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.
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:
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:
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.
The second post in my personal series about #autisticspecialinterests.
Welcome to my second ‘special interests’ post for the month of May. The first, which set the scene can be seen here. The first post dealt exclusively with London, where I grew up. This post looks wider, although it still deals with events from before I was diagnosed. NB – undiagnosed means just that, not diagnosed – it DOES NOT mean “not autistic”.
This overlaps with the first post, because I visited St Petersburg in 1991. The two week visit I made to that city in 1991 was significant in many ways – it was there that I learned to eat a more varied diet, because I was just mature enough to appreciate that it was a choice between eating what was served or not eating at all and make the best of things. Also, because the family I was staying with were living very close to one of its stations I gained a considerable acquaintanceship withe the St Petersburg Metro, and also experienced the trolleybuses and trams that were a feature of daily life there.
Other than being horrendously overcrowded the St Petersburg Metro was a significant improvement on the London equivalent – a far more frequent service, and no delays. Also the underground portions were much deeper than in London, with often two colossally long escalators (far longer than any London equivalent) between the platform and the surface. This was my first major experience of public transport anywhere other than London.
GOING SOLO 1: SCOTLAND 1993
My first solo holiday took place in the summer of 1993, when I travelled to Scotland for two weeks. I travelled all around Scotland in those two weeks. As well as some seriously scenic journeys on mainline railways (I experienced both the lines the head towards Skye among others) I also made the acquaintance of the Glasgow undeground system (a single, circular route).
This holiday was a splendid experience overall, but a mere curtain raiser for…
A SCANDINAVIAN HOLIDAY
This happened in the following summer., Equipped with a rucksack and a two week rail pass for Norway, Sweden and Finland I started by taking a plane to Gothenburg. From there I travelled north, pausing in Stockholm. From Sundsvall I temporarily abandoned trains to take a boat across to Vaasa in Finland. From Vaasa I headed for Helsinki, and then the longest single journey of the trip, to Narvik, the most northerly railway station in the world. I continued my northerly exploration by bus as far as Tromso, before switching to boat for a journey along the coast to Hammerfest, the northenmost town in Norway. I varied my route back by taking a bus from Hammerfest to Alta (a mistake, this place is the Nordic equivalent of Brandon, only with even less appeal). Back in Narvik I selected a bus to Bodo, Norway’s other northern rail outpost. This decision cost me a night spent on the sgtatiopon platform at Bodo before I could head south to Oslo. From Oslo I headed east to Stockholm, and my last journey of the holiday (other than the flight home) was from Stockholm to Gothenburg.
Not having previously explored any foreign public transort systems in this kind of detail I was highly impressed. Although there are many ways in which Nordic public transport is a vast improvement on British I note a few things in particular:
Comprehensiveness – although the terrain in these countries is much more difficult than anything in Britain pretty much anywhere of any size has some sort of public transport connection.
Integration – there is not much duplication between bus and train routes. The buses tend to cover the routes that the trains do not. The only small flaw I noted in that first visit to these countries was that en route from Helsinki to Narvik we had to disembark at Haparanda on the Finnish side of the Finland/ Sweden border to transfer to Boden on the Swedish side for the last leg of the journey to Narvik, and even that was handled efficiently.
Reliability – never once in these two weeks, nor in my more recent trip to Sweden, did I encounter a service not running precisely when it was supposed to, and there has never been a two week period in my lifetime when one could be in Britain, travelling by public transoort most days, and get that kind of service.
FUTURE POSTS AND PICTURES
My next post in this series will look at public transport in various cities that I have experience of. Here to end are some public transport themed pictures…
Thoughts onthe new bus service between King’s Lynn and Fakenham one week in.
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.
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 post. The 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.
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.
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.
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.
Setting out my stall for May, including a forthcoming series of posts about my #Autisticspecialinterests
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:
A NEW SERIES SPECIFICALLY FOR MAY
Eve Reiland of internationalbadassactivistssuggested 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 Lynxnumber 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…
An account of the time I spent in Penzance on the Saturday of my Cornish holiday.
I have finally edited all the pictures from my recent Cornish holiday and have now at last got time to get back to blogging about it. My last post described my journey down to Penzance, and this post provides the story of the rest of the day.
