1926 London Transport poster

1926 London Transport poster – £3000 at Ewbank’s.

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1. 1926 London Transport poster – £3000

This 1926 London Transport poster with artwork by Montague Birrell Black (1889-1964) imagines what the capital may look like 100 years into the future.

London 2026 A.D. This Is All In The Air To-Day shows the Underground which takes you to Glasgow in 2 hours 45 minutes and a sky filled with a variety of flying vehicles.

Shown against a sunset sky are the London Bridge Air depot, the London Air Taxi service, the Gravity Gas Co Ltd and Mars Stores skyscrapers.

The rare design, now 96 years old, had a guide of £2500-3500 at Ewbank’s in Woking, Surrey, on January 21 and took £3000.

2. Irish neolithic canoe – £7500

Irish bog oak canoe or trough

Irish bog oak canoe or trough – £7500 at Bonhams Edinburgh.

This Irish bog oak canoe or trough was among the quirkier – and best-performing – lots in Bonhams’ ‘without reserve’ sale of the Jim Lennon collection in Edinburgh on January 26.

Carved from a single log and measuring 6ft 10in (2.09m), it had been acquired by Lennon from the estate of the Irish antiquarian Rev Con Auld.

In the 1970s Rev Auld had been driving through rural county Fermanagh when he noticed a group of boys tending a bonfire. On closer inspection, it transpired that the firewood being used was a number of bog oak vessels recently uncovered by contractors who were constructing a road.

Anxious for this piece of Irish history not to be lost, a price was negotiated for this piece, which he carried away in a trailer. Although long deemed to be a neolithic canoe dating from c.2000BC, it was suggested prior to the sale that it was an Iron Age trough – the sharp angles within the vessel being consistent the use of metal tools in its manufacture.

Estimated at £2000-3000, it sold at £7500.

3. Norwich silver trefid spoon – £3800

Norwich silver trefid spoon

Norwich silver trefid spoon – £3800 at Jacobs & Hunt.

For many years the largest city outside London, Norwich had its own silver assay office during three periods between 1565 and 1702. The city was much admired for the quality of its output – some of it on par with that produced in London and York – but today there are perhaps only 200 surviving pieces of Norwich secular silver. Norwich marks on trefid spoons command a significant premium – as demonstrated by two 17th century rattail spoons offered at Jacobs & Hunt in Liss, Hampshire on January 28 with hopes of around £100 each.

The example in decent condition with slightly rubbed marks for Lawrence Jones London 1694 sold for £260. The William III spoon with crystal clear marks for James Daniel of Norwich, 1696 was a much rarer beast and extremely well preserved. It raced away to bring £300.

Several other East Anglian trefid spoons have appeared for sale in recent years. A William and Mary example by Thomas Havers, Norwich circa 1697-1702, sold for £6700 as part of the Constable collection at Woolley & Wallis in 2017, while in 2018 the saleroom spoon by prolific maker Elizabeth Hazelwood, Norwich c.1684-88 for £5200.

4. Victorian jockey scales – £7500

Victorian jockey scales

Victorian jockey scales as used by Fred Archer – £7500 at Special Auction Services.

Champion jockey Joe Mercer 1934-2021) was a keen buyer of racing memorabilia and over the years had been a familiar face at Special Auction Services. The Newbury firm offered more than 30 lots from his collection in the monthly Antiques & Collectables sale on February 1.

It included this set of oak jockey scales by W&T Avery. These are a recognisable type from the late Victorian period but these had been purchased by Mercer at an auction at Dewitt’s relating to the flat-racing great Fred Archer (1857-86). SAS notes it is believed that Archer used these scales on a weekly basis when training. Estimated at £1000-2000, they found a buyer at £7500.

5. Egyptian carved wood headrest – £6000

Egyptian carved wood headrest

Egyptian carved wood headrest – £6000 at Catherine Southon.

Catherine Southon’s sale at Farleigh Golf Club on February 2 included the contents from the property of a deceased local gentleman who collected all manner of curios. Several Egyptian antiquities were offered,

This 7in (17.5cm) high wooden headrest probably dates from the 6th Dynasty period (2360-2195BC). Carved in three sections, the curved pillow is supported by a pair of slender hands carved in shallow relief.

Surviving in high status burials (often placed near the head of a mummy), a number of similar examples are known with another sold at Sotheby’s in July 2018 for £16,000.

This one was guided at £6000-8000 and found a buyer at the lower estimate.

6. 1936 Golf medal – £7500

1936 Open Golf Championship of Ireland winner’s medal

1936 Open Golf Championship of Ireland winner’s medal – £7500 at Mullocks.

This 18ct gold and enamel medal was awarded to Reginald Arthur Whitcombe (1898-1957) for winning the 1936 Open Golf Championship of Ireland. The tournament was played at the Royal Dublin Golf Club with Whitcombe (runner up in the previous year to his brother Ernest) coming in with an aggregate score of 281. The Irish Open was first played in 1927 and was contested annually, except for the war years, until 1950. There was a tournament in 1953, but the event was then not played again until revived in 1975.

Whitcombe was in the best form of his career at the time. He finished runner up to Henry Cotton at the 1937 Open Championship at Carnoustie and in 1938 won the windswept Open at Royal St George’s where his two final rounds of 75 and 78 were still enough to beat the halfway leaders by ten strokes.

The medal, later converted to be worn as a brooch, was made by West & Son of Dublin and comes in its original box. At Mullocks’ specialist sale of golfiiana in Church Stretton on January 26 it was estimated at £1500-2000 but sold at £7500.