1. Omega Seamaster chronograph – £12,000
Watches with military associations carry a certain cachet with collectors. This Omega Seamaster is one made exclusively for members of the SAS.
It is estimated that only around 300 of these Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean chronographs (Ref 22005200) watches were made, each engraved with the SAS logo with the ‘Who Dares Wins’ motto to the back.
This example, sold together with a box and papers from March 2010, sparked a bidding war at Fellows in Birmingham on August 16, selling to a phone bidder for £12,000, surpassing its estimate of £5000-7000.
2. Palitoy Star Wars figure – £2900
This Star Wars figure of Luke Skywalker in its original bubble packaging was included in Mitchells’ Vintage & Antique Toy sale in Cockermouth on August 12.
The Palitoy figure is the ‘12-back A version’ of the model released at the time of the first Star Wars movie in 1977.
With a very conservative estimate of just £50-£80, the levels of pre-sale interest suggested the figure would sell for much more. The hammer price was £2900.
3. Painting of Anzac landing – £1250
This oil on canvas is titled The Landing of Australian and New Zealand Troops at Gaba Jepe, April 25th 1915 by HMS Prince of Wales, Queen London Baochante.
Competently rather than expertly painted by one J Diddams, it nonetheless made a multi-estimate £1250 at Philip Serrell of Mavern, Worcestershire on August 12.
The subject matter here was everything. Today Gaba Tepe is better known in the English speaking world as Anzac Cove – the site of the amphibious invasion which began the land phase of the Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War.
The assault troops were mostly from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps which landed two divisions with more than 2000 men killed or wounded. Since 1916, the anniversary has been commemorated as Anzac Day.
4. Ottoman silk hanging – £13,000
Estimated at £800-1200, this large Ottoman metal thread and silk hanging with a dedication to Sultan Ahmed III sold to a bidder via thesaleroom.com for £13,000 at Dreweatts in Newbury on August 11.
Pieces such this were made as tomb covers. Within an embroidered pointed archway and acanthus columns are two Quranic inscriptions and a cartouche reading Oh Prophet of God! our Lord Sultan Ahmad seeks intercessions. This is the Prophet's mihrab.
It may be that this 2.35 x 2.03m panel had once decorated the interior of the shrine of the Prophet in Medina and would have been replaced when a new Ottoman sultan ascended to the throne.
Although the price was well above printed expectations, the piece had been bought by the owner at Bonhams in October 2007 when the price (including buyer’s premium) was £60,000.
Two other textile panels with similar columns flanking the inscriptions, that decorated the tomb of the prophet Ibrahim in Mecca, were sold at Sotheby's in 2006 and Christie's in 2005.
5. Evocative First World War medal – £17,000
This otherwise humble 1914 Star acquired great historical resonance in the knowledge it was awarded to Private John Parr of the 4th Battalion, Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment). Killed in action near Mons on August 21, 1914 he is believed to be the first British soldier to have died during the First World War.
The medal was offered for sale on August 17 at Dix Noonan Webb as part of the collection of First World War medals owned by the late Barry Hobbs (1942-2021) with a guide of £1800-2200. It sold at £17,000. The buyer was described as a new collector resident in the UK and a very keen amateur historian of the Great War.
John Parr, who signed up to the Middlesex Regiment in 1912 at the age of 15, arrived in France among the first units of the British Expeditionary Force on August 14, 1914. The precise circumstances of his death are not entirely clear. However on August 21, in his role as a reconnaissance cyclist, he had been sent forward towards the village of Obourg, north-east of Mons, to locate the German positions. It is thought that he had encountered an Uhlan patrol from the German First Army and was killed in an exchange of fire.
He lies buried in St Symphorien Military Cemetery, near Mons, Belgium, his grave symbolically opposite that of George Edwin Ellison (5th Royal Irish Lancers) who was killed in action on November 11, 1918, and is considered the last British soldier killed in action during the Great War.