A Successful Day At Fakenham Racecourse

An account of yesterday’s auction at Fakenham Racecourse.

INTRODUCTION

Yesterday James and Sons had an auction at Fakenham Racecourse, the first in 2018 to take place anywhere other than our shop in Fakenham, and the first at that venue with me in sole control of the IT side of things (the latter being a cause of some trepidation). The auctioneer and I had visited the racecourse the Friday before to establish that our IT setup (including the card terminal as part of the IT setup) would work there, and the auction lots and IT stuff were moved down to the racecourse on Tuesday. 

GETTING THERE

I caught the 7:00 bus to Fakenham (the earliest, and my regular one on workdays anyway these days) and on what was already a warm sunny morning enjoyed the walk from Oak Street to the Racecourse (which is located not as its name suggests in Fakenham but just outside the adjoining village of Hempton), arriving at the venue at just before ten past eight. The auctioneer arrived a few minutes later and I was able to accomplish the IT setup before any viewers arrived. We had Croc’s providing catering at the event, and I took the opportunity in a quiet period to fortify myself with a bacon bap. 

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

Mute Swans II

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

A BRIGHT START

For various reasons (to do with a combination of over-ambitious planning and an important member of staff being absent for a long period of time) this auction had some odd numbering of lots (it started at lot 741, and then there was a 50 lot gap between the end of the first section and the start of the coins at lot 901, then a massive gap after the last coin lot, no 1072 to the start of the Militaria at 1,466, then another major gap from the end of the militaria at lot 1,620 to the start of final segment at lot 1,920, with the last lot of the sale being lot 2,000), but although there was a range of almost 1,300 between the first and last lot number there were only 503 lots in the sale. We originally planned to take a short break at the end of the coin section before starting on the Militaria, but this as you will see changed part way through. 

The first big success of the auction came at lot 747, three gold rings, which had been valued at £70-100 but ended up selling for £150…

747747-a

Then lots 757 and 760, a ladies cigarette case and a ladies powder compact of similar styles, both esitmated at £30-40 went for £65 and £60 respectively, both to the same online bidder.

757
Lot 757 (three images)

757-a757-b

760
Lot 760 (two images

760-a

These however were a mere curtain-raiser for…

LOT 764 – A PHOTOGRAPHER’S TRIUMPH

There were indications that this elegant Mantle Clock, with a case carefully designed to show off its workings was going to do extraordinarily well, but we were all absolutely gobsmacked by what actually happened. The item had gone in with a modest valuation of £10-20, but I having noted the effort to which the makers of this clock had gone to put the workings on display created an image gallery for it which reflected this:

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

764-c764-d764-e

The opening bid was £310! Then, a bidding war between four internet bidders who all obviously saw something that eluded those who are not experts on clocks pushed this already barely credible looking price up to an eye-popping £750!!

Incidentally, just for the record, the valuer himself said that it was the photographs that did it for us, hence my title for this subsection. Here are some photographs of this item that I took during the break:

Clock IClock IIClock IIIClock IV

UP TO THE BREAK

After the events described above almost anything else was going to feel a little anticlimactic, but a few items fared well nevertheless. Lot 919, a forged 1791 farthing estimated at £5-10 ended up going for £35.

919919-a919-b

The other effect that the early excitement had was that we were progressing slower than normal, and in the end the auctioneer brought our midauction break forward to lot 1,000. 

AFTER THE BREAK

We finished the coins, ending with lot 1072, which went to me for £4 (it is a small medallion, which I considered to be railwayana by association since it refers to Isambard Kingdom Brunel):

10721072-a1072-b

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

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

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

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

1584-a

The books fared poorly, although The Royal Liverpool Golf Club by Guy Farrar which I had given a deliberately cautious estimate of £15-20 fetched £55. 

19311931-a1931-b1931-c1931-d

The auction over, all that was left was the clear up, which was done by 3PM. I had one worrying moment when it seemed that a problem was developing with the internet connection, but fortunately it never got serious.

On Saturday the action shifts to The Maids Head Hotel, Norwich and the focus to cigarette cards. A full caftalogue listing for that auction can be viewed here.

Travelling by Lynx Bus 1 Week In

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

INTRODUCTION

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

TUESDAY

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

THURSDAY

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

93393293793858

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

88-a88-b

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

100-b111119121

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

134-a166

FRIDAY

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

831-a831

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

837-a838839191216226228235

235-a
A close up of the local building.

250272

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

273274-a

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

2941700-171718-321733-431744-561757-68

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

THE LYNX BUS 49

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

Ashes Composite XI

My composite Ashes XI with reasoning and justification. Also some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

A common feature of final days of series is the selection of a composite XI based on performances in said series. This is my effort for the current Ashes series. I am going to name my team in batting order first and then explain/amplify/justify these selections.

