James and Sons First August Auction

An account of the first of James and Sons’ two August auctions.

INTRODUCTION

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.

THE GOODS

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:

  1. Get the 6:23 bus and arrive at the shop very early
  2. 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):
warning poster800 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 AUCTION

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.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I will end with some pictures that relate to this post:

Auction stock full
The whole stock for this auction in one shot
Coins
The coins
Bulky lots
The bulky lots down on the ground
PH and CC
postal history and cigarette cards
CC
cigarette cards and postcards
28
Lot 28 – sold for over double the upper estimate (3 images)

28-a28-b

638
Lot 638 – I thought about bidding on this but decided not to – there is stuff on Wednesday that I want more than I want this.
1053
This is lot 1053, which will be going under the hammer on Wednesday (5 images)

1053-d1053-c1053-a1053-b

1549-a
Lot 1509 on Wednesday

1549-b

1222-a
Lot 1220 on Wednesday.

1222

Preparing for Two Auctions Simultaneously

A post about James and Sons’ August auctions.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons usually have an auction near the end of each month. In August a combination of an intervening bank holiday and the fact that it takes a full day to set things up at Fakenham Racecourse means that we will be having two separate auctions near the end of August:

  • On Friday August 25th we will be having an auction at our shop in Fakenham.
  • On Wednesday August 30th we will be having an auction at Fakenham Racecourse.

THE FRIDAY SALE

This sale kicks off with a large number of coin lots. Here are some pictures:

33
This is a 17th century guinea weight (the S 21 that appears on each face refers to the monetary value of the guinea – 21 shillings)

33-a33-b

68
Lots 68-70 feature coins from the joint monarchy of William III and Mary II (1688-94)

68-a68-b6969-a69-b7070-a70-b

80
A farthing was a quarter of a penny, so these had a value of one eighth of a penny!

80-a80-b9191-b91-a

186
Lot 186 – a one punt piece.
186-a
This creature has been extinct for some considerable time – it is an Irish Elk and those antlers grew to have a span of up to 15 feet).

186-b

210
A commemorative medallion celebrating the acquittal of radical publisher John Horne Tooke.

210-a210-b

8
Lot 8
8-a
The two faces of the coin.

8-b8-c

199
Lot 199

199-a199-c199-b211211-b211-a

256
Lot 256 – this square coin is from 17th century Holland

256-b256-a272

273
Lot 273 – a two album collection.

273-a273-b

THE WEDNESDAY SALE

I included some of the pictures I have taken for this sale in my previous post, and although I will not ignore those items I will include only the main images and urge you to consult my previosu post for the rest.

 

1403
Lot 1403 – there is a little wallet incorporated in the inside back cover of the book to store the map when folded.
1415
Lot 1415 – the largest railway map I have ever seen – and it has stout front and back panels so that when folded it looks a bit like a book.
1422
Lot 1422 – A more modern and much smaller railway map, with promotional material on the reverse (four images)
1428
Lot 1428 – Some south Wales railway history.
1401
Lot 1401. Every lot from 1401 to 1428 is featured in this post

1401-b1401-a140214041404-a140514061406-a14071407-a1408140914101410-b1410-a1411141214131414-a141414161417141814191420142114231424142514261427

Giving a Radio Interview

A post focussing on me giving a radio interview. Some mention of a roller-skating session and of the current test-match. And of course some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The title part of this post refers to one of the things I did yesterday. I also have some pictures to share.

AN AUTISM CENTRED MORNING

Of course, as branch secretary of the National Autistic Society’s West Norfolk branch and an #actuallyautistic person there is a way in which autism is always at the heart of what I do. After three days carrying out my concatenation of roles at a James and Sons auction (operator of the system that enables us to take online bids, database administrator, query fielder, in-house ‘Gordianus’, occasional customer service person – see here for a full account) I had a day on which my only preset commitment was to supervise a roller-skating session at Lynnsport between 11 and 12. In the absence of direct confirmation of a time that would be convenient to speak to Ashleigh at KLFM 96.7 (our local radio station) about our upcoming 10th anniversary I decided that I would set off early for Lynnsport and see if I could speak to her on the way or as a fall-back arrange to call in on my way back.

Ashleigh was able to fit me in straight away, and the interview went well (she will be sending me both a recording and an online article that will accompany the actual broadcast), and I left for Lynnsport with my spirits high – I had helped myself, advertised our upcoming 10th anniversary event and due its connection with the foregoing also made mention of our gardening grant and the allotment on Ferry Lane + plans for a sensory garden in part of the plot. It is because of this gardening stuff that we gained the use of the magnificent garden where our 10th anniversary celebration will be held.

