James and Sons had their first auction of 2018 on Wednesday, and this post tells the story of that auction.
TUESDAY – SET UP
Most of the setup work for the auction was accomplished on Tuesday. First, some stock had to be cleared away from the tables that were to be used for the auction, and then the stock we brought down (lots 1-488, after which would be taking a break, and might bring down the second half lots if it seemed necessary) was laid out on one table, and the IT setup completed on the other. I did a preliminary test to make sure that all was working.
Everything went smoothly on the morning of the auction, and we started as intended at 10 o;clock. Lot 7, a small collection of Masonic medals, with a modest estimate of 30-50 ended up selling for £200.
THE STORY OF LOT 17
This lot had had a lot of advance publicity, and what happend to it was crucial to the overall success or otherwise of the auction. Before Christmas I had put out various emails and press releases about this item, one result of which was an advertisement on the armourer website. It had also been the front cover item on the printed catalogue. In the run up to the auction I had received a query asking for close-ups of maker’s marks on the Russian Order of St Anne gold medal, which was the key part of the group in terms of its value. One of the two people I sent such pictures two did not respond and the other sent an exceedingly insulting response. I had been checking onthe-saleroom.com andf noted that this item had 15 watchers. So, it came to time for it go under the hammer, and following the-saleroom.com standard rule of 60% of lower estimate, the opening price was £3,600. The bidding proceeded at such a pace on the internet that by the time the auctioneer had finished announcing the item £5,000 had come and gone. Eventually the hammer went down at £8,200. You can find visit the two articles I wrote about this yesterday:
After that it was not going to matter much what happened for the rest of auction. As it happened there were a few more bright spots. Lot 718, a large collection of penny reds and the odd twopenny blue, all with GWR perfins, went for £120:
Lot 852, one of three lots subsituted after the catalogue was printed (three Victorian era hunter watches that replaced three other less significant items) which went in to the online version of the catalogue with an estimate of £50-60 sold for £140. Here are images of all three items:
Even then there was still one spectacular sale to come. Lot 864, four vintage gold-nibbed pens with some restoration required, had been expected to make £30-50, but had attracted plenty of interest before the auction, and ended up selling for £180.
An account of some work I have done with some very rare and valuable medals.
Although work has barely started as yet on the James and Sons January auction, there has been one huge development, in the form of some very high value medals.
ABOUT THE MEDALS
There are two groups of medals in this story, a very rare group awarded to Chief Gunner A E Seymour for the Battle of Jutland, which include a Russian Order of St Anne Gold Medal awarded to foreigners (exceedingly rare) and a group of World War Two medals awarded to his son.
MY WORK ON THE MEDALS
On the 12th of December I was asked to photograph the medals, making sure that we had top quality pictures available for use in advertising and promotional materials. These are the pictures that I took, starting with the Jutland group:
Until yesterday, barring a print out of some of the better pictures that I had produced for my employer’s use that was all that had been done…
PRESS RELEASES AND BULK EMAILS
As well as the document that I used as the email/ press release I had to create two mailing lists. One, a list of everyone who had bought medals from James and Sons in the past and had an email address was easily extracted from the client database (designed, created and maintained by me). The second, a combination of contact details for military publications and for everyone who advertises in the Medal Yearbook had to be assembled manually. In addition to these I had of course the regular press to contact, but those details are already available at a click in my work email account.
The bulk email recipients merely got the document itself, plus the images actually used in it as attachments. Those who were being sent this as a press release got the full image gallery. At the end I also had send a jpeg of the press release to The Armourer, as we had missed the copy date for the printed magazine, but they were going to display it on their website.
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.
My response to Laina’s magnificent 500th blog post “The Autistic Pride Award [500th Post]”.
Laina over at thesilentwaveblog decided to do something special for her 500th blog post. The result was an absolutely splendid post, and this is my response to it.
THE AUTISTIC PRIDE AWARD –
This section sets the scene for the remainder of the post. First here is Laina’s brief:
Whoever wants to participate, participate. I’m focusing primarily on Asperger’s/autistic people, of course, but anyone who supports autistic people and neurodiversity is welcome!
Do link back to the blogger who gave you the idea
Do link back to this blog as the original creator.
Describe a bit about yourself. However much you feel comfortable saying.
List your main “special interests” or areas of primary focus/niche specialties.
If you’re on the spectrum yourself, describe why you’re proud to be Aspergian/autistic or what you like about being Aspergian/autistic.
If you’re not on the spectrum yourself, you can use this opportunity to describe a loved one in your life who is and what makes them awesome, or you can explain what autism means to you and why you think the world would be a better place if it were to be more embracing of autism.
(Of course, you can answer more than one! For example, someone who is autistic can also describe how much better the world would be if it was more open toward autism.)
If you like, you can list other blogs or resources that are autism/neurodiversity-positive, to give them a shout-out, too.
The fact that I am writing this post demonstrates that I wish to participate (1). I was inspired the source article itself which deals with (2) and (3), and I take this opportunity to urge you not just to read Laina’s 500th post in full but also to explore her blog in more detail. Thus, the rest of this post will start with point (4) of this list.
This is my WordPress profile statement:
I am branch secretary of NAS West Norfolkand #actuallyautistic (diagnosed 10 years ago at the comparatively advanced age of 31). I am a keen photographer, so that most of my own posts contain photos. I am a keen cricket fan and often write about that subject. I also focus a lot on politics and on nature.
You can learn more about me by reading more posts on this blog, and the rest of this post. I will include photos that relate to some of my interests, and links to other blogs the relate to my interests.
