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.

Schotten gunning for the country set

09 October 2003

WHEN it comes to the traditional English country house nothing is more redolent of the look of the Victorian and Edwardian periods than the old tack and gun rooms of the country lodge, replete with saddles, whips, boots and mounted trophies such as perch and stag.

Bound to sell, a catalogue winner

09 October 2003

ONE of the best-known figures at quality fairs, Marlborough, Wiltshire period furniture specialist William Cook has just published his third catalogue, and I must say it is as good an example of its type as I have seen all year. Not only is it superbly produced with excellent illustrations, but Billy Cook’s long captions are an informative and enjoyable read.


A real corker! Harvey's Wine Museum Sale

04 October 2003

FOR Harvey's read Bristol Cream, but there is far more to this celebrated brand than the nation’s best known sherry.

Nostalgia pulls in the private buyers as British seaside scenes do well

23 September 2003

TRAVEL POSTERS: The annual travel poster sale held by Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) usually enjoys a keen collectors’ following, with buyers drawn by the evocative nostalgia and romance of a bygone age when the train rather than the car was the principal method of reaching one’s holiday destination.

£9200 for The Chimes that Dickens gave to a man who struck back

23 September 2003

THERE were very few books in the September 9 antiques sale held by Sworders of Stansted Mountfitchett, but one of them was a copy of Charles Dickens’ The Chimes that was signed and inscribed to a man with whom Dickens was later to become involved in a tiresome and disagreeable round of threats of litigation – an episode that was categorised in the title of a 1996 American book on the subject as The Charles Dickens-Thomas Powell Vendetta.

Gilt-edged ormolu security...

10 September 2003

Matthew Boulton: Ormolu by Nicholas Goodison, published by Christie’s and available from the Antique Collectors’Club. Tel: 01394 389950 ISBN 0903432706 £85hb

Ludgrove’s plan 2004 tour after well-played London test

05 September 2003

The market for cricket memorabilia is dominated by Australian and UK collectors who battle every summer for the best entries in London’s major June and July sporting sales. This year Melbourne-based Ludgrove’s (15% buyer’s premium) joined the major houses and held a Literary, Historical and Sporting sale on July 29 at St James DeVere Cavendish Hotel.

Look after the pennies!

05 September 2003

It is such an obvious thing to do that it is surprising that there not similar dispersals to that of the Colin Adams collection of English pennies (1797-1970) at Spink (17.65% buyer’s premium) on July 23. It required 375 lots to cover this collection and so we are furnished with a price guide for what is surely a popular if relatively elementary passion.  

Still in the Fab Four’s shadow

05 September 2003

Rock and Pop memorabilia: Memorabilia relating to The Beatles may routinely command the highest prices in the Rock and Pop collectors’ market, but Bonhams Knightsbridge (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) gambled that the Fab Four’s enthusiasts would also be interested in the 95 lots relating to Stuart Sutcliffe, the fifth Beatle, in their 505-lot entertainment auction on July 29.

Rock and film memorabilia sale preview

05 September 2003

The Stuart Sutcliffe archive received a lukewarm reception at Bonhams Knightsbridge, but Sotheby’s Olympia (20/12% buyer’s premium) are hoping a stamp design by his famous art college friend, John Lennon, will generate more frenzied bidding in their 201-lot Rock ’n’ Roll and Film Memorabilia sale on September 24.

Lewis & Clark and that highly significant overland map...

27 August 2003

Though no direct relationship has yet been established, there are very obvious similarities between the manuscript map reproduced right and one of the more significant maps in American history, the engraved map, right lower, found in the History of the Expedition under the Commands of Captains Lewis and Clark... in 1804-06.

Coming up at Thomas Mawer & Sons.....

26 August 2003

THE fascinating pocket sundial, right, dated to 1585 and attributed to the Elizabethan mapmaker Augustine Ryther (1550-93) is to be offered on September 25 at the Lincoln rooms of Thomas Mawer & Sons. Although Ryther was better known for his map engraving, he also created a number of high quality brass instruments, of which only two have so far been documented.

Buckling under limited demand

26 August 2003

Buckles come in all shapes, sizes and materials and are small, decorative and cheap. The earliest examples date to medieval times and their rise and fall in fashion mirrors movements in social history. Buckles come in all shapes, sizes and materials and are small, decorative and cheap. The earliest examples date to medieval times and their rise and fall in fashion mirrors movements in social history.

Arms and arcana

20 August 2003

Craft and Conflict: Masonic Trench Art and Military Memorabilia by Mark JR Dennis and Nicholas Saunders, published by Savannah Publications in association with The Library and Museum of Freemasonry. ISBN 1902366166. From bookshops or from the Freemasons Hall, Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ at £8.75 including p&p. Phone orders on 020 7395 9329 (Mon-Fri).

VC boosts total to £1m

20 August 2003

Well, it’s happened at last! The first £1million sale of campaign medals and awards (ODM) has taken place. It took Dix Noonan Webb (15% buyer’s premium) 1155 lots to disperse this assemblage. The total was £1,013,510 and this is the hammer total so there was no fudging with the buyer’s premium to jack the total over the magic number.

The Hobbit reaches £40,000 at Sotheby's.

20 August 2003

Last summer Sotheby’s took a bid of £36,000 on a copy of the 1937 first edition of The Hobbit inscribed in October of that year to Tolkien’s Aunt Jane; this summer they raised £40,000 for a copy that he had inscribed at the time of publication.

Star Wars figures make £8720 at Vectis

19 August 2003

Working in a newsagent’s shop in Flint, Wales, a generous grandmother decided to buy her grandson a complete set of the five-inch tall Star Wars figures when they originally came onto the market in 1977. She bought one complete set for her grandson to play with but kept a second set back in case any of the figures became lost, hiding the toys away in a cupboard where they remained for more than 25 years.

Cupboard love

12 August 2003

Given that they were sold in such massive quantities, Beatles singles remain relatively common and few command more than £10-20 each – unless of course they have a more personal connection with the Fab Four.

Philip Smith’s Lord of the Rings book wall, a new type of art object, sells for £130,000

12 August 2003

A small selection of striking and dramatic bookbindings by Philip Smith offered at Sotheby’s as part of their July 10 English Literature & History sale was not a complete success. In fact, five of the six lots failed to sell, but the most important of them, catalogued as “the greatest and most celebrated postwar English bookbinding” brought a bid of £130,000 from a collector.

In tune with a Kroon in June

31 July 2003

The two days of June 24 and 25 were occupied by a general sale (1895 lots) hosted by Dix Noonan Webb. The vast collection of British coins has been dispersed by Spink and latterly DNW at intervals over about the last decade. I was particularly struck by the English royal arms on the reverse of a very nice example of the gold Edward VI sovereign. A sensible estimate of £4000-5000 was suggested. It made £5800.