The roller-skating passed without incident and I was able to listen to some of the action from the third test-match (even assuming I had both the ability and the willingness to pay the Biased Bull****ting Conservatives £150 per year I would choose to follow cricket by listening to radio commentaries rather than watching on TV). Yesterday was truncated by rain, but England have had a good day today – first reaching 353 largely thanks to a magnificent innings from Stokes and now bagging a South African wicket before tea – debutant Toby Roland-Jones breaking through.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Pot
Being vertical sided these pots should not blow over in the wind (there were two of them).
BP1
The first of two shots showing James and Sons’ tray of Beatrix Potter coins

BP2

Victoria heads
I don;t know what the original purpose of this object was, but it has been a feature of James and Sons longer than I have!
Bee2
Wild marjoram is useful as a herb, as well playing a vital role as a plant that bees just love .

Bee1Bee3

Butterfly1
A huge butterfly

Butterfly2

Giant fly
A gargantuan fly.

FountainSquirrel

Public Libraries 150
My public libraries display.

James and Sons’ July Auction

An account of James and Sons’ July auction – 1,500 lots over three days.

INTRODUCTION

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had its July auction. 500 lots went under the hammer on each day. 

MONDAY

This first day of the sale featured coins, banknotes, cheques, P&N covers and militaria. There were quiet moments in most categories, but also plenty of stuff sold, some of it doing very well. Here are some pictures from this first day:

Cop hatsMet police inspectorDay 1HeadgearHelmet

Along the way, lot 377, one of the P&N covers, was knocked down to me:

376
As an ardent user of libraries (King’s Lynn and Fakenham very regularly, Gaywood and Norwich when I am in the locality) this had particular appeal. A worthy addition to my collection.

TUESDAY

With stamps, postal history, a few postcards and first-day covers going under the hammer this was always likely to be the quietest of the three days and it was, although there were a few good sales. Here are some pictures from day 2:

Day 2 - 1Day 2 - 2Day 2 - 3KilowareSmall stamps2d blue

 

AV testing 2

WEDNESDAY

With postcards, cigarette & trade cards, ephemera, books, records and some interesting railwayana this was the day that we expected to go best, and it did. After a quietish start with the postcards, the cigarette and Liebig cards attracted in plenty of online bidders, some of the ephemera did very well, and both the large boxes of railway books found a buyer (someone who I had been in email contact with following a query about the contents of one of the boxes – I take the fact that she bought both boxes full as a definitive judgement as to the adequacy of my response!). I was also relieved because of its weight to see lot 1451 find a buyer. Lot 1379 went to me.

After a few minutes spent making the shop look more like a shop and less like an auction venue and a few more minutes spent consuming my sandwiches I finished up by adding details of those who had actually madce bids to the client database and printing out a complete list of those who had registered to bid online (196 of them on this occasion).

Here are some pictures relating to this third day:

Day3
Most of the lots going under the hammer on day 3 were in this shot
Bawsey Abbey
On the bus home, although exhausted I was still alert enough to accept the opportunity to capture the ruins of Bawsey Abbey when it arose.
1451
Lot 1451 (six images)

1451-a1451-e1451-b1451-d1451-c

1455
Lot 1455 (2 images)

1455-a

1467
Lot 1467 (five images)

1467-a1467-b1467-c1467-d

1379
Lot 1379 (seven images)

1379-a1379-b1379-c1379-d1379-e1379-f

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Overall across the three days the total hammer price for sold items was just over £10,000, and while some of these were owned by external vendors, meaning that our gains are limited to the lotting fees, vendors commission and buyers premium, many were from our own stock. At the end of August we will be having auctions at our shop and also at Fakenham Racecourse.

 

 

Back to the Present: James and Sons June Auction

An account of James and Sons’ June auction.

INTRODUCTION

Having completed my series of posts about Scotland, I am now returning to the present with an account of James and Sons’ June Auction, which happened earlier this week.

THE AUCTION SCHEDULE

To set the scene for the rest of this post, the auction was arranged to run in two parts. Lots 1-600 went under the hammer at our own premises in central Fakenham on Monday June 26th, while lots 701-1300 were auctioned at Fakenham Racecourse on Wednesday June 28th. The Tuesday was set aside for getting things set up down at the racecourse, since experience had taught us that combining this with a day of auctioning at the shop was not a goer. 

MONDAY 26TH – NORWICH STREET

The set up was accomplished fairly straightforwardly, and the sound and video checks went swiftly and easily. The auction got under way with 100 cigarette card lots, then 100 postcard lots, then some general ephemera, some numismatic and philatelic covers and ending with the stamps. The day started quietly, with the cigarette cards attracting very little interest and the postcards not much. It was the numismatic and philatelic covers that provided the only consistent sales of the day.  