THE TEAM

My team in batting order (England player names in dark blue, Aus in green):

  1. Alastair Cook
  2. David Warner
  3. Dawid Malan
  4. Steven Smith (Captain)
  5. Shaun Marsh
  6. Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper)
  7. Mitchell Marsh
  8. Mitchell Starc
  9. Pat Cummins
  10. Nathan Lyon
  11. Jimmy Anderson

MY REASONING

The openers need no justification – the only major contribution from an opener not named Warner in the series was Cook’s monumental innings at the MCG. Number three is a thorny one. James Vince has demonstrated clearly that he does not belong there, and his huge score here at the SCG notwithstanding I remain skeptical about Usman Khawaja, hence my decision to promote England’s leading run scorer in the series to a position he occupies for his county. Number four, and with it the captaincy was the easiest selection of the whole lot. Shaun Marsh has not put a foot wrong since being called up to replace the inadequate Handscomb at number 5, and I regarded him as a must pick. Jonny Bairstow and Tim Paine have both had good series with the gloves, but I have opted for Bairstow as definitely the superior batsman. Mitchell Marsh has had a magnificent series, and was an absolute shoe-in at number 7, especially as Moeen Ali has had a terrible series – he has batted poorly in every match and his bowling average reads like a Bradman batting average. Of the specialist bowlers I have picked those at number 8,9 and 10 in the batting order are absolute stand outs. Number 11 was tricky, since Anderson with virtually no support has had a good series, and the better supported Hazlewood as also had a fine series. Accepting that even were it possible vivisection is not permissible (though ‘Anderwood’ is only one letter removed from a former test great!) I have opted for Anderson as I rate his the greater achievement. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Looking at the makeup of the team (and accepting that Hazlewood for Anderson and Khawaja for Malan would both be valid changes), Australian picks predominate in both batting and bowling, though it is especially the bowling, which in my team comes out at 4-1 (including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh) to Australia and is reality more like 4.3-0.7 (rating my selection of Anderson over Hazlewood as a 70:30 pick) which has split the sides. England have collected barely more than half of the 100 wickets that were available to them at the start of the series, whereas Australia assuming that they take the six England wickets that remain in this match will have managed 90, failing to take 20 opposition wickets only on the MCG pitch. 

PHOTOGRAPHS

I always like to include a few photographs in my blog posts, so I end with these recently taken pictures:

FW
The first five pictures were taken while walking to the Scout Hut on Beulah Street for Musical Keys yesterday.

FW2FW3MHIMHII

PW1
These last four pictures were taken in Fakenham on Thursday.

PW2PW3LBB

 

November Auctions

An account of a hectic and sometimes stressful work week.

INTRODUCTION

This post covers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Monday and Wednesday were auction days.

MONDAY – JAMES AND SONS, FAKENHAM

This auction consisted of 455 lots, mainly stamps, with some first day covers at the end. The feature of the day was a selection of rare Chinese stamps, which it was hoped would fare well. Arriving at the shop bright and early I had a little time to myself before anyone else arrived. The IT setup and audio/video checks went smoothly, and exactly on schedule at 10:00 the first lot went under the hammer. Here are some pictures from before the auction…

Auction stock
The Chinese Stamps were still upstairs at this stage for safety.
IT setup - shop
The IT setup
T1
The big screen.
T2
A close up of the locomotive on the big screen (at one image per 3 seconds and almost two hours of running through 455 lots on a loop you can work out how many times each lot appeared on screen while the preauction slide show was running.

THE EARLY STAGES OF THE AUCTION

Most of the lots early in the auction were very large, and they did not attract much attention. There were hints of things to come when some of the first Chinese stamps sold well. Before we get to the main meat of the day, there is one essential stop…

LOT 169

Coming a little bit before the rare Chinese stamps were due to appear this was a Japanese railway stamp, and I got it unopposed. Here are the official images that were available online:

169
This was the image that appeaqred on screen during the auction – scanned at 300dpi.
169-a
For those who were on the internet this close-up of the locomotive was the second image if they wanted to investigate more closely.

Here are a couple of pictures of it taken at home…

169 - home
The complete item
169 locomotive close up
Locomotive close up
169 locomotive - using vignette
A second close-up

THE CHINESE STAMPS

The Chinese stamps did better than any of us had dared to hope. A Chinese man living in Chelmsford had driven up tlo Fakenham (something in excess of two hours each way, though quicker than the public transport option of train to Norwich, bus/walk from Norwich station to the castle and then bus to Fakenham) to bid live, and he with some vigorous internet competition ensured that these stamps sold between them for over £10,000 (his own spend was over £9,000). Here are some the stamps at the heart of this story:

277283286285287288291292293294297298301303304305307310311312313316317319320322334336336-a

AFTER THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW

The remainder of the auction after the last Chinese stamp had gone was anticlimactic. Once I had disconnected the IT it was time for me to switch focus for a day and a bit to…

IMAGING FOR DECEMBER

The link between these auctions and our final auction of the year, which will take place at our shop in Fakenham on December 13 is that there are some more Chinese stamps goign under the hammer. This auction will start with 50 lots of banknotes, including some very valuable uncirculated Australian and New Zealand, before proceeding to 100 lots of coins, 150 lots of military themed postcards, the stamps and some ephemera. I had already done the banknotes and one of the coins, and on the Monday afternoon I was scanning stamps. 