GETTING MY BEARINGS
Having arrived in to Penzance pretty much bang on schedule I visited the local information office, purchased a detailed and very cheap souvenir map (I will conclude this series of Cornish posts with one featuring all the publicity materials that I collected while down there), and set out on the first part of my exploration of the town. An early necessity was finding somewhere to eat lunch (although I am not entirely inflexible on the matter I generally aim to eat lunch some time close to 1PM), and having walked past the Harbour and the Chapel I found an establishment suited to my needs. The Turk’s Head was not too extortionate (there are no cheap places in Penzance). I opted for a BBQ Chicken, Bacon and Davidstow Cheese melt, and enjoyed it, although I felt that it did not really live up to its name on two counts:
1. There was precious little evidence of bacon (though they had used good quality chicken)
2. Davidstow is supposed to be a strongly flavoured cheese and yet I barely noticed it over the other flavours – if I ask for something of which cheese is a featured ingredient I want to taste said cheese.
Here some photos taken between leaving Penzance station and having lunch:
POST LUNCH EXPLORATIONS
Having consumed my lunch I headed for the Promenade, and walked along it. From the other end of the Promenade I walked back to the train station and then did some exploring on the other side of the train station, locating a path that ran between the tracks and the sea. Here are some photographs…
I conclude this post with two special sections, firstly…
ST MICHAEL’S MOUNT
Being grey the whole time, and misty for most of it this was not a great a day for taking long-range photographs, but St Michael’s Mount was not a target I could resist, even under those circumstances, so here are the results:
You will notice gulls in a couple of these shots, which leads to the second special section, which concludes this post…
There are many seabirds to be observed in Penzance and I was able to capture some of them on camera…
The journey back was uneventful, and with the train departing Penzance at 16:41 on a November afternoon it was too dark for photographing through the windows of that train.
This week was auction week at James and Sons. This post covers the events of the three days.
MONDAY – JAMES AND SONS PREMISES
I arrived at our premises in Fakenham at about 7:15AM, and made a cup of coffee, checked my emails and attended to IT setup. I had time to take a few photographs before anyone else arrived.
LOTS 1-250 (POSTCARDS)
These fared reasonably thanks to the internet. Three lots in particular went way above estimate. Lots 175 was estimated at £8-12, but courtesy of an internet battle soared to £28. Lot 213 with a modest estimate of £5-8 went for £25. Lot 227 had an estimate of £8-12 and sold for £30. Here are the items in question.
All these pictures incidentally are scans, at 200dpi.
LOTS 251-400 – EPHEMERA
No high prices from this section, although lot 353 went for significantly over estimate. Lot 321 fell my way unopposed, and lot 399, which I had had an eye on also fell to me (I ventured a hopeful bid, not expecting for an instant to get the item, only because lot 353 which I had assessed as the more likely bet went elsewhere).
CIGARETTE/ TRADE CARDS – LOTS 401-500
Nothing noteworthy happened in this section. The auction finished, it was still necessary to move the items from this sale upstairs and to bring the stock (save the very large stuff) for the next day’s sale downstairs.
TUESDAY – JAMES AND SONS PREMISES
Again an early arrival gave me time to do a bit before anyone else was there. I also had time for a few pre-auction photographs.
LOTS 601-900 – POSTAL HISTORY AND STAMPS
Although this was in absolute terms a quiet period, this items fared much better than usual. The headline grabber was lot 850, which had an estimate of £40-50 but sold in the end for £85.
COINS AND BANKNOTES – LOTS 901-1100
Lot 947, which was an 1809 Demi-Franc, had an estimate of £30-50, but some vigorous internet bidding pushed the price up to £130. Lot 980, a brass token from Long Sutton had an esimate of £8-12, but attracted sufficient interest to sell for £20.
The auction concluded, it remained to render the premises something that looked more like a shop and of course to ensure that the IT stuff got the racecourse, where the stock bar a dolls house that was still in the shop had already been laid out.
WEDNESDAY – FAKENHAM RACECOURSE
My first action an arrival the venue inadvertently caused a problem. I had been equipped with a key to the venue, as it was highly likely that I would be the first James and Sons employee on the scene. Unfortunately I had not been told that an alarm had been set, much less what the alarm code was. I only realised this when I unlocked the door and heard the telltale bleep of an alarm that needed to be deactivated. Fortunately that was the only significant problem I was to have in the course of the day. The fact that I had to use my employer’s laptop as the master machine because my machine has nowhere to attach the cable that connects the big screen to a computer and the third laptop was needed by my colleague for the invoicing (which apparently could only be done on that specific machine). The trouble with using my employer’s laptop as the main machine is that goes to sleep every few minutes, which in turn means that the slide show will go blank. I had time for a bit of photography.
ANTIQUES AND BYGONES – LOTS 1201-1300
Some of these items were very interesting. Two achieved significantly more than expected. Lot 1245 was a set of four world cup 1966 placemats and four world cup 1966 coasters which had been given a modest estimate of £5-10. They actually sold for £25. Lot 1252, which was a set of two railway themed badges which I had been interested in, estimated at £8-10, caught the attention of the internet and ended up going for £20.