TUESDAY 27TH – SETUP DAY

We had loaded the first van load of stuff for the racecourse at the end of the previous week, so I headed straight from the bus to the racecourse to help unload that. This done and some stuff unloaded from the boss’s car it was back to the shop to load up the van for the second time. This van load then went to the racecourse without me, as I would be of more use working at the shop than down there. Then one of my colleagues was left alone at the racecourse and so I walked back down there to minimise the period for which this situation continued (the person who could drive the van was going to be at the shop for half an hour at least, and I could walk it in much less time than that). Finally, after a few final things had been brought down to the racecourse I got a lift back to the shop. At the end of the day I locked the shop, handed my key to a colleague who would need it on the morrow and headed home. Here are some pictures from the setup.

wagtail
I was at the racecourse before my colleague arrived with a key, and this wagtail caught my eye while I was waiting.

turtleshellturtleshell2Shell3turtleshell4turtleshell5whiskiescoindisplay

Toys1
We had a lot of toys in this auction.

Toys2Coins2Proof setsdisplay case1052Coins3Toys4Cig CardsToys6Toys8Toys3

WEDNESDAY JUNE 28TH –
THE RACECOURSE

This was a very tiring day. It was raining heavily most of the time, including for the entire duration of the walk from Fakenham town centre to the racecourse in the morning. 

We had been assured by the racecourse that they now had working wifi, but this proved to be an optimistic assessment and we had to use a wired connection, which dropped out four times in the course of the day (fortunately never for very long). 

Pre-auction
This was the scene immediately after I had carried out audio and video checks, as viewed from my seat.

The early lots passed quietly, but then with lot 633 the first tranch of toy lots went under the hammer, and the internet bidders got busy, with three figure prices the rule rather than the exception. The ‘Manod’ steam toys later on also sold spectacularly well. After a few books and related stuff went under the hammer it was time for a few jewellery lots, which also sold well. Then it was into the coins, which started with some proof sets which fetched remarkable prices. 

LOT 933: THE BEST LAID PLANS OF
MICE AND MEN GANG AFT AGLEY

When you see the image gallery for this lot you will realise why I had had my sights on it to the exclusion of all else in this auction:

933933-a933-b933-c933-d

Unfortunately from a personal point of view I had competition, and although I bid up to £40, when that final bid of mine was topped I conceded defeat. 

LOT 935: ROMAN STYLE COINS

Although these were not the genuine article I decided that at next to nothing they were worth securing as a tiny consolation for the disappointment of a few moments earlier.

935
The main image…
935-a
…which is a combination of this…
935-b
…and this
935 - obverse
The first of two photos taken this morning.

935 - reverse

The coins continued to sell well. After the coins it was time for some militaria. Lot 1051 fetched a good price, and then came lot 1052 fetching the only four figure price of the auction. 

1052
The whole lot (main image)
1052-a
Both faces of the medal, assembled from the close-ups below.

1052-b1052-c

1052-d
Three images which combined as here show the rim in full detail (important as it is generally the rim that people look at when checking the authenticity of a medal – and this is definitely NOT done with a modern engraving machine – I have seen enough such to know whereof I write!)

1052-e1052-f1052-g

1052 composite
This combination of the whole lot and all the close ups was the feature image in an alert sent out to militaria buyers (click the link below to view it in full).

JAMES AUCTION ALERT (Militaria)

display case
In the display case at the venue.
1052
Focussing solely on lot 1052.

The auction finished with 100 miscellaneous lots, which went fairly quietly, although even these attracted some interest. After Monday we had needed Wednesday to be a successful day, and it was. 

For us there was still the clearing up to be done, but even that was accomplished sufficiently swiftly that I was able to get the 16:37 bus home. This departed late, but for an acceptable reason – the driver was resolving a situation created by another driver who was guilty of dereliction of duty – he had arrived from Wells, let off passengers, switched his destination to “Sorry Not In Service” and had then dashed off without picking up passengers. Stagecoach track their buses, and identified that this one had been parked up just outside Fakenham, and the rogue driver who by his selfishness had let down about 10 passengers was ordered back into service. This same thing had happened the previous day according to the waiting passengers except that he had got away with it, the passengers getting the later bus. 

 

 

 

James and Sons’ May Auction

An account of James and Sons’ May Auction.

INTRODUCTION

This auction was a three-day affair, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. All three days were at our premises, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham. Our next auction will also be over a three-day period, but there will be no selling on the second day, as the third day will be at Fakenham Racecourse and we will be setting things up down there. 

MONDAY

The setup was accomplished with no problem and the first item went under the hammer at 10AM as intended. The auction started with coins which fared reasonably well, cheques which did not, some interesting ephemera which attracted some attention, and some joint numismatic/ philatelic items which fared well. The militaria which concluded day 1’s action started very quietly but picked up again later. Here are some pictures from this day…

P1000031P1000033P1000032P1000035P1000030

P1000034
The big screen display for people who turned up at the venue.

