Online Bidding

Sale report: Specialist Collectors’ Sale 27th November 2020

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The final Specialist Collectors’ Sale of the year at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Sale Rooms saw over 500 registered online bidders compete for lots in the diverse catalogue. With over 80% of lots selling, the auction house is continuing its strong performance in what has been a challenging year; with the COVID-19 pandemic seeing all its auctions shift to an online format.
Taking place during the second national lockdown, bidders had to rely on the fully illustrated online catalogue to view items – but that certainly didn’t deter them, with strong performance across the sections…
Local Interest lots prove a hit
A selection of items with historic links to Wolverhampton & Staffordshire generated considerable interest among the local media ahead of the sale, and bidders seemed equally keen to get in on the action. Highlights included Lot 25 – a “Wolverhampton Old Bank” £1 note, dated 1815, which sold for £45; Lot 178 – a book on 'The Natural History of Staffordshire” by Robert Plot (published 1686), which fetched £260 and Lot 180 – a collection of photographs and ephemera linked to Ely House College which sold for £60. Lot 184 – a collection of items linked to Wolverhampton including a magic catalogue, sweet tin, directories and various other miscellanea fetched £200, whilst Lot 215 – a selection of local early 20th century postcards, including Wolverhampton City centre, sold for £55. 
Other items of historical interest that performed well included Lot 181 – a collection of photographs & ephemera focused on the construction of Ironbridge Power Station – saw the hammer fall at £160; while Lot 187 – various ephemera linked to North Staffordshire’s Wilkinson Potteries – including a letter signed by famed ceramic artist Clarice Cliff, achieved £2,000.
Books bonanza
In the books section, the strong collectors’ market for Folio Society books – especially limited editions – was evident. Here, a collection of approximately 350 Folio Society books fetched a combined £5,645 hammer price – highlights included Lot 129, “The Four Gospels of The Lord Jesus Christ”, Limited Edition No. 164/2750, at £250; Lot 134 – a 150th Anniversary Edition of “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” Limited Edition No. 94/1000 and signed by artist at £500; Lot 138 – Agatha Christie boxed sets at £190 and Lot 156 – “Travels in Arabia Deserta” by C. M. Doughty at £350.
Also in the books section was a significant collection of Wisden Almanacs, the first edition dating back to 1888, with the rest spanning the period 1895 – 2014 and only a few years missing. The collection fetched a combined £2,780 hammer price with, as expected, the earlier ones achieving the highest prices. Standout lots were Lot 277 – a complete run from 1950-2014 – which fetched £250; Lot 282 (1910 – 1918), which achieved £550 and Lot 283, 1919 – a rare edition – which saw the hammer fall at £75 despite being in poor condition.
Other highlights…
Elsewhere, highlights popped up across the catalogue – including just over 100 lots of model railway locomotives, rolling stock and accessories which made either just below or just over their top estimates to amass a total hammer price of £7,188.
Vintage lots performed well – including a Lot 77, a vintage Phillips Rubbers shop sign, which sold for £300; Lot 108 – a Dandy Monster Comic Annual (1941) in poor condition which fetched £280; Lot 267 – a 1940s toothbrush holder from the estate of Steve McQueen, inc provenance from the original auction, which sold for £170; and Lot 458 – a Polython disc player with discs which achieved £230, while Lot 485 – an original crash test dummy head along with a solid cast aluminium one – fetched £120. Rounding off the highlights – and proving that it might well be worth having a good dig in your loft for old PCs – was Lot 486, a boxed Sinclair ZX Spectrum Personal Computer with a vintage Rockwell calculator, selling for £85.
The sale took place online on Friday, 27th November – the full catalogue including hammer prices is available to view – and consignments are now being taken for the next Specialist Collectors’ Sale on Fri 19th March.
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