MILITARIA – LOTS 1301-1540
Most of the lots in this section found buyers, but not for very large amounts. There was one headline maker however. Lot 1520 was a Luftwaffe Paratrooper’s Private Purchase Dagger, estimated at £40-50, which ended up going for £85.
TOYS – LOTS 1541-1600
Again it was a case of steady rather than spectacular sales, but three items did particularly well. Lot 1547, a model train that had been valued at £5-10 ended up selling for £20 (it had been described as a Hornby, but was actually a Triang, a better name as far as collectors are concerned,). Lot 1590, which was a complete Hornby train set, and had been estimated at £20-30 went for £50. Finally, the last lot of the sale, a Star Wars Millennium Falcon estimated at £15-20 went for £30 (this was a case of patience being rewarded – the successful bidder was a chap who had travelled over from Norwich specifically to bid on that one item and waited out the entire day’s selling until it came up).
THE FINAL FURLONG
After the last lot had sold, and the last payment from a room bidder had been taken it was time for the clear up, which was accomplished swiftly. Back at the shop, once everything had been unloaded from the van I produced a printed list of online bidders to bring my working week to a close.
An introdfuction to next week’s James and Sons’ auctions.
James and Sons’ October auctions will be taking place next week. A combination of factors, including a colleague being signed off sick for three months, left us somewhat behind schedule, but the printed catalogues should be arriving either today or early tomorrow, and the online catalogue is ready for viewing. The rest of this post details what will be going under the hammer on each day.
MONDAY 23 OCTOBER, SHOP
This auction kicks of with 250 lots of military themed postcards, then 150 lots of ephemera and finishes with 100 lots of cigarette/ Trade cards. Here are a few of the lots:
TUESDAY OCTOBER 24 – SHOP
Postal History, Stamps, Coins and Banknotes. This sale starts at lot 601 and ends at lot 1100.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25TH – FAKENHAM RACECOURSE
This auction features lots 1201-1600. These lots include Jewellery, toys, militaria and other objects of interest.
An account of the three James and Sons auctions that started this week.
This week started for me with three auctions on successive days, the first two at our premises in Fakenham and the third at The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. This post covers the three days in order.
DAY 1: MONDAY
Reorganising the shop to look like an auction venue and setting out the stock for this auction had been done on Friday by myself and a colleague. Thus, when I arrived on Monday morning the only set up work that was required was the electronics and IT stuff.
I managed to get everything set up before anyone else arrived and to verify that the sound and video were working. Here are some photos from this period:
THE AUCTION ITSELF
There was a hitch after the first few lots when the master computer decided to install a load of updates, but we got back up and running again without too much fuss. The military RP postcards that started the auction fared OK, the ephemera and cigarette cards fared poorly (although lot 341 found a buyer – me).
The maps which finished the auction off fared well at first, with several going for big money, but the ex-atlas maps that formed lots 538-600 did not do so well. Lot 553 fell to me.
This was always going to be the quietest of the three auctions, since it featured postal history, stamps and first-day covers, none of which fare particularly well. However that did not make my day any less busy since by the end of it the shop needed to look more like a shop and less like an auction room, and the van had to be loaded with all the stuff that was going to Norwich the following day.
The last item went under the hammer just after 12:00, and by the end of the day the van was loaded and with the sole exception of the big screen still being downstairs the shop was as it had been on Friday morning before I got to work on it. Here are some pictures from this second day:
The cost of a single fare on the X1 (I had a week’s ticket for Stagecoach buses) having been obtained on Tuesday I duly caught the 5:30AM bus for Norwich, and arrived at the venue at about 7:30. My colleague who had the IT/ electronics stuff (bar my computer, being used today as we needed three and it was the only portable computer bar the two we regularly to use to which we had access) arrived a few minutes later and we did that side of the setup. The auctioneer arrived with the van full of stock some time later, and we did the rest of the setup.
The day went very well. The first big sale was lot 1,159, which fetched £80, but many other lots had sold for small amounts by then (this sale started from lot 1,051).
It continued to the case that most lots sold albeit not for huge amounts. Lot 1,301 achieved the biggest sale price of any individual lot over the three days – £450.
Lot 1357 was a collection of masonic regalia, and it so happened that a high ranking mason was present in the auction room and bought it.
Lot 1439 was of personal interest but the asking price was too high for me, so I had to let it go.
However, a few moments later I saw a more satisfactory outcome. Lots 1449 and 1450 were military history reference books put in by me (I had only intended to put one lot in, but I was persuaded to try both). I was prepared for these items not to sell, so when the lots went for £12 each (to a room bidder who had looked at them in the flesh) I regarded this as unequivocally good news.
