A Successful Work Week

An account of James and Sons’ October auctions.

INTRODUCTION

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 1-500
Lots 1-500 laid out for auction
Day 1 setup
The layout of the ersatz auction room.
Big screen
The big screen running the slideshow.
Cig and trade cards
The last lots we would be seeing today.
Ephemera
The ephemera (lots 251-400)
Theatre poster
A theatre poster.
Postcards
Lots 1-250 (military RP postcards)

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.

175
175
213
213
227
227

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).

321
Lot 321 (two images)

321-a

353
Lot 353 – the railway outlined in this bill now forms part of a line that runs from London Waterloo to Reading.
399
Lot 399 (five images).

399-a399-b399-c399-d

 

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 601-1100601-1100StampsSmall stampsSmall stamps 2full setupBig Screen 1Penny Black close upBig Screen 291392410291000

601
The opening lot of the day as shown on the big screen.
1100
The closing lot of the day as shown on the big screen (I had the slide show on a loop, so that after showing lot 1100 it started again at lot 601)

836901

 

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.

 

850

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.

947
Lot 947 (3 images). I do small coin lots on the scanner, at 600dpi and with the scan area set to A5 landscape, which means I can only use half the scanner bed, but this saves time in the end, as they scan more than twice as quickly than if I had used the full plate). This main image is the two scans (of each face of the coin) joined together to make a single image.

947-a947-b

980
Lot 980 – the usual three images for a single coin.

980-a980-b

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.

IT setup, racecourseBig screenRostrum1201-1600 displayedShotguns 112731252View towards rostrumToysToys 2headgear15901590 - rolling stock15471547 side onView from the rostrumShotgunsMilitariaMilitaria 2Bannerdisplay caseMedalsDolls HouseView from the rostrum 2

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. 

1245
Lot 1245 (three images).

1245-a1245-b

1252
Lot 1252 (five images, as the second badge is double sided, which had to be shown.

1252-a1252-b1252-c1252-d

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.

1520
Lot 1520 (three images)

1520-a1520-b

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). 

1547
1547 (two images)

1547-a

1590
1590.
1600
1600 (two images)

1600-a

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Auctions Next Week

An introdfuction to next week’s James and Sons’ auctions.

INTRODUCTION

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:

97
Lot 97
250
lot 250
342
lot 342
460
Lot 460

TUESDAY OCTOBER 24 – SHOP

Postal History, Stamps, Coins and Banknotes. This sale starts at lot 601 and ends at lot 1100. 

601
Lot 601
754
Lot 754
900
Lot 900
901
Lot 901 (three images)

901-a901-b

935
Lot 935 ( three images)

935-a935-b

960
Lot 960 (three images)

960-b960-a

995
Lot 995 (three images)

995-b995-a

1031
Lot 1031
1098
Lot 1098

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 25TH – FAKENHAM RACECOURSE

This auction features lots 1201-1600. These lots include Jewellery, toys, militaria and other objects of interest.

1202
Lot 1202 (two images)

1202-a

1224
Lot 1224 (five images)

1224-a1224-b1224-c1224-d

1216
Lot 1216
1501
All the remaining images bafr the final one are of lots 1501 and 1502. Images 1501-a and 1502-a are both on the front cover of the catalogue. Please note that these guns are disabled – they are museum pieces (as all guns should become).

1501-a1501-b1501-c1501-d1501-e15021502-a1502-b1502-c1502-e1502-f

1500-cover
Lot 1500.

 

An Auction Triple Bill

An account of the three James and Sons auctions that started this week.

INTRODUCTION

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:

Auction 1
The auction area before I had brought the electronics and IT stiuff down.
Auction 2
This image and the four that follow are of auction stock.

Auction 3Auction 4

Auction 5
There will be more to come about these maps.
Auction 6
The two boxes of maps were being sold as one single lot.
Auction 7
The IT setup – In front of the master computer which I operate is my catalogue, a notepad and my ersatz coaster. Between the two computers is the mic, while the camera though connected to my computer is positioned atop David’s screen. Behind David’s machine is the big screen so that room bidders can view images of the items.

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). 

341
This full image gallery for lot 341 shows that I cannot be accused of withholding anything about this lot in spite of my personal interest.

341-b341-c341-a341-d341-e

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.

513
Lot 513 – hammer price £50
514
Lot 514 (four images) – hammer price £200!!

514-b515-c514-a

515
Lot 515 – hammer price £65

515-a515-b

553
Lot 553 – the one that I got.

TUESDAY

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:

Auction day 2Auction day 2 - 2Auction day 2 - 3Auction day 2 - 4

WEDNESDAY

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).
image

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.
1301-s

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.
image

Lot 1439 was of personal interest but the asking price was too high for me, so I had to let it go.
14391439-a1439-b1439-c1439-d1439-e1439-f1439-g

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.

MB
Lot 1449
MB2
Lot 1450

There were few more moments of note before the auction ended at lot 1543:

1543
The last of 43 of these map plates that went under the hammer at this auction, the first 70 having gone under the hammer on Monday.

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. 

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.