A first edition of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, inscribed by the author, estimated at £200,000-300,000 at Christie's sale of the book collection of the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts.

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Books collected by a Rolling Stone

Christie’s will offer the book collection of the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (1941-2021). The auction, Charlie Watts: Gentleman, Collector, Rolling Stone, will be a two-part sale.

Among the highlights is a first edition of F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, inscribed by the author to the ‘original “Gatsby” of this story, with thanks for letting me reveal these secrets of his past’. It is guided at £200,000-300,000.

Watts ’ (1941–2021) collection is billed as ‘best of modern first editions to come to auction in 20 years’.

The live auction, Charlie Watts: Literature and Jazz Part I, will take place in London on September 28, followed by a Part II online sale from September 15-29.

Trio jailed after Bristol burglaries

An investigation into an organised crime group responsible for a series of burglaries of jewellery, silver and watches around the Bristol area has resulted in three men being jailed for a total of 14 years and two months.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s detectives worked with the National Crime Agency, Interpol, Europol and the International Crime Coordination Centre as well as the Met Police, Police Scotland and police in Romania to catch the thieves.

Constantin Dragomir, George Ioan and Claudiu Popa were subsequently convicted at Bristol Crown Court of conspiracy to burgle multiple properties across the Avon and Somerset policing area in January 2020.

See also Letters, p47.

Lafite joins the Kinghams team


Matthew Lafite, who has become associate director and head of silver and objects of vertu at Kinghams.

Kinghams Auctioneers has appointed Matthew Lafite as associate director and head of silver and objects of vertu. He previously worked at several UK auction houses but more recently as a dealer in his native Australia.

Kinghams’ inaugural Silver & Objects of Vertu sale to be held in Moreton-in-Marsh is scheduled for September 8.

Frieze fair group acquires US events

Contemporary art fair organiser Frieze has acquired The Armory Show in New York and signed an agreement to acquire EXPO CHICAGO.

Both Contemporary art fairs will continue to operate under their existing brands and with their current teams. Founded in 1994, The Armory Show’s next edition takes place at the Javits Center on September 8–10, with a VIP Preview on September 7. EXPO CHICAGO, founded in 2012, next takes place in April 11-14, 2024, at the city’s Navy Pier.

Frieze, founded 20 years ago, already runs five major shows a year: Frieze Seoul (September 2023), Frieze London and Frieze Masters (both October 2023), Frieze Los Angeles (February 2024) and Frieze New York (May 2024).

Indian idols return to temple from UK


One of two stone idols taken from a temple in India but found in a UK garden shed.

Two stone idols taken from a temple in India more than 40 years ago are to be returned after being recovered in the UK.

The statues, Yogini Camunda and Yogini Gomukhi, were taken from a temple in Lokhari, Utter Pradesh, sometime between 1979 and 1982.

They recently re-emerged in March 2023 when a salvage company in the UK purchased them from a woman who had kept them in a garden shed.

Fol lowing work by Christopher Marinello’s Art Recovery International the artworks will be returned.

In 2021 it recovered another sculpture from the same temple: a goat-headed deity that was also in a garden in the UK. Marinello works with cultural heritage initiative India Pride Project run by S Vijay Kumar.

A formal repatriation of the two idols to the High Commission of India in London is due to take place in August.

Online auctions rise in popularity

Propertymark’s latest Auctions Barometer report found 75% of auctioneers said online auctions took the top spot over in-room bidding. It added: “The rise in popularity of online can be linked to the pandemic and the advantages in terms of cost and inclusivity.”

Some of the biggest issues raised by respondents in the survey included obtaining payment from buyers post-auction, the Ivory Act and red tape.

The survey was conducted between May 5-23 across Propertymark’s auctioneers, valuers, property agents and inventory providers.

Propertymark, the professional self-regulating body, is the parent group of NAVA (National Associations of Valuers & Auctioneers) Propertymark.

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The amount Royal Museums Greenwich hopes to raise to fund the research and conservation for a newly reattributed Thomas Gainsborough (1722-88) picture. The painting has been in the museum’s collection since 1960 but had been believed to be by an unknown British artist until last year when Gainsborough expert Hugh Belsey located it in the museum’s stores.