In Between Auctions

Brief mentions of last week’s auctions and a longer look ahead to the March auction.

INTRODUCTION

Last week James and Sons had two auctions, a small postcard auction on Tuesday and a much larger Postal History and Ephemera Auction on Wednesday. We are now moving towards completing the catalogue for an auction on March 28th which will feature a wide variety of stuff. We have snow around at present, which is provoking the usual British display of wimpiness about rough weather – I was supposed to be attending a meeting in Swaffham this morning but it has been cancelled due to concerns about the weather. This was the view out of my door at 8:30 yesterday morning as I set off to catch the bus to work.

P1110743

The view is similar today.

THE POSTCARD AUCTION

With only 134 lots going under the hammer this sale was over and done with quickly. Most of the lots found buyers.

EPHEMERA AND POSTAL HISTORY

The centrepiece of this auction was a collection of the Ecclesiastical and Political Correspondence of the Rev J Marriott. The people currently in charge of the property he bought had got wind of this collection, which meant some big money sales, because they were determined to secure as much of it as they could to reunite it with his old home. Lot 18 on its own went for over £2,000:

stock
The stock for this auction as displayed in the shop.
18
The original image of lot 18. It must have taken a lot of brass neck to produce this petition.
Lot 18
Lot 18 in its folder
Big Screen
The big screen.

THE UPCOMING AUCTION

Our auction on March 28th will start with some sporting memorabilia, including a framed ticket for the 1923 FA Cup Final (the first to be played at Wembley, just three weeks after that stadium was completed). For the record Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United to win that year’s FA Cup. I do not yet have a lot number for this item, but it will be early in the auction.

A standard price for a ticket from this fixture in this condition is in the region of £800.

We have some old fishing reels and som billiards stuff as well…

23
Lot 23 (two images, a sample of the fishing reels)

23-a

44
The billiards memorabilia begin at lot 44 with the first of two scoreboards

4545-b

50
From lot 46-58 inclusive are cues, first four lots of large numbers of loose cues, and then individual cues in cases or bags, starting with lot 50 pictured here.

50-a5458

59
Then from lot 59 to 71 we have sets of balls – note that in billiards there are two cue balls, one of which is distinguished from the other by the presence of a black spot, and the only other ball used is one red one.

63676870

We also have some bygones, of which I will feature a few that particularly caught my eye while I was imaging them:

124
Lot 124 – the fiugurines are made of some sort of balck ceramic, and as the second image, a close-up of two them shows, they are of very good quality.

124-a

147
Lot 147 – a brass fly…
147-a
…that can be used to store trinkets.
146
Lot 146, a brass grasshopper…
146-a
…which is also a mini stapler.

Other categories featured include toys, crockery, and though I have not yet had any to image, stamps. Here are some toys and crockery…

262
Toys in a box that has been disguised to look like a book (lot 262)

262-a262=b262-c

265-a
Lots 264 and 265 occupy the next four images.

264265-b265

301
The next 12 images encompass lots 301-4.

301-a301-b302302-a302-b303303-a303-b304304-a304-b

346
Lot 346 (two images)

346-a

350
Lot 350 (again two images).

350-a

SOME EXPERIMENTS IN WATERMARKING

We have a vast collection of railway photographs, taken with a Soviet-era camera which is also in our possession and will be going under the hammer. Obviously we need to identify our images of these pictures as just that – our images – in order to stop unscrupulous types from printing the pictures out for no more than the cost of ink and the appropriate paper. Hence, I have been looking into watermarking the online pictures. I am aiming at marking the pictures in a way that will not interfere with anyone viewing them, but will prevent anyone from cheating. Here is a sample of what I have arrived at us possibly the best solution:

LNER3s1

The positioning of the watermark does not spoil the picture, but does prevent it from being removed, since cropping the image sufficiently to eliminate it most certainly does damage the picture.

An Auction Deferred

An account of the rescheduled James and Sons auction which happened yesterday.

INTRODUCTION

Followers of this blog will be aware that the second James and Sons August auction had to be postponed. Yesterday, at James and Sons own premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham NR21 9AF was the appointed time and place for the rescheduled auction. We could not display all the stock in the limited space of our shop, so only small items made it downstairs. What follows is in account of my day and of the auction.

