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This brass ship’s bell from the sunken sea tug Empire Harry is estimated at £250-350 in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime Sale on June 14 in Exeter.

In 1945 the tug was towing two heavily laden barges across Bigbury Bay on the south coast of Devon when she was blown towards rocks and ran aground. The 19 crewmen were rescued, but despite attempts to free her, the ship was lost. Parts of the wreckage can still be seen at low tide today.

The bell, inscribed No 387 Empire Harry 1942, was subsequently used as a dinner bell for guests at a nearby hotel in Hope Cove.

bhandl.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

A trio of 17th century cheques signed by the husband of Barbara Villiers, a mistress of Charles II, is going under the hammer at Halls of Shrewsbury on June 21.

Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine and a noted Catholic writer, signed the cheques, which were issued by Child & Co bank, in 1688, 1689 and 1690. They date from around the period of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, when the Protestant monarchs William and Mary replaced the Catholic King James II.

Palmer fled to Llanfyllin, but was later arrested in Oswestry and spent 16 months in the Tower of London before being freed on bail in 1690.

The cheques are estimated at £100-200 each.


Lacy Scott & Knight’s June 10 sale in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, features this second impression copy of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

The second impression was issued just months after the first edition of 1500 copies sold out in 1937, and included colour illustrations for the first time.

This example, which retains its colour plates and map endpapers, features Tolkien’s famous design of a dragon at the bottom edge and mountains at the top of the now somewhat worn cloth binding.

Estimate £200-300.

lskauctioncentre.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com

This silver cased Victorian pocket barometer is part of a single-owner consignment included in Bristol Auction Rooms’ next sale on June 8.

It has an adjustable altimeter made by C Baker of 244 High Holborn, London, and comes with an ivory-cased compass.

Estimate £80-120.

bristolauctionrooms.co.uk or see this item on thesaleroom.com