There were few more moments of note before the auction ended at lot 1543:
Once the van had been loaded I was able to take my leave, and headed for the Norwich Millennium Library to see what books I could borrow.
It was an exhausting three days, but quite satisfying. Monday was a bit quiet and Tuesday exceedingly so, but enough good things happened on Wednesday to make up for this.
An account of the first of James and Sons’ two August auctions.
As I have previously mentioned the presence of a Bank Holiday at a crucial time means that James and Sons are having two auctions in August. The first took place yesterday and is the subject of this post. The second will take place on Wednesday, with setup happening on the Tuesday.
For this first auction, which took place at our own premises on Norwich Street, Fakenham, the following items were going under the hammer:
Coins – lots 1-300
Stamps – lots 301-400
Postal History – lots 401-550
Cigarette Cards – lots 551-650
Postcards – lots 651-807
These lots would take somewhat in excess of five hours to sell at our usual rate of progress.
THE DAY FROM MY ANGLE
With viewing advertised as starting from 8AM it was necessary for someone to be present from that hour of the morning. My colleague Andrew would be turning up to assist with the IT setup, which left me with a choice of two options:
Get the 6:23 bus and arrive at the shop very early
Get the 7:30 bus and arrive at the shop a bit later than ideal
Being me I preferred the first option, and duly unlocked the shop at 7:20AM. I made a coffee, checked my personal emails, knocked up a poster to explain what was going on (screenshot and link to original below): 800 LOT AUCTION
The originals were A4 sized – Arial Black 64pt in bold for this interested in such matters, and I produced 3 copies, one for a window towards the town centre end of the shop, one for the window at the opposite end and one to go with the regular closed/open sign on the door which was also set to closed. Next up came transferring everything needed for the setup downstairs, and doing as much as could be done at that stage. Then, just as I decided to turn the downstairs lights on and acknowledge my presence to the world in general my colleague arrived and we were able to complete the set up, and I fetched a couple of extra chairs from behind the shop so that we had seating for five room bidders. When the auctioneer arrived I was then able to connect up both the computers we were using for the auction (one is his laptop), switch them on, log in to the correct screens in each (the operator screen on his laptop which we use as that master computer and the auctioneer screen on the other), get the slideshow going on the big screen and precheck audio and video so that even if no one at atgmedia (they are seriously understaffed) managed to do an official check I would know that they were working. At 9AM the auctioneer asked me to make a preliminary announcement in case anyone was already logged on, so I did so. A second announcement at 9:30 was heard by someone at atgmedia who confirmed that audio and video were working. Just after this our first room bidder arrived and I issued him with a bidding card (and later added his details to our client database as a coin buyer) and gave some advice about car parks (although I am a non-driver I am well acquainted with the ways of car parks in Fakenham, and my advice was sound – if he wants to park free then go to Tesco where he could park free for three hours, which as a coin specialist would be enough to see every lot of interest to him go under the hammer, if happy to pay use the car park behind our shop). At 9:50 I closed down the operator screen on the main computer, and relogged in from scratch, a regular precaution that I take. Finally, the time reached 10:00 and the start of…
The coins by and large sold well, with several bidders in the room and some action online. The stamps were quiet although some did sell, including a Chinese stamp which went for £85. The postal history also started quiet, but a large number of the later lots sold to an internet bidder. Some of the cigarette cards sold. There were some good sales among the postcards, and others which attracted no interest elsewhere were knocked down to a postcard dealer with whom the auctioneer has a regular arrangement. Each time an item sold to an online bidder whose name I did not recognize I noted their surname, paddle number and area of interest so that whatever else I have time to do in that respect actual bidders will definitely be added to the client database.
The last lot went under the hammer at about 2:30PM, and I then attended to clearing up the IT/ electronic equipment, and as my last work related action of the day sent an email written by the auctioneer to the buyer of postal history regarding some of the earlier lots in that section that he might have missed (he is based in the USA, so the first postal history lots went under the hammer quite early morning his time).
In total those items that did sell had a combined hammer price of just over £3,900 which made it a good day. We wait to see what happens on Wednesday.
I will end with some pictures that relate to this post:
An account of the PR work I have done for James and Sons upcoming auction.
In amongst polishing off the last of the imaging (I only actually got some lots needing imaging this morning!) for next week’s auction (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, all three days at our shop), resolving queries and such like I have also put out a number of ‘Auction Alert’ emails and a couple of press releases (I did a general one on Tuesday, and then my boss wanted something specifically about some Norfolk postcards today, hence two). I am going to produce screenshots of all the emails and press releases, accompanied by links to original documents, and all images therein.
THE PRESS RELEASES
On Tuesday I put out a general press release to local and regional media as follows: