Keys

Keys is an auction house in Aylsham, Norfolk which was founded in 1953 by Geoffrey Key. Originally a livestock auctioneer, Keys soon began regular furniture sales before adding art and antique sales to its calendar in the 1960s.

In 2019, the auction business split from its estate agency parent company after a management buy-out was led by fine art director Kevin Lines and new managing director David Broom.


Lowestoft figures

Rare Lowestoft porcelain objects highlight of Norfolk auction

22 July 2017

A pair of white glazed figures of musicians made by the Lowestoft factory c.1770, sold for £4000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium) at the July 18 sale at Keys of Aylsham. The pair – perhaps the first to come onto the market for at least 30 years – provided the highlight of more than 100 lots of Lowestoft porcelain.

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Rare Lowestoft emerges at auction

10 July 2017

Following a near sell-out auction of Lowestoft in March at Keys of Aylsham, another tranche is poised to go under the saleroom’s hammer.

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First mention of Poirot detected

03 July 2017

Agatha Christie’s books were much in evidence at a Keys (17.5% buyer’s premium) sale of June 7-8, among them a 1921 first of The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

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Fleecy does it for Lowestoft joys sold in Norfolk

02 May 2017

What Aylsham auction house Keys (20% buyer’s premium) considered one of the largest private collections of Lowestoft ever to come to market was a near sell-out on March 21.

Sir Malcom Arnold collection auction out of tune

24 April 2017

Offered by Keys (20% buyer’s premium) on April 6, the Sir Malcolm Arnold Collection proved to be a problematic one.

William Seward’s Anecdotes of Distinguished Persons

Keys to auction vast library from Morningthorpe Manor

26 August 2016

A four-day sale of the contents of a Norfolk country house being conducted by Keys at their Aylsham rooms will include on September 8-9 the vast library formed by Ron Fiske at Morningthorpe Manor.

Don Quixote first english edition at Keys auction

The Man of La Mancha in Norfolk – first English edition of Don Quixote makes £25,000

09 August 2016

One of a great many books removed from a couple of terraced houses in Norwich for sale by Keys of Aylsham was an 1612 first English edition of the first part only of Don Quixote.

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Lowestoft birth tablet takes £7400

15 January 2014

English porcelain birth tablets are unique to Lowestoft – and one of many pieces that give the factory’s wares such a profound sense of time and place.

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You wait ages for a Prince, then two come along at once

13 July 2012

Just three copies of the 1640, first English edition of Nicholas Machiavelli’s short treatise on political leadership have come to auction in this century, the last of them in 2005.

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Revised Tyndale lacks pages but not admirers

14 October 2004

ESTIMATED at £500-600 in a Keys of Aylsham sale of September 24 but very much the lot that attracted most interest – and a final bid of £10,200 – was the New Testament seen right.

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£13,250 bid answers speculation about cow creamer

13 October 2004

SOME provincial auctioneers batten down the hatches during August, but for Keys (10% buyer's premium) in Norfolk it was a particularly busy month with two antique sales, a collectors’ auction and a picture outing.

Sylvie & Bruno meet Famous Five, Chalet Girls and the Fat Owl

22 September 2004

INSCRIBED in both volumes “with the author’s love” to an Edith Barnes, presentation firsts of Lewis Carroll’s over-long children’s story Sylvie and Bruno of 1889 and its continuation or conclusion of 1893, the original red cloth bindings now uniformly faded to the spines, dampstained to the front of Vol. II and showing repairs to the spine ends of the first volume, was sold for £1400 in a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of July 15.

Bookcase at £5500 sees Victorian values restored

16 September 2004

BULKY Victorian brown furniture may be the least attractive subject at many sales, but the most expensive entry at Keys (10% buyer's premium) 1386-lot Norfolk outing on August 3-4 was a 9ft square (2.74m) mahogany library breakfront bookcase.

Victorian games go to museum

10 August 2004

AS one of Keys of Aylsham's (10% buyer's premium) huge, six-a-year, sales aimed squarely at collectors, the strengths of this 1423-lot outing on June 17-18 lay in toys and militaria.

Rozenburg garniture is £4000 highlight

29 June 2004

WITH giant sales every three weeks, Keys (10% buyer's premium) of Aylsham will cheerfully put two-figure lots under the hammer, but there were also a number of four-figure sellers to help swell the hammer total to £110,000 at the latest 1640-lot outing on June 2-3.

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Monzani flute plays £2200

22 June 2004

HIGHLIGHT of the Collectors’ Sale conducted by Keys (10% buyer’s premium) in Aylsham was this silver-mounted ivory flute by Monzani.

Concerning Biggles and the witches, cookery, Egypt and corkscrews

10 June 2004

THE estimates were rather modest, but prices paid for some of the Biggles books offered as part of a May 21 sale held by Keys of Aylsham bode well for the Biggles collection that Dominic Winter are to sell on June 24. In Aylsham, Hamilton copies of The Black Peril of c.1936, in soiled blue cloth, and The Cruise of the Condor, an undated Ace series title with adverts for Spring 1937, were valued at around £40 apiece but sold for £1050 and £480 respectively.

Fine prices come in two little boxes

26 May 2004

AT Gorringes’ (15% buyer's premium) April 27-29 sale, specialist Aaron Dean was satisfied with the reaction to some 200 lots of silver but, with the market for routine tea services and so on remaining fairly moribund, it is the smaller collectables which catch the eye.

Rockingham pug is best of breed for collectors

19 May 2004

KEYS (10% buyer's premium) of Aylsham maintain the format of mammoth offerings – 1556 lots offered over two days (April 20-21) in this case – and, although only 60 per cent of them got away, there was plenty of material for budget-conscious collectors of such favourites as Royal Doulton character jugs and figures as well as Beswick Beatrix Potter and animal models.

The king's harp maker plucks at Norfolk bidders’ purse strings

16 March 2004

LARGELY unknown outside the world of harpists, the name of the celebrated Dublin maker John Egan is guaranteed to tug at the heart and purse strings of aficionados when one of his harps makes a rare appearance for sale as this one, right, did at the February 25 collectors sale held by Aylsham auctioneers Keys (15% buyer’s premium).

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