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Category Archives: Antiques

October’s auction highlights – top consignments for collectors

Following the summer vacation, the auction world is back in full swing, with an exciting line-up of consignments announced at the world’s top auction houses. Paul Fraser Collectibles looks at what October has to offer for collectors:

Record-breaking diamonds

Premier Blue, Diamond, Sothebys, Fancy Blue,

The Premier Blue is the world’s biggest fancy vivid blue diamond and looks set to see a new record pre-carat price

Sotheby’s will kick off its Fall season in Hong Kong on October 7 with a selection of the world’s finest diamonds, including the Premier Blue, the world’s largest “fancy-blue” diamond, which is expected to see around $19m. Also starring is the huge 118.2-carat flawless white diamond, valued at $30m.

Original condition classic cars1918, Locomobile, Bonhams, Preserving, Automobile, Model 48, Classic Car,

Bonhams presents its second annual Preserving the Automobile auction on October 7, returning to the Simeon Automotive Museum.

The auction showcases early classic cars in original condition, with collectors jostling for a select-group of survivors.

Among the stunning consignments is an 1903 Oldsmobile Model R, a 1910 Sears Model P, and a 1934 Packard 1101, each of which is offered without reserve.

Elvis Presley’s spiritual ringElvis, Elvis Presley, Spiritual Ring, Ring, Memorabilia, Jewellery, auction

It’s not all high-end offerings in October, with Ahlers & Ogletree selling a ring given to Elvis Presley when he visited the Self-Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles in the 1960s.

A bizarre but fascinating addition to the sale, it isn’t going to fetch much, but will undoubtedly excite dedicated Elvis lovers.

George Orwell’s Spanish civil war scarvesGeorge Orwell, Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia, Scarves, Memorabilia, Rare, For Sale,

My personal favourite of October’s offerings, the scarves that George Orwell wore while fighting fascists in the Spanish civil war, will be sold for just £800-1,200 at Bloomsbury Auctions on October 3.

One of the scarves is the same that the great writer (and literary hero of mine) wore when shot in the neck by a sniper. It still bears his blood and a bullet-hole.

A trio of sublime stamp collections

1869 Pictorial Issue, Invert, 15 cents, 15c, stamps, philately, collecting, United States

The 1869 15c Invert – valued at a cool $1.2m

On October 9-10, Robert A Siegel will offer a trio of astonishing US stamp collections, including the Dr Irvin Heimburger Collection of 1869 Pictorial Issues and the Beverly Hills Collection of US Inverts.

While out of the reach of most of us (few will have a spare million or so lying around), the stamps are a brilliant ogling opportunity for those aiming for the top. Some of the finest offered for decades, the catalogues alone are worth a look – if you can deal with the jealousy!

Of course, if none of these take your fancy, there’s sure to be something to suit your tastes in our online store.

by Joe


Weird Anglo Saxon grave marker found in the garage of a modest house

This strange Anglo Saxon grave marker was found in a garage, “partially obscured by cardboard boxes and garden tools”, according to Duke’s Auctioneers.

The waisted stone grave marker still features its original carvings: a haloed Celtic cross, apparently, as well as a patterned panel. It will auction on August 1.


Limited edition Goya prints and the truth about investing in collectibles

Leafing though the catalogue for Swann Galleries’ Old Master Through Modern Prints Sale, I came across 14 etchings by 18th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Circa 1799-1825, the black and white images remain as intense and compelling as they must have seemed 200 years ago, as the ink was drying on the page.


My favourite Goya etching, “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”, was among the 14 images on offer.  Goya writes of “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” in Los Caprichos: “Fortune maltreats those who court her. Efforts to rise she rewards with hot air and those who have risen she punishes with downfall.”

The print from the Los Capichos series depicts the artist asleep at his desk. The owls are thought to be symbols of folly, the bats, ignorance, and the cats, witchcraft.

Thinking about collectible prints, and in particular how to profit from purchasing collectible prints, somehow led me back to this quotation. “Fortune maltreats those who court her.” Of course, Goya’s intended meaning has nothing to do with investing in limited edition art works and photographic prints, but the dictum struck a chord nonetheless.

