This Wednesday saw James and Sons’ April auction, the first of three auctions that are devoted entirely to an old client’s collection of stamps, postal history and first day covers (these auctions are interleaved with regular general sales, of which our next will be on May 18th). This post looks back at the day.
A GOOD AUCTION
With a large number of bidders registered, many of them newcomers, we were hoping for a good sale, and we got it in spades. Lot 66 attracted some lively bidding and ended up fetching £80. Lot 85 went for £100
A complete set of FDCs depicting the 1999 Treble Winning Manchester United.
Lot 120 netted £150 after some brisk bidding.
Lot 132 was the most remarkable story of the auction. It included some rare Wonderland stamps, and with the bidding starting at £30 an amazing stampede by online bidders pushed the final price up to an eye-popping £540!
Lots 161-9 were sheets of railway stamps. Two of those lots had attracted my own attention, but I was outbid on them – professionally satisfying, while personally disappointing.
Lot 198 saw another bidding war, a starting price of £60 mushrooming to £200.
Lot 204 raised £65.
Lot 278 was a consolation prize after the railway stamps got away – my opening bid of £8 closed proceedings.
Lot 295 was another I might have been interested in, but the price went too high for me, not very surprisingly in view of Terence Cuneo’s status:
Lot 302 soared to £170.
Lot 396 went to m5 for £55. If you are wondering about this price, which is more than I normally bid for a single lot, it was for a large box of FDCs which I knew to contain some quality railwayana and I was expecting it to comfortably pay for itself – I would select the stuff I wished to keep and would sell the rest. I have already split this lot into the stuff I intend to keep for myself and the stuff I wish to sell. The stuff I will be looking to sell includes some football FDCs and some military FDCs as well as some other stuff.
Here are some pictures showing the division of this lot as it stands currently…
The lid (at rear) contains the stuff I don’t want to keep, while the body of the box contains the stuff I am keeping.
Lots 444 and 445 attracted plenty of bidders, going for £130 and £140 respectively, while lot 489 fetched £100. I have no images for these lots, but lot 462, which I snagged for £8 is below:
The auction took almost five and a half hours (about half as long again as would be expected for a 500 lot auction), and I followed it from home via www.easyliveauction.com.
Just a brief post to remind people of my existence. I shall follow my title precisely…
ONE: HEARING AID
Ten days ago I was fitted with a hearing aid. I have had to change the batteries once (this is in keeping with the advice I was given that these batteries, which are specially made for use with hearing aids, and can be obtained free of charge either at the hospital or at the West Norfolk Deaf Association have a lifespan of approximately one week.
TWO: A MASSIVE AUCTION
A longstanding client of James and Sons is selling his collection. He was a bulk collector of stamps, postal history and first day covers. Yesterday I began the process of imaging these items, which will be going under the hammer in April. Even selling the stuff by the box/ crate, with no small lots, it will be a two day sale. Here are some samples from yesterday…
UNUSUAL BIRD SIGHTING
This is today’s sign off – I was out walking earlier (it is sunny today in King’s Lynn, though still cold enough to warrant a coat), and I saw a Little Egret in Bawsey Drain, not very far from my house…
An account of James and Sons’ most recent auction.
This post is not about the IPL Super Auction which started today and finishes tomorrow, though I intend to write about that either tomorrow or Monday. It is about James and Sons auction on Wednesday, which went very well. I followed proceedings from home by way of www.easyliveauction.com, one of the two online platforms we use (see also www.the-saleroom.com).
PART 1 – CIGARETTE CARDS
A quietish start, with only a few items going over estimate. One of those items was lot 46, on which I was outbid. Another was lot 149, on which I was successful (even at above the top estimate it was still quite cheap). Lot 150 was the last of the Cigarette Card lots, and then it was time for…
PART 2 –MILITARIA
This was expected to be highly successful and it was. Lot 151, a medal group awarded to a ‘desert rat’ and accompanied by lots of relevant documentation sold for £400, helped by some good advance publicity (various people bit on a press release I had sent out, including the Eastern Daily Press who gave it a quarter of a page in their Saturday issue). Lot 160, a steering yoke from a B50 warplane fetched £2,100. Lot 161 then went for £160, four times the upper estimate. Lot 167, also with a top estimate of £40 fetched £150. Lots 192-7 inclusive, display folders full of military photographs (put together by my father) all sold for significantly above the top estimates, lot 194 being the most successful, going for £50 with a top estimate of £20. Lot 201 an 18th/19th century Indian Tulwar Golia sword which had been expected to for low three figures fetched £550. There were a number of other more modest successes along the way.
