November Auctions

An account of a hectic and sometimes stressful work week.


This post covers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Monday and Wednesday were auction days.


This auction consisted of 455 lots, mainly stamps, with some first day covers at the end. The feature of the day was a selection of rare Chinese stamps, which it was hoped would fare well. Arriving at the shop bright and early I had a little time to myself before anyone else arrived. The IT setup and audio/video checks went smoothly, and exactly on schedule at 10:00 the first lot went under the hammer. Here are some pictures from before the auction…

Auction stock
The Chinese Stamps were still upstairs at this stage for safety.
IT setup - shop
The IT setup
The big screen.
A close up of the locomotive on the big screen (at one image per 3 seconds and almost two hours of running through 455 lots on a loop you can work out how many times each lot appeared on screen while the preauction slide show was running.


Most of the lots early in the auction were very large, and they did not attract much attention. There were hints of things to come when some of the first Chinese stamps sold well. Before we get to the main meat of the day, there is one essential stop…

LOT 169

Coming a little bit before the rare Chinese stamps were due to appear this was a Japanese railway stamp, and I got it unopposed. Here are the official images that were available online:

This was the image that appeaqred on screen during the auction – scanned at 300dpi.
For those who were on the internet this close-up of the locomotive was the second image if they wanted to investigate more closely.

Here are a couple of pictures of it taken at home…

169 - home
The complete item
169 locomotive close up
Locomotive close up
169 locomotive - using vignette
A second close-up


The Chinese stamps did better than any of us had dared to hope. A Chinese man living in Chelmsford had driven up tlo Fakenham (something in excess of two hours each way, though quicker than the public transport option of train to Norwich, bus/walk from Norwich station to the castle and then bus to Fakenham) to bid live, and he with some vigorous internet competition ensured that these stamps sold between them for over £10,000 (his own spend was over £9,000). Here are some the stamps at the heart of this story:



The remainder of the auction after the last Chinese stamp had gone was anticlimactic. Once I had disconnected the IT it was time for me to switch focus for a day and a bit to…


The link between these auctions and our final auction of the year, which will take place at our shop in Fakenham on December 13 is that there are some more Chinese stamps goign under the hammer. This auction will start with 50 lots of banknotes, including some very valuable uncirculated Australian and New Zealand, before proceeding to 100 lots of coins, 150 lots of military themed postcards, the stamps and some ephemera. I had already done the banknotes and one of the coins, and on the Monday afternoon I was scanning stamps. 

On the Tuesday I started on the postcards, and also did some coins. Here are some pictures of what you have to look forward to…

Imaging these uncirculated banknotes was a fiddle. They had to be imaged through the plastic covers they were encased in to avoid damage, and the black bakcground was needed for use in the catalogue. Additionally, since both sides were required what you see are two images joined to become one.


This 1787 gold guinea starts the coin section. This image came from 2 600dpi scans, bolted together.
As witness


I also photographed the coin, and this is the one that woulkd be my front-cover image for the printed catalogue.


Lots 52-6 got similar treatment.


Laying these postcards out to best advantage is a challenge as some are landscape oriented and some portrait.


Stamp scans…


While I was doing this the van was being loaded up to go Norwich, and as you will soon see the fact that I could not be spared from imaging to help with the process had consequences…


I managed to get my intended bus, and arrived at Norwich bus station at about 7:30 AM (to arrive early enough to help with the setup and then run the IT a Norwich auction I need to be on the First Eastern Counties X1 which departs Lynn at 5:30). I walked down to the venue, arriving there at about 7:45, got the room unlocked, fired up my computer and checked my emails, and waited for my colleagues to arrive. Finally, at about 8:20, they did, having got stuck in heavy traffic on the route between Fakenham and Norwich. Once the van was unloaded it was time to set up. Unfortunately no one involved in loading the van had thought to include a multi-point extension lead, the camera or the microphone. The Maids Head were able to lend us most of what we needed, and I was dispatched (with cash provided) to purchase a usb attached web camera. My first port of call was Rymans, in the pedestrianised shopping area of Norwich, where I had to wait a few minutes for the shop to open. Rymans did not have the necessary, but they did have an assistant who was able to point me in the direction of Maplin on Castle Meadow, close by albeit in the opposite direction to the Maids Head, and I found precisely what we needed there (though it took me a few minutes – the place was organised rather strangely, at least to me). I was back at the hotel by 9:20, and fortunately there were no technical hitches in the IT setup. Here are some pictures from this early part of the day…


The books fared much better than I for one dared to hope, with those that sold going for good money. On the Tuesday, along with the imaging for December I had corrected a problem with some of our online images, deleting two images and renumbering about 25 others so that images and descriptions matched. Unfortunately, when we came to these lots on the day my editing had been over-ridden by someone at the ATG Media end of things and the wrong images were back in place. Lots 901 to 1,000, which concluded the auction were military themed postcard lots, and they sold incredibly well, one single lot going for £200. The sales made at this auction were a welcome bonus after Monday’s extraordinary success. 

