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.


Henry III takes over the royal reins

14 October 2004

AN October 21 sale of historical documents and letters to be held in Ludlow by Mullock Madeley includes a vellum document of 1227, witnessed by Hugh de Burgh, in which Henry III grants the right in perpetuity to hold an annual fair to the Prior and Canons of St Mary Magdelene of Combwell (on the Kent/Sussex borders).


Where visual appeal adds to the price...

14 October 2004

JUST before the onslaught of numismatic sales in London, there have been a number of interesting dispersals abroad.


John Davis (?) and Nares in Arctic waters

14 October 2004

THE portrait of John Davis seen right – if it is indeed the man after whom the straits between Greenland and Baffin Island are named – was far and away the earliest of the Arctic lots on offer, but not the most expensive.


Coenwulf is king again as unique penny takes £200,000

13 October 2004

RIGHT: London auctioneers Spink’s pre-sale billing of this Anglo Saxon gold penny as ”the most important discovery in British numismatics for many years” gained tangible endorsement last week when they sold it for £200,000 – a new record for an English coin.


A well-travelled gift to a friend

13 October 2004

THE chronicles of Captain Cook and his perils on the high seas of the South Pacific, possess a mixture of action, adventure, discovery, science and romance that is enough to capture the most hardened imagination.


Estimates demolished as buyers identify two rarities: £5200 bid for 3oz cup marks current demand for Guild work

13 October 2004

PROVINICIAL auctioneers may no longer be able to bank on a solid furniture take-up to keep business ticking over (the 162-lot furniture section at Bruton Knowles (15% buyer's premium) on September 16 fielded the lion’s share of casualties), but at least they can rely on unusual, commercial or quality entries still selling at a premium.

£160,000 in the Will

13 October 2004

THE sale of a Shakespeare First Folio is a rare event, but the sale of a copy that emerged out of nowhere is something that comes around only once in a generation.

Novelties add value to animal attractions

13 October 2004

AS is often the case at regular provincial auctions these days, proceedings at Abbotts Auction Rooms' (12% buyer's premium) otherwise fairly routine, 438-lot September 8 sale were enlivened by a couple of novel entries.

Shakespeare but no will

07 October 2004

“EVERY auction house’s dream” is how Rupert Powell, managing director of Bloomsbury Auctions, described the discovery of a Shakespeare First Folio that will provide a fitting centrepiece for the company’s 500th sale on Thursday October 7.

The Vagabond, starring William Godwin as ‘Stupeo’

29 September 2004

IT was a third edition of 1799, slightly foxed and browned and lacking the half titles, but the copy of George Walker’s novel The Vagabond seen in a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of August 19 was in a contemporary calf gilt binding and it sold at £400 (C.R. Johnson).

Virgil translated

29 September 2004

FIRST edition copies of John Martyn’s translations of Virgil’s Georgicks (1741) and Bucolicks (1749), both illustrated with coloured plates and maps and bound in contemporary calf, made £500 in a September 17 sale held by John Bellman of Billingshurst.

Welsh history continued

29 September 2004

IN rebacked old panelled calf, a 1584 first edition of Welsh historian David Powell’s “corrected, augmented and continued” version of the Historie of Cambria, now called Wales left in manuscript form by Hugh Lhuyd, was sold for £1350 in a Lawrences of Crewkerne sale of July 6.

A natural history selection

29 September 2004

IN Antiques Trade Gazette No.1655, I illustrated a first octavo edition of Audubon’s Birds of America, 1840-44, that sold for $48,000 (£25,920) in a May sale held by Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In their August 21-22 sale they had another, half morocco bound and rather better looking set – one originally sold by Clarendon Harris, a book dealer of Worcester, Mass – which made $64,000 (£35,200).

A fine and Dandy state of affairs in comic circles

29 September 2004

NATIONAL media coverage has ensured that most people will have heard about the copy of Dandy No.1, complete with Express Whistler that set a British comic auction record of £18,500 in the Comic Book Postal Auctions sale that ended on September 7.

Stair closes, Quaritch sold

29 September 2004

AFTER 93 years trading in the West End, celebrated English furniture dealers Stair & Company Ltd closed their doors last month.


Cast your mind back 700 years – or even further

29 September 2004

“IN my 30 years in the business I’ve not seen anything like this before,” said Neil Freeman, of Angling Auctions. “I’ve checked everywhere, but I can’t find anything like it.”

Justices of the Peace

29 September 2004

BOUND in full calf, a 1579-80 edition of John Kitchin’s The Authoritie of al Justices of Peace... was sold for £700 in a Lawrences of Crewkerne sale of July 6.

Batchelor’s Directory in favour of marriage

29 September 2004

SOLD for £2200 (C.R. Johnson) at Bloomsbury Auctions on August 19 was a Batchelor’s Directory.., a work. of 1694, which goes on to describe itself as ...a treatise on the excellence of marriage; of its necessity, and the means to live happy in it: together with an apology for the women against the calumnies of the men. Bound in contemporary red morocco gilt, this first edition was catalogued as “a dedication copy from the author”, but to whom, we are not told.

Refurbished Leviathan

29 September 2004

IN rebacked and refurbished contemporary calf, the copy of Hobbes’ Leviathan... seen at a Dominic Winter sale of August 25 was a 1651 first edition, but both the engraved additional title and main printed title were cut down and relaid, the folding table was torn and repaired and there was some browning and dampstaining.


Philip Miller’s Figures total $14,000

29 September 2004

SOMETHING I overlooked when compiling my principal natural history round-ups of the summer was a copy of ‘Philip Miller’s Gardener’s Dictionary’ – or at least that was how it was described in a 10 word entry in the catalogue of a May 21-23 sale held by Northeast Auctions of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.