At the centre of a larger militaria section at the auction was this group combining both militia and regular army items, and also accessories such as sashes.
It was consigned by Sir Nicholas White, the direct descendant of Thomas Woollaston White who founded a Nottinghamshire regiment of militia at the time of the French Revolution (laying the foundation for the Sherwood Rangers Yeomanry).
While many uniforms, or single jackets, often sell for three-figure sums at auction, late 18th century examples in particular made impressive four-figure results at this sale.
They were boosted by that single-owner family provenance, the comprehensive selection and, said Nick Bowkett of Stroud Auctions, a free rein given to the saleroom to set “attractive but not stupid” estimates.
Sir Nicholas had been offered a sum of money from a private source for the whole collection but chose to auction it instead. The cataloguing was aided by Julian Farrance of the National Army Museum, who Bowkett described as having “an encyclopaedic knowledge you would not believe on uniforms”.
The strategy paid off, and Bowkett added that very strong bidding emerged on the day for the militaria section in the two-day sale. Trade, private and museum bidders in the room, phones (four to five lines were booked for some single lots) and online competed, with US and Canadian interest driving up prices.
The highlights sold on on August 8-9 included a British Army Rifle Company Auxiliary jacket c.1798, of green cloth, that sold for £6600 (plus 18% buyer’s premium) against an estimate of £600-800.
An example of a red jacket, but worn by a cavalry unit, sold for £5400 (estimate £1000-2000). This was again an early item, from the yeomanry cavalry c.1794-1801.
Both of these items sold to the same US phone bidder, underlining the international interest in this collection.