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Revolutionary freesheets and a note from the King of Siam

19 February 2001

UK: ONE of a group of seven newspapers, plus a printed edict, issued in March 1917, at the outbreak of the Russian revolution, which sold for £400 (Hanson). They were apparently distributed free in the streets of Petrograd and these copies were acquired by Gertrude Hitchcock, who was there working for a British engineering company at the time.

The first Hobbits of the Year?

19 February 2001

UK: THE first serious outbreak of Hobbits of 2001 occurred in Hamptons’ Godalming salerooms on February 15, when a first edition set of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the three volumes of 1955-56 in first issue dust wrappers with some slight discolouration and chipping, sold at £11,000.

Heraldic table draws big buyers to church hall

19 February 2001

UK: THERE was no doubting the piece that drew major buyers to this event at St Barnabas Church hall – the flamboyant early 19th century heraldic Italian table.

Collectors show their colours in battles for rare royals

19 February 2001

UK: THE market for commemorative ceramics proved to be strong at the Manchester rooms of Capes Dunn when two 1911 Royal Doulton beakers marking the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary were offered.

Izannah Walker’s Painted Ladies

19 February 2001

US: AN IZANNAH WALKER doll from Rhode Island was the star turn in a Toys & Collectables sale held on December 9 in the Bolton (Massachusetts) rooms of Skinners and brought a bid of $21,000 (£14,480). Made around 1870, the 18in (46cm) tall doll illustrated right, wearing a grey-green plaid dress of silk taffeta, and with a pair of period ice skates with red leather straps strung over her shoulder, has an oil painted cloth body – even the hands and face are made of painted cloth.

Wodehouse's The Pothunters

19 February 2001

UK: SERIALISED in Public School magazine before appearing in book form in 1902, The Pothunters was P.G. Wodehouse’s first book, and this first issue copy in royal blue cloth with silver gilt decoration made £720 (Marchpane) in Swindon.

To Cloudy Bay and beyond…

19 February 2001

UK: NEW Zealand fine wine production is a young industry that didn’t get going seriously until the 1970s. And the wine’s appearance on our shop shelves is far more recent still. Indeed, even today most imbibers can only name a handful of the most familiar producers of noble grape varietials: Cloudy Bay, Montana and Villa Maria.

Dick Francis' Dead Cert

19 February 2001

UK: THE title page had a semi-circular portion excised from the outer margin, but this copy of the 1962 first of Dick Francis’ annual racing thrillers, Dead Cert, had a jacket and it sold for £2050 to Bromlea & Jonkers at Dominic Winter's sale held on January 31.

The Mysteries of Alchemy

19 February 2001

UK: THE English Literature and History sale held by Sotheby’s on December 19 opened in unexpectedly dramatic fashion when an English alchemical manuscript drawn up in 1624 by Leonard Smethley, miraculously transmuted an estimate of £6000-8000 into something just as welcome as the gold or silver that ancient practitioners hoped for – a huge bid of £180,000!

Europeans dominate a shaky new surreal world

19 February 2001

UK: PRESIDING auctioneer Jussi Pylkkannen should surely have entered into the spirit of things by taking off his black bow tie and putting a bowler hat or a lobster on his head.

Double eagle has a happy landing at last

19 February 2001

US: A LONG-running legal dispute has been sorted out in the United States. Unusually for such a contest I understand that everybody is happy.

Andy Capp and Roosevelt

19 February 2001

UK: BOOKS were not really the main attraction in this sale, although it did contain a 1795 first edition of John Aikin’s illustrated Description of the Country... round Manchester. This was, however, an ex-library copy that had been rebound and had its share of stamps.

Lighting-up time...

19 February 2001

US: HIGHLIGHTS – in every sense – from the January 13 sale of Furniture & Decorations held by Sloans of Washington D.C. are pictured here.

A piece of porcelain fit for princes

19 February 2001

UK: JAPANESE porcelain does not come much rarer or more expensive than that produced by the private factory of the princes of Nabeshima, which is why auctioneer Nigel Kirk’s pulse quickened when he first glanced at this 8in (20cm) diameter dish, illustrated here, entered for the January sale of Mellors and Kirk.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and the top people’s vet…

16 February 2001

UK: Dr Leonard Levine, who died last year, was known on New York’s Upper East Side as the “Veterinarian to the Rich and Famous”, but he was also an avid Walt Whitman collector.

The art of painting craft

16 February 2001

Peter Monamy: 1681-1749 and His Circle by F B Cockett

Valour diction

16 February 2001

British Campaign Medals, by Peter Duckers 1815-1914

Modest castaway is uncovered

12 February 2001

FRANCE: French auctioneer Jean-Emmanuel Prunier, whose saleroom is at Louviers in Normandy, spent several weeks researching the story behind a 19th century ship’s figurehead before his January 28 sale.

Early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table

12 February 2001

UK: Emblazoned with the full armorial of the Strutt and Galton families, this early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table stole the limelight at Short, Graham & Co.’s sale in Gloucester on January 23.

Jade chicken cup flies to £19,000

12 February 2001

UK: When a private UK vendor consigned a Chinese celadon jade cup to Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) at £400-600, he could not have hoped in his wildest dreams to sell it for almost 50 times the low estimate.

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