Friday, 31 August 2007

Titanic key for auction

A tiny key which could have saved the Titanic will go for auction in Devises, Wiltshire, on September 22. It has been described as "one of the most important artefacts from the ship to have come to light".

The key to the ship's crow's nest binocular store survived the 1912 sinking of the vessel which killed 1,522 people because it was not on board.

Instead, it was with David Blair, the Titanic’s original second officer who was transferred off the ship shortly before she set sail on her fateful maiden voyage.

Blair realised too late that he had the key and kept it as a memento.

One of the ship's lookouts, Fred Fleet, said binoculars would have allowed the crew to spot the iceberg which sunk the ship and given them time to "get out of the way" despite it being dark.

The key and a postcard Blair wrote to his sister shortly before the Titanic set sail are expected to fetch £70,000.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

$8,000 for Walrus Penis at auction

A 4.5 foot fossilized walrus penis sold this week at the I.M. Chait auctionrooms in Beverly Hills.

The 12,000 year old penis is thought to be the largest specimen ever to come on the market.

It was purchased by the museum chain ‘Ripley’s believe It of Not’

A spokesman commented:
” When it comes to fossils, size matters"

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Bidder scoops a Hirst painting for £200 at anonymous auction

From to-day’s Independent.
When a buyer from the back of a crowded auction room put a bid in for lot 15, no one matched his modest offer of £200 for a painting filled with concentric circles.
The bidders, which included some of Ireland's foremost art dealers and media personalities, were at an anonymous auction at which a Damien Hirst painting was being sold alongside 41 others, but no one knew which one until after it was bought.
So the gasps of astonishment from the audience were understandable when lot 15 was revealed to an original work by Hirst, Britain's most bankable artist, which was created to feature in his famous "spin" series.
Some of the paintings which bidders had wrongly guessed to be a Hirst had sold for up to £5,000. Among them was a sculpture entitled Two Rats in a Drainpipe, made by three A-Level students from Hammersmith, west London.
The artist had donated the work, also titled Spin, to the auction at Flatlake Arts and Literary Festival, at Hilton Park, in County Monaghan. The festival organiser, Kevin Allen, who is a film director and brother of actor Keith, said the atmosphere was "electric".
"I had devised the idea and I had framed Damien's work myself on an oblong mount to put people off the scent. The works of art, which were anonymous and numbered, were brought out for a three-minute quick view, like a horse is at a ring.
"Five of Ireland's most prominent art dealers were standing at the front. When the bidding started, it was the best theatre I had ever seen," he said.
The work was bought by the film producer Allan Maloney, who already owns two Hirst Spin paintings, according to Allen, and so recognised the work straight away. But many were confused by other works in the auction that had been done deliberately in Hirst's style.
"Some kids who had donated works did spot paintings which Damien is known for and some did other spin paintings," Allen said.
Mr Maloney agreed to have his bargain-buy auctioned again. It was bought for £95,000 by Kevin Spillane, an Irish gallery owner.
Allen said Hirst had donated the painting in hope that it would go to a worthwhile owner. "He said if I give you this thing, I don't want it to be sold frivolously. I want someone to buy it because they like the painting," he added.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Diana dress fails to sell in Internet auction.

A pale-blue dress worn by Princess Diana to the 1987 Cannes Film Festival failed to attract bids in an Internet auction for charity last week.

The silk chiffon evening gown was among 79 dresses that Diana auctioned off for charity at Christie's in New York in June 1997, two months before she died in a car crash in Paris.

The dress, a strapless bodice made of draped and tucked silk designed by Catherine Walker, is one of four of Diana's dresses owned by the WE television network and was put up for grabs on eBay.

However the gown, which was also worn by Diana to the 1989 London opening of "Miss Saigon", did not attract any bids after opening offers were invited at $125,000.

The WE TV network bought the dress in the 1997 auction for around $71,000. . Though the gown was later appraised and valued at $275,000, experts have recently questioned its true worth.

"If we were to put the dresses up for auction, our auction estimate would be 20,000 to 40,000 dollars for each of the dresses," said a representative from Christie's auction house.

