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.

The onward march of technology

28 April 2004

Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer’s premium) hold three Scientific Instruments sale a year but reserve the spring sale for a restricted number of high-quality objects. Tom Newth, head of the department, reports the market picking up in the last six months, with strong competition for microscopes and Islamic astronomical instruments.

Gershwin’s musical sketch book is a $100,000 hit in California

28 April 2004

ONE notable item from the Bonhams & Butterfields sale of March 23 was a rare copy of Jacques Gautier d’Agoty’s colour printed Anatomie de la Tête of 1748 that made $19,000 (£10,220) – but not the top price lot, a Gershwin sketchbook that made $100,000, or indeed several other interesting items.

How steerage proved to be better than First Class…

27 April 2004

IN these days of global marketing and online bidding it is reassuring to know that, just occasionally, with some wit and a little good fortune, one can still make a good wage from a solitary find at the local auction room.

Restorer’s dream sale

27 April 2004

THIS Saturday (May 1) Thomson Roddick & Medcalf will be selling the entire stock-in-trade of Edinburgh restorer and cabinetmaker William Trist at its Esbank saleroom.

Fashion and other optical illusions

22 April 2004

Though the catalogue did contain a selection of antiquarian and collectable books of a general nature, the March 31 sale held by Hampton & Littlewood of Exeter was notable for two specialised collections – the Ron Morris collection of magic lanterns, optical toys and related books and ephemera, and the collection of costume and fashion books formed by the late Janet Hill.

Factors that made an Ugly Woman so attractive

19 April 2004

THE importance of colour to collectors of saltglaze ceramics was emphasised at BBR's (10% buyer's premium) March 7 500-lot specialist sale near Barnsley when the orangey-brown hue and unusual subject matter made an Ugly Woman saltglazed inkwell one of the most desirable entries.

Law change creates headache for coin trade

15 April 2004

THE new money-laundering laws appear inadvertently to have created a problem for the coin trade.

Money in the British bank

15 April 2004

ALTHOUGH most of the finest cast-iron mechanical money banks were made in America (and many of those by J&E Stevens of Connecticut), by 1885 a British company had got in on the act.

What's in the steam age for dealers?

15 April 2004

“ANOTHER glorious array of items from our railway heritage with many record prices,” was Ian Wright’s verdict after Sheffield Railwayana Auctions' (no buyer's premium) specialist March 13 sale, and certainly a sale total of £427,000 with only 16 of the 550 lots unsold would be the envy of most auctioneers, some of whom must be wondering if the railwayana market is ever going to run out of steam.

An underrated library chair is a £5000 best seller

15 April 2004

OF the 830 lots offered in Fieldings (12.5% buyer's premium) February 28 sale, a painting provided the highest price but a chair the biggest surprise.

Dates set as Sotheby’s specialists go it alone from Olympia rooms

06 April 2004

DATES have been announced for the first collectors’ sales to be held at Sotheby’s Olympia by the company’s former in-house specialists, now working independently.

Massive sale proves a staple guide to prices…

01 April 2004

THE massive catalogue of Küncker of Osnabrück (27.22/23 buyer’s premium) devoted to Classical, Byzantine and Islamic coins has fallen onto my desk.

Angling instructions and confessions...

01 April 2004

THE first day of the March 13-14 angling sale held by Mullock Madeley at Ludlow Racecourse was devoted to the literature of the sport. Seen right is one of two complete runs of The Creel from the years 1963-67 that sold at £200 and £210. A set of all bar one of the ...How to Catch Them series, all in dust jackets and all bar the Pike book first editions, sold at £460.

Man and Ape

01 April 2004

Edward Tyson’s Orang-outang, sive homo sylvestris: Or, the anatomy of a pygmiecompared with that of a monkey, an ape, and a man... was the first work to demonstrate scientifically the structural relationships between man and anthropoid ape and one which had a powerful influence on subsequent thoughts on man’s place in nature – albeit the orang-outang on which his work was based was actually a young chimpanzee.

PREVIEW

31 March 2004

A letter written and signed by Jean Harlow, which reveals an unexpectedly sensitive side to Hollywood’s original Blonde Bombshell, will go on sale at Byrne’s of Chester on Wednesday (March 31).

Expansionist policies paying off... Solid day’s buying at Shrewsbury after auctioneers widen appeal to vendors

31 March 2004

WEEKLY antique valuation days at their recently opened estate agency in Welshpool have begun to pay dividends for Shrewsbury-based auctioneers Halls (15% buyer's premium), and specialist Jeremy Lamond hopes that the firm’s presence there will help broaden their Welsh client base.

Sharpe’s the word: TV exposure and changes in rules raise sights of arms buyers

31 March 2004

NOT every auctioneer, and certainly not every dealer, is happy with the coverage given to the antiques trade on television, but Norfolk auctioneers Holts (15% buyer's premium), who hold their specialist sales of antique and sporting guns in the suitably militaristic Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, have cause to be grateful for one TV series.

Anglo-Dutch battle across board for India won at £13,500

23 March 2004

IF the performance of the 52-lot clock section of Bristol Auction Rooms (15% buyer's premium) March 2 sale was anything to go by, this firm’s reputation for selling timepieces is gathering pace.

Wynkyn de Worde’s indulgence and Thomas Bewick’s extra illustrations ...

23 March 2004

THE rarest and probably the earliest piece of printing in a February 26 sale held by Pacific Book Auctions of San Francisco, the papal indulgence from Wynkyn de Worde’s press seen right, was bid to $13,000 (£6890), but there were some other early items in the collection of editions of Aesop’s Fables formed by the late Dr Margaret Rose Quentin that opened the auction.

Binding for Columbus

23 March 2004

JUST two of the 600 or so lots that made up a March 2 sale of books and prints held by John Nicholson of Fernhurst, Surrey, managed four figure bids – a binding and a postcard album.

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