Ocean Liner Memorabilia

During these troubled times when travelling anywhere is challenging, it might be pleasant to contemplate a luxury, multi person type of travel. What about the ocean liner?

Ocean liner memorabilia brings alive the more glamorous era when the only way to travel the world was by ship and in style. It is nostalgia from a bygone era and it is that that attracts the collectors.

At the beginning of the 20th century the giant luxury liners of the shipping companies such as Cunard, White Star Line and Canadian Pacific plied the transatlantic trade. In general collectors focus on the best known liners and their memorabilia command the highest prices. Memorabilia from the lesser known companies or those that didn’t travel the transatlantic route are usually less costly.

Notable ships include the Olympic, and the Mauritania, but by far the most desirable collectables come from the ill fated Titanic. The market for such memorabilia increased dramatically after the love affair of Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1997 film. Items owned or used by survivors or rescuers such as, watches, spoons, menus and plates generally realise the highest prices.

Postcards and photographs are often the most reasonably priced items as they were produced in high quantities. Hand written cards are collected and value depends on the condition, the message and the sender.

Essential ocean liner memorabilia for any collector includes playing cards featuring the liner or company logo, timetables especially those with period artwork and menus especially first class or special occasion. Other items of value are original fixtures and fittings, brochures and souvenirs. Items taken from the ship as a memento tend to be more valuable.

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

Tennis Memorabilia

Every summer as the Wimbledon Tennis Championship rolls it’s tennis balls onto our television screens once again I feel a certain nostalgia for our old family sitting room and the sight of my mother groaning, cheering and jumping up and down to her darling of the centre court Virginia Wade. 1977 was an especially good year for me as not only did it see me marry my childhood sweetheart but it also saw my mothers efforts to help Virginia on her way to victory finally vindicated as she was crowned Queen of the centre court.

Tennis despite being a relatively young game, invented in 1874 by Major Walter Wingfield, has many avid memorabilia collectors and early rackets are very sought after. From the mid 1870s and the 1930s the shape of the tennis racket changed enormously, so early examples with their asymmetrical heads can be very valuable regardless of any association with a known player. Those however associated with legendary players like Fred Perry are a true collectors dream and can attract thousands of pounds at auction.

Presentation trophies too are collectable though novelty items which reflect the popularity of the early game are also of interest. Teapots, clocks and particularly jewellery were produced, a wide range of which featured racket and ball motifs.

Wimbledon specific memorabilia is always collectable. Programmes from the 1930s and earlier are now very rare and a must for collectors. A particularly popular programme would be from the first Championship held at the present site in Church Road in 1922. Programmes before this when the club was located in Worple Road, also in Wimbledon, are extremely sought after, especially from the First Championship held in 1877, when would you believe, only 160 people attended.

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

Coca-Cola

Over Easter, we entertained many family and friends, so as an establishment we must have drunk gallons of Coca-Cola. My preferred tipple is full fat, but I drink the sugar free caffeine free option. When young Pemberton first started mixing leaves and nuts I bet he never dreamt of a caffeine free version.

The phenomenon known as Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 by said pharmacist John Pemberton as a simple experiment of curiosity and started life sold by the glass in the Jacobs Pharmacy in Atlanta where he worked. The name comes from the ingredients originally used to make the drink; coca leaves and kola nuts. Frank Robinson, the Pemberton’s bookkeeper was actually the one who created both the name and the very distinctive Coca-Cola logo, which was in fact simply his own handwriting. He was also responsible for publicising the drink as a medicinal ‘pick me up’. Coca leaves, which were also used to make the drug cocaine, were eventually replaced in the early 1920s by caffeine.

Coca-Cola was first officially advertised in a magazine in 1902 and other merchandise quickly followed such as glasses and trays. The Coca-Cola image changed slightly during the 1920s and 1930s, alongside the ingredients, to become more family-inclusive, focusing on group enjoyment. The most well-known product of this, of course, is the famous Santa Claus images. The Winter Wonderland Santa Claus was developed by Swedish artist, Haddon Sundblom in the early 1930s to match the patented red of the Coca-Cola cans and is still an image synonymous with the Coca-Cola we love today.

The value of most Coca-Cola advertising is calculated the same as most collectables; rarity and condition are generally most important and realise the highest prices. Items from the late 1880s and 1890s, before official advertising from the company, are difficult to find these days making them highly sought after as are unusual items such as artwork with images of men, instead of the traditional smiling ladies.

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

RAF Medals Flying High in Sheffield

There had been plenty of pre-sale interest prior to Sheffield Auction Gallery’s Medals & Militaria Auction on 2nd July, particularly in an interesting medal group, consigned for auction by a local Sheffield Client.

A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group, made up of a Distinguished Flying Medal, Africa Star, Italy Star, France Germany Star, 1939-45 Star, War Medal to Flight Lieutenant 1045555 Thomas Dickinson, RAF. Also included in the Lot was the original flying log, photographs, Kings Badge, memoirs and other associated items.

A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group
A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group

Thomas Dickinson was born 1923 and trained with The Royal Canadian Air Force and qualified as a first pilot on Wellington’s and Halifax in December 1942/ January 1943. By March 1943 Sgt Dickinson was with RAF 148 Squadron, a Special Duties Squadron based in Libya flying Halifax aircraft, many for the Special Operations Executive. In May 1943 Dickinson piloted a Halifax on a mission to drop Bill Deakin (later Sir William Deakin) to meet up and act as GCHQ representative with the Yugoslav Resistance and Tito. Deakin was parachuted in over the mountains Montenegro. Due to bad weather Dickinson spent over two hours near the drop zone waiting for the weather to clear. It was for this mission Dickinson was awarded the DFM. A copy of the RAF bulletin is in the lot and makes a typical “SOE” mention of the task. The episode is also mentioned in Deakins biography, “The Embattled Mountain”. By early 1944 Dickinson had retrained on Mosquito’s and joined 692 Squadron flying missions over Europe. On June 28th 1944, with over 1000 logged flying hours, Dickinson was forced to crash land his Mosquito in a corn field near Antingham in East Anglia following engine failure. A crash he was lucky to survive. There is a letter with a first-hand account of the crash by his navigator in the lot. F/L Thomas Dickinson did not fly again in the war, leaving the RAF in July 1946 and returning to Gateshead.

Footnote: Bill Deakins wife was Pussy Deakin, an SOE Operative on whom Ian Fleming based his James Bond character “Pussy Galore” in Goldfinger.

On the day the sale commenced with substantial bids on the auctioneers book, against the room, telephone and internet bidders. The lot opened at £2100 and quickly rose to a final bid of £3800 (plus 17.5% BP) to a telephone bidder (against the internet).

Sheffield Auction Gallery’s next medals & Militaria Auction will be 23rd October and Specialist Valuer John Morgan invites entries for this Sale.

For more information please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.