"The estimates are lower, in many cases, than the prices realized in 1997 because the original prices the dresses were bought at were very high."

Monday, 27 August 2007

Robbie Burns hip flasks makes 10 times estimate.

An 18th Century hip flask which once belonged to Robert Burns has sold for about 10-times its estimated price at Bonham’s auction in Edinburgh.

It had been forecast to fetch between £600 and £800 but instead it fell under the hammer for £7,200.

The flask is believed to have been left by Burns at Hunthill House, near Jedburgh, in the Borders in the 1770s.

Bonhams said the price “surprised everyone”.

Well, I’m not sure which planet Bonhams live on, but it was no surprise to me. The £600/£800 estimate was ludicrous. See posting of 16/8/7 where I predicted that it would make much more.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Giant Penis for auction

Up for auction next week at a Beverly Hills gallery is a rare piece of pornographic prehistory - a 12,000-year-old walrus penis.

The fossilized phallus, discovered in frozen Siberia tundra, is 4½ feet long, making it "the largest known mammal penis fossil," according to the I.M. Chait Gallery.


Two excessively rare examples of the notorious ‘Pink Triangle’ which the Nazis forced gay men to wear during World War Two, go under the hammer later this month.

‘They are the ultimate symbols of Nazis homophobic paranoia, with men who had been denounced as homosexuals before WWII having to wear these degrading symbols on their outer clothing at all times,’ commented Richard Westwood-Brookes, Historical Documents Expert for auctioneers Mullock’s who will sell the triangles at their next sale at Ludlow, Shropshire on August 23rd.

‘When the holocaust began, homosexuals were treated with the same venom as the Jews – herded into the concentration camps where the Pink Triangle was attached to their concentration camp uniform.

‘While the total number of homosexuals treated in this way remains unknown, an educated estimate has been made of between 50,000 - 63,000 between 1933 and 1944. On liberation in 1945, the wearers of the Pink Triangles, unlike the Jews, were simply re-imprisoned by the newly created Federal Republic. Homosexuality was still a criminal offence in that country and had been since the introduction under Kaiser Wilhelm II of the notorious Paragraph 175 – which was not finally repealed until 1994.

‘The Pink Triangle today is regarded in the Gay community as the symbol of Gay Pride , second only to the Rainbow Flag. It also emerges in popular culture with the gay areas of Newcastle on Tyne and Edinburgh being known today as the ‘Pink Triangles’ on account of their shape. Ironically the symbol has also been used in an episode of The Simpsons during the depiction of a Gay Pride parade.

‘The Pink Triangle from the holocaust remains one of the rarest of all symbols of the Nazis’ evil oppression, and as such should be preserved for all time as a reminder of the depths to which man’s inhumanity can stoop.

‘We will be selling two versions, the first being a straightforward triangle of khaki fabric which has been died pink and probably dating from before the war and ordered to be attached to civilian clothing.

‘The second is in the form of an arm band and clearly was worn in the concentration camps because it bears the prisoner’s number.’

The triangles are estimated at between £500 and £600 each.

Further information from Richard Westwood-Brookes on 01568 770803.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Auction: Nov. 6th 1660.

The Dairy of Samuel Pepys:

Tuesday 6 November 1660

In the morning with Sir W. Batten and Pen by water to Westminster, where at my Lord’s I met with Mr. Creed. With him to see my Lord’s picture (now almost done), and thence to Westminster Hall, where we found the Parliament met to-day, and thence meeting with Mr. Chetwind, I took them to the Sun, and did give them a barrel of oysters, and had good discourse; among other things Mr. Chetwind told me how he did fear that this late business of the Duke of York’s would prove fatal to my Lord Chancellor. From thence Mr. Creed and I to Wilkinson’s, and dined together, and in great haste thence to our office, where we met all, for the sale of two ships by an inch of candle (the first time that ever I saw any of this kind), where I observed how they do invite one another, and at last how they all do cry, and we have much to do to tell who did cry last. The ships were the Indian, sold for 1,300l., and the Half-moon, sold for 830l.. Home, and fell a-reading of the tryalls of the late men that were hanged for the King’s death, and found good satisfaction in reading thereof. At night to bed, and my wife and I did fall out about the dog’s being put down into the cellar, which I had a mind to have done because of his fouling the house, and I would have my will, and so we went to bed and lay all night in a quarrel. This night I was troubled all night with a dream that my wife was dead, which made me that I slept ill all night.

