Battle of Britain ‘Book of Heroes’ containing the signatures of 107 RAF officers including Douglas Bader, estimate £10,000-20,000 at The Cotswold Auction Company.

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Included in the February 6 sale at The Cotswold Auction Company is a group the saleroom describes as a “charming and eccentric collection of memorabilia”.

Among the lots is an RAF Battle of Britain ‘Book of Heroes’ (pictured above). It contains the signatures of 107 RAF officers – many of whom flew in the Battle of Britain and did not survive the war. They were collected in 1941 by Norman Phillips, a mess steward at RAF Martlesham Heath. It is contained in a brass-mounted glass casket.

The book’s leather cover was cut from a mess chair by renowned RAF pilot Douglas Bader, whose signature and photo feature inside.

According to the auction house, Winston Churchill, in conversation with Bader, called the book “not a book of names, but a book of heroes. God forbid it should ever be lost.” It is estimated at £10,000-20,000.

The memorabilia has come from the estate of an avid Gloucestershire-based collector who purchased the Churchill-related items and the Book of Heroes at Bonhams and other auctions some years ago. They include all the paperwork showing provenance.

Other lots include Churchill’s false teeth and a microphone he is believed to have used on VE Day to announce the end of the Second World War, both guided at £5000-8000.


First World War scrapbook created by a nurse on the frontline, estimate £1000-1500 at RWB Auctions.

A First World War scrapbook created by a nurse on the frontline is one of the lots going under the hammer on January 25, the second day of the inaugural two-day sale at RWB Auctions in Royal Wootton Bassett.

It belonged to Madeline Riva Baxter and primarily covers the years 1918-19 while she was volunteering with the British Committee of the French Red Cross at an ‘English Ladies Canteen’ in Vitry-le-François, south east of Reims.

Estimate £1000-1500.

Bonhams is selling the library of the London antiquarian book dealer and collector Robin De Beaumont (1926-2023) in a timed online auction that closes on January 31. The collection tells the story of book production in the Victorian and Edwardian era with the occasional eclectic addition.

De Beaumont, a specialist in 19th century bindings and illustrated books in particular, began his professional life in the book trade in 1978, when Stanley Gibbons purchased his collection and hired him to sell it in a newly established book department. Henceforth a full-time dealer, he amassed a second library of over 400 books, prints, illustrations and woodblocks that he donated to the British Museum in 1992.

During his career De Beaumont was occasionally accused of owning a time machine. Most pieces from this, his third collection, are in exceptional condition or otherwise extremely rare.

Pictured here is a copy of The Pretty Women of Paris, a privately printed 1883 guide that rates and reviews 240 fin-de-siècle Parisian sex workers. Offered with a 1996 reprint that contains a preface by De Beaumont, the lot is estimated at £2000-3000.


René Lalique Senlis vase made c.1925, estimate £20,000-30,000 at Lyon & Turnbull.

This design known as Senlis and listed in the catalogue raisonné as model 962 is one of only two glass vases created by René Lalique to incorporate bronze handles.

Made c.1925 in the archaeological revival style, the bifurcated handles are modelled as branches of foliage and fruits against a bulbous body of smoky grey glass. The vase takes its name from the northern town where the monarchs of the early French dynasties lived.

The vase is one of the highlights of a private collection of Lalique glass that comes for sale at Lyon & Turnbull in London on February 8. It has a guide of £20,000-30,000.

The other Lalique vase to incorporate bronze handles is model 961 known as Cluny. This design, also around 10in (25cm) high with patinated mask handles and a green-gray glass bowl, is also represented in the 137-lot collection. It is estimated at £60,000-80,000.


Victorian burr-walnut kidney-shaped desk attributed to Gillows, estimate £3000-5000 at Aldridges of Bath.

This is a Victorian burr-walnut kidney-shaped desk attributed to Gillows, coming up for sale at Aldridges of Bath on January 30 estimated at £3000-5000.

It features an arrangement of 11 drawers with gilt-brass foliate handles, each pedestal with concealed Bramah locks, the sides with ebonised mouldings and the back with adjustable bookshelves, raised on Cope’s patent castors. The centre drawer is signed to the underside in pencil D. Taylor. The desk measures 4ft 3in wide x 2ft 5in x 2ft 1in (1.3m wide x 73.5cm high x 63cm deep).


Roman marble portrait head of Emperor Commodus, c.late 2nd century AD, estimate £25,000-35,000 at Mallams.

The Oxford Library Sale staged by Mallams on February 7 includes this Roman marble portrait head of Emperor Commodus, c.late 2nd century AD. Measuring 9½ wide x 6½ deep x 11½in high (24 x 17 x 29cm), the surface is weathered and fragmented with rounded articulated eyes, framed with heavy upper and lower lids, with an aimless gaze into the distance, giving the sitter an entranced expression.

It has a provenance to property of the Countess of Hardwicke, then by descent.

Estimate £25,000-35,000.