Celebrating the Legacy of Passionate Collectors

Published 15th August 2023

By Lissy Tsigarides View profile

In the captivating world of single-owner auctions, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood has spent the past two decades organizing extraordinary events that showcase the diverse and fascinating collections of dedicated individuals and families. From kitchenalia and furniture to antiquarian books and diving equipment, each auction unveils a tapestry of dedication, passion, and curation that tells a unique and compelling story.

The electric atmosphere during these auctions is palpable, both in the bustling rooms and the frenzied online bidding, offering rare opportunities for enthusiasts to explore and acquire curated assortments of treasures amassed over the lifetimes of devoted collectors. With meticulous and respectful handling, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood’s specialists work closely with the collectors or their estate representatives to carefully examine, research, and catalogue each item, producing beautifully illustrated catalogues that capture the essence of each remarkable collection.

One such unforgettable auction was the Agatha Christie auction in 2006, featuring over 700 items associated with the iconic author’s life at her Devon holiday home. Enthusiasts worldwide were captivated by this unique glimpse into her world. In 2008, the ‘Lenkiewicz - The Studio Sale’ ignited a buying frenzy, with thousands vying to own paintings and studio items directly from the late British painter’s estate, achieving impressive prices and cementing his artistic legacy.

Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood is no stranger to selling more obscure and unique collections, like the Philip Banham Collection in 2019. This exemplary assortment of optical toys and slides, extensively used to illustrate lectures, found new owners eager to preserve this cultural heritage. Likewise, artefacts and archive material from the collection of Francis Edward Charles Davies, a participant in various Polar Expeditions, found a new life through the auction process. Imagine the excitement when the auctioneers found the chart that was originally used to plot the course of the Terra Nova, with the realisation that Captain Robert Falcon Scott had actually stood over the same chart they were holding; it’s probably as close to history as you can get.

Another notable sale is the Mark Lane collection of Medals, Militaria, Vintage Bicycles, and collectibles auctioned in 2021. The assortment’s astonishing variations, including 200 helmets ranging from the recognizable to extremely rare, stirred nostalgia in enthusiasts.

Often cited is the Pardoe Collection, where a valuation request to a property in Exmouth unearthed a unique collection of rare diving equipment that had been carefully curated over years by the passionate diving pioneers. It’s the worlds 4th largest collection of diving helmets and equipment - where else would you get to see such a collection! Beyond the thrill of acquisition, these auctions play a vital role in preserving cultural heritage. With each auction’s final gavel, masterpieces find new homes, and the spirit of passionate collectors lives on in the annals of art history.

The next upcoming single-owner auction at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood is the collection of the Late Donald Collins on the 21st of August, featuring a remarkable assortment of medals and coins. Donald’s “lifetime collection” is uniquely focused on recipients from Devon, particularly Teignmouth and Shaldon, where he lived. His collection includes significant medals from the Crimea, Boer War, and First World War, along with DCM, DSC, and Military Medal groups, among other rarities.

Whether possessing a small or extensive collection of items, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood takes pride in providing the best possible experience for vendors, guiding them through the entire auction process. For advice on your collection or more information, please contact the saleroom, where their specialists will be privileged to assist you.

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