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.

Secondhand copy of first hand first

20 August 2001

AMONG the earlier travel books in the June 14 sale held by Pacific Book Auctions was a 1632 first edition of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s famous first-hand account of the conquest of Mexico, Historia Verdadera de la Conquesta de la Nueva-España. An ex-Nottingham Free Library copy in a 20th century quarter morocco binding, it had stamps to the title and other pages and a few other shortcomings of condition, but it is an important work and sold at $5000 (£3625).

English fire power – Lucknow style

20 August 2001

UK: One of the highlights of Christie’s South Kensington’s antique arms and armour sale on July 19 was this interesting Indian-made group, comprising pistols and a sporting gun from the Lucknow Arsenal.

Rashi’s commentaries – the pristine version?

14 August 2001

Written in northern France around 1200, apparently by a scribe called Jacob, this vellum manuscript of Solomon ben Isaac Rashi’s Commentary on the Prophets (II Samuel 22:1 to Zechariah 6:13) is incomplete, but Rashi (1040-1105) was responsible for the most important and influential Hebrew biblical commentary of the Middle Ages and this is one of the two or three oldest extant manuscripts of Rashi’s commentaries on the Prophets.

It was cheaper in the 1930s...

14 August 2001

Probably written within a generation of the death (in 1279) of the author, Conrad of Saxony, a charming and almost perfectly preserved manuscript containing his Speculum Mariae Virginis and other sermons or texts in praise of the Virgin was another of the highlights of the manuscripts from the Ritman collection sold at Sotheby’s – and one with a distinguished provenance.

Valderrama’s big hitter ensures well-timed golf sales still have some swing

14 August 2001

On the eve of the Open Golf Championship every old swinger in the global village pitches up to the series of golfing memorabilia sales held in Chester and London on July 15 & 16.

£700,000 for Simon Bening’s miniature Hours

14 August 2001

Shown right is a previously unknown miniature Book of Hours illuminated by Simon Bening, whose contemporary reputation as “the best master in the art of illumination in all Europe” has remained unchallenged over five centuries.

Buttonless bear still sells

14 August 2001

The well-documented English love of teddy bears was the main feature of the June 27 sale of the toys, dolls, bears and juvenilia sale at the Knowle rooms of Phillips (15% buyer’s premium).

Early tilt-headed lawn tennis racket

13 August 2001

A sporting treble of Cricket, Boxing and Tennis made up the 311-lot sale held at Christie’s South Kensington back on June 22. This early tilt- headed lawn tennis racket which made one of the highest prices in the tennis section had the double distinction of being an early piece of equipment with a provenance to a pioneer champion of the sport.

A rivetting tale…

13 August 2001

ANY aspirant outlaw should know that in order to ensure a special place in folk tradition it is no good just killing and robbing, you have to acquire an idiosyncrasy or two that will add gloss to the flyposters and newspaper reports, and keep storytellers exciting children for generations to come.

Sporting sale at Sotheby's

13 August 2001

Sotheby’s (20/15/10% buyer’s premium) offered buyers two sporting sales last month, on July 18 and 19, with the first day devoted to a large golfing section plus a mix of other sports, while the subsequent session comprised 200 lots of pictures, objects and ephemera devoted to equestrian sports.

Sale of cricketing memorabilia

13 August 2001

Today’s national cricket teams jet around the world to their Test series by plane, but back in the early 20th century the cruise liner was the chosen mode of transport.

Art Deco delights in dolls’ housing market

06 August 2001

ARMS and toys are specialities of Lewes auctioneers Wallis & Wallis (15% buyer’s premium) and on June 11 their 285 lots of toys included die-cast tinplate toys, toy soldiers and the Mirylees Collection of Dolls’ Houses and dolls.

The Prince of Winchesters

03 August 2001

One would expect to see a Winchester 1873 ‘repeater’ holding up a bank in Santa Fe, not aimed at a tiger in the Indian Raj, but strangely enough it appears that Edward, Prince of Wales had more in common with outlaws like Angelo and Jesse James than previously realised.

P is for the Potters – Beatrix and Harry

27 July 2001

THERE WAS no competing with Harry Potter in the Sotheby’s sale of July 10, and bidding rose to £75,000 for Thomas Taylor’s original illustration for the the book that launched those wizard tales in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but Beatrix Potter did her bit too, as did Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, W. Heath Robinson, E.H. Shepard, Lawson Wood, Ronald Searle, Dr Seuss and others.

The Eumaeus episode, an early draft from Joyce’s Ulysses manuscript

27 July 2001

A previously unknown and early draft of one of the key closing chapters of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the Eumaeus episode, was offered at Sotheby’s on July 10, and it was one of two committed private buyers who took the lot to £780,000, just short of the low estimate.

Cupro-nickel coins and crowns…

26 July 2001

FRIDAY 13th proved a long day at Glendining’s (15 per cent buyer’s premium) with 735 lots – not that this was unlucky. It was, as usual, a general sale but there is plenty of general interest to write about.

£1250 marks rise of robot power

26 July 2001

IT is rare for childhood toys to emerge from years of love and affection unscathed by the ravages of time but a Kidderminster vendor was rewarded for the care taken with the 1960s battery operated robot, pictured, which came under the hammer at the Chester rooms of Halls (15 per cent buyer’s premium) on June 27.

Where railways run at happy profit

26 July 2001

THE wheels may be coming off RailTrack and rail shares plunging generally, but in the older parallel world of steam things could hardly be better. Looking at sales figures of 544 lots getting away out of 550 offered and a total of £383,000 on June 16 at Sheffield Railwayana Auctions, other auctioneers can only envy Ian Wright’s decision some years ago to specialise in railwayana.

Replica models prove to be FAB for collectors

23 July 2001

UK: Children’s past playthings, toys for bigger boys and nostalgic mementos of cult TV programmes. All these could be found this month in the London rooms.

Wooden gutty cutter

23 July 2001

Golf fans will acknowledge the significance of this contraption, only the third wooden gutty cutter to ever have appeared at auction.

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