Tag Archives: auction

eBay Excitement!

I dropped Julia off at work etc…

(You can probably write that bit of the post for me.)

…turned on the computer, which refused to cooperate.

So I turned on the other computer and set to work. I had most of the parcels packed before anyone else arrive, at which point we had a look at the computer again, interrogated the internet and found that the pattern of pulsing lights indicate a problem with the power supply. This is what happens when you work with old, second-hand equipment.

However, this wasn’t the excitement.

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion & leaflet

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion & leaflet

We had a very nice horse medallion in auction on eBay. When we first put it on we had an email from somebody asking if they could buy it there and then, which is generally a good sign. We, of course refused, because we don’t do that – it is unfair to other bidders and it drives me mad when it happens. But partly it’s due to the fact that they never want to offer enough – they are just trying to avoid competing with others. Weonce turned down an offer of £250 for something that eventually sold for £75, but generally we don’t lose out, and we keep our integrity.

Normally, however, we turn down the offers and the bids keep rolling in.

On Saturday it had been around £50, by this morning it was £150 and by lunchtime it had climbed to £250.

Things were looking good.

It is, to be fair an exceptional medallion. The horse is well-modelled, in what I consider to be classic Chinese style, the lettering is high and crisp and the whole thing just oozed quality. Research indicates that the horse is the Flying Horse of Gansu. I knew the sculpture, but until then I didn’t know the name or the story. It was exhibited around the world in the 1970s but subsequent legislation prevents it from being taken outside mainland China.

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion - obverse

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion – obverse

It came in the original box with paperwork and was made by Toye, Kenning and Spencer, who are one of the classic medallists. Even so, this was probably the best of their work I have ever seen.

In addition, it had a beautiful coloured tone where the silver had oxidised and was one of a limited run of just 2,000 medals. (Dealer’s note – when it enhances a medallion, or you are selling you call it tone or patina, when it is unpleasant, or when you are buying, you call it tarnish.)

Finally, the icing on the cake, it was to commemorate the Chinese Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1973. The Chinese love good quality medallions, and they also like to buy items which have links to Chinese culture.so all in all we were hoping for great things.

The bidder who had made the running all week was finally outbid at £305 with an hour to go. There was a flurry of bidding which took it up close to £380 with eight minutes to go, but as I said, whilst sitting on the edge of my seat, the serious bidders don’t bid with eight minutes to go.

Serious bidders, like me, use automated auction sniper programmes which bid with only seconds remaining.

Sure enough, as the sale closed, there was a sudden rise in price and the screen faded. That’s when they transfer the details from being an auction to being sold. It is slightly annoying as a seller when this happens. It doesn’t seem to happen when you are a buyer  – the numbers may whizz round but you don’t have to change screens to find them again.

Final price – £511.

Quite an exciting day.

After that we might be able to afford the repairs to my computer.

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion -reverse

Flying Horse of Gansu medallion – reverse

A Leisurely Second Post

I’m trying a post from the living room while watching TV. It’s not as efficient as sitting at the dining room table typing but it’s warmer and more companionable. It’s also slower, as the netbook is getting on a bit. I sometimes think that if we opened it up we would find it was put together using mahogany and brass. There’s also a lurking suspicion that my wireless signal isn’t pulling its weight. In my imagination it simply drops out of the router and saunters across to the netbook in the next room like a sulky teenager.

We are still getting orders for 1973 50p coins, as nostalgia cuts in. We did have our Brexit 50p coins from the Royal Mint earlier in the week but I forgot to take a picture. They are unimpressive and, on dull-coloured cards, look even worse. I forgot to take a photograph, but you can see one here. If you think it lacks style and looks like it was knocked out by a half-wit with a computer I would agree with you.

However, when you look at some recent designs like this one and the Olympic commemorative, it could have been a lot worse. Our coins are becoming a pitiful joke.

On 20/02/2020 the Bank of England launched the new £20 note. It is another in the polymer (plastic) series, which still isn’t exactly popular. We haven’t seen one yet but they will no doubt work their way into circulation in the next week or two.

The old ones are to be composted and used as soil improver.

And that, I think, is a natural end to the post, apart from a link to a coming auction. It’s an auction of the low numbers of the new £20 note. The very early ones go to the Queen and various institutions, and the estimates on these show how much a mad collector will pay for a low number.

 

 

 

Lottery Winner!

I won the lottery today, or, to be more accurate, I remembered to check my two-week-old ticket, and promptly invested the win in two more tickets. I even have 30 pence left over to treat Julia. I may buy her a stamp.

If tonight’s ticket comes up I will buy her some flowers to go with it. However, based on past experience, I won’t win tomorrow. I rarely win, which is probably part of the definition of lottery – losers buying tickets in the hope of solving life’s problems.

I may buy some flowers even if I lose, because I had a reasonably successful day at auction yesterday and have to explain why we will be eating a lot of plain, meat-free food for the rest of the month.

In work terms it was a dull day, just four parcels to send and a pile of coins and low grade medallions to enter on eBay.

I would show you some pictures, but I left the camera at work, so there won’t be any  photos until tomorrow.

