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About Brian Goodison-Blanks
Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood. He is based at Honiton in Devon.
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Disclaimer
The material published in this web log is for general purposes only. It does not constitute nor is it intended to represent professional advice. You should always seek specific professional advice in relation to particular issues. The information in this web log is provided "as is" with no warranties and confers no rights. The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions.

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Review Entries for Day Thursday, August 15, 2013

As a well established sale on the auction calendar, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Sporting & Collectors Sale on 18th September 2013 is eagerly awaited by many collectors. This year, in particular, philatelists will be keen to see perhaps the best selection of stamps to be offered for many years.

 

 a collection of st.helena stamps

A collection of St Helena stamps

The stamp section within the auction has been catalogued by consultant Stuart Billington, who has been impressed by the range of ‘good quality old time collections and albums’. With estimates from low hundreds to several thousands, there is a broad range of areas and categories for collectors. Among the highlights is a collection of St Helena stamps (carrying an estimate of £600-£800) and an interesting 1861 stationary card used to Singapore.

 

 an 1861 stationary card used to singapore

An 1861 Stationary card used to Singapore

 
The Stamp Auction has always enjoyed a strong national and international following with high bidding and hammer prices. This year’s selection will no doubt deliver on a promising selection.
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Thursday, August 15, 2013 1:39:10 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Stamps | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Following the success of previous Antique  Guns & Firearms in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Specialist Sporting & Collectors Sales, the recent consignment of an 1851 Colt Navy Pattern revolver for the forthcoming sale of 18th September 2013, should once again attract international attention.

 

a colt navy 1851 six shot revolver in original case 

A Colt Navy 1851 six shot revolver in original case

Unlike the Remington New Model 1858 revolver (SC16/90) of the last sale, the Colt Navy is together with its fitted mahogany case and accessories. From the tin containing percussion caps, to the steel nipple tool, copper powder flask and bullet mould all of the pieces are original to the gun itself. Even more enticing to collectors is the fact that all of the components of the gun bear the same serial number ‘38281’ dating it precisely to 1854. This also means that the gun has not been altered or made up from several different guns of different ages, a factor that will increase potential buyer’s interest.

 

matching serial numbers for the date 1854

Matching serial numbers for the date 1854 

One of the iconic cap and ball revolvers of the mid 19th century, used and favoured by both sides during the American Civil one can see the appeal to collectors. Of the 250,000 examples of the Colt Navy produced, 42,000 were made in London under licence. Antique Gun & Firearms collectors form both sides of the Atlantic will no doubt be contesting this example via online bidding at the Sporting & Collectors Sale on the 18th September 2013.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013 9:37:46 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Antique Guns & Firearms | Honiton | Sporting | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, July 01, 2013

If I ever sarcastically said to my old boss "Well you learn something new every day", he would instantly reply "It’s a fool who doesn’t" and this is something I am often reminded of as a valuer.

Even something as simple as a nutcracker can reveal a whole new world as I have found since cataloguing a single owner collection of antique nutcrackers for the forthcoming Sporting & Collectors sale of 18th September 2013.

 

 a 19th century black forest carved bears head nutcracker

A 19th century Black Forest carved bears head nutcracker

Perhaps like many people I had only seen the typical lever type crackers once a year around Christmas, but the collection has opened my eyes to the wonderful world of nuts and antique nut crackers. There are a wide variety of materials and methods for cracking nuts and each of these vary again for different types of nut.

 

a 20th century 'tough nut'  table top percussion nutcracker

A 20th Century 'Tough Nut'  table top percussion nutcracker

From small brass 18th century crackers to 19th century carved wooden crackers from Germany and Italy, the collection has a good range for all enthusiasts. The appeal of nutcrackers is universal from the treen examples of  the Pinto collection in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery to the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum in America.

Some examples of the type of crackers included within the Sporting and Collectors Sale of 18th september 2013 can also be seen at www.nutcrackers.org.uk.

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Monday, July 01, 2013 2:16:44 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Collectors | Honiton | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Sunday, June 30, 2013

Among an interesting collection of Antique Firearms and Antique Arms & Armour consigned for Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Sporting & Collectors sale of 18th September 2013 is a fine example of an early 18th Century North European sporting crossbow.

 

an early 18th century north european inlaid sporting crossbow

An early 18th century North European inlaid sporting crossbow

Retaining the original string and waxed brindle of chord, the shape and inlaid decoration is typical of sporting bows used during the 18th century in shooting and hunting competitions.

First invented in Ancient China, the crossbow became more popular in Europe due to ability of novice bowmen to quickly become accurate and on target, relative to the long bow which required years of use and experience.

