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Evolving market for Darwin classic

A record for a copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species came at Hindman’s sale of the library of a Midwestern collector in Chicago last week.

Once owned by American collector Paul Mellon (1907-99), the 1859 first was knocked down well above its $120,000-180,000 estimate at $485,000 (£377,135).

The price at the auction on November 5 eclipsed the previous record of $400,000 (£316,353) set by a presentation copy with publisher’s inscription that sold at Bonhams New York in June. It also made a huge return on this copy’s last appearance at auction when it sold for $24,200 at Sotheby’s New York in November 1989.

Take part in global collector survey

A survey has been launched to ask collectors about their habits and how they work with museums.

The research is being conducted by Vastari, a company that connects museums to private collectors and commercial exhibition companies. The research will focus on collectors’ philanthropic activities and collaborations with museums.

The survey closes on Friday, November 15, and responses will be analysed and published in February 2020.

Take part in the Vastari Global Report Survey here: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/vgr-collector-atg

Egyptologist wins ABA book prize

A student from Oxford University has won the 2019 ABA National Book Collecting Prize. Manon Schultz was awarded £1000 for her collection My friends, the early Egyptologists.

It features biographies and autobiographies as well as works by early travellers and collectors fascinated with the region.

“In my fantasy, I was constantly roaming around the Egyptian desert like a female Indiana Jones in order to locate hidden treasures and change the path of history through my discoveries,” Schultz wrote in her entrance essay.

The judges were Deborah Coltham and Brian Lake, both booksellers, independent researcher Ed Potten and collector Lisa Baskin.

Bonhams opens Melbourne office

Bonhams has expanded its Australian operations with the opening of a new premises in Melbourne.

Director Merryn Schriever said: “Bonhams operations in Australia continues to grow from strength to strength and we are delighted to be expanding our presence in Melbourne.

“Our new offices and gallery offer a home base for our many Melbourne-based collectors.”

The new offices and gallery launched last Thursday with a combined preview of its summer auctions covering Australian art, Asian art and fine jewels. These will take place in the firm’s existing Sydney location from November 20-21.

Memorial notices

An ʻin memoriam’ gathering for the late decorative arts dealer John Jesse (Obituary, ATG No 2411) is planned for 3pm on Saturday, December 14, at St George’s Church, Aubrey Walk, Kensington, W8 7JG.

Anthony Spink, the former chairman of Spink, died on November 2, aged 80.

Born in 1939, he worked for the company for 54 years and was the last member of his family involved with the firm. During his career he was also president of the British Antiques Dealers’ Association and chairman of the Grosvenor House fair.

A funeral will be held in Oxfordshire at St Mary’s Church, Broad Street, Uffington, SN7 7RD on Friday, November 15 at 11.30am.

Finbar Mac Donnell, who traded in Camden Passage, London, died on October 22, aged 86. There will be a memorial service at St John’s Church, Duncan Terrace, Islington on November 22 at 6.30pm. All are welcome. No flowers but donations can be made to the Samaritans.

Steven Hill joins Peter Francis

Valuer Steven Hill has joined Camarthen auction house Peter Francis as its Cardiff representative.

The former president of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA) has been a valuer for four decades. He will give free valuations on the first Thursday of every month at Llandaff Rowing Club in Cardiff and is also available for house visits by appointment. The dates for his next valuation days are December 5 and January 2.

Charity donation brings £15,000


A Sino-Tibetan Gantama 18th century gilt bronze buddha - £15,000 (plus premium) at Mallams.

Donated to a local charity, a 6½in (16cm) Sino-Tibetan Gantama buddha, above, took £15,000 (plus premium) at auction in Cheltenham.

The 18th century gilt bronze had been consigned to Mallams for sale on October 30-31 by a nearby shop. It was estimated at £200-£300.

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2 Legal bid to stop Ivory Act fails – but dealers and collectors are considering an appeal

3 Queen Anne bracket clock and Roman glass bowls – five auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes

4 Bourne Mill Antiques Centre in Surrey reopens as a ‘lifestyle business’ four years after devastating fire

5 Martinware: Return of Avery’s ʻlost’ menagerie

In Numbers


Judith Miller


The number of years Judith Miller has been editing the Miller’s series of antiques and collectables handbooks. She marked the occasion with a talk titled 40 Years On – How the Antiques World Has Changed at last week’s Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia.

Miller will follow with talks on collecting at Art & Antiques for Everyone (November 28-December 1) at Birmingham’s NEC.