Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

A clutch of oil paintings by Cornish artist Fred Yates (1922-2008) is going under the hammer at Charterhouse on July 28 in Sherborne, Dorset.

The group was acquired by the buyer of Yates’ cottage in Fowey in the early 1980s. Some were given to her by the artist, while others were left in the cottage when she moved in.

A highlight at £4000-6000 is this colourful 23 x 18½in (59 x 47cm) oil on board of a chapel in Fowey, which was among the pictures gifted to the vendor by Yates. A small self-portrait of Yates smoking a pipe is guided at £500-800.


It is hard to believe 20 years has passed since the first Harry Potter book was published. To mark the occasion, Bloomsbury Auctions is offering a first edition of Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone in its Maddox Street saleroom in London on July 20.

Published in 1997, the book includes the original pictorial boards and has 1 wand listed twice on page 53 of the Hogwarts school list for first years.

To date more than 500m copies of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series have sold worldwide, and it has been published in more than 79 languages.

Estimate £25,000-28,000.


A pipe smoked (and chewed) by Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is for sale at Christie’s King Street in London on July 12.

The theoretical physicist was rarely without his pipe. Even after being advised by his doctor to give up smoking, he continued to carry one – if only to place it, empty, in his mouth.

This example has passed by direct descent from Einstein to the vendor and is guided at £5000-8000.

Just three pipes with Einstein provenance are known and the other two are in public institutions. The billiard briar pipe at Christie’s bears a strong resemblance to a pipe shown in pictures from 1945 of Einstein with his lover, the Soviet spy Margarita Konenkova.

Correspondence from the scientist to his closest friend, Michele Besso, will also be offered in the same sale as well as an online-only auction, with estimates across both ranging from $1000 (Christie’s online-only estimates are in dollars) to £150,000 (main sale).