The term ‘collectables’ (or collectibles) encompasses a vast range of items in fields as diverse as arms, armour and militaria, bank notes, cameras, coins, entertainment and sporting memorabilia, stamps, taxidermy, wines and writing equipment.

Some collectables are antiques, others are classed as retro, vintage or curios but all are of value to the collector. In any of these fields, buyers seek out rarities and items with specific associations.


Antarctic scene on a roll at £4100

22 September 2004

THE solid cast metal figures produced by Georg Heyde in Dresden from 1872 until the Second World War can lack the detail and proportion of the best lead miniatures, but they are celebrated for the imaginative and animated uses to which Heyde put them.

Sylvie & Bruno meet Famous Five, Chalet Girls and the Fat Owl

22 September 2004

INSCRIBED in both volumes “with the author’s love” to an Edith Barnes, presentation firsts of Lewis Carroll’s over-long children’s story Sylvie and Bruno of 1889 and its continuation or conclusion of 1893, the original red cloth bindings now uniformly faded to the spines, dampstained to the front of Vol. II and showing repairs to the spine ends of the first volume, was sold for £1400 in a Bloomsbury Auctions sale of July 15.

Lucy Clifford’s correspondents

22 September 2004

OFFERED as part of a Lawrences of Crewkerne sale of July 6 was ‘The Valehouse Collection of Letters to Mrs W.K. Clifford’. Though little read nowadays, ‘Lucy’ Clifford was immensely popular in late Victorian and early Edwardian times and was even classed with Edith Wharton, Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells as one of those whose books “will never die”.

Coloured new worlds

22 September 2004

WITH the frontispiece and all but the last of the 34 double-page or folding engraved plates and plans in full contemporary colour, Isaac Commelin’s Histoire de la Vie & Actes memorables de Frederic Henry de Nassau, Prince d’Orange of 1656 sold for $32,000 (£17,580) in a Christie’s New York sale of June 9.

Foot-curving, knee-nailing, eye-screwing, and lobster-cracking – all in the troubled mind of James Tilly Matthews

22 September 2004

JOHN Haslam’s Illustrations of Madness of 1810, the first book-length account of a single psychiatric case and a classic of the early literature in this field, was inspired by the case of James Tilly Matthews, a London tea merchant who undertook a self-styled peace mission between France and England in 1793.


Whose turn is it to clean the windows?

22 September 2004

NOW that’s what I call a conservatory – Item No. 237 from a two vol. Illustrated Catalogue of Macfarlane’s Castings of c.1884, this monster is one of the very many items of decorative cast iron railings, gates, balconies, windows, lamps, glasshouses, etc. available from the manufacturers.


International bidders in scrum for rugby cap

22 September 2004

LABELLED the Worthing Sale, the event held by Gorringes (15% buyer’s premium) in association with Michael Jones & Co in the West Sussex town on August 26 had a number of items from the estate of the late collector/dealer Gary Maple.

Psalmanazar the Formosan fraud

22 September 2004

BOUND in contemporary panelled calf, a 1704 first of An Historical & Geographical Description of Formosa..., the two folding engraved plates (of 16 in all) torn but skilfully repaired, realised £600 in a Lawrences of Crewkerne sale of July 6.

Captain Playfair and the attractions of Aden

22 September 2004

ESTIMATED at £70-100 but bid way past that level by Taikoo Books of York was a copy of Captain R.L. Playfair’s History of Arabia Felix or Yemen…, a Bombay imprint of 1859 which also includes an account of the British settlement at Aden.


Amazonian ambitions

22 September 2004

RIGHT: translated by William Hamilton, the 1661 first English edition of Blaise François de Pagan, the Comte de Merveilles’ Historical & Geographical Description of the Great Country and River of the Amazones in America..., contains this important folding engraved map showing French ambitions in the area.


Spink’s Saxon marvel

22 September 2004

IT’S been billed as the most important discovery in British numismatics for many years. Now the London auction house Spink are to offer the first newly-discovered Anglo-Saxon gold penny to come to light for almost a century.

$1.4m quotation from AA

22 September 2004

SOLD for $1.4m (£760,870) at Sotheby’s New York on June 18 was a working draft, or heavily annotated multilith copy of the text that was to become known after the organisation established by its compilers as Alcoholics Anonymous.


Rock Climbing

22 September 2004

THE early 20th century George Abraham of Keswick issued three titles that have become classics of rock climbing literature and two of them, offered by Dominic Winter on July 21, are seen right.

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Far and farthest south...

22 September 2004

RIGHT: a folding plate from an 1847 first of James Clark Ross’ Voyage of Discovery and Research in the Southern and Antarctic Regions, the two vols. bound in later polished calf gilt by Henry Young of Liverpool, which made £1200 in a Dominic Winter sale of August 25.

Quick witted

16 September 2004

IN rubbed contemporary sheep and with the fore-edges close cropped in some places, but generally in sound condition, a 1542 first edition of the scholar and dramatist Nicholas Udall’s translation of Erasmus’ compilation of ‘Apophthegmata’, as Apophthegmes, that is to saie, prompte, quicke, witty sayings, sold for £850 (Powell) in an Y Gelli sale of July 23.

Dragoons leads the field among silks

16 September 2004

TEMPTING though it is to say that word from the Specialised Postcard Auctions (10% buyer's premium) was lost in the post, this midsummer auction on July 5 has slipped through the Antiques Trade Gazette net until now. But the £23,000 sale should be recorded as one of the series which have, for years, been catering for this specialist market.


The wonderful industry of Oziana

16 September 2004

THERE are few things so distinctly American in the book auction world as the collections of ‘Oziana’ that arrive in the salerooms with remarkable regularity.


Jane Austen

16 September 2004

PART of a 12-vol. Winchester edition (1911-12) of the works of Jane Austen, bound in half red calf gilt by Sotherans, that made £3400 as part of the July 21 Lyon & Turnbull sale at Jordanstone.


Henry VIII hands over a confiscated priory

16 September 2004

FEATURING a fine portrait initial of Henry VIII and other devices associated with the Tudor monarchs, a vellum document of November 24, 1537, in which the Priory of Combewell [near Goudhurst in Kent] is granted by the king to Thomas Culpeper, was sold for £4400 in an August 26 sale of autographs, historical documents and ephemera held by Mullock Madeley of Ludlow.


Fund seeks new buying direction

16 September 2004

THE National Art Collections Fund (Art Fund) has criticised the state of public collecting in the UK on the same day as announcing a £500,000 offer to help keep the Macclesfield Psalter in the UK.