Prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation – $300,000 at Heritage.

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PlayStation pioneer sells for $300,000

A prototype of the Nintendo PlayStation has sold for $300,000 at auction in Texas.

The 28-year-old gaming console, offered by Heritage Auctions as part of a sale in Dallas on March 5-8, is thought to be the sole survivor from 200 made during a failed joint-venture between Sony and Nintendo, c.1992.

Collectors cast 57 bids for the prototype, which sold for a premium-inclusive $360,000 (£230,000).

As all pre-production models were thought to have been destroyed when the Sony-Nintendo partnership folded, the existence of this dual-branded prototype was once deemed a myth.

In fact, what the auction house called ‘a pivotal piece of video game history’ had been kept by Olaf Olafsson, the founder and first president of Sony Computer Entertainment.

As the story goes, it followed Olafsson to his next role at Advanta Corporation and later formed part of an auction of office contents that followed the firm’s bankruptcy filing in the late 1990s.

Motorcycle and car specialist drives in

Sherborne auction house Charterhouse has hired George Beale to join its classic and vintage motorcycle and car department.


George Beale has joined Charterhouse.

Beale has worked in a variety of roles including as a dealer and at H&H Classic Auctions. He is a keen motorsport enthusiast and first competed in 1965 in motorcycle trials. His most recent win was as a Class winner in the 2018 Gordon Bennett Classic Car Rally.

Charterhouse has also signed an agreement with The Isle of Man government to hold specialist auctions of classic, vintage and race motorcycles.

British Museum buys sun pendant

A well-preserved 3000-year-old Bronze Age gold sun pendant, known as a bulla, has been bought by the British Museum after it was found by a metal detectorist in Shropshire in 2018.

The 1.25 x 2in (3.6 x 4.7cm) gold sun pendant is only the second of its type to be found in the UK and the museum paid £250,000 with help from the Art Fund and the American Friends of the British Museum.

The British Museum said this is “a rare and hugely significant addition to the art and iconography of Bronze Age Britain. Solar symbolism is a key element of Bronze Age cosmology and mythology across Europe but, before the discovery of this pendant, was very rarely seen on objects found in Britain.”

It plans to lend the pendant to Shrewsbury Museum & Art Gallery, near the find site, for the first public display as part of its National Programmes.

Cleveland museum receives $100m gift

The Cleveland Museum of Art has been given a collection valued at more than $100m, its largest gift in more than 60 years.

Impressionist and Modern paintings, Chinese and Japanese ceramics and other works of art are among the 97 works coming to the CMA as outright gifts. A further 17 have been promised to the museum’s collection in the future.

The collection has been given by Joseph and Nancy Keithly and is the largest gift since the bequest of another private collection in 1958.

Works include five paintings by Pierre Bonnard, four by Maurice Denis and Edouard Vuillard each and others by artists such as Félix Valloton, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso and Pierre Bonnard.

A selection of works will be on display at the CMA from March 17.

Saxon silver penny now worth £32,000

A silver penny of Ludica, a virtually unknown Saxon king of Mercia, has sold for £32,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium). Estimated to fetch £10,000-15,000 at Dix Noonan Webb on March 10, it was purchased by a UK collector.


Silver penny of Ludica – £32,000 at DNW.

The coin carries a diademed bust of Ludica facing right with the legend Ludica Rex Mer while the reverse features the inscription Lun Donia Civit in three lines – a rare reference to the status of London in the Mercian kingdom. Ludica reigned for just over a year in 826-827AD.

Found by a metal detectorist on farmland at Coombe Bissett, Wiltshire in January 2016, the coin’s authenticity was initially questioned.

However, it was finally published as a unique survivor in the 2019 British Numismatic Journal.

Kidnap hero medal

The George Medal awarded to Ronnie Russell who foiled the March 20, 1974, kidnap attempt on Princess Anne sold for £50,000 at DNW.

The honour, which had been estimated at £15,000-20,000 in the Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria auction on March 4, was bought by a UK private collector.

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The most viewed stories for week March 5-11, 2020, on

1 First major UK antiques fair to be cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak

2 TEFAF Maastricht remains quieter but stand-out sales continue as Van Gogh sells for around €12m

3 Dealer Rafael Valls offers 100 Old Masters in Sotheby’s online sale

4 Christopher Dresser dish, ‘Highlander’ plate, Pocket watch with Byron crest in our five auction highlights

5 British Museum buys 3000-year-old Bronze age gold pendant

In Numbers


The number of days an exhibition of Raphael’s work had been open to the public at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome before the Italian government’s coronavirus restrictions forced the venue to close on March 8. All members of the Uffizi’s Scientific Committee – including Old Master dealer Fabrizio Moretti – had resigned last month after advising the Florence museum not to lend Raphael’s portrait of Pope Leo X to the show. The loan went ahead regardless, prompting them to quit.