Channel Islands 12: Occupation Museum Part One

Continuing my account of my holiday in the channel islands with the first of two posts about the occupation museum.

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my holiday in the channel islands. This is the first post about the museum dedicated to the German occupation of Guernsey between 1940 and 1945.

THE OPENING VIDEO

The museum experience starts with a video about the occupation, which is well worth watching. There are then a set of rooms full of exhibits and then separated from them by the cafe is ‘Occupation Strasse’ – a reconstruction of a street in the time of the occupation. The short video sets the scene very nicely.

A LARGE COLLECTION OF GERMAN MILITARIA

The first exhibits are large quantities of German militaria. This stuff was all genuine (I work for an auctioneer, and German military is notorious for featuring a heavy preponderance of fakes, some convincing and others utterly blatant – I would go so far as to say that if you see German militaria listed in an auction catalogue regard it as fake until and unless proved otherwise).

A Successful Auction

An account of James and Sons’ most recent auction.

This post is not about the IPL Super Auction which started today and finishes tomorrow, though I intend to write about that either tomorrow or Monday. It is about James and Sons auction on Wednesday, which went very well. I followed proceedings from home by way of www.easyliveauction.com, one of the two online platforms we use (see also www.the-saleroom.com).

PART 1 – CIGARETTE CARDS

A quietish start, with only a few items going over estimate. One of those items was lot 46, on which I was outbid. Another was lot 149, on which I was successful (even at above the top estimate it was still quite cheap). Lot 150 was the last of the Cigarette Card lots, and then it was time for…

PART 2 – MILITARIA

This was expected to be highly successful and it was. Lot 151, a medal group awarded to a ‘desert rat’ and accompanied by lots of relevant documentation sold for £400, helped by some good advance publicity (various people bit on a press release I had sent out, including the Eastern Daily Press who gave it a quarter of a page in their Saturday issue). Lot 160, a steering yoke from a B50 warplane fetched £2,100. Lot 161 then went for £160, four times the upper estimate. Lot 167, also with a top estimate of £40 fetched £150. Lots 192-7 inclusive, display folders full of military photographs (put together by my father) all sold for significantly above the top estimates, lot 194 being the most successful, going for £50 with a top estimate of £20. Lot 201 an 18th/19th century Indian Tulwar Golia sword which had been expected to for low three figures fetched £550. There were a number of other more modest successes along the way.

PART 3 – FABRIC AND OTHER

There were 120 fabric items, and then a few random lots to finish. Although none of these lots reached the heights of the militaria section there were some good sales even so.

POST AUCTION PRESS RELEASE

On Thursday I did a press release about the auction, focussing on the militaria. I will find out in due course whether it gets published by anyone. Here is the composite image of highlighted lots I created for it:

This image features lots 201 (top left, centre and right), 167 (above and below the two centrepiece items), 194 (centre left and bottom right), 266 (bottom left and centre right) and 151 & 161 (centrepiece).

James and Sons’ next auction is on March 16th, and catalogue listings can be viewed here (easyliveauction) and here (saleroom)

PHOTOGRAPHS

I finish with some my non-work photographs:

Return to Work – A Story Three Years in the Making

A post about my recent return to work and some of things associated with it.

Regular followers of this blog will be well aware that I had a very serious illness in 2018 (I put up various posts about this). This post tells the story of my path back to work (albeit on a very part time basis).

A False Dawn – Winter 2019 to Spring 2020

By the time a year had elapsed since the worst of my illness I was thinking about the possibility of returning to work, but I did not feel that winter was the right time (some long term lung damage and a compromised immune system influenced this). The plan which my employer was fully on board with was that I would return in April 2020. Then of course the covid-19 pandemic hit, preventing any possibility of a return to work at that stage. However, on July 1st of this year I returned to work on a one day per week basis…

