The flamboyant actor’s collection was offered at East Bristol Auctions on March 26, with more than 350 lots from his estate, comprised of items from his private residence in Kensington, as well as props and costumes from a long career.
Auctioneer Andy Stowe said: “The rostrum was my dining room table, with the dog asleep at my feet. I was operating the software entirely myself, which was surprisingly easy. I felt more like a Youtuber than an auctioneer, but it was a really great experience - and one I'm sure we'll be repeating soon. We had lots of new bidders in this auction, and the feedback we've had has been completely lovely.
“Both our sales last week were actually fantastic - which is wonderful given the circumstances.”
Wyngarde (1927-2018) appeared in most 1960s-70s ‘cult’ programmes including Doctor Who and The Avengers and took leading roles in his own shows Jason King and Department S.
He later went through difficult times in his life but the fondness with which he must be regarded was obvious from the interest from bidders, with a white-glove sell-out auction resulting. Stowe added: “We had lots of celebrity interest in this sale with several of the buyers being well-known presenters, actors and pop stars. It had an amazing celebrity reaction on social media.”
Highlights included a guitar signed by his good friend Freddie Mercury (which sold for £720), several of his trademark sunglasses and silk handkerchiefs, as well as items he collected and displayed in his apartment. These include several autographs from people he admired – most notably Clark Gable and Tony Hancock – as well as his collection of taxidermy and artwork.
Pictured top and below are five highlights we have singled out. All results given are hammer prices. East Bristol's buyer's premium on top is 18%.
Early Beatles poster (pictured top)
Concert posters for some of the earliest appearances by well-known bands have taken keen interest from bidders in recent months (such as our Pick of the Week in ATG No 2435, a poster advertising an early gig by The Who at the short-lived Blue Moon club in Cheltenham, sold for £11,500 at Gardiner Houlgate’s auction).
Sold at a mid-estimate £2200 to a Beatles collector as part of the Wyngarde auction was an original 1960s Beatles poster, from their concert at the Abergavenny Town Hall Ballroom on June 22, 1963. It measured 2ft 5in x 20in (74 x 50cm) and was printed by Arthurs Press Ltd, Stroud. Wyngarde was an acquaintance of the band.
On the record
Pictured here is Wyngarde’s personally owned copy of his self-titled 1970 album on vinyl. The centrefold features a message from Jason King (Wyngarde’s character from the 1970s television series of the same name). Estimated at £100-200, it sold for £320.
A lot of personality
One of the best sellers was an item highly appropriate given Wyngarde’s sartorial elegance: his original John Stephen Fashion Award ‘Best Dressed Personality’ hallmarked silver trophy. The trophy in the form of Beau Brummell, complete with monocle and top hat, has hallmarks for Carrington & Co, London, 1970.
The (39cm) tall award was given to Wyngarde in the summer of 1970 by Miss Radio Luxembourg. The votes for him, cast by listeners of Radio Luxembourg and readers of FAB 208 (a magazine), were far in excess of his rivals Cliff Richard and footballing legend George Best. Photographs of Wyngarde with the award have featured in many publications.
Stowe described it as “probably the best piece of Wyngarde memorabilia in the sale”. Estimated at £300-500, it sold for £2200.
This is hiss-tory
Wyngarde’s love of fashion included an array of 1960s-70s garments which can be viewed as gorgeous or ghastly depending on your viewpoint. The buyer of this snakeskin jacket was certainly delighted. Stowe said: “He is a a huge fan and UK collector – he is very happy with his purchase, and will be proudly displaying it in his living room (he got in touch with me on Twitter!).”
The original screen matched prop/costume snakeskin jacket was worn by Wyngarde for Department S (1969) and Jason King (1971). It had no maker’s label and was probably custom-made for the actor. Included in the lot, estimated at £200-300, was an original vintage publicity photograph showing Wyngarde in this very jacket.
It sold for £880.
Here comes the sunglasses
Another high price came for a pair of screen matched sunglasses, as worn by Peter Wyngarde as Jason King in both Department S and Jason King.
This a pair of Oliver Goldsmith glasses, with lightly tinted lenses and distinctive inlaid stars to each arm, was worn by Wyngarde in several episodes of the series, as well as his personal life. They featured prominently in several episodes including A Deadly Line In Digits (as part of King’s disguise), and are first seen in the Department S episode The Trojan Tanker.
Estimated at £80-120, the glasses sold for £700. Stowe said: “These were the most iconic pair of glasses we had from Wyngarde - they appeared in lots of episodes of Department S and Jason King, as well as loads of publicity photos. I was surprised they went for so much, but not surprised they got that much interest.”