Collection of nine Wind in the Willows stuffed toys created for an exhibition of Kenneth Grahame’s life and work held shortly after his death in 1932, estimate £6000-8000 at Forum Auctions.

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This collection of nine Wind in the Willows stuffed toys were created for an exhibition of Kenneth Grahame’s life and work held shortly after his death in 1932. The toys were subsequently gifted to the author’s wife, Elspeth, and then kept in the family until they were first sold on 2009.

A copy of a letter by Iain Howie-Mitchell (b.1940), a second cousin of Elspeth, accompanies the toys in a lot that carries a guide of £6000-8000 at Forum Auctions in London on March 28.

The writer recalls visiting her at Church Cottage at Pangbourne as a child and playing with the animals. The characters - Mr Toad, Badger, Ratty, Moley, Otter and Portly, the Wayfarer Rat and the Hedgehog twin - are very likely the first toys to be inspired by Grahame’s most popular literary creation and the drawings of EH Shepard.


An 18th century Scottish silver annular form plaid brooch, estimate £600-800 at Huntly Auctions.

This 18th century Scottish silver annular form plaid brooch (pictured above) is worked to one side with niello Celtic motifs and inscribed to the reverse with two sets of initials and the date 1780.

It has expectations of £600-800 as part of a timed online sale at Huntly Auctions in Keith, Moray, that closes on April 7.

On April 11 Suffolk saleroom Bishop & Miller offers the collection of dealer Keith Hockin.

At the vanguard of the early oak furniture trade from the 1960s onwards, he opened his shop in the market square of Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, in the beginning of the 1980s.

Many fine examples of early domestic metalwork are among the 444 lots. They include, estimated at £5000-7000, this rare 6in (14cm) Tudor bronze wool weight.

Cast in a shield shape with the Royal Arms of England, and a square piercing for suspension, it is stamped with possible foundry mark, a probable verification mark plus four times with the royal crowned cipher h.

Although the arms and cipher may refer to either Henry VII or VIII, the use of a lower case rather than a capital letter is more commonly associated with the reign of Henry VII who implemented a complete reform of the English national system of weights and measures in 1495.

By October 1951 Sir Winston Churchill was back in office as the British prime minister but two months earlier his attention seemed to focus more on Black Mollies and Siamese Fighters.

These and under types of exotic fish feature in a letter dated August 8 which is now up for auction at TW Gaze of Diss, Norfolk.

The two-page (both now framed) typed letter, signed by Churchill, was sent on Chartwell, Westerham, Kent headed paper to an RJ Whitwell, tropical fish breeder and distributor in West Bergholt. It thanks Whitwell for a recent supply of exotic fish taken to him at Chartwell and asks to be invoiced. It features a manuscript pen and ink correction of a typo by Churchill, changing a typed t at the end of Siamese to an e.

The lot offered in the Militaria sale on April 18 also includes an unsmoked cigar given by Churchill to Whitwell when he visited to discuss and advise on keeping tropical fish. It is one of Churchill’s favoured brands, the now defunct La Aroma de Cuba, still intact and unopened in its original plastic wrapping, housed in a contemporary felt lined, glass fronted mahogany case.

The vendor is Whitwell’s nephew.

Estimate £1500-2500.


Vanity Fair print of WG Grace, estimate £60-100 at Charterhouse.

A lifetime collection of cricket memorabilia is being sold by Charterhouse in Sherborne in the April 4 specialist Sporting Auction. It was amassed over many decades by the late Harry Brewer of Nether Compton, a well-known and keen sportsman, but with cricket as his main passion.

The collection, which is all being sold without reserve, includes pottery figures, pictures, balls, bails and an extensive library of specialist cricket books including a complete run of Wisden Cricketers Almanacks from 1864-2021.

Pictured here is a Vanity Fair print of WG Grace, estimate £60-100.


Early 20th century Steiff centre seam cinnamon plush teddy bear, estimate £2000-4000 at Swan Fine Art.

The first owner of this early 20th century Steiff centre seam cinnamon plush teddy bear was Miss Joan Mary Shelmadine (1899-1994). A published author who wrote a history of Woodstock, Oxfordshire, she was also the founder of The Samson Press.

The 18in (45cm) bruin comes for sale at Swan Fine Art in Tetsworth on April 3 with a guide of £2000-4000.


Chinese green patinated bronze incense burner of archaic form, estimate £200-300 at W&H Peacock.

W&H Peacock will be selling just under 300 lots from the estate of Phillip Allen (1938-2022) in a stand-alone auction on April 19.
The saleroom says some of those lots have 30-40 items in, so although not many in total it is “actually a really big collection, all taken from his Bedford home. On our client’s instructions, the estimates are all on a ‘come and get me’ basis as the sale is almost all without reserve.
“Phillip was one of our auction regulars. He was a council member of the Oriental Ceramic Society and honorary secretary of the Sir Victor Sassoon Ivories Trust.”
Shown here is a Chinese green patinated bronze incense burner of archaic form, the triform base decorated with taotie masks, probably 18th century, 8in (20.5cm) high x 6½in (16cm) deep, 2037gms.
The estimate at the Bedford auction is £200-300.
Salibury auction house Woolley & Wallis sold over 300 lots from Sir Phillips’ collection of Chinese and Japanese works of art in November last year.


Reverie, oil on canvas by James Paterson, estimate £2000-4000 at McTear’s.

The Scottish pictures sale at McTear’s in Glasgow on April 10 includes this oil on canvas by James Paterson (1854-1932). Signed and title Reverie, it formed part of the 100 Years of Scottish Painting exhibition held at The Fine Art Society, London in 1972.

Estimate £2000-4000.


Artwork created in the early 20th century during a packaging redesign for Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes, estimate £800-1200 at Auctioneum.

The Player’s Navy Cut logo, used for over half a century, was based on the painting Head of a Soldier by Arthur David McCormick (1860-1943).

That was believed to depict one Thomas Huntley Wood, who served 21 years in the Royal Navy in the 19th century. The image was known as ‘Hero’ because of the name on his hat band. The two ships behind him are thought to be HMS Britannia and HMS Dreadnought or possibly HMS Hero.

This original piece of artwork was created in the early 20th century during a packaging redesign for Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes. Hand painted by artists at Mardon, Son & Hall in Bristol, it measures approximately 12 x 16in (30 x 42cm). It carries a guide of £800-1200 as part of a selection of original cigarette card artwork offered by Auctioneum in Bristol on April 3.