In excellent condition, collectors of Antique Arms & Armour will no doubt be interested in acquiring this item with a pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2,000.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013 2:23:46 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Antique Guns & Firearms | Collectors | Honiton | Medals & Militaria | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Thursday, June 06, 2013

It had often been thought that Victorian sailors who were miles away from loved ones and feeling homesick, would while away the hours of solitude by producing shellwork valentines as a present for their betrothed upon their return.

 

a 19th century bermudan shellwork valentine

A 19th century Bermudan shellwork valentine (MA12/212)

In truth it is difficult to imagine that a burly man aboard a rolling ship would have the time and patience to sort and stick hundreds of shells in the delicate patterns that we see today at auction. The complex patterns of flowers and compass designs are increasingly popular with collectors. Usually in on octagonal case and in two sections, they can make up to £7,000 for a good example.

No doubt these valentines were gratefully received by WAGS waiting on the beach for the return of their bow. However, research has since shown that the majority of 19th shellwork valentines were in actual fact bought by sailors visiting Barbados, and were made by local women on the island. Despite the truth having been uncovered, the romantic notion of these pieces having been made aboard ship by a love struck sailor survives, as does their demand at auction. The Bermudan shellwork valentine example seen here in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s forthcoming Maritime sale of 12th June 2013 is expected to achieve £350-£450. 

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Thursday, June 06, 2013 9:49:12 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Scrimshaw & Sailors Art | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Wednesday, June 05, 2013

When Herman Melville (1819-1891) wrote Moby Dick (1851), he produced not only one of the greatest works of literature, but also an important historical record of the Nantucket whaling industry in the 19th century. Included within one of Ishmael’s narratives is a reference to the art of scrimshaw or ‘scrimshander’ that is as popular today, as it was at the time of Melville’s writing. 

 

a 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with britannia decoration

A 19th century scrimshaw decorated tooth with Britannia decoration (MA13/227)
Estimate £200-£300

The design and decoration varies a great deal depending upon the age of the piece and of course the skill of the artist. Simple ship portraits and whaling scenes are the most common to be found for a few hundred pounds at auction, the value increasing with better detail and naming of known ships. Of course being at sea for months at a time inevitably led to more erotic scenes being produced (some even dispelling the myth that the Victorian’s were prudish!) and these can make up to several thousand pounds in a Maritime sale

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime sale of 12th June 2013, Dowell Street, Honiton has a number of pieces of scrimshaw included in the sale with varying degrees of decoration. The 19th century scrimshaw shown here (MA13/227) is a good example with an interesting interpretation of Britannia to one side and should easily surpass its pre-sale estimate of £200-£300.
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Wednesday, June 05, 2013 8:34:53 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Scrimshaw & Sailors Art | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Monday, June 03, 2013

The fate of the Titanic would appear to have signalled the end of an era of the great Ocean Liners and of The White Star Line in particular. However, the company survived and moved forward into the 20th century, continuing to provide a high level of service that has now become known as ‘White Star Service’. 

 

  a white star line earthenware bouillon stand

 A White Star Line earthenware bouillon stand (MA13/16)

Though the company has been through several phases since the era of the Olympic class ships by merging with its greatest rival Cunard in 1936 and remains as part of the Carnival Corporation today, collectors are still mesmerised by the majesty and beauty of some of the most famous (and infamous) ships of the White Star Fleet.

The decadence of the late Edwardian period was taken to extremes to provide the most lavish service and comfort aboard ship. Everything from the cabin fixtures and fittings, even down to a simple bouillon stand seen here (MA13/16), were chosen to remind the passengers of the sparing of no expense.

While only a few of the ships of the White Star Line remain today such as the Nomadic in Belfast, collectors are able to acquire small reminders from specialist sales such as Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s Maritime sale of 12th June 2013, Dowell Street , Honiton.

Even such a small piece with the iconic flag logo has the power today to evoke the power of the decadence and tragedy of a period over 100 years ago. 
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Monday, June 03, 2013 3:17:51 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Ceramics & Glassware | Honiton | Maritime | Trackback

Review Entries for Day Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Even having passed the bi-centenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, Lord Horatio Nelson is perhaps one of the most significant figures of English history and possibly can be considered one of the greatest Englishmen of all time.

 

orders of command signed by lord horatio nelson

Orders of Command signed by Lord Horatio Nelson (MA13/274)

This opinion is shared by many and easily justified by simply visiting Trafalgar Square or by considering the interest in a copy Nelson's signature in the forthcoming Maritime Auction on 12th June 2013 at Bearnes Hampton and Littlewood's Dowell Street Saleroom, Honiton. 

Collectors and devotees will not be deterred by the pre-sale estimate of £4,000-£5,000 in order to acquire a signature from one of history's most noted figures.  The sale also contains a number of items relating to Nelson's flagships HMS Victory and HMS Foudroyant, as well as a number of period pieces from the 'Golden Age' of sail.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:58:30 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #
Honiton | Maritime | Trackback

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