PART 3 – FABRIC AND OTHER
There were 120 fabric items, and then a few random lots to finish. Although none of these lots reached the heights of the militaria section there were some good sales even so.
POST AUCTION PRESS RELEASE
On Thursday I did a press release about the auction, focussing on the militaria. I will find out in due course whether it gets published by anyone. Here is the composite image of highlighted lots I created for it:
James and Sons’ next auction is on March 16th, and catalogue listings can be viewed here (easyliveauction) and here (saleroom)
A look back at round one of the T20 World Cup currently happening in Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Yesterday the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup in Dubai got underway, with Australia beating South Africa and England obliterating the West Indies. In this post I look back at the events of the first round matches, which provided four of the teams contesting the Super 12s. Before that, I have a small piece of business to attend to: Phoebe has once again opened up her blog for people to share details of their own blogs.
I covered the opening day in this post. The day after those events the second group got underway. Ireland beat the Netherlands, with Curtis Campher taking four wickets in four balls, only the third bowler ever to do so in an international match (Lasith Malinga has done so twice, in an ODI and a T20I, and Rashid Khan of Afghanistan did it against Ireland in a T20I). Max O’Dowd scored a fighting 50 for the Netherlands but had zero support from the rest of the order. Campher followed up his bowling by being there to see Ireland over the winning line. In the other match Sri Lanka beat Namibia.
The second set of fixtures in the other group saw Oman fight hard but ultimately lose to Bangladesh, while Scotland beat Papua New Guinea.
Sri Lanka beat Ireland, and Namibia got the better of the Netherlands, confirming the latter’s elimination with a round to go. O’Dowd once again batted well, but once again had no support.
With Bangladesh beating PNG the game between Scotland and Oman became effectively a straight fight for one qualification spot. Oman managed only 122 from their 20 overs, with Josh Davey bowling especially well. Scotland were in control throughout the chase, and Richie Berrington finished the match with a six. Scotland thus won the group with three wins out of three, Bangladesh were second and Oman third. The co-hosts have a couple of good batters and a number of good bowlers but they are a poor fielding side, and it was this that cost them qualification.
The final set of group games saw Ireland v Namibia and Netherlands v Sri Lanka. O’Dowd failed with the bat for the Netherlands, and the rest of the order went down like a house of cards. Leg spinning all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva (4-9) and right arm fast bowler Lahiru Kumara (4-7) were especially impressive with the ball, and off spinner Maheesh Theekshana also got among the wickets. Netherlands mustered a beggarly 44, the lowest total ever recorded in a T20 World cup. Ireland v Namibia was a magnificent match, going right down to the wire. In the end the vast experience of David Wiese told, as he steered Namibia over the winning line, and test playing Ireland found themselves eliminated at the first stage. Sri Lanka had dominated the group, winning all three matches and never really looking in trouble at any stage, Namibia deserve massive credit for getting the better of Ireland to join them in the Super 12s. The Netherlands’ awful showing was a sad way for Ryan ten Doeschate’s wonderful career to end.
A ‘MINNOWS’ XI
Many of the lesser nations involved at this stage had moments to cherish, and with the exception of one player from Ireland who can be considered their ‘given man’ (an expression dating from the days of professional touring XIs in the mid 19th century, when local teams sometimes had professionals to stiffen their ranks) the team I have selected is made up exclusively of players from non-test nations.
