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Maritime Sales - Strong Demand for British Navy under Nelson and Polar Expedition Artefacts

Brian Goodison-Blanks, Head of the Sporting and Maritime Department, notes that demand in maritime and naval artefacts at auction remains strong, with particular interest being focused on the British Naval Fleet under Nelson and Polar Expeditions.

An autograph album containing signatures of crew of the Terra Nova Expedition.

An autograph album containing signatures of the crew of Captain Scott's 1912 Terra Nova Expedition. Sold for £4,350. Our next Maritime Sale will be in June 2013 and already has received several interesting consignments.

As one of the leading regional salerooms in England, Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood are amongst a few select auction houses with specialist departments and one of only two with a dedicated Maritime Sale.

In 2013, the Maritime Sale will return to its original format with an auction at our Honiton saleroom on Wednesday, 12th June 2013.

Interest in Marine artefacts remains strong, especially in two areas: the period of the British Navy under the command of Admiral Nelson and the age of polar expeditions.

The period of the naval fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson is considered by many to be the 'Golden age' of British Naval history.

Mementos made from the timber and copper of HMS Foudroyant and HMS Victory always attract strong bidding in the auction room and on the Internet. Already consigned for the next sale is a small section of decorative carving taken from HMS Victory at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Sections of a ship's timber and copper were often replaced during repairs or conservation and either kept by the craftsmen or made into merchandise to be sold in order to fund preservation.

Though only a small section, demand for any items related to Nelson will no doubt help it achieve its £200-300 estimate in our June 2013 Maritime Sale.

2012 was a momentous year in the history of Polar exploration with the centenary of Captain Scott's fateful expedition. Included among the lots in the Maritime section of our Fine Sale in January 2012 were a number of important pieces from Scott's Expedition.

Victorian Polar Expedition Magic lantern slides. Estimate: £200-250.

Victorian Polar Expedition Magic lantern slides that have already been consigned for auction in our June 2013 Maritime Sale. Estimate: £200-250.

A small box of unassuming books and pictures revealed an autograph album signed by several members of the Terra Nova expedition of 1912. Included within the signatures was that of Edward A Wilson, a formidable character of the period and Scott's confidant.

Wilson perished beside Scott on the return from the North Pole and his exploits captured the imagination of collectors to result in the album selling for £4,350.

Victorian Polar Expedition Magic lantern slides. Estimate: £200-250.

Victorian Polar Expedition Magic lantern slides.
Estimate: £200-250.

Polar exploration material is extremely rare and does not often appear at auction. From the success of the pieces sold earlier in 2012, the next Maritime Sale already includes three late 19th century hand painted Magic Lantern Slides of a Polar expedition. Appealing to a wide range of specialist collectors, the slides should fetch well above their modest £200-250 estimate in June 2013.

For further details on any of the above or to discuss entries for the Maritime Sale, please contact Brian Goodison-Blanks.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Maritime Auctions
  • Marine Artefacts
  • Naval Artefacts
  • Admiral Nelson
  • British Naval History
  • HMS Victory
  • HMS Foudroyant
  • Captain Scott
  • Edward A Wilson
  • Polar Expeditions
  • Magic Lantern Slides
  • Terra Nova Expedition

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