Press Release Success

A brief account of the genesis and development of a Lynn News article advertising James and Sons’ upcoming auctions.

INTRODUCTION

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:

AUCTION REMINDER MILITARIAMilitaria Email1111-i11-h11-g11-f11-e11-d11-c11-b11-a5050-a50-b50-c50-d

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:

Agincourt Article

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:

A Successful Day At Fakenham Racecourse

An account of yesterday’s auction at Fakenham Racecourse.

INTRODUCTION

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. 

GETTING THERE

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. 

Mute Swans
Crossing the Wensum en route to the racecourse I spotted this pair of mute swans enjoying the sun.

Mute Swans II

Mute swans approaching the bridge
This bridge across the Wensum gives Bridge Street, Fakenham its name.

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…

747747-a

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.

757
Lot 757 (three images)

757-a757-b

760
Lot 760 (two images

760-a

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:

764
The main image, showing the whole clock.
764-a
This metal plaque was obviously of some significance, hence a close-up photograph of that.
764-b
And since the makers had been so determined to make the workings visible I devoted no fewer than four photographs to ensuring that thsi was reflected in my online image gallery.

764-c764-d764-e

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:

Clock IClock IIClock IIIClock IV

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.

919919-a919-b

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):

10721072-a1072-b

The Militaria section went pretty well, with most items selling, and two doing very well indeed:

1552
With this lot of badges being sold as one I could not spare the time to provide close-ups of all the badges…
1552-a
…so I nselected a couple of what I considered to be good ones…
1552-b
…the lots had been valued at £100-200, but interest possibly stoked by my choice of close-ups, pushed the final price up to £300.

The other big success in this range was lot 1584, valued at £80-100 and going for £140. 

1584
Please note that the fact that we as auctioneers sometimes handle Nazi memorabilia does not mean that any of us entertain anhy sympathy for Nazi ideology.

1584-a

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. 

19311931-a1931-b1931-c1931-d

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.

Two Upcoming Auctions

Previews of James and Sons’ June Auctions.

INTRODUCTION

My empoloyers, James and Sons, have two auctions coming up in the next week. On Wednesday we are at Fakenham Racecourse for a general sale featuring a wide range of items, and on Saturday we are at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich for an auction of old, rare cigarette cards. In tbe rest of this post I will give you a preview of both auctions.

CIGARETTE CARDS

The cigarette cards are the first part of a huge collection submitted to us by former Lord Mayor of London Sir Brian Jenkins (he has already expressed his appreciation of this catalogue). Here, as a link to the official catalogue listing on the-saleroom.com is a picture of the front cover of our printed catalogue:

2157 FC

It was my employer who selected the 1896 cricketers set to feature on the front cover, and me who chose the particular cricketers to feature (and, of course, took the photograph). Although W G Grace turned 48 during the course of the 1896 season he still also scored over 2,000 first class runs in it (in 1895 he had set two new records, completing his 100th first class hundred, the first to so, and also scoring 1,000 first class runs in the month of May (starting his season on the 9th and reaching his 1,000 21 days later) including 301 against Sussex. K S Ranjitsinhji deprived the old master of a record he had held since 1871 by racking up 2,780 first class runs in the season beating WGs old tally of 2,739. He also made an extraordinary test debut. On day 2 after Australia had racked up a big score he contributed 62 to England’s first innings, and then in the follow-on he reached 41 not out by the close. Then, having totalled over 100 runs on his first day as a test match batsman he added another 100 before lunch on his second, taking his overnight 41 to 154 not out. In spite of these heroics Australia needed only 125 to win, although a lion-hearted spell of fast bowling from Tom Richardson (6-76) ensured that they had to work for them, the eventual margin being three wickets. 

Here a few photographic highlights:

2001
This is the first lot of the auction
2010
Lot 2010 features in our printed catalogue…
2010-d
This being the picture used.

2010-e2010-f

2010-a
I also gave The Bard the close-up treatment.

2010-b2010-c

2027
Another cricket set…
2027-a
…from which I singled out Herbert Sutcliffe, an embodiment of the phrase “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” – first-class average 52.02, test average 60.73, ashes average 66.85.