BEFORE THE BEGINNING

Some preliminary testing was done on Thursday to help ensure that the auction ran properly. On the Friday I caught the first bus of the morning into Fakenham. I was thus at the shop at about 7:10am, and after making a cup of coffee, getting my computer switched on and checking my emails I had a little time to spare before anyone else would be arriving, so I photographed some maps that will feature in the first of our end of September auctions. At 7:45AM I headed back downstairs, switched the downstairs lights on to acknowledge my presence to the world and was ready for action. Here are some photos from this period…

bus map
This route map can be seen at the bus stands on Oak Street, Fakenham

a1

a2
From here until the picture of the two computers are pictures relating to auction layout and setup

a3ToysEphemera

Beatrix Potter coins
The light was wrong for capturing these Beatrix Potter coins – the sun was shining directly on them.

Hats 1Hats 2

IT setup
The IT setup – the silvery computer is the master machine,, and is open on the operator screen, with my notepad, pen, catalogue and ersatz coaster (formerly the back cover of a notepad) in front of it, along with my bidding paddle. Note also the camera attached to to the other machine and positioned to focus on the auctioneer, and the brand spanking new mic in the middle.
545
The maps – this is lot 538, and although I only got up to lot 545 there are maps from this series up to lot 600, and then a few more will feature in the third and final auction of the end of September series, with lot numbers in the 1500s. I will be imaging the rest on Tuesday.

544543542541540539538

A TESTING BEGINNING

Because of the circumstances of the auction there was a button I had to press called ‘repush bidders live’ when preparing for the start of the auction. Additionally, the auctioneer had decided to start at lot 921 instead of the official lot 924, which meant that I had to manually re-offer those first three lots before the system got back in sequence. A reset request from atgmedia also contributed to a slowish start. However, once this was all dealt with the auction proceeded smoothly.

THE AUCTION AND CLEAR-UP

The militaria fared well, the antiques and bygones far better than I had expected, while the records and books were predictably quiet. Then we got into the ephmera, for which section I had two plans, as follows:

  1. If lot 1415 was available at a price within my means I would get that and my interest as a potential buyer would terminate.
    14151415-a1415-b1415-d1415-c
  2. If plan 1 failed then I would try my luck with lots 1422 and 1428, with a fair degree of confidence of getting them.

    1422
    Lot 1422 (four images)

    1422-a1422-b1422-c

    1428
    Lot 1428

    In the event the starting price for lot 1415 was too high for me (I had decided that I would come in at £25 but not if more was required, and the auctioneer wanted £30), but I was successful with plan 2, getting each item for £10.

Some of the framed prints sold as well, which is all to the good. Lot 1600, the last item in the sale went under the hammer at about 2:20PM, and once I had accomplished as much of the clear-up of the IT stuff as was possible (typically, the laptop we used as the master computer decided that before shutting down it needed to install a load of updates, so I had to leave it where it was, though now unlugged and running on battery).

After consuming my sandwiches I was able to get away, having had a tiring but very satisfying day. 

 

Auction Delayed

The rescheduling of an auction – a first in my time at James and Sons.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday was the day on which James and Sons’ second August auction should have taken place. This post is about what actually happened.

TECHNOLOGY ISSUES

I arrived at Fakenham Racecourse precisely as planned, which was about the last occasion on that day that anything could be said to have gone to plan. We were slightly late getting things set up. Then my computer failed to connect to the racecourse’s internet as their set up is not secure enough for my computer’s liking. Another laptop having been located it then became apparent that we would not be able to run video, although the audio seemed fine. 

Just after lot 923 went under the hammer we finally and definitively lost our audio as well. Discussion with the folks at the-saleroom.com, which included them being given remote access to one of our computers failed to resolve the situation, and after 15 minutes attempting to resolve the situation we decided that the only option was to postpone the auction, so on Friday 8th September at 10AM we will be having an auction at our shop which will start at lot 924 and end at lot 1600. 

shop front

DAMAGE LIMITATION

Once the we had got the stuff back to the shop we got the auction officially rescheduled and I sent out a bulk email and a press release about the new auction. Here are both documents, and all the images used in their creation save for that of the record.

publicity
I know I got the date wrong on this one – I was very tired and failed to notice.

JAMES AUCTION ON SEPTEMBER 10THemailJAMES AUCTION ALERT92410011001-a1053-d1053-c10531053-a1053-b127314151415-a1415-b1415-c1415-d1600

Catalogue Now available for James and Sons’ November 25th Auction

A blog post embodying the announcement that the catalogue for my employers upcoming auction is now ready for viewing.

INTRODUCTION

The catalogue for James and Sons’ auction at Fakenham Racecourse on November 25th is now available. Printed copies can be picked up at James and Sons’ premises at 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham for £4, while an online catalogue can be viewed here.

