Monday, 20 September 2010

‘Most haunted' manor house to be auctioned

A run-down manor house that is reputed to be among the most haunted in Britain is being auctioned later this month.
Security guards refuse to patrol Wymering Manor alone
Ghostly apparitions, strange voices and sudden drops in temperature have been experienced at Wymering Manor in Portsmouth.
The Grade II* building, which has appeared on Living TV’s Most Haunted, was a 17th century vicarage and has a guide price of £375,000.
Surveyor Jeremy Lamb said: ‘It’s not often we offer a haunted house. It’s certainly a unique selling point.’

Teddy Bear expected to top £100,000 at auction

A cuddly collection of teddy bears worth £1.2million is to go under the hammer.
The 1,300 soft toys, including a ‘harlequin’ teddy valued at about £100,000, left auctioneers who visited the collectors’ house stunned.
The menagerie of bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, monkeys, elephants, lions and frogs – all made by famous German toy company Steiff – was stored in cabinets and on shelves and beds in the US home.
Daniel Agnew, of Christie’s, which is to sell the items in London, said: ‘This is by far the best toy auction there has ever been and contains toys well over 100 years old and in fine condition. ‘The vendors started collecting the toys purely out of nostalgia but they became very serious and dedicated.’
Among the lots are a 1910 hot water bottle bear worth more than £30,000, and Mickey Mouse figures for between £5,000 and £15,000 each. It is thought the mohair harlequin bear could break the £110,000 world record price for a teddy.
Made as a one-off experimental piece in 1944 by a Steiff employee, its head and arms swivel but over the years it has lost its ‘growl’ mechanism which was activated by turning it upside down.
Steiff is among the most popular toy companies in the world and is famed for its hand-made, stuffed and stitched teddies.
The items date back as far as the 1890s, soon after Steiff went into business and a few years before the first teddy was made in 1902.
The auction is in South Kensington on October 13.

Friday, 10 September 2010

World's most expensive book to go under the hammer

(Reuters Life!) - A rare book by America's most famous bird artist, John James Audubon, billed as the most expensive in the world, is going under the hammer in December alongside a first edition of Shakespeare's plays.
"Birds of America," which is estimated to sell for between 4 million and 6 million pounds ($6.2-$9.2 million), was said by auctioneer Sotheby's to have inspired generations of ornithologists.
When a copy of the book with hand-colored, life-size prints of birds was last sold in 2000, by rival firm Christie's, it set a world record price for a printed book, fetching $8.8 million.
Only 119 copies of "Birds of America" are known to exist. The book contains 1,000 illustrations of about 500 breeds of birds and took Audubon 12 years to complete. Audubon, who died in 1851, was an influential natural historian. He was quoted three times in Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species."
Sotheby's said the auction, on December 7 in London, will also include a book widely regarded as the most important in all English literature -- the first collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, "First Folio," dated from 1623.
The "First Folio," with 36 plays including "Macbeth," "The Tempest," and "Twelfth Night," is expected to sell for between 1.0 and 1.5 million pounds ($1.5-$2.3 million).
"The sale offers the twin peaks of book collecting - the most expensive book in the world, Audubon's "Birds of America," and the most important book in all of English Literature, Shakespeare's "First Folio,"" Sotheby's spokesman David Goldthorpe said in a statement.
Sotheby's said the two books were among a lot of 50 books, manuscripts and drawings from the collection of Lord Hesketh who died in 1955.
It also includes a series of letters by Queen Elizabeth I, the Earl of Leicester and the spy Francis Walsingham relating to the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots.
The sale also boasts the largest group of rose drawings by Pierre-Joseph Redoute, to come on the market since a sale by his patron and pupil the Duchesse de Berry in 1837.
(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Famous duckhouse makes £1,700 in auction.

From today's Independent

An MP who was forced to stand down after claiming £1,645 on expenses for a floating duck house has now sold it for charity, it was confirmed today.

Former Conservative MP for Gosport Sir Peter Viggers, 72, was criticised for his expenses claims which totalled £30,000 for gardening costs.

These included the 5ft duck house which acts as a floating island to protect ducks from being attacked by foxes.

Now Sir Peter, who quit his seat at the General Election on the orders of David Cameron, has sold the Stockholm duck house at auction.

It sold to a business centre in Wolverhampton for £1,700 and Sir Peter donated the proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support.

A spokesman for the charity said: "Macmillan Cancer Support relies entirely on public donations to provide practical, emotional and financial support to the two million people currently living with cancer.

"We are really delighted that some good has come out of the whole expenses scandal and are grateful for the donation from Sir Peter.

"This money is enough for us to provide a Macmillan nurse for two weeks."