I decided to select an opening pair who provenly work well together, and the Oman pair of Jatinder Singh and Aqib Ilyas demonstrated in their 10 wicket win over PNG that they certainly can bat well together. The Netherlands had a horrible time, but Max O’Dowd scored 50s in their first two matches, which is enough to give him the number three slot. At number four is leg spinning all rounder Charles Amini of PNG (it was a choice between him and Assad Vala for the PNG representative, and I have gone for Amini). Number five and my choice as captain is Zeeshan Maqsood of Oman, who led his team to three wins out of three. Scottish wicket keeper Matthew Cross gets the nod at number six. A second Scot in a row, with Chris Greaves in at no7 (his Player of the Match winning performance against test playing Bangladesh is worth the pick on its own). At number eight is the given man, Mr ‘four in four’ aka Curtis Campher of Ireland. At number nine is a third Scot, seam bowler Josh Davey. At number ten, and not just because he possesses THE name of the tournament, is Pikky Ya France, Namibia’s off spinner. Rounding out the order, at his customary position of no11 is our fourth Scot, pace bowler Brad Wheal. For ease of reference:
This side features eight players who could make major contributions with the bat, a superb new ball pair in Davey and Wheal, every kind of spin bar left arm wrist spin – Greaves and Amini both bowl leg spin and could certainly bowl a four over allocation between them, Maqsood is a left arm orthodox spinner and Ya France an off spinner. Finally, there is the bowling wildcard that is Curtis Campher. Additionally Aqib Ilyas is a Liam Livingstone type, able to bowl both off and leg spin.
Some work related pictures for my usual sign off. These items will be going under the hammer on November 24th, and you can view a full catalogue and sign up to bid here or here.
A post about my recent return to work and some of things associated with it.
Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I had a very serious illness in 2018 (I put up various posts about this). This post tells the story of my path back to work (albeit on a very part time basis).
A False Dawn – Winter 2019 to Spring 2020
By the time a year had elapsed since the worst of my illness I was thinking about the possibility of returning to work, but I did not feel that winter was the right time (some long term lung damage and a compromised immune system influenced this). The plan which my employer was fully on board with was that I would return in April 2020. Then of course the covid-19 pandemic hit, preventing any possibility of a return to work at that stage. However, on July 1st of this year I returned to work on a one day per week basis…
PUBLIC TRANSPORT NIGHTMARE
At the time of my illness Lynx Bus had taken over the services between King’s Lynn and Fakenham (the town where I work), and at the time of my illness they had been starting to provide a proper service. Unfortunately, as I discovered when checking out bus times for my return I discovered that the pandemic had reduced their services to skeleton levels, and to date that has not changed. James and Sons open their doors between 10AM and 3PM. There are three options, all far from ideal for getting into Fakenham in the morning: 7:00AM direct bus, gets to Fakenham at 7:49, leaving me a couple of hours to kill in Fakenham, leave at the same early hour and go via Hunstanton and Wells, arriving in Fakenham at 9:30, or 10:00, getting to Fakenham at 10:50. Of these three only the latter is really practicable as a route in. Getting home is worse still: there is no direct bus between 1:00PM and 6:00PM. Therefore I board the 3:00PM bus and take the scenic route back to Lynn (Fakenham – Wells – Hunstanton – Lynn), usually arriving home at about 5:45PM. It is these issues with travel that prevent me from committing to more than one day per week.
The auction of August 31st and September 1st 2021 was notably successful. I put out a press release about lots 1 and 2, two Steven pennies, which went for £700 and £900 respectively.
Many other items sold for huge money at that auction. A gold bracelet of Egyptian pattern attracted particularly vigorous bidding, going for £1,150, while a gold hunter watch went for £600, and a pair of diamond earrings fetched over £400. Here are some the images of lots that sold well…
My most recent imaging has been for our October auction, in which a number of swagger sticks feature…
THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION
On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had a two day stamp auction. By and large things went well. I was a successful bidder on three lots – 663 (French railway stamps, hammer price £5), 892 (Benham mini FDCs, railway themed, hammer price £18) and lot 936 (Channel Tunnel opening FDCs with certificates of authenticity, hammer price £8). I did not originally image these lots, but have done so in great detail since taking possession, and I end this post with those images…
An account of yesterday’s splendidly successful auction.
