The Last Auction Of 2017

An account of James and Sons’ final auction of 2017.

INTRODUCTION

James and Sons last auction of 2017 took place at our own premises in central Fakenham on Wednesday, and in this post I tell the story of that sale.

THE PRELIMINARIES – TUESDAY

On Tuesday we moved the stock for auction downstairs, and with that laid out, and the smaller high-value lots in the vault until the morning I then brought down and set up such of the IT equipment as I could (we are a laptop down at present so I would be pressing my own machine into service once again) and carried out a brief test which suggested that all was in order and that there should be no issues. 

THE AUCTION ITSELF

I arrived at work bright and early since not even Stagecoach can contrive to have the first bus of the day run seriously late. For those living in Norfolk and uncertain regarding buses in the holiday period services will stop early on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve, there will be no services at all on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and a “Saturday service” will operate from the 27th to 29th of December inclusive (and since that day is actually a Saturday presumably also on the 30th). 

Coffee made, emails checked and a few things gathered up to go downstairs I went back downstairs at 7:45AM. The IT setup went smoothly, and I had the slide show running before any bidders arrived (there were a few room bidders on this occasion). Here are some pictures from this period:

Stock 1Stock 2IT setupBig Screen

BANKNOTES AND COINS

The auction kicked off with some uncirculated banknotes which went for very high prices. Lot 43, a display book showing old and new format New Zealand banknotes, brought the curtain down on that segment, going for £440. 

Lots 44-50 were less valuable banknotes. Then lots 51-56 were very rare coins. Unfortunately the reserves had been set too high to attract bidders, with the exception of lot 51, a 1787 gold guinea which went for £600. 

The remaining lots of coins and banknotes went fairly quietly, although there were a one or two good prices achieved. 

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.

44343-a43-d

1-p
Lot 51.

POSTCARDS

Lots 151-300 were postcards, mainly military themed, and while there were no headline grabbers in this section, most of them did find buyers. 

STAMPS

Not quite on a par with the extraordinary happenings of November 29 (see here for more details), but much better than our stamp sections have historically been. 

EPHEMERA

The last 100 lots (501-600) to go under the hammer at James and Sons in 2017 were all ephemera. I expected a fairly quiet end to the auction, and that is what eventuated. Lot 545, with a modest estimate of £20-30 went for £75.

545

Immediately before that an optimistic bid I placed on lot 544 met no opposition. At some stage I will probably do a whole post about this lot. This is the picture that everyone was able to see:

544

Here are some more pictures taken today…

Farnham and AltonHampton CourtEgham and ChertseyArrangements with other railway companiesReading, Guildford & ReigateLondon BridgeWhitchurch, Andover and SalisburyGuildford, Fareham, PortsmouthRichmond to WindsorStaines to Wokingham and WokingWimbledon to CroydonReading extensionHavant to GodalmingSalisbury to YeovilYeovil to ExeterBranch to Cambridge TownSussex and SurreyAmalgamationBasingstoke to NewburyDorsetNorth Cornwall

Pictures From The Last Few Days

Pictures from the last few days.

INTRODUCTION

It has been three days since I last posted here, and five since I created anything new here. Just to keep things going here are some pictures that I have taken during that period.

WORK PICTURES

The pictures I have from work that I consider worth sharing come in two sections. First…

FRONTISPIECES AND TITLE PAGES

We have some very old books going under the hammer in our auction at the end of November, and our printed catalogue will feature a page of some the finest frontispices and title pages, so here is a sneak preview:

601602603604605606607608609610611612613614615616617618619624625626627628-a675676677678679680681682683684685686687688689620621622623671672673674

My second set of work related pictures are of stamps, which were done yesterday using the scanner (400dpi, full platen being the setting used).

95103104105106107112114115127141156163164166168169169-a170171172175186194195

HALF MOON

These are from a week ago – the moon in question was in a twilight sky.

Half Moon 5Half Moon 4Half moon 2Half moon 1

Squirrels

A final few pictures…

P1070167

Squirrel
It is not always possible to get a close-up of a squirrel in focus – one has to take the picture quickly!

2 for 1 on squirrelsSquirrel

 

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.

 

Spotlight on Work

Press releases, photographs and auctions.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to this little post about my work at James and Sons. There are two main parts to this post – one features an event from the last of the September auctions, while the second deals with the upcoming October auctions.

ON THE POWER OF INTERNET BIDDING

On Thursday I put out a press release with the title “The Power of Internet Bidding”, which focussed on lot 1301 from our previous auction. On Friday someone from Archant (the media company who publish The Eastern Daily Press among others) asked a number of follow-up questions, so I expect a short piece to appear in the EDP before too long. Here is a screenshot of my original press release, along with the image used therein and a link to the document:

PIBTHE POWER OF INTERNET BIDDING1301-s

THE OCTOBER AUCTIONS

All three Octobe auctions will take place at our shop, 5 Norwich Street, Fakenham, NR21 9AF – on the 23rd, 24th and 25th. 

SALE 2138

This sale, on Monday October 25th, kicks of with 250 military postcards before moving on to ephemera, cigarette and trade cards and such like. The imaging for this sale is nearly complete.

235
Lot 235…
235-a
…with a good stamp and postmark on the back.
249
Lot 249
249-a
With a hand stamped mark on the back.

250482483484485486

SALE 2139

This one has very vfew images thus far. This will be the stamps and postal history day.

