January Auction A Huge Success

An account of Wednesday’s auction.


James and Sons had their first auction of 2018 on Wednesday, and this post tells the story of that auction. 


Most of the setup work for the auction was accomplished on Tuesday. First, some stock had to be cleared away from the tables that were to be used for the auction, and then the stock we brought down (lots 1-488, after which would be taking a break, and might bring down the second half lots if it seemed necessary) was laid out on one table, and the IT setup completed on the other. I did a preliminary test to make sure that all was working.


Everything went smoothly on the morning of the auction, and we started as intended at 10 o;clock. Lot 7, a small collection of Masonic medals, with a modest estimate of 30-50 ended up selling for £200.

Lot 7 (four images total)



This lot had had a lot of advance publicity, and what happend to it was crucial to the overall success or otherwise of the auction. Before Christmas I had put out various emails and press releases about this item, one result of which was an advertisement on the armourer website. It had also been the front cover item on the printed catalogue. In the run up to the auction I had received a query asking for close-ups of maker’s marks on the Russian Order of St Anne gold medal, which was the key part of the group in terms of its value. One of the two people I sent such pictures two did not respond and the other sent an exceedingly insulting response. I had been checking on the-saleroom.com andf noted that this item had 15 watchers. So, it came to time for it go under the hammer, and following the-saleroom.com standard rule of 60% of lower estimate, the opening price was £3,600. The bidding proceeded at such a pace on the internet that by the time the auctioneer had finished announcing the item £5,000 had come and gone. Eventually the hammer went down at £8,200. You can find visit the two articles I wrote about this yesterday:

  1. A specialised article focussing only on this item for military publications.
  2. A more general article for less specialist readers.

Here are some images of this lot:

Jutland 7
Lot 17

Jutland back reducednaming

russian medal - close up
The key element of the group
The maker’s mark shot


After that it was not going to matter much what happened for the rest of auction. As it happened there were a few more bright spots. Lot 718, a large collection of penny reds and the odd twopenny  blue, all with GWR perfins, went for £120:


Lot 852, one of three lots subsituted after the catalogue was printed (three Victorian era hunter watches that replaced three other less significant items) which went in to the online version of the catalogue with an estimate of £50-60 sold for £140. Here are images of all three items:

Lot 852, the lot that sold so well (this is a composite image showing both the face and the workings – one of four images for this lot)


Lot 851


Lot 853


Even then there was still one spectacular sale to come. Lot 864, four vintage gold-nibbed pens with some restoration required, had been expected to make £30-50, but had attracted plenty of interest before the auction, and ended up selling for £180. 

Lot 864
The nibs, imaged in response to an internet enquiry.
864-damaged lid1
Two of tghe pen ,lids were damaged (this pic and the next), again picked up on while responding to an internet enquiry.

864-damaged lid 2


Author: Thomas

I am a founder member and currently secretary of the West Norfolk Autism Group and am autistic myself. I am a very keen photographer and almost every blog post I produce will feature some of my own photographs. I am an avidly keen cricket fan and often post about that sport.

2 thoughts on “January Auction A Huge Success”

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