On the Tuesday I started on the postcards, and also did some coins. Here are some pictures of what you have to look forward to…

1
Imaging these uncirculated banknotes was a fiddle. They had to be imaged through the plastic covers they were encased in to avoid damage, and the black bakcground was needed for use in the catalogue. Additionally, since both sides were required what you see are two images joined to become one.

414253743-a43-d43

1
This 1787 gold guinea starts the coin section. This image came from 2 600dpi scans, bolted together.
1-a
As witness

1-b

1-p
I also photographed the coin, and this is the one that woulkd be my front-cover image for the printed catalogue.

1-pb1-pa

52-s
Lots 52-6 got similar treatment.

52-as52-bs52-p52-pa52-pb53-p53-pa53-pb53-s53-sa53-sb53-s153-sa153-sb154-s54-as54-bs54-p54-pa54-pb55-a55-b55-c5556-a56-b56-c56

151
Laying these postcards out to best advantage is a challenge as some are landscape oriented and some portrait.

152153154155156157158159160

301
Stamp scans…

302304306307308310311314315350351352353354355356369375379

While I was doing this the van was being loaded up to go Norwich, and as you will soon see the fact that I could not be spared from imaging to help with the process had consequences…

WEDNESDAY – NORWICH

I managed to get my intended bus, and arrived at Norwich bus station at about 7:30 AM (to arrive early enough to help with the setup and then run the IT a Norwich auction I need to be on the First Eastern Counties X1 which departs Lynn at 5:30). I walked down to the venue, arriving there at about 7:45, got the room unlocked, fired up my computer and checked my emails, and waited for my colleagues to arrive. Finally, at about 8:20, they did, having got stuck in heavy traffic on the route between Fakenham and Norwich. Once the van was unloaded it was time to set up. Unfortunately no one involved in loading the van had thought to include a multi-point extension lead, the camera or the microphone. The Maids Head were able to lend us most of what we needed, and I was dispatched (with cash provided) to purchase a usb attached web camera. My first port of call was Rymans, in the pedestrianised shopping area of Norwich, where I had to wait a few minutes for the shop to open. Rymans did not have the necessary, but they did have an assistant who was able to point me in the direction of Maplin on Castle Meadow, close by albeit in the opposite direction to the Maids Head, and I found precisely what we needed there (though it took me a few minutes – the place was organised rather strangely, at least to me). I was back at the hotel by 9:20, and fortunately there were no technical hitches in the IT setup. Here are some pictures from this early part of the day…

THE AUCTION

The books fared much better than I for one dared to hope, with those that sold going for good money. On the Tuesday, along with the imaging for December I had corrected a problem with some of our online images, deleting two images and renumbering about 25 others so that images and descriptions matched. Unfortunately, when we came to these lots on the day my editing had been over-ridden by someone at the ATG Media end of things and the wrong images were back in place. Lots 901 to 1,000, which concluded the auction were military themed postcard lots, and they sold incredibly well, one single lot going for £200. The sales made at this auction were a welcome bonus after Monday’s extraordinary success. 

The auctiuon concluded it remained only to take down the IT and reload the van. 

NORWICH

My colleague Andrew had decided that he wanted to spend some more time in Norwich and go back by bus, so before heading off for my own extra time in Norwich I showed him where to pick up the bus from. I then headed for the library, which I always like to visit when I am in Norwich and did a few other things. Here are some photographs from Norwich, some taken that day and some on the previous Thursday evening, when I was also in Norwich…

St Peter Mancroft 2
This is St Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich
Light Tunnel
Next to it at the moment is this magnificent light tunnel. As you will see, Norwich have excelled themselves in the matter of Christmas lights this year.

Light Tunnel 1Light Tunnel 3Light Tunnel 2Light Tunnel 4

St Peter Mancroft clock through light curtain
This is the last of the Wednesday pics…
Castle - lit up 2
But I had taken more pictures of the Norwich Christmas lights the previous Thursday.

Davey Place lightsLights forumLight Tunnel 1Light Tunnel 2

Lights - Norwich tree
Note – just a few clumps of lights in the tree, not completely smothering it – a nice show of “treespect”

Davy Place, full darkIn the light tunnel 1In the light tunnel 2Light tunnel in full gloryLight stringlight stringsLightLooking down the light tunnel

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!!

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515
Lot 515 – hammer price £65

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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).
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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.
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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.
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Lot 1439 was of personal interest but the asking price was too high for me, so I had to let it go.
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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.

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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. 

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