On Wednesday James and Sons had a small but very important auction featuring gold coins and proof sets. We were anticipating a very considerable success, because we knew that there were bids of sufficient size on every lot that everything would sell, and we also knew that some of the items had a very large number of watchers online (one had no fewer than 17). The rest of this post tells the story of a truly amazing auction.
TUESDAY – FINAL PREPARATIONS
In view of the high value of the gold the only items that were set out on display were as many of the proof sets as I could lay out on one large table. I also made sure that the IT was all fully functional, as the last thing we wanted was for a glitch to affect this auction. I was able to enjoy the NAS West Norfolk Steak Night at The Globe later that evening in the knowledge that all had gone as smoothly as it could have (I restricted myself to a modest two pints of Ringwood Fortyniner in view of the importance of the following day).
WEDNESDAY – A DAY OF TRIUMPHS
I awoke a few minutes before my alarm was due to go off (not uncommon with me – the alarm is more insurance policy than necessity) and left my flat precisely as intended at 6:45, ensuring that there was no chance of missing the bus. Arriving at the shop, I unlocked, deactivated the alarm, then relocked the door as in view of what was in the shop I did not want customers coming in while I was there on my own. I then began to set up for the day. The auctioneer arrived not very long after me, and I was able to complete the setup, verify that everything was working and take some photographs. Before nine o’clock customers started arriving, and by 9:30 it was standing room only in the shop, as no fewer than 16 potential room bidders were present, in addition to over 60 online bidders and not a few who had put commission bids in in advance of the sale.
Lot 139 on the big screen.
THE AUCTION STARTS
The first five lots were 1974 Krugerrands which were expected to make approximately £800 each and did exactly that. Then came lot 6, the James II Guinea which was one of two items that had been the subject of a query the previous day as a result of which it had extra images above the regular image gallery for such an item. Estimated at £500-750 the interest it had attracted saw the final hammer price reach exactly £1,000.
Lot 7 was a William III Half Guinea, which in relative terms fared even better since with an estimate of £300-500 it actually went for £900!
Lots 8 to 24 inclusive were half sovereigns, and all sold well, most going for around the £100 mark. Lots 25 to 90 incluisve were…
SOVEREIGNS FROM VICTORIA THROUGH ELIZABETH II
These we knew would sell respectably, because a major and long standing client whose job is to sell gold items had put in commission bids of £180 a time on the whole lot, confirming our auctioneers valuation was on the mark. Most of the sovereigns actually sold for more than that, £190 being a common figure and a few of them going to and in some cases beyond £200. Then came…
LOTS 91-5 – THE HUGE SUCCESSES
The first four of these lots were high value gold proof sets which we were expecting to be on or around the four figure mark. Actually, and barely believable they went for £1,600, £2,000, £2,000 and £1,600 respectively!!
Lot 95 was a sovereign in a gold mount with a gold chain and 8 1mm diamonds (in otherwords a very fancy necklace). Estimate at £300-400 it eventually sold for £550.
After these it was time for…
THE REGULAR PROOF SETS
Of course after what gone before the proof sets were a little bit “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, but there were still a handful of highlights to come.
LOTS 113 AND 114
These were respectively a Scottish and Welsh proof set (hence the split colouring of the heading) each expected to make £8-12. The Scottish set went for £20 and the Welsh for £18
These were a mere curtain raiser for…
A 1992 proof set featuring an EEC 50p coin the rarity of which turned a £10-15 estimate into a £50 hammer price!
The next big success was…
This 1999 proof set featuring a Diana Princess of Wales £5, a bimetallic rugby £2 and Scottish coins from £1 down to 1p had an estimate of £15-20 and ended up going for £32.
Then came two successive monster successes with…
LOTS 135 and 136
Lot 135, a 2009 proof set, featuring as it did the highly prized Kew Gardens 50p, the Henry VIII £5, and the Darwin and Burns £2 coins was estimated at £100-120 but ended up going for £220!
Lot 136 was a 2010 proof set featuring a Restoration of the Monarchy £5 (350th anniversary thereof), A Florence Nightingale £2, a London £1 and a Girl Guiding 50p. Estimated at £20-25 it sold for £100!!
