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.

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Gallantry top-seller: Crimean War naval VC

12 February 2024

The best-selling gallantry medal of 2023 was offered at Noonans late in the year on December 6. The Naval Victoria Cross awarded to Seaman James Gorman at the Battle of Inkerman sold for a hammer price of £320,000 (plus 24% buyer’s premium) and now forms part of a private collection of Crimean War medals.

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Scrimshaw reminder of the whaler that was captained and crewed by African-Americans

12 February 2024

A 19th century scrimshaw carved on board a whaling ship with an all African-American crew sold for $7250 (£5700) at Bruneau & Co (20% buyer’s premium).

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Basel basilisk flies again at auction

12 February 2024

A Swiss gold coin that only appears at auction once every few years is the 1740 Basel triple ducat. To one face is a grand winged basilisk and to the other a view of the city from the east above eight coats of arms.

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The Iraqi note now worth £100,000

12 February 2024

This Iraq specimen banknote printed in India during the Second World War sold for £100,000 plus 24% buyer’s premium at Noonans on November 29-30. It was purchased by a lifetime collector or Iraqi banknotes at double the low estimate.

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Banknotes from coronation year

12 February 2024

Spink’s April 13 banknotes sale included a near-complete run of Malaya & British Borneo Elizabeth II specimen notes issued in the coronation year on March 21, 1953.

Books and works on paper auction calendar, February 14-29, 2024

12 February 2024

Our regular listing of UK and Irish book auctions

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Comprehensive East India Company collection

12 February 2024

A remarkable Canadian single-owner collection of coins of the East India Company was offered by Noonans on February 8-9, 2023.

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Major collecting fest on the cards

12 February 2024

Picture-postcard collecting became a craze in Edwardian times and in the 21st century many of us are delighted collectors of these ‘windows on the world’.

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Masterpiece of Greek numismatic art

12 February 2024

One of the great masterpieces of ancient Greek numismatic art, this silver tetradrachm was struck in c.460BC in commemoration of the refounding of the city of Naxos. Its citizens had been exiled to Leontinoi by the tyrant Hieron of Syracuse.

Welsh love spoon

Love is in the air: St Valentine’s Day related items with dealers and at auction

12 February 2024

With catalogues titled Love Lust & Lechery and a tour called Love Motifs & Symbols, there is something for everyone among this selection of items for sale ahead of St Valentine’s Day this week.

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‘Patience and taste personified’: more lots from the outstanding Ann and Gordon Getty collection

12 February 2024

New York auctioneer remembers Ann and Gordon Getty as the latest lots come to market

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London arms fair finds new venue in Woodford Green

12 February 2024

The organiser of The London Antique Arms Fair had been searching for a new venue in which to hold the event throughout 2023.

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Persian and Greek tributes paid

12 February 2024

Mithradates IV was ruler of the Hellenistic kingdom of Pontus in northern Anatolia from 169-150BC. He ushered in a period of relative friendship with the Roman republic that would continue until his grandson Mithradates VI (the Great) became its most formidable and determined opponent. Mithradates IV’s coinage draws attention to his Persian and Greek origins.

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Argentina starts to emerge in coins market

12 February 2024

Prior to its unification, what is now Argentina was comprised of over a dozen autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.

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Dambuster scored a direct hit using bombsight he designed

12 February 2024

The Distinguished Flying Cross group of five given to Flt Lt Edward ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, who flew during Operation Chastise – the Dambusters – was sold for £105,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) at Spink on November 29.

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Coins & medals: Stable currency but market is far from static

12 February 2024

Total sales across London coin and medals auctions were £61.6m in 2023, just a fraction down on 2022’s record aggregate

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Slave trader who repented his sins tells his own story

12 February 2024

John Newton (1725-1807) is today perhaps best remembered as the writer of the hymn Amazing Grace. However, before his religious conversion he spent his early life as a slave trader.

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Black Prince with lions and ostriches

12 February 2024

Estimated at £14,000-18,000, this Pavillon d'Or issued by Edward, Prince of Aquitaine (1362-72), took £36,000 plus 18% buyer’s premium at Harmers on November 1.

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Octavian coin sets a house record

12 February 2024

Spink posted a house record for a classical coin when it sold this Julius Caesar and Octavian gold aureus on April 3 for £220,000 plus 20% buyer’s premium against an estimate of £60,000-100,000.

2630 NE Hanson Bellerophon Sofa

Bony slept here: Souvenirs from Napoleon's surrender come to auction

09 February 2024

A cache of memorabilia from the descendants of Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland – the officer Napoleon surrendered to aboard HMS Bellerophon on July 15, 1815 – is coming to auction.

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