The auctiuon concluded it remained only to take down the IT and reload the van. 


My colleague Andrew had decided that he wanted to spend some more time in Norwich and go back by bus, so before heading off for my own extra time in Norwich I showed him where to pick up the bus from. I then headed for the library, which I always like to visit when I am in Norwich and did a few other things. Here are some photographs from Norwich, some taken that day and some on the previous Thursday evening, when I was also in Norwich…

St Peter Mancroft 2
This is St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich
Light Tunnel
Next to it at the moment is this magnificent light tunnel. As you will see, Norwich have excelled themselves in the matter of Christmas lights this year.

Light Tunnel 1Light Tunnel 3Light Tunnel 2Light Tunnel 4

St Peter Mancroft clock through light curtain
This is the last of the Wednesday pics…
Castle - lit up 2
But I had taken more pictures of the Norwich Christmas lights the previous Thursday.

Davey Place lightsLights forumLight Tunnel 1Light Tunnel 2

Lights - Norwich tree
Note – just a few clumps of lights in the tree, not completely smothering it – a nice show of “treespect”

Davy Place, full darkIn the light tunnel 1In the light tunnel 2Light tunnel in full gloryLight stringlight stringsLightLooking down the light tunnel


Excl: case studies show Labour investment WILL pay for itself

A very important post from the Skwawkbox


In a bid to divert attention from the wet blanket of Philip Hammond’s budget last week, the Establishment has been attacking Labour’s plans for borrowing (only) for investment.

Channel 4’s FactCheck issued an article criticising Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s supposed lack of understanding of how government borrowing works – allowing Tories to crow briefly and erroneously – only to have to issue a corrected version. Other ‘MSM’ piled in with similarly-misplaced attacks.

The push-back against this nonsense has started. A group of twenty-three renowned economists also made a firm, public statement of support for the sound economic principle of government borrowing to invest to strengthen the economy – and the tax take.

Now the impact of government investment – and the reality that it pays for itself in economic growth and improved tax-receipts – can be seen in these previously-unreleased case studies of three planned Labour investment projects:

Crossrail for…

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An Autism Pledge And Minimalist Personal Cards

My #TheAutisticUnion pledge and my new cards.


Just a quick post to keep things rolling…


This, courtesy of Eve Reiland at AmericanBadassActivists,  is #TheAutisticUnion Pledge:


Every individual pledge has been published on this site, including as of yesterday mine. Mine has also been reblogged on FireBrightStarSoul for which many thanks. I reproduce it below as well:

#TheAutisticUnion Pledge |Thomas Sutcliffe

ThomasSutcliffeI pledge . . .

I pledge to always uphold the principles of #TheAutisticUnion pledge. I believe firmly in every one of the ten points of this pledge.

As someone who is both autistic and branch secretary of the National Autistic Society West Norfolk branch, I am doing my bit to ensure that autistic people are involved in the running of their own welfare/ support organisations.

You can find out more about me on my blog, and also on my London transport themed website


Vistaprint gave me a £10 voucher off my next purchase, with a use-by date as a reward for using them to make my 2018 wall calendars, so I used it to create a card which contains some information about me on one side and a sample photograph on the other. I collected them from the delivery office on Austin Street this morning (delivery was attempted yesterday while I was out), and they have come out superbly.



A bird post provoked in part by the Angling Trust seeking permission to double the rate at which they cull cormorants.


This post has two elements: first, I saw on twitter something about the Angling Trust calling for cormorants to be shot “to protect stocks of coarse and game fish”, and following the link located the details which you can see here, and second while out looking for cormorants to photograph for this post I saw something else that I had not previously captured.