As a potential investor, the biggest mistake you can make is purchasing items that ought to be pleasurable, that out to excite a passionate response, solely for profit.

While these Goya etchings are likely to increase in value, it would be a shame if they were purchased for that reason alone.

The best advice I can think of? Buy the very best you can afford and only what you love. You never know, if, when you come to sell your collection, enough people love it too, you might just make a fortune.


P.S. Swann Galleries’ Old Master Through Modern Prints Sale takes place on May 1.

Poll: Who is your favourite TV antiques expert?

It’s the poll that has the television celebrities quaking in their boots.

Now and for all time, we’re going to find out who is the most popular British TV antiques expert.

I know who I’m voting for…


Diane Arbus’ photography is more in demand than ever…

A rare artist’s print of Diane Arbus’ sensational, 1966 photograph Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen sold for $602,500 in New York on Tuesday (April 2).


Acquired directly from Arbus, who tended to concentrate her creative energies on the more freakish, deviant and surreal aspects of American life, the silver gelatine print brought a 173.9% increase on its $220,000 estimate, justifiably leading Phillips’ latest photography auction.

The price represents a new auction record for Arbus’ work.

In 1967 Arbus acknowledged: “In some societies twins are taboo, an aberration.”

“I thought how ordinary is a charming pair of twins.”

Arbus presents her twins in a manner which is at once endearing and unsettling. While the pair’s likeness is emphasized by their identical hairstyles and party dresses, a number of discrete and crucial differences (gaze, smile, stance) reveal two very distinct personalities.

Arbus biographer Patricia Bosworth identified the photographer’s ability to depict the “freakishness in normalcy and the normalcy in freakishness”. Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen epitomises such bifocal proclivities; remaining among her most recognised and celebrated snapshots.

An online auction of 41 lesser known Diane Arbus prints is currently underway at Christie’s (March 29 – April 12), while here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we too have a number of art and photography treasures in stock.

African Americana at Swann Auction Galleries

Swann Galleries’ forthcoming auction of African Americana looks set to thrill collectors. With both Spielberg’s Lincoln and Tarantino’s Django Unchained rapidly accruing plaudits; the sale’s contents perfectly reflect the zeitgeist, with items relating to slavery, abolition, civil war and reconstruction all garnering intense interest.


An extraordinary collection of 19th century photographs featuring America’s Buffalo Soldiers is expected to command some of the highest bids on March 21, while ephemera, art and advertising from the same period shines a light on both progress and prejudice.

The 20th century is equally well represented in the auction, with items relating to the Black Panthers, and to the Civil Rights movement more generally, evidencing the prolonged struggle for equality that coloured American politics throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

These are items which are not merely valuable in terms of monetary worth, but in terms of their inherent historical, cultural and political significance.

With interest in African Americana arguably at an all time high, this could be a sale to watch.

Che Guevara vs Fidel Castro – the PFC Auctions showdown

There are just four hours left to bid over at PFC Auctions.

We’ve all given you our favourite lots in the sale, with plenty of choice on what to spend your hard earned money on. But, as we enter the final moments of the sale, an interesting rivalry has arisen…

Former comrades Che Guevara and Fidel Castro are going head to head in a race to see the biggest bids.

Fidel,Castro,signed,photo,autograph,auction,memorabilia,for sale,

The iconic Che Guevara has long been a popular figure for collectors. In fact, I’m almost certain that, at some point, you have owned something with his silhouetted face on…

Fidel Castro on the other hand, has lost what little support he had over the years. Yet, as his grip on Cuba weakens, the market for his memorabilia has strengthened.

The PFC40 Autograph Index serves as a testament to this, with Fidel’s standing as the world’s most valuable living signature in 2012 (next to Nelson Mandela, that is).

In the auction, Castro’s signature on a poster of recognition is selling for £531 ($803), while an autographed letter from Guevara has raised £500 ($756) – the ailing leader looks to be winning.

Yet Guevara’s enduring popularity has seen him throw off all competition, with a £1,265 ($1,913) bid seen by a Cuban $6m bond signed by the man himself.

I’m sure when Castro is no longer with us, the tables will turn. Take advantage of these prices while you still can.


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