THE BULK EMAIL

Yesterday I sent an email our to a large number of people about this auction, a jpg of which I reproduce below:

AAlert

JAMES AUCTION ALERT

PICTURES

For the extra pictures I am going to concentrate on the silver vesta cases, most of which I was able to scan at very high resolution, but some of which I had to photograph, and because they are silver photographing them came with the challenge of minimizing reflections and avoiding the distorting effects caused by strong artificial light shining on silver…

Lot 63.
Lot 63.

63-a 63-b

Lot 64, usually convexity is what prevents small items from being scannable, this time it was concavity.
Lot 64, usually convexity is what prevents small items from being scannable, this time it was concavity.

64-a 64-b DSCN7254

Lot 210 - this was particularly tough to get a good image of.
Lot 210 – this was particularly tough to get a good image of.
Lot 49, first of the vesta cases the needed to be photographed rather than scanned.
Lot 49, first of the vesta cases the needed to be photographed rather than scanned.

49-a 49-b

The vesta cases that were scannable were these…

This is lot 47, the last lot you will see is lot 65 (lot 210, the big bulbous vesta case seen earlier is this only one out of sequence.
This is lot 47, the last lot you will see is lot 65 (lot 210, the big bulbous vesta case seen earlier is this only one out of sequence.

47-a 47-b 48 48-a 48-b 50 50-a 50-b 51 51-a 51-b 52 52-a 52-b 53 53-a 53-b 54 54-a 54-b 55 55-a 55-b 56 56-a 56-b 57 57-a 57-b 58 58-a 58-b 59 59-a 59-b 60 60-a 60-b 61 61-a 61-b 62 62-a 62-b 65 65-a 65-b

January Imaging

A brief account of my imaging activities yesterday.

Yesterday at James and Sons was devoted to imaging for the January auction (28th, Fakenham Racecourse, starts 10AM). There were some interesting items among those that I imaged.

A situation involving duplicated lot numbers kept me at work late, making sure that I left it resolvable, but overall it was a successful day, and we are on track for a successful auction.

Here are some of the images for yesterday…

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Auction and a Response to ClivveW

The catalogue for James and Sons sale this coming Saturday at the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich is available for viewing at http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/james-and-son-auctioneers/catalogue-id-2901714

Today I have both managed to complete the information gathering for our last sale on 29/11/2014 and get the database ready for our next sale this coming Saturday. As part of this I am able to share with you descriptions and images of the lots that did best in relative terms at our last auction. Some of the images included as part of this are not my work. I will mention in the captions I provide when images are not mine.

The second part of this post is a response to the following tweet (I did not think I could do it in 140 characters):

Clivve@ClivveW 4h4 hours ago

The killing fields in Cambodia is why I have no time for atheism.

As briefly as possible: this was an atrocity committed by an atheist not an atrocity committed in the name of atheism. This is in direct contrast to the almost innumerable list of atrocities carried out not merely by religious people but in the name of religion.

Now for those images (and a PDF file – I have taken care that no personal details of anyone are included)

This is lot 13 - the first item to do significantly better than expected
This is lot 13 – the first item to do significantly better than expected

347a 347 ???????????????????????? 344a 344

This is the last image that is not my work.
This is the last image that is not my work.

295

Again, not imaged by me.
Again, not imaged by me.
Another of the ones I did not image.
Another of the ones I did not image.

40 ?????????? 37a

The next three images are of the sewing machine which astonished us all be reaching £140
The next three images are of the sewing machine which astonished us all be reaching £140

Bragging Rights

This item is another not imaged by me.
This item is another not imaged by me.

?????????? 754 ?????????? 753 725b ????????????????????????

In going above estimate this item also went out of my reach.
In going above estimate this item also went out of my reach.

592 581

This was one of the items I did not image .
This was one of the items I did not image .

352

We were delighted when this sold - and it going for above estimate was a bonus. The weight of this item meant that we had specified that the buyer had to collect.
We were delighted when this sold – and it going for above estimate was a bonus. The weight of this item meant that we had specified that the buyer had to collect.

Imaging and My Personal Twitter Account After Two Weeks

I spent most of today imaging lots for our November auction, full details as follows: Prince of Wales Suite, Fakenham Racecourse, November 29th, starts 10AM sharp. I have plenty of good pics to share with you as a result.

It is now two weeks since I launched by personal twitter account, @aspitweets, and I now have 114 followers, have been favourited over 200 times and have been named as one of the top retweeters. I will always follow more people than follow me because I have a strict “always followback” policy and not everyone else does.

Anyway, time for those pics…

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