I would take a lot persuading that increasing the number of cormorants licensed to be shot copuld be justified in any case, but the grounds given, which amount to a statement that “our sport counts for more than cormorants” fail to come even remotely close. There is a cormorant colony within walking distance of central King’s Lynn, and although they were not about in big numbers when I went looking, there were four of them in evidence. Here are the pictures:

Posing Cormoranttwo cormorantsCormorant sandwichFour cormorantssingle cormorant close up


While observing the cormorants I also a got a couple of pictures of this:

LapwingLapwing 2

Going through my bird book I could find only two birds with black wings and a white bar across their tail. The first, the Storm Petrel was an unlikely option given how far King’s Lynn is from the nearest ocean (it is an ocean going bird). That left me with the second, the Lapwing, a medium sized wader that likes marshy or muddy conditions (not a problem in the vicinity of the Great Ouse!). Here to conclude this post is what my bird book has to say about Lapwings:

Lapwing - book

Southwestern Publicity Materials

Some publicity materials fro,m the Southwest.


This is the final post I shall be producing about my first visit to my parent’s new home in Cornwall. There will be photographs of all the publicity materials that I picked up while down there, captioned where appropriate with links to the posts that they relate to, except for one section where I am following the route of my journey to Penzance and flag that at the start of the entire section. Thus, this post will contain links to every other post I have produced about the visit.


We start with…


This is the particular area in which my parents new home is located, so in one sense it relates to all of the previous posts in this series…

Rame 1
The posts that relate most closely to this are those relating to Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Rame 2

Next we have…


This features the Great Western Railway network map on one side and the whole national railway network on the other:

This map particularly relates to the posts for Wednesday, the first of the Saturday posts and Monday.

Network Rail mapGWR Map cover

Our next port of call is…


This is a stout little booklet, with a pictorial map as a centrepiece:

South Devon mapSouth Devon Guide

Next we come to…


These are all unrelated to anything I blogged about, but represent things to consider for future visits…

Riviera line 1Riviera line 2Avocet Ambles 1Avocet Ambles 2Avocet Ambles 3Avocet lineScenic railways in Devon

We are now going to cover…


For most of this section we will be following the route of my journey to Penzance, but first a couple of pics to set the scene…

Scenic RailwaysScenic Railways 2

Now starting our survey of stuff that relates closely to my Saturday journey we begin with the St Germans Walk…

St Germans Walk 1St Germans Walk 2St Germans Map

Our next staging post is Bodmin Parkway, for the Bodmin & Wenford Railway:

Bodmin & Wenford 1Bodmin & Wenford 2

Continuing our westward journey our next diversion is at St Austell where those so minded can catch a 101 bus to The Eden Project (the officially recommended way of visiting that great attraction – they are not great admirers of the motor car).

Eden 1Eden 2

Before arriving at the destination for our next section we give a passing wave to Camborne Town:

Camborne townCamborne Town 2Camborne Heritage Trail

It is now time to move on to…


Here are some maps of the Penzance area…

Discover Penzance 1
These maps relate to my post about my day in Penzance. The first two pictures are of the only item in this collection that had to be bought, for a whopping £1!

Discover Penzance 2Penzance mapPenzance map close upPenzance town mapPenzance town map close up

We have almost reached the end of this post, which we do with…


These are the last few bits…

GWR timetable
The official mainline timetable
Devon & Cornwall Railcard
I will not be able to make use of this, but some of you might.

Devon & Cornwall Railcard 2Cross Country 1Cross Country 2

Homeward Bound

My account of the homeward journey from Fort Picklecombe.


We have reached the penultimate post about my Cornish holiday – the last day. This post details the long journey home.


The length of time it took to get from Plymouth to Fort Picklecombe on the Thursday was playing on my mind, and I wanted to be sure that we were away before 9AM, since my train was due to depart Plymouth at 10:44, and I reckoned that a single ticket from Plymouth to London bought on the day (London-Lynn would still have been valid on the original ticket) woulkd probably cost more than my original ticket (in this assessment, to borrow from history, there was the proverbial “cubit of error my way that does not obscure the 99 cubits of error the other way” – actually said ticket would have been fractionally less. Nevertheless, I did get a few lasy pictures before leaving the fort:

Sun on waterthree boatsTwo boats

A first for me – the first time I have captured a heron on camera.

On the journey into Plymouth I managed to snap two pictures from the back of the camper van:

Water viewBridge, Plymouth

I had some time to kill at Plymouth station and did so by taking photographs…

Platform 7, Plymouth

Gull waiting for train
An avian passenger?