He also visited an auction on September 3rd, 1662. I will post the details on another occasion.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

United States to auction off uranium

The US department of Energy is planning to auction 200 tons of uranium hexafluoride, a type of processed yellowcake in the coming week.

Experts are surprised that they would rather have the cash than the product given the supply shortages and the ever-growing demand.

A price of $100 per lb is expected.


A bottle of champagne thought to have been taken from Hitler's wine cellar was sold at auction yesterday. See also our posting of August 8th.

The bottle of 1937 Moet et Chandon was bought by an anonymous Swedish bidder for £1,688 at Charterhouse auctioneers in Sherbourne.

It is believed to have been in Hitler's personal stock and ‘acquired’ by a British soldier from Hitler’s bunker. Hitler himself was a teetotaller.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Robert Burns hip flask for auction.

An 18th century hip flask which once belonged to Robert Burns is to go up for auction in Edinburgh.

The flask was recently bought from the Rutherford family when they sold Hunthill House, near Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.
Burns spent time touring the area in the 1770s and during his visit, he often stayed in the house.

Bonhams expect the flask to make between £600 and £800 at their annual Scottish sale later this month.
I predict that it will make quite a bit more!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Energizer bunny for auction at Christies.

Christie’s November 15th sale in Los Angeles:
The most valuable listed lot is one of the two original Energizer bunnies.

The rabbits were used to advertise batteries on television and have become one of the most potent advertising symbols of the 20th century.

The rabbit is expected to fetch up to $60,000.

Monday, 13 August 2007

American icon? Oil smudge makes $1,525 on Ebay.

An American family just sold the stain on the floor of their garage for more than $1500. This may or may not be a sign from God.
According to the The Associated Press, the stain looks like Jesus Christ. To many, it looks like a stain.

After noticing some driveway sealant on the floor of their home garage, the Forest, Virginia family snapped a photo and chucked it onto the world's most popular auction site. A week later, another Virginia resident paid $1,525.69 for the sealant smudge - and the hunk of concrete beneath it.

The seller thinks it's a smudge, not a miracle. "There are some people who need this kind of thing to sort of start them on their faith journey. I don't," said the practicing Lutheran. "That's why I don't mind parting with it."

Sunday, 12 August 2007

And now for something different…

Millions of people use Ebay, the world’s largest on-line auction. Anyone who misspells the destination and ends up with Ebare would need to be of the broadminded disposition. Ebare is apparently the leading adult on-line auction. If you venture in there, it’s best not to do it before or after your dinner:-)

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Spock's ears for auction

Star Trek fans across the globe will be able to bid to buy the original mould of Vulcan ears, as used by Spock in the TV series from the 1960s.

Christie's auction house in Los Angeles is selling four pairs of rubber ears and the original mould in a sale of Hollywood memorabilia on 15 November.

The ears are expected to fetch up to $2,000 (£1,400) for two pairs but the mould is listed at up to $20,000 (£14,000)

The most valuable Star Trek lot is a plaster life mask of William Shatner as Captain Kirk. The mask, described as "Captain Kirk, frozen in time, and exactly in his prime" in the auction catalogue, is listed at an estimated sale price of $6,000 (£4,000).

Friday, 10 August 2007

World’s oldest surviving Rolls Royce for auction.

Bids expected in excess of £1-million!
Bonhams has announced the sale on 3 December 2007 of the world’s oldest known surviving Rolls Royce, built in 1904 - the year Rolls Royce was founded.

Rolls-Royce Car no. 20154, a diminutive 10hp two seater, is a true motoring icon. Bidding in excess of £1-million is expected when it goes under the hammer at Bonhams’ annual Olympia Motoring Sale in London.

