Not content with being a successful member of the Bruges merchant community involved in the wool trade and representing his colleagues as governor of the English Nation of Merchant Adventurers, and quite possibly being a financial adviser to Margaret of Burgundy, he produced not just the first book printed in English, but the first ever printed or published by an Englishman. more
This 12in (30cm) blue and white bowl provided the most spectacular of a clutch of multi-estimate prices at an Essex saleroom on August 5-6. Good job that the family cat was obviously such a graceful creature, then – it was apparently one of its favourite resting places.
If the moggy had destroyed that said vase it could not have made a £90,000 hammer price after it sailed past an estimate of just £200-300, in the process creating a house record for the Reeman Dansie saleroom in Colchester. more
Wilson A. Bentley probably didn’t intend to meet his end by dying of pneumonia after walking six miles home in a snowstorm, but as the first person to photograph a snowflake, in 1885, and producing over 5000 images over the next three decades, maybe there was a certain fate involved. more
Shropshire auctioneers Mullock’s have original prescription books belonging to Hawley Harvey Crippen which were used as evidence to convict him and are offering them with an estimate of around £3000 in their online-only September 2 sale.
In a previous the-saleroom.com blog we told you about a bike said to have been used by Mark Cavendish in the 2010 season. The ‘Cav’ bike that made £5300 at Tennants auction house in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, on August 1, sold to a bidder in the room against strong competition from all corners of the UK.
Here’s another highly desirable two-wheeler with solid Yorkshire connections, perhaps not with Tour de France-winning potential though. Why not bid for a 1950s Phoenix bicycle used by the legendary Marina from Last of the Summer Wine? Lincoln auctioneers Golding Young & Mawer are offering it on September 4 (estimate £500 – £800), and it is being sold by actress Jean Fergusson, who played Marina from 1984 to the mid-1990s. more
Is this Lady Gaga’s latest outfit? Er, no. The pop star is famed for outlandish gear such as the dress made of slabs of meat she took to the MTV Video Music Awards in LA in 2010, but as far as we know she hasn’t tried Tibetan armour just yet.
Early armour from Eastern Tibet is an understandably rare commodity but West London auction house Thomas Del Mar’s June 25 sale included this well-preserved suit of decorated lamellar leather which sold at £5,000.
Two pairs of large plates protected the torso, front and back, while the long skirt was made up of eight overlapping tiers of leather bands linked by leather thongs. more
Another fine example of high prices being paid for First World War memorabilia as sales coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict can be seen in the form of this striking American recruitment poster from 1917.
Showing the ‘mad brute’ of Germany that must be destroyed, this design is one of the most evocative war posters produced and it sold for $15,000 (£9375), or $18,750 including buyer’s premium, to a collector at Swann of New York on August 6. more
Ever wanted to indulge in your own Dungeons & Dragons style fantasy? What better way to release your inner wizard (or King of Men if you prefer that sort of thing) than to run around the countryside with Saruman’s staff and Aragorn’s sword from the Lord of the Rings films?
Damn right, Dorothy. (Unless Kansas of the 1930s featured munchkins, talking scarecrows, lions and tinmen, not to mention witches and a yellow brick road.) They were in fact in a film which of course has become one of the all-time favourites: The Wizard of Oz.
On August 18, 1939 – less than a fortnight before Hitler’s invasion of Poland launched the world into years of darkness – Frank S Nugent reviewed this fantasy in the New York Times: “It is all so well-intentioned, so genial and so gay that any reviewer who would look down his nose at the fun-making should be spanked and sent off, supperless, to bed.” more
Souvenirs brought back from the front line by soldiers in the First World War come in all shapes and sizes but one of the most unusual lots must surely be these biscuits offered by Lockdales of Ipswich on June 18-19.
They were brought back from by an L.B. Charles – thought to be Lt Lionel Bruce Charles of the 5th Battalion, The Queen’s Regiment, said to have lived for a time at Wroxham House, Norwich – and their labels read ‘Biscuits used by troops in Suvla Bay’, one marked for Gallipoli and the other for Dardanelles, August 1915. They sold to a London dealer for £290 against an estimate of £40-60 (not for a snack, presumably). Made simply from flour, salt and water mixed into a paste, they were cooked for about 45 minutes. No wonder they have survived so long…