2027-b2027-c

2029
Not difficult to select Meteora from this set!

2029-a2029-b2029-c

2050
A Railway set given exhaustive treatment.

2050-a2050-b2050-c2050-d2050-e

2237
Having earlier honoured Herbert Sutcliffe with a close up…
2237-a
…I now did likewise for his most famous opening partner, Jack Hobbs

2237-b2237-c

2267
Lot 2267, a set I already have.

2267-a2267-b2267-c

2279
The close-up I chose from this set features in our printed catalogue.
2279-a
This card is the first time I have even seen mention of a middle name for Hedley Verity (1956 wickets at 14.91 in a decade of doped pitches and Don Bradman’s batting).

2279-b2279-c

2291
Lot 2291

2291-a2291-b

2291-c
The Rocket, officially the world’s first steam locomotive.

2291-d2291-e

2500
Lot 2501
2545
The last lot of the sale, number 2545.

LOTS 2412 AND 2413

These are the two really old sets of cricketers, one of which is valued very highly, the other somewhat less so.

2412
This is the lot from which the front cover image came…

2412-a

2412-b
…and this is the front cover image

2412-c

2413
For this lot I added a couple to the close-up images
2413-a
As well and as Grace and Ranji I featured C B Fry and Gilbert Jessop (the fastest scorer in first-class cricket history – 79 runs an hour, in spite of the fact that for virtually his entire career a ball had to be hit right out of the ground as opposed to merely over the ropes to count six) – I reckon that if you could send a time machine to fetch him he would fetch decent money at an IPL auction!

2413-b2413-c

THE GENERAL AUCTION

I finish this auction by linking to the catalogue listing for Wednesday’s auction:

2156 FC

Most of the books in this auction were described and valued by yours truly, which may give them a chance of selling (but I am not holding my breath.

Travelling by Lynx Bus 1 Week In

Thoughts onthe new bus service between King’s Lynn and Fakenham one week in.

INTRODUCTION

I have now done one work week using the new Lynx Bus 49 for the journeys, the withdrawal of Stagecoach from King’s Lynn now being an accomplished fact (apart from the 505 to Spalding, most of which route is in Lincolnshire). This post covers my week at work as well as detailing my thoughts about the new services.

TUESDAY

Setting off from my flat at 6:45AM I was at the bus station in good time for the bus that I needed to catch at 7:00. The bus arrived and departed in good time, and arrived in Fakenham at 7:49, as indicated by the timetable (unlike the unlamented Stagecoach their schedules include some slack, so that a traffic jam does not always mean running behind schedule). As it was warm enough that my workplace would definitely be bearable, and I had a lot of imaging to do and little time in which to do it I decided to go straight there and get stuck in early. I commenced proceedings by finishing off the badges on boards as images of these were needed for the catalogue, and then got to work on the cigarette cards, and managed to image the first 50 lots of those as well, before closing time, and my departure for the library, to do stuff there until I could catch the bus home (the service is very infrequent at present). I have already shown some images from this day’s work in a previous postThe bus back duly arrived and set off exactly as it should (a double decker for the evening run btw), and there were no significant delays en route. 

THURSDAY

Again no issue with the journey out. Tony’s Deli stall was still being set up when I headed to work, so I got ready to start the day, and then popped back out to make my purchases there, before returning to get stuck into work. I did the loose badges (imaging them in batches of six to save time) for the first of the two days of badge sales, before once again focussing my attention of the cigarette cards, the last lot of the day being lot 166. Another visit to Fakenham library to fill in time at the end of the day, and once again home on a  bus that ran to time.

93393293793858

88
Lot 88, uncut cigarette cards – very unusual (until we got this consignment our expert on such cards, with nearly half a century of experience had not seen any.

88-a88-b

100
Lot 100, famous cathedrals
100-a
Close-ups of the two local examples (even if you cavil at Ely being described as local to a Norfolk auctioneer, the octagonal tower was designed a mid-14th century prior named Alan of Norwich).