PUBLIC TRANSPORT NIGHTMARE

At the time of my illness Lynx Bus had taken over the services between King’s Lynn and Fakenham (the town where I work), and at the time of my illness they had been starting to provide a proper service. Unfortunately, as I discovered when checking out bus times for my return I discovered that the pandemic had reduced their services to skeleton levels, and to date that has not changed. James and Sons open their doors between 10AM and 3PM. There are three options, all far from ideal for getting into Fakenham in the morning: 7:00AM direct bus, gets to Fakenham at 7:49, leaving me a couple of hours to kill in Fakenham, leave at the same early hour and go via Hunstanton and Wells, arriving in Fakenham at 9:30, or 10:00, getting to Fakenham at 10:50. Of these three only the latter is really practicable as a route in. Getting home is worse still: there is no direct bus between 1:00PM and 6:00PM. Therefore I board the 3:00PM bus and take the scenic route back to Lynn (Fakenham – Wells – Hunstanton – Lynn), usually arriving home at about 5:45PM. It is these issues with travel that prevent me from committing to more than one day per week.

PRESS RELEASES

The auction of August 31st and September 1st 2021 was notably successful. I put out a press release about lots 1 and 2, two Steven pennies, which went for £700 and £900 respectively.

Many other items sold for huge money at that auction. A gold bracelet of Egyptian pattern attracted particularly vigorous bidding, going for £1,150, while a gold hunter watch went for £600, and a pair of diamond earrings fetched over £400. Here are some the images of lots that sold well…

RECENT IMAGING

My most recent imaging has been for our October auction, in which a number of swagger sticks feature…

THE SEPTEMBER AUCTION

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week James and Sons had a two day stamp auction. By and large things went well. I was a successful bidder on three lots – 663 (French railway stamps, hammer price £5), 892 (Benham mini FDCs, railway themed, hammer price £18) and lot 936 (Channel Tunnel opening FDCs with certificates of authenticity, hammer price £8). I did not originally image these lots, but have done so in great detail since taking possession, and I end this post with those images…

India Demonstrate How Not To Polish Off an Innings

Some thoughts on the current test match, some mathematics, some climate change themed links and some photographs from an upcoming militgaria auction.

INTRODUCTION

Although my first and main focus in on the current test match between England and India I also have my usual assortment of other goodies.

SWITCHBACK RIDE AT THE OVAL

When England were 120-1 at one point yesterday it looked like they were making a solid if slow start. India then took control of the game, England finishing the day 198-7, with Jos Buttler looking to marshal the tail in a recovery act (the first time this millennium that an uninterrupted test match day in England has yielded less than 200 runs). When Rashid was out fairly early this morning to make it 214-8 the question was whether the Broad and Anderson could last long enough to see England to 250. Thanks to some crazy Indian tactics the final England wicket did not fall until the total had reached 332, Buttler top scorer with 87 and Broad a useful 38. Buttler was last out when it finally occurred to India that it might not be a good idea to allow him singles at will and set a field that necessitated improvisation if he wanted to farm the strike.

The “tactic” of concentrating all one’s efforts on the tailender and declining to make any effort to pressurise the senior batter is not one I have ever approved of, and today saw one of it’s many ignominious failures. 

Having failed yet again Jennings now surely has one innings left to save his test career. There are seven test matches for England, six overseas and one at home against recently elevated Ireland before the Aussies come calling, and it is those matches which can be used to bed in a new opening pair (it would be a major ask for an opener to make their debut against them) – and I do not see Jennings being one half of that pair. As I was writing this paragraph Stuart Broad picked up the first Indian wicket. Those who read my previous post know that I have my own highly unorthodox solution to the problem of who the new opening pair should be (the driver of the bus I travelled home from work on yesterday, who is a follower of this blog, commented approvingly on the controversial element of this, so I am not alone). 

If, as now seems to be one of two live possibilties (a draw and overall 3-1 being the other) England end this series with the scoreline 4-1 in their favour India will have chucked this match in the first part of day 2. Virat Kohli is a great player but on all available evidence he has precisely no aptitude for captaincy. In thirty years of being an avid cricket follower I cannot recall a finer demonstration of how not to polish off an innings.

TEASERS

First up solutions to the problems I set on Wednesday (all problems in this section come by way of brilliant.org):

WHICH STAR IS CLOSER?

astroproblem

First the answer:

Star answer

The blue star has changed relative position more than the red, hence it must be closer, while all the other stars are so far distant that they have not changed relative position. 

BULLETS

Bullets

The answer:

Bullet answer

Here is Brian Moehring’s solution:

BMbullets

NEW PROBLEMS

31 problem

Here is another problem:

squacubes

LINKS

Three closely related pieces here. 