Photography – as many of the posts on this blog show. There are many photographic blogs that I could link to here, but I have chosen just one, Cindy Knoke’s, from which I choose to feature a post titled “Gorgeous Greece & Her Beautiful Islands“. Here is one of my fairly recent photographs:
Public Transport – I am the creator of a London Transport themed website, www.londontu.be, I have blogged here about many journeys, including Inlandsbanan and The Jacobite, while the photograph above was taken through the window of a moving train. Here is a public transport related photo to end this segment:
Nature and Natural History – these linked interests are lifelong. For a natural history blog I thoroughly recommend whyevolutionistrue, while for good stuff about nature I recommend Anna’s blog – this is one of her posts about nature. Here is a recent bee picture to end another segment:
Cricket – I am listening to commentary on the second T20 between England and South Africa as I write this.
Autism – kind of obvious given that I am both autistic and involved in an autism charity. Before moving on to autism related blogs I offer a link to the National Autistic Society website (it is a very useful resource). I have of course already linked to Laina’s blog at the very start of this post, and I also recommend strongly theunabashedautist, americanbadassadvocates and theinkedautist. Having (including the opening link to Laina’s blog) given shout outs to four blogs by #actuallyautistic folk I finish with a link to Autism Mom.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BEING AUTISTIC
Many of my greatest strengths, such as my computer skills, my attention to detail, my skill at taking and editing photos are a direct product of my autism. Autism is part of who I am, and never in the ten and a half years since I was diagnosed have I wished that I was not autistic. I conclude this post with a photographic collage that I used in an auction alert email sent out yesterday:
Some thoughts on sharing, provoked initially by the Gorsuch plagiarism case as reported by whyevolutionistrue and given the final push when I saw a post on everydayaspie.wordpress.com and reblogged it.
I first started thinking about this post yesterday, and then a few minutes ago something else occurred that prompted me to actually create it.
A TALE OF TWO POSTS
Yesterday I read on whyevolutionistrue about an accusation of plagiarism against the US Supreme Court’s most recent appointee, Justice Gorsuch. That postmakes it very obvious indeed that Mr Gorsuch is indeed guilty, and to an extent that would have earned any student an automatic zero for cheating.
The first post I have mentioned in this section shows Gorsuch seeing something he appreciated and making use of it an unacceptable fashion that gave no credit at all to the person who had actually done the work. My reaction to the second demonstrated one (there are several) example of the…
ACCEPTABLE WAYS OF USING
CONTENT CREATED BY OTHERS
I reblogged the post, with the addition of a line of my own explaining where I had found it. However, because the real work had been done by the original blogger, I then opened the editing screen and made two small but important alterations (as well as a few others not relevant to this post):
I made my mention of the site from which I had reblogged it into a link.
Because all credit or otherwise that might be due to the post belongs rightfully to its creator I turned off the comments section on my reblog.
If the post in which you are using content from elsewhere also contains significant work of your own, then it makes sense to keep the comments section open.
There is one golden rule when using content from other sources in a piece of your own: always give full credit to the original creator. Thus when I am sharing multiple pieces in the course of one post my own usual approach is to link to the source website of each piece the first time I mention it by name, and link to each piece individually. Also, if boosting the appearance of my own post by using pictures or screenshots from the other site I format them as links. This is especially important with screenshots, as they are not automatically attributed to the site to whom you are linking.
It is nice if someone is impressed enough by your stuff to want to share it, but to put it very mildly it takes some of the gloss off if they omit to mention where they got it from (btw I have direct experience of this – when the Lynn News printed a report on the inaugural Autism Awareness Cup every word of that report had also appeared in my blog post about it, which had peen published some days previously, and no credit was accorded to me).
These pictures are of items that will be going under the hammer in James and Sons May aujction (22nd, 23rd and 24th of May, all three days at our own premises in central Fakenham):
A continuation oof my personal Heritage Open Day 2016 story which takes it up to lunch.
This is my second post about Heritage Open Day 2016. There will be one more covering my post lunch activities.
On leaving the London Road Methodist Chapel I walked through the parkland and past the train station to the edge of the bus station and the..
I took advantage of the fact that it being Heritage Open Day admission was free to have a look round this establishment. The trip round the museum starts with…
This is a circle of standing timbers revealed by a particularly low tide (the North Sea coast has been progressively moving west since the end of the last period of glaciation some 10,000 years ago, and a lot of land from even historic times is now below the surface, including the well known fishing grounds now called Dogger Bank) and ever since taking its place in the museum has been the prime exhibit…
The rest of the museum, although it plays second fiddle to Seahenge is by no means devoid of interest either…
After this museum I got an inside look at something I had witnessed being worked on from my own humble abode…
NEW BUILD ON BAKER LANE
This owes its presence on the Heritage Open Day roster to the fact that it is in a conservation area and therefore obliged to be in keeping with what is already there. The stairs by means of which my flat is accessed are directly across Baker Lane car park from this development. I was reasonably impressed by what I saw…
I next paid a brief call at the building on Queen Street (Baker Lane is a side street off Queen Street) where the Civic Society had set up shop, where my eye was caught by this tapestry map of Norfolk…
I saw three more places before breaking off for lunch…
ALMSHOUSES, A COLLEGE AND A SECRET GARDEN
The Victorian almshouses, which like the Baker Lane development are visible from my flat, allowed admission to the upstairs of the front of the building and to a courtyard..
The Great Hall at Thoresby College has something in common with Headingley cricket ground – looking up is better than looking down!
The secret garden mentioned in the header of this section is behind Hampton Court, where my aunt lives. The land-facing wall is an old warehouse frontage which back in the day (14th century) abutted directly on to the river so that cargoes could be offloaded direct into the building. Later, when the river had assumed its current position, about 50 yards west of the old warehouse the site of what is now the garden was a waste dump. There is one original door, which used to provide access to Summerfeld & Thomas.
My aunt had laid out some food on her kitchen table, for which I was very grateful. It was very good food too.