Online Bidding

Significant autograph collection tops £10,000 at auction

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A collection of signatures relating to luminaries of the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries sold for £10,856 at Cuttlestones’ Specialist Collectors’ Sale last week. Comprising a large, hard-bound album, a smaller example and various plastic wallets containing signatures, letters, letter heads and notes, lot 304 includes examples covering monarchs, members of the Royal Family, foreign Royalties, Prime Ministers, Cabinet Ministers, Statesmen, Ministers of the Crown, American Patriots, Soldiers, Admirals, Poets, Novelists, Painters, Actors, Divines, Bishops, Women of Note, Explorers and more.

Of particular note among the 400-strong collection are Queen Victoria, Edward VIII, William IV, Lord John Russell, Lord Palmerston, Louis Mountbatten, Earl of Athlone (Prince Alex of Teck), Prince Radziwill, Archibald Primrose (5th Earl of Rosebery), Lord Salisbury, William Gladstone, Neville Chamberlain, Benjamin Disraeli, Andrew Bonar Law, Stanley Baldwin, Henry Campbell-Bannerman, Herbert Henry Asquith, Winston Churchill , Joseph Chamberlain, Sir John Browning, Mr Justice John Marshall, Henry Clay, Henry Longfellow, Henry Irving, Ernest Rhys, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, John Masefield, Sir Hugh Walpole, Sir William Blake, Frank Miles (to Lilly Langtree), Mary Maxwell, W. B. Maxwell and Walter Besant.

The lot, which was one of several from the original collection compiled by a Florence Filliter in the early 20th Century, caused a stir amongst buyers in the run-up to the sale; eventually prompting a bidding battle between and internet and phone bidder, with the latter’s bid securing the lot. The same bidder also took the previous lot (lot 303) – a signed letter from Robert Louis Stevenson – for £944.

It seems autograph collectors were out in force, with significant International interest via the internet, the phone and in the room on other lots from the collection; another highlight being lot 308, a letter signed Robert Browning, which went on to smash its reserve when it sold to an online bidder for £1180.  

And it wasn’t just autographs and ephemera that performed impressively at the sale.  Lot 321, a WWI family gallantry group of medals for the Staffordshire Tivey brothers, which had generated a significant amount of interest in the local press, received a number of commission bids prior to, and on the day of, the sale. The lot, which included two MC medals one MM and a 1914/15 Star, along with various letters, photographs and ephemera relating to the brothers, also saw a flurry of bids on the day, but eventually sold to a commission bidder from the local area for an impressive £2,773.

Sleepers included lot 390, ‘The Gibson’ Mandolin, in fitted case which shattered its estimate of £150-200 to sell on the internet for £1,062. Lot 438, meanwhile, also sold for £1,062 – the brass National Cash Register rang up bids from the internet and the room to exceed its guide price of between £200-400, when it eventually sold to a bidder in the room.

In the transport section, which included items of railwayana, maritime, aviation and automobile interest, the surprise of the day had to be lot 189;  a solid painted wood model with alloy wheels depicting of John Cobb’s ‘Railton Special’ land speed record car of 1938, in a fitted wooden box.  The lot sold for £9440; a figure almost as earth-shattering at the 350mph record the original car set back in the 1930s. Books also performed particularly well – of particular note, lot 548, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by A. Conan Doyle; a first edition published by George Newnes in 1892 featuring a blue pictorial cloth – and printing error page 317 – sold for £708, following a furious online bidding contest.

Overall, the sale is the most successful to date at Cuttlestones’ Wolverhampton Auction Rooms, which held its first sale in December 2011; adding to the company’s already packed calendar at its thriving sale room in Penkridge, Staffordshire. The next Specialist Collectors’ Sale is set to take place on Friday 30th November, with lots now being consigned – call 01902 421985 to arrange a valuation. For full results from the Friday, 7th September Specialist Collectors’ Sale, visit


Please note achieved prices inclusive of buyer’s premium

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