Keys

Keys is an auction house in Aylsham, Norfolk which was founded in 1953 by Geoffrey Key. Originally a livestock auctioneer, Keys soon began regular furniture sales before adding art and antique sales to its calendar in the 1960s.

In 2019, the auction business split from its estate agency parent company after a management buy-out was led by fine art director Kevin Lines and new managing director David Broom.


Concerning Biggles and the witches, cookery, Egypt and corkscrews

10 June 2004

THE estimates were rather modest, but prices paid for some of the Biggles books offered as part of a May 21 sale held by Keys of Aylsham bode well for the Biggles collection that Dominic Winter are to sell on June 24. In Aylsham, Hamilton copies of The Black Peril of c.1936, in soiled blue cloth, and The Cruise of the Condor, an undated Ace series title with adverts for Spring 1937, were valued at around £40 apiece but sold for £1050 and £480 respectively.

Fine prices come in two little boxes

26 May 2004

AT Gorringes’ (15% buyer's premium) April 27-29 sale, specialist Aaron Dean was satisfied with the reaction to some 200 lots of silver but, with the market for routine tea services and so on remaining fairly moribund, it is the smaller collectables which catch the eye.

Rockingham pug is best of breed for collectors

19 May 2004

KEYS (10% buyer's premium) of Aylsham maintain the format of mammoth offerings – 1556 lots offered over two days (April 20-21) in this case – and, although only 60 per cent of them got away, there was plenty of material for budget-conscious collectors of such favourites as Royal Doulton character jugs and figures as well as Beswick Beatrix Potter and animal models.

The king's harp maker plucks at Norfolk bidders’ purse strings

16 March 2004

LARGELY unknown outside the world of harpists, the name of the celebrated Dublin maker John Egan is guaranteed to tug at the heart and purse strings of aficionados when one of his harps makes a rare appearance for sale as this one, right, did at the February 25 collectors sale held by Aylsham auctioneers Keys (15% buyer’s premium).

Clock strikes note of quality

09 March 2004

AT 1620 lots, the January 27-28 sale held by Keys (10% buyer’s premium) at Aylsham, was a little smaller than many of the Norfolk rooms’ mammoth events but it followed a familiar pattern. Speedy selling of two- and three-figure pieces was supported by a handful of better offerings selling into four figures.

An Aylsham Selection

18 September 2002

The Norfolk auctioneers Keys got a lot of media exposure in March when they took a bid of £22,000 for a collection of letters, cards, etc, written by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, to a Mrs Pendrey, a long-term employee and friend from her Althorp days, but in this sale another small selection of letters, apparently from the same source, failed to sell against an estimate of £7500-10,000.

Mellon’s appeal grows wider

10 September 2002

It wasn’t until Campbell Archibald Mellon (1876-1955) retired from business at the end of the First World War that he devoted himself to painting. He moved to Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk and the bulk of his artistic output is focused on the beaches and holidaymakers in the area.

£13,400 dining table draws trade to giant Norfolk sale

26 March 2002

One item for a fiver, another at five figures – the 1400-lot sale held by Keys (10% buyer’s premium) on February 20 was a classic of the old-fashioned, no- reasonable-consignment-refused kind at the Aylsham Salerooms in Norfolk. Most offerings over the two days sold at three figures but there were half a dozen or so lots which went over the £1000 mark and one which really aroused interest.

Lower estimates key to sticky sales

21 February 2002

While it is almost impossible to sell some routine furniture at present, Keys specialist Paul Goodley echoed the traditional view that attractively pitched guidelines are the key to success.

A horrid Hobbit and a glimpse of London shadows and swamps

07 February 2002

The estimate of £25-35 placed on a second impression copy of Tolkien’s The Hobbit was a reflection of its condition – “deplorable” being the cataloguer’s chosen epithet. There was no jacket and 20-30 leaves had been torn loose, one of which had been further torn into four (now three) pieces.

Novelty rings a bell with silver buyers

31 August 2001

GENERAL silver remains a quiet market but novelty material is booming as shown when this 51/2in (14cm) silver-encased desk bell by Gy & Co,in the form of a tortoise, was offered at the July 17,18 sale held at Aylsham, by Keys (10% buyer’s premium).

Supper table at £2450 heads a feast of furniture on a budget

11 July 2001

MAINTAINING their policy of high-content, budget priced sales, the Norfolk auctioneers Keys put up a bumper June offering with a 1540-lot antique sale on June 26 and 27 following a 1236-lot collectors’ sale on June 14. Occasionally there emerges a high-priced star at these antiques offerings but in the quieter days of summer the best bid came for a Georgian-style pedestal birdcage supper table, 3ft 1in (94cm) which sold at £2450.

A price that makes auction radio waves

07 May 2000

UK: “ONE of only two known examples of Marconi’s first commercial wireless set in complete condition”, was how this inconsequentially appearing box was described by the English trade underbidder at G.A. Key’s sale in Aylsham, Norfolk on May 4.

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