  1. Richard Murphy brings news of a campaign victory – the BBC has admitted to getting its coverage of climate change wrong and has warned people that it is not necessary to give airtime to climate change deniers for the sake of balance. Here is the end of Murphy’s piece on this:
    Of course I am pleased.

    And massive credit to Rupert Read for achieving this.

    Next the BBC should stop platforming tax deniers.

    And those who will not disclose their funding.

  2. Rise for Climate – this is a new source of information about actions being taken to combat climate change – feel free to visit and sign up for emails as I have.
  3. Anna presents a detailed and very clearly laid out Q & A on the campaign the prevent the building a big new road through Trosa. An English version follows the Swedish.

PHOTOGRAPHS

These pictures all come from our militaria sale that will be happening on September 19th. Disclaimer: one of the items pictured is a relic from one of history’s vilest regimes – I show it because it is a remarkable specimen which has already attracted large amounts of interest.

2
Lot 2 – this dagger is definitely genuine – and will go for a lot of money.

2-a2-b2-d2-e2-f2-g2-h2-c2-i

10
Lot 10, this will be on the front cover of the catalogue.

51
Lot 51

51-a51-b51-c51-e51-f51-g51-d

231
Lot 231

402
Lot 402

406
Lot 406

405
Lot 405

405-d405-c405-b405-a

404-c
Lot 404

404-b404-a404

204
Lot 204

204-a204-b204-c

373
Lot 373

372
Lot 372

372-a372-b372-c372-d372-f372-e

407
Lot 407 – this uniform will bring the cujrtain down on the sale.

407-a407-b407-c

Press Release Success

A brief account of the genesis and development of a Lynn News article advertising James and Sons’ upcoming auctions.

INTRODUCTION

This post tells the story of the development of an article that appeared in today’s Lynn News about James and Sons upcoming Militaria auctions.

EMAIL AND PRESS RELEASE

I created a document for emailing out to potential militaria buyers, using lot 11 as the main image (at that time I envisaged that lot being on the front cover), but also including an image of lot 50, which I realised was an interesting item. On the advice of my employer I used the exact same document as a press release, though for this purpose I attached the original word document, a jpg thereof and full image galleries of both featured lots. Thus those receiving the press release saw all of the following:

AUCTION REMINDER MILITARIAMilitaria Email1111-i11-h11-g11-f11-e11-d11-c11-b11-a5050-a50-b50-c50-d

Not long after I had sent this press release came a response from Julie Graham of the Lynn News, whose eye had been taken by the Agincourt bas-relief. She requested some additional information which I supplied and indicated that an article in the business section of the issue for Friday July 20 would be forthcoming. For obvious reasons the Agincourt piece also became the front cover item on the printed catalogue. The article duly appeared as promised this morning:

Agincourt Article

You can find out more about James and Sons from the company website, and online catalogues for our upcoming auctions can be accessed from there, or on the following links below:

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. 

A Three Day Auction Extravaganza

An account of James and Sons’ April auction – very successful overall, and to my immense relief free of any technical issues.

INTRODUCTION

This week saw James and Sons’ April auction, a three day affair on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Overall it was very successful, with a couple of disappointments, but lots of sales. 

DAY 1: SPORTING MEMORABILIA, BOOKS AND EPHEMERA

In order to avoid being rushed during the preliminaries I caught the first bus of the morning, and got to the shop at 7:10AM. I attended to an urgent query first thing, and then it was time to complete the IT setup. To my great relief there were no hitches at all, and everything was in working order. During this period the auctioneer also briefed me about the May auction, and what was required in terms of imaging a very large quantity of military badges. In view of this I decided that I would have to leave some of the railway photographs unimaged, although it was a necessity from an ethics point of view to image lots 1203-12 as I was intending to buy a couple from that range, and it would not do for there to be any suggestion of influencing things in my favour by not making images available to the public. 

We got underway bang on schedule at 10AM, and while there were no headline making prices a decent quantity of the sporting memorabilia did sell. Then came some books, and a few big sales. Lot 260 had an estimate of £50-75 but vigorous internet bidding pushed the final price up to £220.