100-b111119121

133
Lot 133, famous castles
133-a
A close up shot of two among the castles that I have visited.
134
Lot 134 – famous cathedrals

134-a166

FRIDAY

After another uneventful journey in I imaged some militaria for the first day of that sale, reverted to cigarette cards until I had imaged the last album to have been numbered up (ending at lot 294), at which point I started imaging badges on boards for the second day of that sale. 

831-a831

837
These backpacks (three items, there are two images of this one and one of each of the other two) are quite heavy even when empty, but that metal framework probably gives them gfreat stability.

837-a838839191216226228235

235-a
A close up of the local building.

250272

273-a
Both local and arguably the most iconic of all the buildings in this set.

273274-a

279
Lot 279 – the cigarette card equivalent of a 50-piece jigsaw.

2941700-171718-321733-431744-561757-68

It was warm and sunny when I locked up at work, and also of course a Friday, so I headed for The Limes and some liquid refreshment taken in the outside seating area. I had entertained hopes of finding a locally brewed craft ale, but given the actual options settled for Hobgoblin (still a very decent drink). The bus back was significantly late, but the still left Lynx with a score of 5 out of 6 for punctuality on the week – something that Stagecoach had not approached in a very long time.

THE LYNX BUS 49

The buses themselves are clean and comfortable, the drivers are friendly, such services as there are by and large run punctually. The trouble is that there are so few services on the new route. I might, particularly in winter, see if I can use my tickets on the route via Wells, which ultimately gets to King’s Lynn by way of Hunstanton. The prime disadvantage of this route is its length (doing the journey by that route would take about two hours on the bus. However, Lynx have stepped up to the plate in difficult circumstances, and their service standards are much better than Stagecoach. The cost of tickets is greater than on Stagecoach as well. I believe there remains a possibility of the 48 route, which currently terminates at Pott Row being extended to join the A148 and then on to Fakenham. 

Plans For May

Setting out my stall for May, including a forthcoming series of posts about my #Autisticspecialinterests

INTRODUCTION

April is behind us, so I am going use this post to set out my stall for May. As a lead up, here is a screenshot of a tweet by Autism Mom:

AMIG

A NEW SERIES SPECIFICALLY FOR MAY

Eve Reiland of internationalbadassactivists suggested a theme for #actuallyautistic people for May: #AutisticSpecialInterest – a theme I am more than happy to run with, so, starting tomorrow I will be producing posts dealing with my special interests through the month. 

THE EFFECT THAT THE NEW BUSES HAVE ON MY WORK

Those who have read my blog recently will be aware that today was my first day travelling to work on the Lynx number 49, which has replaced the Stagecoach X29 route. It runs considerably less frequently, but the buses are comfortable, the staff are friendly, and at the moment it has a score of 1/1 for punctuality, which after Stagecoach feels near miraculous. 

AN UPCOMING HOLIDAY

I will be off for a week in Greece, leaving King’s Lynn on Friday May 11th, late in the evening so as to get to Gatwick for the flight to Kalamata, which takes off at 5:40AM. Therefore I will accept that sleep ain’t happening that night, and spend a few hours waiting at the airport. I will arrive back in the early afternoon of Saturday May 19th. I will endeavour to keep up to date with everyone during that period, but there will almost certainly be days on which I do not manage to access the internet.

IMAGING FOR MAY’S AUCTIONS

In May we are having a one-day cigarette card auction, followed by two days of military badges (and these will be on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after I return from holiday). Here to finish things off are some images…

1149-65
My employer wanted an insert of badge pictures for the catalogue, and to enable that as well as in the interests of speed the badges were numbered up on their boards, and I took pictures of the entire boards and then extracted individual images from the whole.

1166-801181-12001201-241225-341238-521253-731274-951296-13111312-42

8
There are 750 lots of cigarette cards, in a total of 67 albums, of which I have imaged 51, covering four whole albums and 1 from a fifth.

1112152020-a20-b38394050

A Three Day Auction Extravaganza

An account of James and Sons’ April auction – very successful overall, and to my immense relief free of any technical issues.

INTRODUCTION

This week saw James and Sons’ April auction, a three day affair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Overall it was very successful, with a couple of disappointments, but lots of sales. 

