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Maggs opens in Bedford Square

Venerable London fifth-generation book dealership Maggs Bros has opened new premises in Bloomsbury’s Bedford Square.

Maggs left Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, the firm’s home for the previous 78 years, at the end of 2015. For the last 18 months it has been based in a smaller shop in Curzon Street while the renovation of the Bedford Square building took place.

The firm had decided to retain Curzon Street which, Ed Maggs believes, is more accessible to new buyers.

Interstellar auction treasure in US


Apollo 11 contingency lunar sample return bag on offer at Sotheby’s New York on July 20.

A lunar sample bag used by Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission is estimated at $2m-4m in a sale at Sotheby’s New York on July 20.

The bag still contains traces of moon dust and small lunar rock fragments.

Remarkably, it was purchased at auction by its current owner in 2015 for $995 and later sent to NASA for analysis when it was confirmed as moon dust.

US law forbids private ownership of individual samples of lunar rock and the sale follows a court battle between NASA and the vendor over possession of the bag.

Most read

The most clicked-on stories for week May 18-24 on

1 Tory 2017 manifesto: no explicit mention of ivory

2 Labour manifesto promises a total ban on trade in ivory

3 ebay to introduce VAT payments to UK traders

4 Car boot sale £10 diamond ring could fetch £350,000 at auction

5 Early photographic instrument bought on BBC’s Antiques Road Trip sells for £20,000

Star Wars Jawa figure record


The Palitoy Star Wars vinyl cape Jawa figure that sold for £18,000 at Vectis.

A Palitoy Star Wars vinyl cape Jawa figure took £18,000 (plus 20% buyer’s premium), a record for the toy, at Vectis Auction’s Star Wars 40th Anniversary Sale on May 25.

One of about a dozen produced in 1978, a year after the release of the first Star Wars film, it is notable for a vinyl cape, replaced with a cloth cape in later versions for a more upmarket look.

The vendor was a former employee of Palitoy and had kept the toy in a cupboard.

Car boot diamond ring heads to Sotheby's

A ring bought at a car boot sale for £10 in the 1980s has been estimated at £250,000-350,000 and is heading to a Sotheby’s auction.

The owner had not realised it was in fact a 19th century diamond until earlier this year when she was encouraged by a jeweller to have it valued.

Bought at a car boot sale at West Middlesex Hospital in west London, the claw-set 26.27ct cushion-shaped diamond ring was taken to Sotheby’s to be valued.

A note in Sotheby’s catalogue said: “It was only in the past few months that the owner decided to see if the ring had any value and asked Sotheby’s to appraise it. Much to the owner’s surprise, the ring turned out to be genuine.”

Head of Sotheby’s London jewellery department Jessica Wyndham said the owner had not realised it was a real diamond as its sparkle was not noticeable. This is because it is an old style cut diamond, where the light does not reflect as it would from a modern stone cutting.

The diamond will be offered as part of Sotheby London’s Fine Jewels sale on July 7.

Bronzes stolen from Bath dealer

Police are appealing to the trade to help find around 30 large-scale bronzes stolen from an antiques dealer in Bath.

Burglars broke into a former church – now a residential property – in the Cold Ashton area, between 5pm on May 7 and 11am on May 9.

The items stolen belonged to Scott’s Antiques.

Call 101 quoting reference 5217103116.

Luther’s 95 Theses nailed at auction


The opening page of the 1517, Basel printing of Martin Luther’s ’95 Theses’ sold at Reiss & Sohn.

In the year that marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, an early copy of Martin Luther’s ‘95 Theses’ sold for €1.1m (£948,275), more than seven times its estimate, at Reiss & Sohn in Germany on May 16-18.

Luther is said to have nailed a copy to the doors of churches in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. ‘Disputatio… pro declaratione virtutis indulgentarium’ was the first printing of the ‘95 Theses’ in which Luther attacked the practice of selling indulgences, payments by which those wealthy enough could have their own or relatives’ sins absolved.

It was published in small quantities in Basel, Leipzig and Nuremburg.

In Numbers


The overall total including premium from the Ballyedmond Collection sold at Sotheby’s on May 23-24. The sale comprised more than 500 objects owned by the late Lord Ballyedmond – the majority from his townhouse in London’s Belgrave Square.


This Asprey & Co mystery clock was stolen from the stand of dealer MS Rau Antiques at the Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show in May. A couple distracted employees while another person took the 18ct white gold clock.