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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Eye on an Object: dominoes made by Napoleonic prisoners-of-war

22 April 2024

Thousands of items are available to buy from dealers online. Here we pick out one that caught our eye this week.

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Lakes picture book comes with links to Liverpool worthies

22 April 2024

Daniel Daulby of Liverpool, a brewer and collector of prints and drawings, was also a compiler of a catalogue of Rembrandt etchings.

North Polar Sea chart

Pick of the week: Discoverer of Franklin’s fate

15 April 2024

The commercial fortunes of a 19th century map of the Arctic offered at Cheffins (25% buyer’s premium) this month were boosted greatly by its annotations.

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Barrett Browning sale bonanza as family collection comes to auction

15 April 2024

Varied group of items related to the poet appeared for sale in Somerset

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Original phrenology models turn heads at auction

15 April 2024

Ceramic phrenology heads have become ubiquitous following numerous reproductions. However, original 19th century models are much harder to come by.

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Highest price paid for not doing your duty

15 April 2024

Dating from March 1-October 13, 1748, a journal for sale at London maritime specialist Charles Miller’s auction on April 23 was written by Admiral John Byng (1704-57) during the final negotiations of the failed Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle and some eight years before his infamous actions off the coast of Minorca.

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Photographic viewing device can operate all day and night

15 April 2024

The invention of the megalethoscope by the Swiss-Italian optician and photographer Carlo Ponti greatly enhanced the experience of viewing photographs.

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Rare British camera emerges from Viennese source

15 April 2024

Austin Farahar, head of cameras and photography at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium), was recently contacted by a budding documentary photographer in Vienna who had received a collection of old cameras from his in-laws.

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Rock on with a jukebox purchase

15 April 2024

Perfect to impress your friends and family – or annoy them – many vintage jukeboxes can be bought at auction for three or four figures depending on age, model and condition.

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Slot machines provide all the fun of the seaside even in rain

15 April 2024

Once ubiquitous in British seaside resorts in their day, many pre-war amusement arcade machines are now so rare that just a handful are recorded.

British and Irish book auctions, April 17-May 8, 2024

15 April 2024

Our regular listing of books and works on paper sales

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Medieval astrolabe finds its way to a London saleroom

15 April 2024

The astrolabe was used for not only telling the time, but mapping one’s location, tracking the stars, and even as an astrological tool for decision-making.

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Goniometer going, going, gone at £2700

15 April 2024

This Victorian lacquered brass device made by Elliot Brothers of London is a reflecting goniometer.

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Science & technology: Collectors who know their type

15 April 2024

Knowledgeable bidders generated high prices for early typewriters at German technology specialist’s latest sale

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Botanical group features in Battle auction action

15 April 2024

Twenty-six lots in the Science, Natural History and Curiosities sale at Burstow & Hewett (20% buyer’s premium) in Battle were previously owned by local botanist and entomologist George West.

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Comic featuring Superman debut soars to record sum

15 April 2024

Priced 10 cents when it appeared in 1938, a copy of Action Comics No 1 which introduced Superman has become the world’s most valuable comic book.

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Copy of Toulouse-Lautrec's first poster emerges in US sale

15 April 2024

'Moulin Rouge, La Goulue' was Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s first commissioned poster and it launched his poster-making career overnight.

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Professor lost his head but kept it as well

15 April 2024

Though the performer is largely forgotten today, two Bénévol-related items appeared at Bernaerts (25% buyer’s premium) in Antwerp as part of a Circus & Magic sale.

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More from the Bobins collection: Danube danger overcome by the intrepid Ludwig

15 April 2024

Leading Forum’s (30/24/14.4% buyer’s premium inc VAT) March 27 auction of more books from the remarkable library of Norman Bobins was a complete copy of a German work following the course of the Danube from its source to the Black Sea.

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Wurlitzer organ on a whirl in Staffordshire saleroom

15 April 2024

Around 28 American-built Wurlitzers were originally transported to Britain from 1925 until just before the Second World War.

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