Tuesday, 27 October 2009

17th Century Women's Lib play for auction

A rare Jacobean manuscript of a play about women's liberation, which was found in a trunk at a castle, is expected to fetch £90,000 at auction.

The unknown play by Lord Edward Herbert was found during a valuation by auctioneers Bonhams at Powis Castle in Welshpool, Powys.

It is believed the play was to have been performed before James I and his court in 1618, but it was cancelled.

The manuscript of the play, called The Amazon, includes crossings out.

It was discovered by auctioneer Felix Pryor during a valuation, and will be auctioned next month.

He said it was found in a folder marked Old Poems and buried in a trunk, along with other documents, that had been stored in an attic at the castle.

'The Amazon'

Bonhams said the play was about women's liberation, and "how well women would do without men" and "how useful divorce is".

Mr Pryor said: "There were typed letters from the estate's archive and the like mixed in with 17th Century property deeds, themselves not without interest.

"It turned out later that everything in the trunks had been meticulously listed, item by item. But with one exception. This was a folder, marked, 'Old Poems'.

"Some of these were just 17th Century copies - others were clearly in the hand of Lord Powis's forebear, Lord Herbert of Chirbury.

"And in this folder, there it was. A play. And clearly the draft of a play.

"It had lots of crossings out. It even had a heading: The Amazon."

Mr Pryor said he had researched the manuscript and found that there had been a play of that name due to be performed before James I on New Year's Day in 1618.

But for some reason it had been cancelled.

He added: "The manuscript itself, which is written in a sort of pre-bound booklet of foolscap size, is set out in the manner that one can identify as typical of professional dramatists of the period."

The manuscript will be auctioned on 10 November by Bonhams.

Powis Castle was built by Welsh princes and is now home to the Earl of Powis.

The castle has a renowned garden with Italianate terraces, and has one of the finest collections of paintings and furniture in Wales.

There is also a collection of treasures from India displayed in the Clive Museum.

Europe’s first road atlas from 17th century to be sold at auction

Europe’s first road atlas from 17th century to be sold at auction

LONDON - The first road atlas of its kind in western Europe, a 17th century book showing a highway network in England and Wales of just 73 roads, is to be sold at an auction for up to £9,000.

According to a report in the Telegraph, the route atlas, published in 1675, includes 100 double pages of black and white maps laid out in continuous strips depicting the major roads and crossroads across England and Wales.

The work, by John Ogilby - Britannia Volume the First, or an Illustration of the Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales - also marks the first time in England that an atlas was prepared on a uniform scale, at one inch to a mile. he 17th century map-maker claimed 26,600 miles of road was surveyed in the course of preparing the national road atlas, the first of its kind in any country in western Europe.

“What’s unusual about this book is that it is complete,” said Charles Ashton, an auctioneer at Cheffins Fine Art in Cambridge, where the atlas is expected to fetch up to £9,000 at an auction on October 29.

“A lot were published but over time many have been taken apart for their break-up value - in other words, the money that can be made by selling pages separately to be framed. It is very unusual for a first edition to have survived all these years in one piece,” he said.

“This is one of the original printing batch from 1675 and there are probably about 100 out there across the world - mostly in university and library collections,” he added.

According to Ashton, “From the outside it looks like nothing - the plain board cover is quite beaten up and unornamented, not elaborate at all. Looking at it from the outside, you would never guess how special this book is, but once you open it its full glory is revealed.”

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Drink-drive chair up for auction

Police in the US state of Minnesota are planning to auction off a specially modified and motorised lounge chair whose owner crashed it while drunk.

Dennis LeRoy Anderson, 62, pleaded guilty last Monday to driving the La-Z-Boy while drunk in August last year.

The chair was impounded after he smashed into a parked car as he returned from a bar in Proctor.

The chair comes with a stereo, nitrous oxide booster, parachute and a "hell yeah it's fast" sticker.

Local police chief Walter Wobig told Agence France-Presse news agency the chair would be posted on eBay next week with no reserve price.

Minnesota police can auction off vehicles seized in drink-drive cases or keep them for official use.

The blue and black chair's other attractions include headlights and a steering wheel in the style of a drag-racer. It can reach up to 20mph (32km/h) with its lawnmower-powered engine.

Mr Anderson, who was not badly injured in the accident, was found to have three times the legal limit when arrested. He said he had drunk eight or nine beers.
Mr Anderson was sentenced to 180 days in jail, suspended pending two years of probation.

The Proctor Journal said the police department had received a number of calls and emails about the chair since the court case.

It quoted one interested party of "racers" as saying they lived outside Minnesota and the chair would "no longer be a menace to your town".

Saturday, 24 October 2009

World’s most expensive coin fetches $1.2 million at Barcelona auction

The most expensive coin in the world was recently auctioned by auctioneers Aureo & Calicó in Barcelona.

The coin, the only remaining 1609 centen coin is the biggest solid gold coin to be minted in Spain!

This rare coin generated a lot of interest among bidders and fetched a winning bid of 800,000 Euros ($1,202,566)! The lucky bidder, identified only as bidder no. 74, a dealer from central Europe, could not hide his surprise when no-one else raised his opening bid of 800,000 Euros for the coin minted in Segovia.

This rare coin was the most priceless piece in the “Knight of the Yndias" collection (which comprises 2,200 pieces of gold from Spain and her former colonies) that was on auction.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Trafalgar flag fetches $680k at auction

A BRITISH flag believed to be the only surviving Union Jack from the Battle of Trafalgar has sold for a staggering £384,000 ($680,368) at auction in London.
The standard, put up for sale by its Australian-based owner, was expected to fetch in the region of £15,000 ($26,576) at the auction, which coincides with Trafalgar Day, the anniversary of the battle 204 years ago.
Auctioneer Charles Miller of Charles Miller Ltd said he was delighted with the price the flag achieved.
"I am absolutely lost for words, but what a victory," he said. "This demonstrates that this is a unique and charismatic artefact linked to both Nelson's greatest triumph and the greatest naval battle of all time - the Battle of Trafalgar, which took place exactly 204 years today."
Mr Miller had described the flag, marked by shot and still bearing a faint scent of gunpowder, as extremely evocative.
"Any artefact from Trafalgar is significant, but the national emblem, battle-scarred to boot, is going to be in the next league," he said.
On October 21, 1805, 27 British ships under Admiral Lord Nelson's command squared up to 33 French and Spanish vessels west of Cape Trafalgar, on the southwest coast of Spain. Nelson's forces sank 22 enemy ships without losing one of his own.
The victory confirmed Britain's naval supremacy and ended Napoleon Bonaparte's hopes of invading the British isles.
The flag flew above HMS Spartiate in the sea battle. Its 540 crew had stitched it together from 31 panels. After the conflict, they presented it to their Lieutenant, James Clephan, in recognition of his bravery.
The flag was put up for sale by one of his descendants, who lives in Australia.