Stewart Skilbeck, Bonhams’ Motoring Specialist says: “This is the first time this car has ever been offered on the open market since 1904 and we expect strong interest from major collectors worldwide.”

Car no. 20154 was first exhibited at The Paris Salon in the late autumn of 1904. Rolls-Royce records confirm delivery from the Manchester Works in November that year. The car was displayed at the Olympia Show in London in February 1905. The car is the only Rolls Royce qualifying on the basis of its pre-1905 date eligible to take part in the prestigious London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Hitler's champagne up for auction

A bottle of champagne believed to have been taken from Hitler's wine cellar by an allied soldier is being auctioned.

The prized bottle of 1937 Moet and Chandon goes under the hammer at Charterhouse auctioneers in Sherborne, Dorset on 17 August. But the auctioneers say champagne does not age well and the tipple is unlikely to be drinkable.

A soldier as a thank you gift for some legal work gave the bottle to solicitor Nigel Wilson 15 years ago.

It is expected to fetch hundreds of pounds.

Charterhouse valuer, Chris Copson said, they believed the bottle was retrieved by a soldier it from the ruins of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin after the Nazis were defeated in May 1945.

East Peckham Auction.

I conducted my favourite auction on Sunday.

South Eastern Auctions are only in existence for less than a year, but it is coming on in leaps and bounds. It is a friendly and well run event with a huge variety of lots. This time there were 930 lots which I completed without a break.

In no particular order here is a random selection of the results:

Set brand new golf clubs £8. Masonic wristwatch £25. Swiss pocket watch £360. Heavy gold pendant & chain £180. Diamond ring £25. Talking wristwatch £22. Chanel sunglasses £100. Harrods teddy bear £10. Stromatolite fossil £12. ‘History of Kent County Cricket’ £50. Joseph Vautin violin £500. Baritone Horn £25. Mandola mandolin £110. Viola £45. Alto Sax £45. Old gramophone £20. Victorian pine corner cabinet £18. Kurdish runner £35. Georgian Pembroke table £60. Japanese hardwood stage cabinet £370. French walnut salon jardini√®re £400. Pair Victorian brass candlesticks £5. Four Ostrich eggs £18.

Next auction is on Sunday September 9th. starting at 11am.
You can see their website at

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Ukraine to auction off it’s only submarine.

Further to yesterday's news about Finland selling off their army tanks, I now hear that Ukraine’s Defence Ministry has confirmed plans to sell its only submarine.

In my home I have a poster that says: "It will be a great day when the schools have all the money they need, and the army have to have a jumble sale to buy a new fighter"

The Zaporizhya, which Ukraine inherited after the break-up of the Soviet Union, is one of several Ukrainian warships that analysts and the ministry say are not worth maintaining.

Completed in 1970, the Zaporizhya hasn’t been seaworthy since it was transferred to independent Ukraine in the 90s.

The u-boat will be repaired and thus be ready for sale by the end of this year.

Friday, 3 August 2007

Finland to auction off tanks

Finland’s military is to dispense with a large stockpile of obsolete weapons, vehicles, including armour, and equipment at auction.
The decision means civilians will for the first time have an opportunity to buy decommissioned Finnish Defence Forces tanks.

The auction list includes unarmoured vehicles, weapons, explosives, communications equipment and logistics kit as well as a number of armoured vehicles bought from Germany in the 1990s and several Comet tanks.

All the weapons in the armoured vehicles will be deactivated.

Thursday, 2 August 2007


An Armani suit worn on tour by George Michael is to be auctioned on eBay to raise money for charity.

The profits from the silver outfit, which he has worn on his 25 Live European Tour, will be donated to the Terrence Higgins Trust.

Bidding will continue until August 12th

Million dollar coin for auction

The world’s largest coin – the Canadian $1,000,000 piece – is being offered by Teletrade, the on-line auction company. It weighs in at 220 pounds of pure gold! While it has a face value of C$1m, its bullion value is much higher.

Canada plans to mint at least four more coins in the series, which shows maple leaves on one side and Queen Elizabeth II, on the other.