Lot 359, one of those joint numismatic/ philatelic items, came my way for £8. I will be going into more detail about it in a future post, but here is the shot that appeared on our slideshow…

359
Lot 359 – five images.

In between moving stuff for day 2 down into the shop ready for the morrow, consuming my sandwiches and other little bits I also did some work on our next auction. Here are some pictures of items that will be going under the hammer at the end of June…

TUESDAY

This was the quietest of the three days. It featured stamps, postal history and first-day covers. There were no room bidders, and the internet bidders did not bestir themselves and the second half of the day. However, eventually some items did sell, although it was a hugely unsuccessful day. Here are some shots taken before proceedings got underway…

P1000060P1000058P1000059

There was an addition to the routine today – three large items that feature in our next auction needed to be offloaded into the shop, photographed and given lot numbers. They are now lots 791, 792 and 793 in our June auction – two dolls houses and a rocking horse:

791
Lot 791 – the thatched cottage version of a dolls house
792-a
Lot 792 – a more modern style version of a dolls house.

792

793
Lot 793 a rocking horse, and not just any rocking horse…
793-a
…a locally made rocking horse.

After attending to this and to bringing down the lots for the morrow I had time for some more work on the June auction…

WEDNESDAY

This final day of our sale featured postcards, cigarette & trade cards, Liebig picture cards and books to end the auction. We needed a good day, and we got one. All else was overshadowed by three postcards, lots 1038, 1039 and 1040. These were early 20th century Real Photographic (RP) cards featuring football matches. 1038 and 1039 went for £495 and £450 respectively, while lot 1040 sold for no less than £900. Most of the rest of the postcards found buyers (one postcard, an RP featuring the 1910 visit of Halley’s Comet sold to none other than science writer Ben Goldacre), the cigarette cards had some successes, and the Liebig cards fared pretty well. The books did what ordinary books usually do at auction. Here are some pictures I took early that morning:

P1000068
I redid this one after seeing a few of the less huge lots that I had omitted to bring down (see third pic). Although the dolls house was not in this sale no place had as yet been found for it.

P1000069P1000070

Lot 1107 (about which much more later) went to me. Going into this auction I had a couple of other items besides the two I actually bought (for £8 each) mentally filed as possibles, but found myself obliged to ignore them since my old camera (after somewhat in excess of 80,000 pictures) had conked out, necessitating a replacement which in turn meant that I could not entertain mere ‘possibles’ at this stage. Here is the image that appeared in our slideshow:

1107

The auction concluded, wiring tidied up and internet bidders list printed out I finished my working week by doing some more work on the June auction. Here are some of the items I imaged…

 

 

James and Sons April Auction

Giving an account of James and Sons’ April auction and (in the introduction) setting the scene for the rest of the day’s blogging activity.

INTRODUCTION

This is the first of several full length posts that I am intending to put up today (I have already produced a little squib relating to today’s special Google Doodle) and so before getting into the meat of it I take this opportunity to indicate what you can expect over the course of the rest of today: Science and Nature including an introduction to a fabulous series of memes about evolution, Autism and some political stuff.

THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE AUCTION

This auction was a three-day, 1,500 lot sale, taking place on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. All three days took place at our shop in Fakenham. The first day stuff had to be brought down into the body of the shop on the Friday. 

DAY 1: LOTS 1-500

These lots consisted of coins, banknotes, bank related ephemera, coin first-day covers and militaria. This was a successful day, with the coins and the militaria doing particularly well. After consuming my sandwiches I then had to bring the stuff for Day 2 down into the shop ready for viewing in the morning. 

DAY 2: LOTS 501-1000

These lots consisted of stamps, postal history and first-day covers. This second day was always likely to be quiet, and indeed it was. However, here are some pictures of lot 856, which I acquired for £4…

856
The front of lot 856
856stamps
A close up of the six stamps
856-train
A close up of the big train
856reverse
The reverse of the envelope
856explanation
A c,lose up of the explanation.

The auction stage of the day was followed by the most exhausting heavy lifting of the period – day two stuff back upstairs, day three stuff downstairs. 

DAY 3: LOTS 1001-1500

The items under the hammer on day three were postcards, toys, Liebig picture cards, cigarette cards, ephemera, books, vinyls and various miscellaneous items. There was enough of interest going under the hammer to ensure a successful day, and indeed to ensure that the auction overall can be considered a success. This was followed by one last heavy lifting exercise – getting the stuff back upstairs so that the shop looked more like a shop once again. Our next auction, again taking place at our shop will be on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of May. Here are some pictures I took yesterday morning to show what went under the hammer later that day:

DSCN6262DSCN6263

DSCN6264
This cinema screen sized Charlie’s Angels poster (in the black plastic tube) was lot 1,401 and went unsold.

DSCN6265

DSCN6266
These Liebig’s were being sold as albums rather than as sheets, and three of the five found buyers.

DSCN6267DSCN6268