Published 12th May 2016
Once again Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Two Day Auction of Sporting and Collectors items in May 2016 has over 1,200 lots, which will attract a great deal of interest from a wide range of collectors.
Among the selection of antique firearms is a .41 calibre Rimfire double-barrelled over and under Remington Derringer pistol (SC22/97). In excellent condition with much of the original colour to the barrels, it has not suffered from the cracking to the screw mount that this type of pistol is prone to and so should easily reach the upper end of its pre-sale estimate.
The name Derringer automatically conjures images of the Wild West but also included in the sale is a maker that is entwined with the history of the Americas, Samuel Colt. The third pattern Colt Dragoon (SC22/112) was introduced around 1850 and is in good original condition. The matching numbers to the frame and trigger guard will attract collectors in America who will be able to use online bidding during the sale.
The craftsmanship of antique weapons is always a pleasure to see with the range of swords included in the auction. Perhaps the highlight of this section of the sale is the 17th century Turkish Kilij (SC22/201) with its gold inlaid decoration to the blade and the turquoise and coral decorated scabbard. Many people often think that older pieces do not have the quality of latter examples, but in truth in the 17th century before mechanisation of manufacturing processes, craftsmen were at a pinnacle of their work using traditional hand work. The pre-sale estimate for the Kilij of £5,000-£8,000 is quite simply a reflection of the quality of this piece.
The strength of the militaria and medal market continues to challenge the old establishment of ceramics and furniture as the auction world's most popular category. Considering the interest and rise in values of medals over the past few years, this section again has several highlights.
Given what we know of the conditions of the battlefields during WWI, it is quite something to understand the bravery of those who won the Military Cross (SC22/353), but to subsequently win a further two bars for the MC is quite remarkable. This is precisely what Major Daniel Douglas Pole-Evans, Royal Field Artillery, did during The Great War.
War creates unprecedented situations and under these circumstances brings out the most remarkable characters and bravery from people such as Flight Lieutenant Gerald R Haggas AFC who was awarded the Air Force Cross (SC22/318) and local characters like Lieutenant Col Terrence 'Sailor' Kitcat CBE DSO MC (SC22/360). That these medals groups are sought after by collectors is perhaps a mark of respect for their achievements and adds yet another chapter to their legacy.
Memories of childhood are always prevalent when cataloguing the collectors' sale and it is easy to see why. For those of us who grew up looking in toy shop windows at Dinky cars, train sets and Britains figures, we were of a generation that used their imagination to create new and fantastic worlds, rather than have them zapped into us by a games consul. The live steam trains like the 5 inch gauge example (SC22/1103) and the early Carette Ramsbottom configuration train (SC22/1102) can still immerse you in the age of steam, while the Mekon mask (SC22/1200) can send you off into space in an instant.
There are plenty of items from which to choose a favourite in the sale, but for me one of the most amusing are the Britains, Lambeth Walk Dancing Couple for the London musical 'Me and My Girl'. Issued in 1939 only, it is rare to find a set amongst a box of soldiers, but it's even rarer to find two sets (SC22/869 and SC22/870). It's going to be hard not to start singing from the rostrum!