Not long later came…
LOT 139 – A BITTERSWEET IMAGER’S TRIUMPH
This London Underground 150th anniversary proof set had been badly misdescribed, with one of the £2 coins mentioned as featuring trains, and the roundel coin not even mentioned, but the imager’s efforts more than compensated for this. Estimated at £25-30 it attracted sufficient interest to push the final price up to £52 (and inter alia out of the imager’s reach, hence the heading of this section).
That was the last of the yearly proof sets, but there were still a few lots to go, and two of them provided noteworthy results.
LOT 148 – A SENEGALESE STUNNER
This 1975 Senegal Triple Crown, solid sterling silver, Euroafrique 150 franc coin, boxed and with a certificate was estimated at £15-20, but a lively bidding battle pushed the final price up to £48.
A STRONG FINISH
Lot 151, the final lot in this small sale, was an accumulation box containing a few good bits and some ordinary stuff. Estimated at £40-50 it ended up going for £95.
Once the auction setup had been dismantled and the last room bidders had gone it was time for me to attend to other matters. You can view a catalogue for the general collector’s auction we have next Wednesday here.
THURSDAY – PUTTING TOGETHER A PRESS RELEASE ABOUT THIS AUCTION
Yesterday morning I produced a PR piece about the success of this sale, going big on the images as well. I conclude this piece with a link and a screenshot:
Some stuff about upcoming auctions and press coverage thereof and the solution to my most recent mathematical teaser.
This post deals with some of my work at James and Sons and also includes a solution to a problem I posed last week.
In my recent post about James and Sons’ upcoming gold coin and proof set auction I included a copy of the official press release I had put out about it. What I did not mention in that post is that we also have a less significant ajuction coming up this Monday, for which I had also out out a press release. Both are reproduced below to set the scene for what follows:
Then yesterday morning brought more positive news – a link to an article in that day’s Lynn Newsabout Monday’s general collector’s auction. The focus of this article is some documents we have relating to William Hoste, after whom The Hoste in Burnham Market is named, and who was a protege of Lord Nelson and connected by marriage to Robert Walpole. Here is a scan of the print version of this article:
We have another auction in preparation, and I have already pretty much decided that this 19th century presentation conductors baton (it is too large to have been intended to be used) will be the feature image in the press release for that one:
THE TRIANGULAR BRIDGES
Here is the problem I set last week, followed by the answer and an official solution:
An overview of James and Sons’ upcoming Gold coin and proof set auction.
James and Sons have just finished two militaria auctions, which both went fairly well, next Monday we have a general collector’s auction which contains some interesting lots, but the auction that will shape our August is coming up on the 22nd.
GOLD COINS AND PROOF SETS
We have been consigned a lifetime collection of gold coins and proof sets, and these are forming a very small (147 lots) but potentially immensely valuable auction. As well as some seriously big money items (five 1974 Krugerrands, a James II (or VII north of Hadrian’s wall) gold Guinea and a William III gold Guinea) we have a number of half-Sovereigns and Sovereigns (60 of these latter from the reigns of Victoria through to Elizabeth II, and simply because it is pure gold even a Sovereign that has no features to appeal to a collector will fetch somewhere in the vicinity of £180-200 depending on the exact price of gold on the day). A full catalogue listing can be accessed via the James and Sons website – it is the second auction to which there is a link – look for the image of the James II (VII) coin.
FROM THE IMAGE GALLERY
This section features the official press release, some of the more significant lots and a couple of proof sets that I have at least half an eye on.
A brief account of the genesis and development of a Lynn News article advertising James and Sons’ upcoming auctions.
This post tells the story of the development of an article that appeared in today’s Lynn News about James and Sons upcoming Militaria auctions.
EMAIL AND PRESS RELEASE
I created a document for emailing out to potential militaria buyers, using lot 11 as the main image (at that time I envisaged that lot being on the front cover), but also including an image of lot 50, which I realised was an interesting item. On the advice of my employer I used the exact same document as a press release, though for this purpose I attached the original word document, a jpg thereof and full image galleries of both featured lots. Thus those receiving the press release saw all of the following:
Not long after I had sent this press release came a response from Julie Graham of the Lynn News, whose eye had been taken by the Agincourt bas-relief. She requested some additional information which I supplied and indicated that an article in the business section of the issue for Friday July 20 would be forthcoming. For obvious reasons the Agincourt piece also became the front cover item on the printed catalogue. The article duly appeared as promised this morning:
You can find out more about James and Sons from the company website, and online catalogues for our upcoming auctions can be accessed from there, or on the following links below:
An account of yesterday’s auction at Fakenham Racecourse.
