Flying home for Christmas

Forgetting this week’s escapades and traumas at Gatwick Airport which unfortunately affected hundreds of thousands of people, this Christmas many families will board many aeroplanes all over the world and fly all over the world to spend time with relatives. How lucky we all are to have such easy access to air travel.

Back in the 1950s foreign travel was much more exotic and dare it be said much more exclusive and from that very time came one of the lots in our last ‘Floats, Flies and Drives’ specialist model auction held in December. It was an aluminium Travel Agent’s display aircraft. What a wonderful thing it was too, with a 77cm wing span the model depicted a Douglas DC-7C Seven Seas Airliner bearing the ‘Viking’ logo of Scandinavian Airline Systems or SAS as it is more commonly known. Our model would have graced a Travel Agent’s window in the late 1950s.

SAS was formed in 1946 following an agreement between airlines in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The DC-7C under the SAS livery holds a unique place in civilian aviation history because in 1957 it was used to launch a regular service from Copenhagen to Tokyo. The difference with this service was that it flew over the North Pole and saved over 18 hours of flying time and 2000 miles, compared to the traditional route.

With relatively few Travel Agents at the time, original display aircraft are rare and highly sought after. This particular model was in good condition and attracted a great deal of interest finally selling for £1200 including premium.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Children’s Books

What better present could your young child or grandchild possibly wish for this Christmas than a book. There is nothing in the world better than a book. Forget tablets, mobile phones and gaming apps, give a book.

Children’s book publishing is holding its own in a market where many other sectors of the book trade are suffering. The world of television, film and IT has changed the face of entertainment in the minds of many, but children’s books continue to hold their place in our hearts.

Timeless classics like Winnie-the-Pooh, Beatrix Potter or Roald Dahl remain strong sellers, both in their modern reprints in bookshops today and in their original form in auction houses across the country. It is worth remembering though that being in possession of a first edition alone will not always equal a high cash payout. Other factors affect a books value, such as the particular title, the print run, publication date and of course the illustrator.

Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ was first published by MacMillan in 1865 with illustrations from Punch cartoonist John Tenniel. Carroll’s classic is constantly inspiring illustrators to rework the story. Many collectors collect for the illustrators and will follow the same story through its many different versions. Roald Dahl’s books are illustrated by the very talented Quentin Blake whose originals fetch high prices in the art market today.

Children’s books are popular in the salerooms today both for their timeless appeal but also because collectors can indulge in the nostalgia of their own childhoods. Go on indulge yourself this Christmas.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Heubach Bisque Dolls

This year on Christmas morning thousands and thousands of children will wake to the joy of a baby doll, brought down the chimney or through the door with a special key, by an over worked and underpaid Santa Claus. For generations parents have loved buying these wonderful creations and for generations Santa has worked his magic.

The Edwardian Christmas would see many of these dolls being manufactured by the Heubach factory which was established in Lichte, Germany in 1843, after brothers Georg Christoph and Phillipp Jakob,bought an existing porcelain business. They initially made porcelain dolls’ heads and other figurines, but later as the fashion for using bisque spread to Germany from France where they had been experimenting with it from the late 1860s, Heubach began to use bisque as their main material from about 1910.

While the porcelain dolls were glazed and therefore shiny, the bisque allowed for a much more realistic skin tone as they remained unglazed; initially fired and then re-fired after layers of decoration had been applied. It was very uncommon to find a doll made completely of bisque as it was so delicate and breakable, most dolls had bodies made of cloth or leather and later composition, a substance made by mixing glue with sawdust or wood pulp.

As with all bisque dolls of the period, some had closed mouths and fixed eyes and some more expensive models had sleeping eyes and open mouths with teeth. Oddly, a doll found now with broken teeth is often not a sign of neglect, but a sign of care, as the loving ‘child parent’ has tried desperately to feed their infant.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website

Christmas Table

December is here again. Over 40 years ago for our first married Christmas the Santa on top of our tree was a yogurt carton, red paper and cotton wool and we had a lovely romantic day all to ourselves. This year the “children” are all coming with partners and grandchildren and our table will be seating sixteen (with the help of some “emergency chairs”). The same Santa will grace the tree. I imagine it will be a touch noisier than our first Christmas but we are both looking forward to it.

Thinking recently about the day my wife’s mind drifted to the table centre and mine to the subject of electroplate. I thought of all the table decorations there are for sale in all the department stores all over the country and how incredibly expensive they all are. Then I thought about all the electroplate we auction month after month and how reasonably priced it is.

A pair of polished plated candlesticks flanking a decorative epergne, or a pretty pierced bowl, or a tall trumpet vase with matching similar smaller vases, to name just a few exciting combinations. All or any would make a lovely table centre.

When Bolsover’s remarkable fuse plate was superseded by the wonderful development that brought us base metal articles plated by electrolysis, the resulting electroplated items opened up a whole new world to the purchasing public. I think that surge in plated popularity should happen again for this year’s Christmas table.

Senior Valuer Michael Dowse

For more information or if you have similar items you’re thinking about offering items in auction or you simply would like a valuation, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website