DAY 1: SPORTING MEMORABILIA, BOOKS AND EPHEMERA

In order to avoid being rushed during the preliminaries I caught the first bus of the morning, and got to the shop at 7:10AM. I attended to an urgent query first thing, and then it was time to complete the IT setup. To my great relief there were no hitches at all, and everything was in working order. During this period the auctioneer also briefed me about the May auction, and what was required in terms of imaging a very large quantity of military badges. In view of this I decided that I would have to leave some of the railway photographs unimaged, although it was a necessity from an ethics point of view to image lots 1203-12 as I was intending to buy a couple from that range, and it would not do for there to be any suggestion of influencing things in my favour by not making images available to the public. 

We got underway bang on schedule at 10AM, and while there were no headline making prices a decent quantity of the sporting memorabilia did sell. Then came some books, and a few big sales. Lot 260 had an estimate of £50-75 but vigorous internet bidding pushed the final price up to £220.

260
Lot 260 – old and rare, and a big hit (two images)

260-a

Willie Hoppe’s “Thirty Years of Billiards”, lot 279, was in with an estimate of £20-30, but caught the eyes of online bidders to such an extent that the final hammer price was £180!

279
Lot 279 (three images)

279-a279-b

Less dramatically, lot 282, Levi Riso’s “Billiards in a Lighter Vein” had an estimate of £15-20 and actually fetched £30.

282
Lot 282 (two images)

282-a

Lot 302 had an estimate of £10-20 and went for £30.

302
Lot 302 (three images).

302-a302-b

Near the end of the first day lot 340, a curious little item, attracted no interest from anyone other than me:

340
Lot 340 – my first purchase of this auction.

340-a

After lunch I started work on the badges for the May auction.

DAY 2: COINS AND MILITARIA

Another early arrival, and another hitch-free preliminary before going live at 10AM. We had three coin buyers in the room, and some internet interest, so the coins sold well. Lots 475, 501 and 695 all went signifiantly above estimate, and most of of the other coin lots also found buyers.

475
Lot 475
501
Lot 501 (two images)

501-a

695
Lot 695

We had a 15 minute break between the coins and the militaria, which kicked off in style with lot 700. Lots 704, 705, 711, 719, 727, 761, 802, 823, 824, 828, 830, 831, 832, 837, 838, 844, 846 and 847 all also went significantly over estimate, and almost none of it remained unsold. 

700
Lot 700 (two images) – £470 hammer price

700

704
Lot 704 (four images) – est £100-200 actual hammer price £440!

704-a704-b704-c

705
Lot 705 (four images) est £60 – 80, actual £120

705-a705-b705-c

711
Lot 711 (two images) – estimate £15-20, actual price £55

711-a

719
Lot 719 0- estimate £35-40 – actual price £85.
719-a
This close up of the two rings was in response to a query.
727
Lot 727 – est £15-20, actual £50
761
Lot 761 est £60-80, actual £150.
802
Lot 802 – only just above top estimate, but the buyer was somebody to whom I had sent an image of the reverse of this badge in response to a late query.

823-a

823
Lot 823 – a holster with no gun – est £10-15, actual £28.
829
828
831
831
832
832
837
837
838
838
844
Lot 844 – These images (alo incl those for 846 and 847) were suppliued by the vendor, along with descriptions

844-a

846
846
847
847

DAY THREE: POSTCARDS AND RAILWAY POSTCARDS

I arrived early once again, did some badge imaging and then paid a visit to Tony’s Deli (Thursday is market day in Fakenham, and this food stall is excellent value for money). For the third straight day there were no hitches in the preliminary stage – although I was not especially happy about doing the official sound check at 9:57, not least because I already knew it was working. A couple of early postcard lots (856 and 857) achieved big prices, and most of the postcards found buyers. 

856
Lot 856 sold for £80
857
Lot 857 sold for £100

The other notewaorthy postcard lot was 1047, which became my second purchase of the auction. I will at some stage be giving this lot a whole post to itself, but here are some pictures for the present:

1047
These are modern reproductions rather than original pictures, hence why no one else showed any interest in this item.