Yesterday James and Sons had an auction at Fakenham Racecourse, the first in 2018 to take place anywhere other than our shop in Fakenham, and the first at that venue with me in sole control of the IT side of things (the latter being a cause of some trepidation). The auctioneer and I had visited the racecourse the Friday before to establish that our IT setup (including the card terminal as part of the IT setup) would work there, and the auction lots and IT stuff were moved down to the racecourse on Tuesday.
I caught the 7:00 bus to Fakenham (the earliest, and my regular one on workdays anyway these days) and on what was already a warm sunny morning enjoyed the walk from Oak Street to the Racecourse (which is located not as its name suggests in Fakenham but just outside the adjoining village of Hempton), arriving at the venue at just before ten past eight. The auctioneer arrived a few minutes later and I was able to accomplish the IT setup before any viewers arrived. We had Croc’s providing catering at the event, and I took the opportunity in a quiet period to fortify myself with a bacon bap.
A BRIGHT START
For various reasons (to do with a combination of over-ambitious planning and an important member of staff being absent for a long period of time) this auction had some odd numbering of lots (it started at lot 741, and then there was a 50 lot gap between the end of the first section and the start of the coins at lot 901, then a massive gap after the last coin lot, no 1072 to the start of the Militaria at 1,466, then another major gap from the end of the militaria at lot 1,620 to the start of final segment at lot 1,920, with the last lot of the sale being lot 2,000), but although there was a range of almost 1,300 between the first and last lot number there were only 503 lots in the sale. We originally planned to take a short break at the end of the coin section before starting on the Militaria, but this as you will see changed part way through.
The first big success of the auction came at lot 747, three gold rings, which had been valued at £70-100 but ended up selling for £150…
Then lots 757 and 760, a ladies cigarette case and a ladies powder compact of similar styles, both esitmated at £30-40 went for £65 and £60 respectively, both to the same online bidder.
These however were a mere curtain-raiser for…
LOT 764 – A PHOTOGRAPHER’S TRIUMPH
There were indications that this elegant Mantle Clock, with a case carefully designed to show off its workings was going to do extraordinarily well, but we were all absolutely gobsmacked by what actually happened. The item had gone in with a modest valuation of £10-20, but I having noted the effort to which the makers of this clock had gone to put the workings on display created an image gallery for it which reflected this:
The opening bid was £310! Then, a bidding war between four internet bidders who all obviously saw something that eluded those who are not experts on clocks pushed this already barely credible looking price up to an eye-popping £750!!
Incidentally, just for the record, the valuer himself said that it was the photographs that did it for us, hence my title for this subsection. Here are some photographs of this item that I took during the break:
UP TO THE BREAK
After the events described above almost anything else was going to feel a little anticlimactic, but a few items fared well nevertheless. Lot 919, a forged 1791 farthing estimated at £5-10 ended up going for £35.
The other effect that the early excitement had was that we were progressing slower than normal, and in the end the auctioneer brought our midauction break forward to lot 1,000.
AFTER THE BREAK
We finished the coins, ending with lot 1072, which went to me for £4 (it is a small medallion, which I considered to be railwayana by association since it refers to Isambard Kingdom Brunel):
The Militaria section went pretty well, with most items selling, and two doing very well indeed:
The other big success in this range was lot 1584, valued at £80-100 and going for £140.
The books fared poorly, although The Royal Liverpool Golf Club by Guy Farrar which I had given a deliberately cautious estimate of £15-20 fetched £55.
The auction over, all that was left was the clear up, which was done by 3PM. I had one worrying moment when it seemed that a problem was developing with the internet connection, but fortunately it never got serious.
On Saturday the action shifts to The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich and the focus to cigarette cards. A full caftalogue listing for that auction can be viewed here.