE-VESALIAN anatomy and a pioneering German surgical treatise are featured in the caption story below, while among the other scientific texts in an October 2 sale of early printed books held by Swanns were two important works by Kepler.

Blowing its own trumpet at last

28 November 2002

In the warm dirge of the Victorian brass band, this serpentine instrument was king of the pumping bassline. But the sad journey of the ophicleide from fame to obscurity in a little under 50 years illustrated the pace of musical change in the 19th century.

Fab Four at a fab price

21 November 2002

WHILE the bubble may be bursting in some fields of collecting, Beatlemania looks like remaining a safe bet for a long time to come. The latest eye-popping bid for a piece of the Fab Four came on eBay when this 1968 Yellow Submarine bubble gum store display box, right, complete with 40 original, mint condition Beatles gum packs made £15,100.

Your chance to acquire the King’s crown…

15 November 2002

For all those fans who ever longed to run their fingers through Elvis Presley’s hair, now there’s a chance. While locks or strands of Elvis’ boot-polished black hair have been sold in the past, one of more than 1400 memorabilia lots in a sale closing on November 14-15 on www.mastronet.com is something just a bit special.

Tally ho!

07 November 2002

The imminent sale at Bloomsbury Book Auctions this Thursday (November 7) will feature a late 15th century French illustrated manuscript of the most important treatise on hunting of the Middle Ages, shown right. Gaston Phébus’ Livre de la Chasse and Livre de l’Ordre de Chevallerie, illuminated manuscript on paper, bound in 17th-century calf, in modern morocco-backed cloth case is estimated at £250,000-300,000.

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.

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