1047-a

ML ex 1047
An old Metropolitan line train near Wembley.
NL ex 1047
Abstract art featuring a Northern line train of 1959 stock
PL ex 1047
A picture of one of the original ‘gated stock’ trains that ran services on what was then the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – this scene would have taken place in 1906 or not long after.

The Railway Photographs did not attract any interest, although this was not helped by the fact that the auctioneer was hurrying through them. The only three to sell were all bought by me – lot 1071 (locomotive at Haworth), 1208 and 1209 (respectively arriving at and leaving Mallaig – for more on this journey go here):

1071
The images available to the public (three per lot – nine in total).

1071-a1071-b12081208-a1208-b12091209-a1209-b

1071h
And to finish, now that the items are bought an paid for, unwatermarked images taken at home (three in total)

1208

1209h
The departure from Mallaig, with Skye visible in the background.

A few more badges imaged for the May auction, and I was able to make my last ever journey on a Stagecoach X29 (on Tuesday, when I return to work it will be on a Lynx Bus number 49, since squillionaire bus company Stagecoach have deemed their Norfolk services insufficiently profitable and bailed out on them),.

Imaging For a Three Day Auction

A heads up about James and Sons’ April auction – a monster three-day affair.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons’ April Auction will be spread over three days – the 24th, 25th and 26th. I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week so that we could get the catalogue to the printers and had enough images done to upload it to the-saleroom as well. Then, after some negotiation at the end of Wednesday I also went in yesterday to do another day’s imaging. In the rest of this post I will take you through some of the highlights of this monster sale.

DAY 1: SPORTING MEMORABILIA, EPHEMERA AND BOOKS

Lots 1-250 consists of sporting memorabilia of various types, including speedway, football, tennis and cricket. Here are a few highlights from that section:

1
Lot 1
208
Lot 208 – the signature on this scorecard is that of Zimbabwean fast bowler Heath Streak
92
Lot 92 – Some Tennis stills of recent vintage.
190-a
Lot 190 (two images). This was the first FA Cup final played at Wembley, just a fe weeks after the stadium was completed, and for the record Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United to claim the silverware. This item will fetch in the high hundreds or possibly even into four figures.

190

Most of the books and other ephemera are fairly unremarkable, but here are a couple of highlights from that section:

332
Lot 332 (three images)

332-a332-b

340
Lot 340

340-a

DAY 2: COINS AND MILITARIA

Both these categories are already attracting attention. A few coin highlights:

511
Lot 511
514
Lot 514
539
Lot 539
540
Lot 540
464
Lot 464
464-a
A close-up of the big coin – it is not often that one sees a coin with a map on it.

Highlights from the militaria section:

716
Lot 715 – this Naval Ensign flag is so huge that I had to spread it out on the floor of the shop and stand on a chair to get it all in shot.
716-a
The print on the edge of the flag
761
Lot 761
762
Lot 762
763
Lot 763
764
Lot 764
768
Some interesting plaques.

769770771772773774

DAY 3: POSTCARDS AND RAILWAY PHOTOGRAPHS (PART 1 OF THE W A SHARMAN ARCHIVE)

I have imaged all of the postcards, but I am only about one-third of the way through the Railway photographs which will end this auction. Here are some highlights from the postcard section:

997
Lot 997
1009
Lot 1009
1018
Lot 1018
1022
Lot 1022 (two images)

1022-a

1040
Lot 1040 – I have already answered one enquiry about this lot.
1047
Lot 1047

1047-a

1048
Lot 1048

1048-a

1050
Lot 1050 – the last postcard lot.

I have been imaging the railway photographs by using the scanner, at 400dpi. I image the photograph itself, the typed label on the reverse, and combine those to form the master image, and when I have a decent number of such images I watermark them so that unscrupulous operators cannot cheat us by printing out the images on photo quality paper. Here are some of the highlights from the watermarked images:

105810631067-a10701075107610771079108010841090109410971099

I finish with a couple of pictures which have extra features of interest:

1071
This one has Bronte connections – not only is this Haworth, where they lived, Branwell Bronte worked on the railways briefly (he was based at nearby Luddenden Foot for the record)
1091
Lot 1091 – a photographer’s pick – note the clever use of the arch to frame the approaching train.