Skip To Content

Your privacy is important. Our Cookies Statement explains how we use cookies on this site. You can change their use at any time. You accept them by continuing to use this site. Our Privacy Statement explains how we use and protect your data.


Brian Goodison-Blanks (Joint Head of Collectables and Toys) reflects on some of collectable artefacts that he has encountered in recent years, many of them having been almost forgotten in attics, which prove to be not only fascinating but also valuable.

A photograph from an album documenting the William Scoresby Expeditions 1927 Onwards (MA19/13).

A photograph from an album documenting the William Scoresby Expeditions 1927 Onwards (MA19/13).

While the museums may be closed, as an auctioneer I find that in fact everyone is a curator of their own personal museum at home. Be it either as a collector or someone who has inherited items passed down through each generation, there are fascinating stories behind many items we have at home.

Last year I was privileged to catalogue part of the Antarctic Collection of Francis Edward Davies, ship's carpenter aboard RYS Terra Nova during Sir Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913. Included in the material were a number of personal letters and photographs that provided an insight from aboard ship during the expedition. Francis Davies was also a member of later Polar expeditions and an album of photographs documenting the Discovery II and William Scoresby Expeditions 1927 onwards, containing views aboard ship with frozen decks sold well over estimate for £2,100 (MA19/13).

Black and white photograph of a dancer. Another black and white photograph of a dancer.

A couple of black and white photographs found by a client while clearing their attic that depict a family member who had found fame in 1920s Paris.

Even more recently, sorting through some photographs consigned from a client who had been clearing their attic, some interesting family history came to light. Among the black and white photographs were a number of a young dancer Miss Coral Aster, as well as her original contract for dancing at the Folies-Bergere in 1920. Miss Aster lived in Maida Vale, London and appears to have been quite the superstar in Paris in the early 20th century. She was certainly an eye opener, who'd have thought that great grandma had been a darling of the Paris nightlife!

A George IV 1825 Sovereign (SC30/563) that was part of a box of 'old coins' that
        recently realised over £14,000 for their owner.

A George IV 1825 Sovereign (SC30/563) that was part of a box of 'old coins' that recently realised over £14,000 for their owner.

Many of us may have a box tucked away that hasn't been opened for years. A lady and gentleman who had been given a box of 'Old coins' many years ago, were very happy that they sold in the Collectors auction last month for over £14,000 (SC30/563).

So, if you are sorting through at home you and find something interesting and unusual it is always worth emailing one of the specialists at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Collectables

Social Bookmarks

Please click the following links to flag this article to other people on the Internet.

About the Author

Brian Goodison-BlanksBrian Goodison-Blanks
Collectables and Toys

Brian Goodison-Blanks is the Head of the Maritime and Sporting Department at Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood.

Originally from London, Brian Goodison-Blanks was educated in the South East and Hampshire obtaining an Honours degree in Archaeology, American Studies and Japanese culture from King Alfred’s College, Winchester.

Following a short spell working for Canterbury and Colchester Archaeological Trusts as well as The Ambel Project in Aragon, Northern Spain, he joined a well-respected local auction house in 1995 as a trainee general valuer, rising to Auction Room Manager.

In 2004 Brian joined Hampton & Littlewood with special responsibility for re-introducing the specialist Maritime Sale to the South West after a 15 Year absence. Brian’s interest in country sports has also led him to introduce the annual Sporting sale.