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.


Too many tourists

01 September 2004

HOW many dealers, I wonder, dread, rather than dream of, their business area being “discovered”? Long before Covent Garden became a trendy mecca for international tourists, one of the familiar attractions for habitués was London dealer Arthur Middleton’s distinctive shop in New Row, full of early globes and all sorts of antique scientific instruments.


…and something to write home about from a duke

01 September 2004

THIS exquisite George III silver gilt inkstand, right, by John Houle was commissioned for the phenomenally wealthy William Harry Vane (1766-1842), the first Duke of Cleveland, whose estate and personal assets were valued well in excess of £2m.


Why whistler may help Dandy outstrip The Beano

24 August 2004

LONDON-based Comic Book Postal Auctions hold several auction highs for British comics including, earlier this year, a world record £12,100 for The Beano No. 1. However, that remarkable price could well be threatened by this copy of The Dandy No. 1.


Sworders’ box of treats serves up banknote feast

24 August 2004

DURING an otherwise routine probabe valuation in a village near Saffron Walden, John Foster from Stansted Mountfitchet auctioneers Sworders discovered a box of coins tucked away in the back of a cupboard. On closer inspection he found an album of East Anglian banknotes which had probably been collected in the 1950s and 1960s for only a few pounds.


The Reverend’s Erne and massed Scandinavians are among the best catches

24 August 2004

OFFERED as part of a large sports sale held by Lyon & Turnbull of Edinburgh on July 12 was the angling and sporting library of Major Barton William-Powlett (1871-1953) of Cadhay in Devon.


FA Cups won and lost forever

24 August 2004

THE most expensive single football programme in a June 20-21 sale held by Knights was a 1921 FA Cup Final programme, right, for the game at Stamford Bridge in which Spurs beat Wolves 1-0. It sold for £2400.


England are dismissed for just 33 and 19 with help from ‘Demon’ Spofforth

24 August 2004

ENGLISH Test victories aside, the cricket highlight of the summer was a sale held by Knights at the Holiday Inn, Sandy (Beds) on June 19, which offered over 900 lots of cricket memorabilia.

Lawn tennis

24 August 2004

A COPY of the Lawn Tennis Annual for 1882, compiled by L.S.F. Winslow, made £650 in a June 16-17 sale held in Ludlow by Mullock Madeley.

Money the catalyst of change

24 August 2004

IT is sad to report that the Classics Bookshop in Turl Street, Oxford is soon to close due, I understand, to increases in rent required by Lincoln College. I am told that many shops in the Turl are affected.


Rennaissance bindings

24 August 2004

A LOT from the Michael Wittock collection of important Renaissance bindings sold by Christie’s on July 7, this is one of the two vols. that make up an exceptional copy of the 1540, first Aldine edition of the works of Machiavelli and was one of a large number of books bound in Venice in 1547 for Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle, the humanist Bishop of Arras, by a craftsman who came to be known as the Fugger Binder after one of his later patrons.


Bound and whipped by royal command

24 August 2004

ONCE owned by a member of Henri III’s ‘Compagnie des Confrères de la Mort’, this psalmbook, right, a 1586 Parisian edition of Le pseaultier de David..., is bound in French sombre morocco.

Toys march on palace

24 August 2004

WITH a turnover last year in excess of £5 million, Vectis, who are based in Stockton-on-Tees, are well known as the world’s largest auctioneers of toys. Perhaps less well known is the fact that the company also organise shows and, for some years, have put together the successful London Toy Soldier Show at The Royal National Hotel in London’s Bloomsbury.


One careful owner…28,000 miles on clock

24 August 2004

VINTAGE vehicles are generally the province of specialist auctions, but Tennants (15/10% buyer's premium) finished their July 22-23 sale with a number of such offerings, in particular this 1910 Star 15mph tourer, right.


New Zealand crown stolen

24 August 2004

NEWS has come in of the theft of a New Zealand ‘Waitangi’ crown. This one should prove to be particularly easy to identify because it is the rare proof – not the ‘ordinary’ issue. 


Robinson collection the first sale at St James’s

24 August 2004

THE London coin auction is indeed evolving. We have the announcement by Stephen Fenton of the birth of St James’s Auctions. Their first sale is scheduled for Wednesday October 13 at the De Vere Cavendish Hotel in Jermyn Street. It seems that this promises to be a very prestigious sale.


Rigged for a well-earned sale

24 August 2004

ALTHOUGH paintings provided the highest prices for Christie’s New York's (19.5% buyer’s premium) Maritime sale on July 29, the 310-lot sale’s smaller miscellany of maritime objects also drew some serious competition for certain objects.


Parrot and poet support the Arvon Foundation

19 August 2004

The Parrot Pen-man, an ink and watercolour drawing by Quentin Blake that sold for £1200, was among 40 lots offered at Sotheby’s on July 8 on behalf of the Arvon Foundation, a literary charity that provides residential creative writing courses.


The remarkable Maria Sibylla Merian

19 August 2004

I HAVE often illustrated plates from the works of Maria Sibylla Merian, but never before a portrait of that remarkable lady herself.


Graves and the man who kept him from one...

19 August 2004

LIKE other ex-Peralta-Ramos lots that have cropped up in recent weeks, this pair of 1934 firsts of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius and Claudius the God bore a red inked Chinese ownership stamp, but both were inscribed by the author in 1958, at a time when he was giving a lecture in Detroit, and they sold for $5500 (£2990) in a Sotheby’s New York sale of June 17.


Nelson takes his leave on shore

18 August 2004

OCTOBER 21, 2005 will see the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar and many celebrations marking the most decisive naval victory in modern history are planned. However, it will not be until January 9, 2006 that we mark 200 years since the funeral of its most famous protagonist.