260
Lot 260 – old and rare, and a big hit (two images)

260-a

Willie Hoppe’s “Thirty Years of Billiards”, lot 279, was in with an estimate of £20-30, but caught the eyes of online bidders to such an extent that the final hammer price was £180!

279
Lot 279 (three images)

279-a279-b

Less dramatically, lot 282, Levi Riso’s “Billiards in a Lighter Vein” had an estimate of £15-20 and actually fetched £30.

282
Lot 282 (two images)

282-a

Lot 302 had an estimate of £10-20 and went for £30.

302
Lot 302 (three images).

302-a302-b

Near the end of the first day lot 340, a curious little item, attracted no interest from anyone other than me:

340
Lot 340 – my first purchase of this auction.

340-a

After lunch I started work on the badges for the May auction.

DAY 2: COINS AND MILITARIA

Another early arrival, and another hitch-free preliminary before going live at 10AM. We had three coin buyers in the room, and some internet interest, so the coins sold well. Lots 475, 501 and 695 all went signifiantly above estimate, and most of of the other coin lots also found buyers.

475
Lot 475

501
Lot 501 (two images)

501-a

695
Lot 695

We had a 15 minute break between the coins and the militaria, which kicked off in style with lot 700. Lots 704, 705, 711, 719, 727, 761, 802, 823, 824, 828, 830, 831, 832, 837, 838, 844, 846 and 847 all also went significantly over estimate, and almost none of it remained unsold. 

700
Lot 700 (two images) – £470 hammer price

700

704
Lot 704 (four images) – est £100-200 actual hammer price £440!

704-a704-b704-c

705
Lot 705 (four images) est £60 – 80, actual £120

705-a705-b705-c

711
Lot 711 (two images) – estimate £15-20, actual price £55

711-a

719
Lot 719 0- estimate £35-40 – actual price £85.

719-a
This close up of the two rings was in response to a query.

727
Lot 727 – est £15-20, actual £50

761
Lot 761 est £60-80, actual £150.

802
Lot 802 – only just above top estimate, but the buyer was somebody to whom I had sent an image of the reverse of this badge in response to a late query.

823-a

823
Lot 823 – a holster with no gun – est £10-15, actual £28.

829
828

831
831

832
832

837
837

838
838

844
Lot 844 – These images (alo incl those for 846 and 847) were suppliued by the vendor, along with descriptions

844-a

846
846

847
847

DAY THREE: POSTCARDS AND RAILWAY POSTCARDS

I arrived early once again, did some badge imaging and then paid a visit to Tony’s Deli (Thursday is market day in Fakenham, and this food stall is excellent value for money). For the third straight day there were no hitches in the preliminary stage – although I was not especially happy about doing the official sound check at 9:57, not least because I already knew it was working. A couple of early postcard lots (856 and 857) achieved big prices, and most of the postcards found buyers. 

856
Lot 856 sold for £80

857
Lot 857 sold for £100

The other notewaorthy postcard lot was 1047, which became my second purchase of the auction. I will at some stage be giving this lot a whole post to itself, but here are some pictures for the present:

1047
These are modern reproductions rather than original pictures, hence why no one else showed any interest in this item.

1047-a

ML ex 1047
An old Metropolitan line train near Wembley.

NL ex 1047
Abstract art featuring a Northern line train of 1959 stock

PL ex 1047
A picture of one of the original ‘gated stock’ trains that ran services on what was then the Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – this scene would have taken place in 1906 or not long after.

The Railway Photographs did not attract any interest, although this was not helped by the fact that the auctioneer was hurrying through them. The only three to sell were all bought by me – lot 1071 (locomotive at Haworth), 1208 and 1209 (respectively arriving at and leaving Mallaig – for more on this journey go here):

1071
The images available to the public (three per lot – nine in total).

1071-a1071-b12081208-a1208-b12091209-a1209-b

1071h
And to finish, now that the items are bought an paid for, unwatermarked images taken at home (three in total)

1208

1209h
The departure from Mallaig, with Skye visible in the background.

A few more badges imaged for the May auction, and I was able to make my last ever journey on a Stagecoach X29 (on Tuesday, when I return to work it will be on a Lynx Bus number 49, since squillionaire bus company Stagecoach have deemed their Norfolk services insufficiently profitable and bailed out on them),.