Posters 1Plymouth PosterPenzanceDevon PosterDevon Poster 2Departure Board


This train was a service called “The Cornish Riviera”, which starts in Penzance and snails up through Cornwall stopping pretty much everywhere and then makes up time by calling only at Exeter St Davids and Reading between Plymouth and London. Although I had an aisle seat on this journey, and no opportunity to move to the window seat I was not going to be denied at least some photos. I got a good few between Plymouth and Exeter and a handful thereafter…

Across the water from the trainAcross the Water from the train IIBridge from trainThe seaCliffsAcross the water from the train IIIHeadland from the trainTown across the water from trainBoats and buildings through the windowBoats and Buildings from train IIBoats and buildings from train IIIAcross the water from train IVBoat and housesboat and buildingsRed cliffsRed cliff and two big housesStately homeRed cliffs, buildings and treesRed cl.iffs and red houseWaterfront buildingsWaterside viewView through the bridgeAcross the riverLarge churchLarge church IILarge church IIITwo towersSpire through treesSpire II

Plat 1
Exeter St Davids (two images)

Exeter St DavidsMonument

Chalk Horse
This chalk horse, carved directly out of the hillside, is visible at distance at a time when the train is at full speed.

Chalk Horse II

Reading station
Royal Oak
Royal Oak – the Hammersmith & City line’s last station west of Paddington. The next station towards Hammersmith, Westbourne Park, used to offer an interchange with mainline railways but nowadays Ealing Braodway is the last mainline station before Paddington. Back in the old days there was a connection – the first locomotives to run over what was then The Metropolitan Railway were supplied by the Great Western, while this extension to Hammersmtih opened in 1864, only one year after the original.


I crossed to the Hammersmith and City line platforms, nos 15 and 16 of the main station, and waited a long time for an eastbound train, then discovering that it was terminating at Edgware Road (very odd indeed for a train from Hammersmith), so I had to change again. I arrived at King’s Cross and was just in time to catch the 14:44 to King’s Lynn, which was not overfull (as the 15:44, the next service, certainly would have been). This means that I was at home and unpacking by 5PM. 

Paddington 1View from the Hammersmith & City line platformsPaddingtonH&C trainCablesTrainEdgware RoadEdgware Road from aboveEdgware Road Plats 1&2

Hammersmith & City line
This picture was the cause of minor quarrel – I was challenged by another passenger as to why I was taking pictures of his friend, and it took my a while to get the point across that I was not, and that it was this map which was my target. His friend’s hat did appear in the uncropped version, but no face was visible, and my only interest was the map. I was perhaps a little harsh as I was fully expecting to miss my intended connection at Kings Cross due to the delays on this leg of the journey.

Great Portland StreetEuston Square

Kings Cross clock
The platform from which the train to King’s Lynn was l.eaving was revealed with a mere eight minutes to spare, and if you going to Lynn you have to go to the front of the train (or else get out and dash along the platform at Cambridge).

Kings Cross arched roofTrains at Kings CrossKing's Cross just before departureJourney PlannerAeroplaneStansted ExpressStansted Express 2

Ely Cathedral
Ely Cathedral.


Sunday in Cornwall

The Sunday of my Cornish holiday.


We have reached the Sunday of my Cornish holiday. I am going to cover the day in three sections for reasons that will become apparent as the post develops.


From my point of view most of this day was taken up with editing my pictures from the previous day’s excursion (see here and here), but Fort Picklecombe also provides regular opportunities for taking photographs, and I also took a number of these opportunities. 

HarbourBreakwaterBreakwater IILighthouse and sailboatShip and breakwaterFlying birdBird flying near breakwater

We were going out for Sunday lunch, and at about 12:15 we got ready to leave. We were lunching at an establishment that doubles as an art gallery and is located in a set of Nissen huts in a village called Maker. Here is their Sunday menu:


In the event we did not have starters, and each of us went for a different main course – I went for the slow-roasted pork shoulder, my father for the beef and my mother for the hake. It was a long wait to be served, but that was because they were cooking the vegetables from fresh. The pork was excellently cooked, with crackling that was both crunchy and flavoursome, and the vegetables were excellent. The roast potatoes however were not as good as they would have been had I cooked them – the potatoes had been peeled but not chopped, hence were very large and therefore somewhat lacking in the crunch factor. Overall, considering all factors, I rate this meal at 7.5/10. Here are the rest of my pictures from lunchtime:

MakerThe CanteenRuin

Nissen Huts
A good picture of the Nissen hut in which we ate.


Our Table
Our table.

Tree PicSea view pic

Nissen Hut PIc
A bad picture of a Nissen hut (as you will note not much of the art on display here could really be considered good).

MapYYSea ViewSea View IIThrough the treesLake view

Then it was back to the fort, and back to photo-editing, although in between editing pictures from the previous day I captured some…


Rainbow IRainbow IIRainbow IIIRainbow IVRainbow VRainbow VIRainbow VIIDouble Rainbow IRainbow IXRainbow XRainbow XI