The Peter Harvey Collection

For many people of Sheffield the name Peter Harvey, MBE will be immediately recognisable as a man who spent over 50 years bringing news and comment every week as a journalist in the local Sheffield newspapers. Starting his career in 1951 on the Sheffield Telegraph, Peter was awarded the MBE in 2002 for Services to Journalism and continued to write for the Sheffield Star until his death in 2008. Alongside the Journalism Peter also wrote more than a dozen books including three volumes of Peter Harvey’s Sheffield. What few people may realise that in the rich tapestry of his life Peter was also an ardent collector, especially of things related to his beloved Sheffield. For more than 40 years he trawled fairs, antique shops, church fetes and charity shops looking for pen knives, paperback books, first day covers, local history books, postcards and more.

The late Peter Harvey, MBE
The late Peter Harvey, MBE

Since his death in 2008, Peter’s family has been reviewing how best to handle the legacy of his collecting. Following a review with the specialist team at Sheffield Auction Gallery, the collection has been broken down into categories and split between items that are being donated by the family to the City and items which are to be offered to enthusiasts and collectors by auction in association with Sheffield Auction Gallery on 10th August 2012.

The three collections to be offered at auction at the Saleroom in Heeley, are over 500 penknives; over 1,000 postcards with a strong Sheffield interest; and over 2,000 Pan paperbacks.

The sale will be led by the penknives section which includes quill knives and associated items, many, of course, by Sheffield manufacturers. This diverse collection including advertising, silver, novelty and local interest items has been catalogued for sale by SAG Specialist Valuer Sarah Clark; who commented, “it has been a joy to catalogue the largest single-owner collection of penknives that our saleroom has ever handled”.

The history of any place over the last 100 or so years can often be shown through postcards and the history of Sheffield can certainly be seen in all its aspects through Peter’s collection, from social, sport, transport, commercial, industry and rural life. Sheffield Auction Gallery has a reputation for cataloguing and auctioning large collections of local history and this wonderful collection is certainly one of the finest the Gallery has seen.

Auction House Director, Elizabeth Dashper commented “cataloguing and marketing lifetime collections is often one of the highlights of our business, treasured and often unique items are highly sought after by the local collectors and traders, bringing insight and memories back to the market”.

Peter’s son Simon said “Dad got a huge enjoyment from his collecting and would have been delighted to know that other enthusiasts have the opportunity to enjoy these items of genuine historical and local interest. He always liked to think that he was just the latest person to enjoy the things he collected and hoped that one day others may similarly share that enjoyment”.

The auctioneers expect a great deal of pre-sale interest and with the sale running both live in the auction room and in real time on the internet (enabling bidders to take part from anywhere in the world), it is sure to be a great day at the Saleroom.

Article Published – August 2012