651652653654655675676677678679

SALE 2140

The imaging for this sale is reasonably well advanced…

12011201-a1201-b1203

1205
Lot 1205 (three images)

1205-a1205-b

1252
Lot 1252
1252-a
The mounted badge
1252-b
both faces of the other badge

1252-c1252-d14071407-a1407-b14091431

Anderson Joins 500 Club and Other Stuff

Jimmy Anderon’s 500th test wicket, some links, some puzzles and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

As well as the title piece this post will feature links, pictures (items that will be going under the hammer at the end of September principally) and puzzles – including answers to a couple. 

ANDERSON JOINS 500 CLUB

As predicted by me in a previous post the third and final test match of the England v West Indies series has featured a moment of cricket history as James Anderson duly collected his 500th wicket in this form of the game. Among bowlers of anything other than spin Glenn McGrath leads the way overall with 563 (off-spinner Muralitharan’s 800 for Sri Lanka is the record, followed by leg-spinner Warne’s 709 for Australia). The two spinners have set marks that are not realistically within Anderson’s grasp but the 563 of McGrath is well and truly catchable. 

The historic moment came near the end of play yesterday, in the West Indies second innings (btw as I write this Anderson has increased his tally to 504) and it was a dismissal worthy of the occasion. He was denied in the West Indies first innings not by their batting (they managed a meagre 123 all out) but by a remarkable spell from Ben Stokes who finished that innings with figures of 6-22 – a test best for him. England led by 71, which looks like being decisive – the top score coming from Stokes (60). This combination of circumstances leads to me to finish this section with a raft of predictions/ hostages to fortune:

  1. The Brian Johnston champagne moment – James Anderson’s 500th test wick – 100% certain whatever happens in what is left of this match!
  2. Player of the match – Ben Stokes barring miracles.
  3. Player of the series – Ben Stokes – 100% nailed on.
  4. Match and series results: England win and take the series 2-1 – West Indies have just been dismissed for 177 in their second dig leaving England 107 to win – Anderson a career best 7-42 taking him to 506 test wickets.

LINKS

I am grouping my links in categories, starting with…

AUTISM

Just two links in this subsection, both from americanbadassactivists and both concerned with that hate group masquerading as charity Autism Speaks, or as Laina at thesilentwaveblog calls them A$.

NATURE

This subsection features four links:

  • First, courtesy of Wildlife Planet a piece titled “A Plant That Glows Blue In The Dark“.
  • With the unprecedented sight on weather maps of America and the Caribbean of three hurricanes poised to make landfall simultaneously (by now one of those, Irma, is already battering Cuba), A C Stark has prodcued a very timely piece whose title “Climate Change: The Elephant in the Room” is sufficient introduction.
  • This subsection closes with links to two posts from Anna. First we have Part 7 of her series about Butterflies in Trosa.

    The other post features a link to a video of a swimming sea eagle (only viewable on youtube) and a picture taken by Anna in which 11 sea eagles are visible.

POLITICS

This subsection includes one stand-alone link and four related links. The stand-alone link comes from Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK is titled “Scottish people deserve the data they need to decide, whatever their political persuasion.

My remaining four pieces concern a single individual who is widely tipped to be the next leader of the Conservative Party. It is this latter fact which has exposed him to intense scrutiny, resulting in the following collection about…

JACOB REES-MOGG

To set the scene we start with Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK’s piece simply titled “Jacob Rees-Mogg“. 

The second and third pieces in this sub-subsection both come courtesy of the Guardian:

A SEGUE LINK – A QUIZ

With apologies to those of my readers whose first language is not English, and who therefore cannot take on this quiz, I offer you courtesy of quizly a test on one of the biggest sources of grammatical mistakes in English, safe in the knowledge that my own score in said quiz can be equalled but not beaten:

PUZZLES

I appended a question to a link that featured the year 1729 in a recent post. This was the question:

The puzzle I am attaching to this is: which two famous mathematicians are linked by the number 1,729 and how did that link come about?

The two famous mathematicians linked by the number 1,729 are G H Hardy and Srinivasa Ramanujan. The link came about when Hardy visited Ramanujan in hospital during the latter’s final illness and mentioned the number of the cab in which he had travelled – 1,729 and went on to suggest that this was a very dull number. Ramanujan said in response “No Hardy, it is a very interesting number, the smallest that can be expressed as the sum of two cubes in two different ways”.

 The other puzzle I set in that post was this one from brilliant:

treasurehunt

If the statement on door 1 is true, then the treasure is behind door 2, which makes the statements on doors 2 and 3 both false = not acceptable.

If the statement on door 2 is true then the treasure is behind door 3, which makes both the other statements false = not acceptable.

If the statement on door 3 is true, then the statement on door 1 could also be true, making the statement on door 2 false – this scenario is acceptable.

Thus we open door 2 and collect the loot.

I finish by setting you another puzzle, again from brilliant, the 100th and last problem in their 100 Day Challenge, and a cracker:

SC100 - q

Don’t be intimidated by that maximum difficulty rating – it is not as difficult as the creators thought. Incidentally you still have a couple of days to answer the problems properly on that website should you choose to sign up – although it would be tough to them all in that time!

PICTURES

1
This is lot 1 in our next sale – the first of 200 lots of old military themed postcards. Can you guess which of the lots pictured here is on my radar as a potential buy?
329-a
Lot 329 (four images) – a fine volume when new but this copy is in terrible condition.

329-b329329-c

340
Lot 340
347
Lot 347 (two images)

347-a

341
Lot 341 (six images)

341-a341-b341-c341-d341-e

£2 - Trevithick 2
I picked up this coin in change at Morrison’s today and I took two photos of it, both of which I offer you to finish this post (it is only the Reverse that makes it interesting – the Obverse is the usual portrait of ludicrously over-privileged old woman).

£2 - Trevithick 1