Imaging For a Three Day Auction

A heads up about James and Sons’ April auction – a monster three-day affair.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons’ April Auction will be spread over three days – the 24th, 25th and 26th. I worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week so that we could get the catalogue to the printers and had enough images done to upload it to the-saleroom as well. Then, after some negotiation at the end of Wednesday I also went in yesterday to do another day’s imaging. In the rest of this post I will take you through some of the highlights of this monster sale.

DAY 1: SPORTING MEMORABILIA, EPHEMERA AND BOOKS

Lots 1-250 consists of sporting memorabilia of various types, including speedway, football, tennis and cricket. Here are a few highlights from that section:

1
Lot 1

208
Lot 208 – the signature on this scorecard is that of Zimbabwean fast bowler Heath Streak

92
Lot 92 – Some Tennis stills of recent vintage.

190-a
Lot 190 (two images). This was the first FA Cup final played at Wembley, just a fe weeks after the stadium was completed, and for the record Bolton Wanderers beat West Ham United to claim the silverware. This item will fetch in the high hundreds or possibly even into four figures.

190

Most of the books and other ephemera are fairly unremarkable, but here are a couple of highlights from that section:

332
Lot 332 (three images)

332-a332-b

340
Lot 340

340-a

DAY 2: COINS AND MILITARIA

Both these categories are already attracting attention. A few coin highlights:

511
Lot 511

514
Lot 514

539
Lot 539

540
Lot 540

464
Lot 464

464-a
A close-up of the big coin – it is not often that one sees a coin with a map on it.

Highlights from the militaria section:

716
Lot 715 – this Naval Ensign flag is so huge that I had to spread it out on the floor of the shop and stand on a chair to get it all in shot.

716-a
The print on the edge of the flag

761
Lot 761

762
Lot 762

763
Lot 763

764
Lot 764

768
Some interesting plaques.

769770771772773774

DAY 3: POSTCARDS AND RAILWAY PHOTOGRAPHS (PART 1 OF THE W A SHARMAN ARCHIVE)

I have imaged all of the postcards, but I am only about one-third of the way through the Railway photographs which will end this auction. Here are some highlights from the postcard section:

997
Lot 997

1009
Lot 1009

1018
Lot 1018

1022
Lot 1022 (two images)

1022-a

1040
Lot 1040 – I have already answered one enquiry about this lot.

1047
Lot 1047

1047-a

1048
Lot 1048

1048-a

1050
Lot 1050 – the last postcard lot.

I have been imaging the railway photographs by using the scanner, at 400dpi. I image the photograph itself, the typed label on the reverse, and combine those to form the master image, and when I have a decent number of such images I watermark them so that unscrupulous operators cannot cheat us by printing out the images on photo quality paper. Here are some of the highlights from the watermarked images:

105810631067-a10701075107610771079108010841090109410971099

I finish with a couple of pictures which have extra features of interest:

1071
This one has Bronte connections – not only is this Haworth, where they lived, Branwell Bronte worked on the railways briefly (he was based at nearby Luddenden Foot for the record)

1091
Lot 1091 – a photographer’s pick – note the clever use of the arch to frame the approaching train.

James and Sons January Catalogue Now Available Online

Announcing that the catalogue for James and Sons’ January auction is now available for viewing online and showing some of the highlights.

INTRODUCTION

The catalogue for James and Sons’ first auction of 2018, which takes place at James and Sons HQ in Fakenham on January 31st is now available for viewing online (and we expect printed copies to be ready by the end of this week). The rest of this post shows some of the highlights awaiting you, category by category.

LOTS 1-100 MILITARIA

Of course this section is dominated by lot 17, the Jutland medal group (see here for more details), but that is not the only item of interest by any means:

67
This Trench Mace will kick of thbe auction.

Jutland 7
Lot 17

26
Zulu Spear – lot 26

2
Lot 72

2-a

LOTS 101-248 POSTCARDS

101111121159170241242243244245246247248

LOTS 249-380 COINS

315315-a315-b327327-a327-b330330-a330-b333333-a333-b344344-a344-b355355-a355-b360360-a360-b368368-a368-b

LOTS 381-500 BANKNOTES

421422423424425426427428429430431432