Maritime Auction 2023

Published 12th June 2023

By Brian Goodison-Blanks View profile

'If only the policeman on duty in Ledbury on the night of the 15th April in the year 1912 had believed the local cabinet maker, who had been listening to his homemade crystal receiver that the 'Titanic is sinking!'. Then they may have been a very different outcome for those aboard. It sounds implausible, but included in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Maritime sale on the 20th June is a crystal receiver (lot 229) built by Ledbury cabinet maker George Leadbetter, on it is reported that he heard the Titanic's 'SOS' signal.  An incredible piece of  history with excellent provenance and documentation, it should easily attract international interest with a pre- sale estimate of £6000-£8000.

Also included in the auction is a 17th century portrait of Vice-Admiral  James Peacock, circa 1651 (lot 82) Estimate £15,000-£25,000. A merchant and sea captain from Ipswich, Peacock distinguished himself during the first Anglo-Dutch War (1652-1654) and In 1650-1, Peacock was awarded, by the Council of State, a gold medal to the value of £50 for his services. He is seen wearing the medal in the portrait which dates the painting, as he subsequently died in action at the Battle of Scheveningen in 1653. Passed down through the family, this painting has been in the family home in Torquay for many decades. Perhaps the only known portrait to exist of an eminent pre-Nelson era Admiral it is another remarkable piece of history.

Items in the auction cover the period from the 17th century through to the 20th century and include such  fascinating piece like the ship's bell from the Royal Navy Blackwood-class anti-submarine frigate HMS 'Malcolm (Lot 146) Estimate £1800-£2200.  The decorative  metalwork to the lock mechanism of the 17th century German iron strong box or 'Armada' chest (lot 194) Estimate £800-£1000, makes it a very collectable item, as  does the rare WWII Kriegsmarine life preserver for the Type VIIC Training U-boat 351 (lot 364) Estimate £300-£400.  Though many may find the strange names  to some familiar places on the pair of pair of 18th century needlework maps worked by Eliza Seccombe, 1775, (Lot 280) Estimate £400-£600 appealing.

For more information please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks'

Subscribe to catalogue alerts & news

Select your interests