There are some interesting developments in the garden at the moment with Great Tits (as per header picture) and blue tits being engaged in unseemly behaviour with much calling and fluttering. They have also been seen with feathers and moss in their beaks. We expect that several nestboxes will be occupied in the next couple of weeks.

 

Not the Worst Day I’ve Had

It’s been a lovely Spring day today, I’m told. I didn’t see much of it until 4.00. It was pleasant enough, but slightly frustrating to have spent the rest of it in a room with no windows.

The day was mainly quiet, as the customers had better things to do. This was unfortunate as it gave the boss time to think about making improvements to the stock control system. There are just three problems – they weren’t improvements, there is no control and we don’t have a system.

One of the jobs I ended up with was adding four items to a pre-existing list. Seemed simple enough but took half an hour and a re-write. I will say no more.

There was a bit of excitement late on when two auctions ended. We had a trench art love token made from an Indian rupee, stamped “Mesopotamia”, “Alice” and “1918”.

 

It’s a bit crude, but I’m not sure I could do any better. I’m sure Alice appreciated it. I hope the maker got home uninjured. Don’t be fooled by the photo, it’s only about an inch and a quarter across in real life.

The other item was a silk handkerchief brought home by a member of the 8th Army. It’s a bit of a relic, and it’s falling apart, but several people obviously appreciated it as a piece of history.

The central arch on the handkerchief is Marble Arch, or the Arch of the Philaeni, a symbol of Italy’s growing power in North Africa. It appears on many photographs from the time and even on a medal. Eventually, it was demolished by the Gaddafi regime in 1973.

It might not have been the best of days I’ve had at work, but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I’ve had days that involved freezing temperatures and tons of poultry manure so a day messing about with a computer is like a luxury spa break to me.

Auctioneers, Bureaucracy and Modern Life

I’m gearing up for some serious collecting, and part of his involves getting ready to bid at auction.

Last week I registered with one I’ve never dealt with before, sent in a couple of bids and am now waiting to see if I’ve been successful. If I am the winning bidder I will pay by debit card and they will send me the goods. It’s old-fashioned. It’s simple. And it’s easy to stay calm during the process, apart from a low level of excitement about the hunt.

This week I sent off a so-called registration form for another auction. I’ve dealt with them before so I listed them as a reference. I also listed one of their trade customers as a reference. You’d have thought that would be sufficient, but it seems not. That’s why I’m in low-level rant mode.

To safeguard them from fraud, and because they say I’m a new customer, I have to provide a copy of my photo ID.

That’s a National ID card (which I don’t have), a passport (which I don’t have) or a photo driving licence. Now, I do have one of those, though in theory there’s no reason why I should have one. Julia still has her green non-photo licence, and somewhere in a drawer, so do I. We moved here 30 years ago when they were the only licences available and we’ve had no legal reason to change them.

I had to change mine simply because it’s impossible to live without photo ID these days. I even needed photo ID to prove my mother’s will.

No, I don’t know why either.

We’ve dealt with the same solicitor for years, they have had, and used, my home address for years, and they have met me face to face. Suddenly we can’t do anything without me showing photo ID.

Anyway, back to auctions. I’m not a new customer. I’ve told them I’m not a new customer. I provided a reference, and I won’t be able to defraud them because they won’t part with the goods until they have payment and…

Somehow I can’t do anything without providing photo ID.

I can’t help feeling that it’s just another example of the stupidity of modern life. My photo ID doesn’t reduce the chance of fraud to the auctioneer. But it does make life more annoying for me, and, by having a photo of my driving licence floating around, it does increase my risk of being the victim of fraud.

I know this because when Cotton Traders had their system hacked we had several attempts at fraudulent transactions made on our cards.

 

 

George Brough’s Superior Cufflinks

I just saw this when looking something up before leaving the house with bags of dirty laundry. Interesting piece of Nottingham history and and a reminder of times when people had staff to do their laundry.

Also a chance to slip a pun in, though it will only be noted by people who are familiar with motorcycles.

Of course, move me back to 1926 and I wouldn’t be the one with the notable gold cufflinks, I’d still have been the one doing the laundry.

The most famous medal in the world

There are probably several contenders for this title. For the purposes of this post I will suggest that the most famous medal in the world is Siegfried Sassoon’s Military Cross. There’s a lot written about Sassoon’s decorations – some people claiming he won a bar to his MC, and others that he was recommended for a DSO and even a VC. Be that as it may, he was given an MC, and, according to the legend, he threw it in the Mersey when he decided to make his protest against the continuation of the war.

I haven’t seen the film Regeneration but I’m told that Sassoon tears the medal from his tunic and throws it in the water.

It’s a good story, though it isn’t true. That’s the trouble with legends, and as they say in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

The novel Regeneration is quite clear that it’s only the tunic ribbon that gets thrown away and in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer Sassoon says:

I ripped the M. C. ribbon off my tunic and threw it into the mouth of the Mersey. Weighted with significance though this action was, it would have felt more conclusive had the ribbon been heavier. As it was, the poor little thing fell weakly on to the water and floated away as though aware of its own futility.

So, what did happen to the medal?

It finally came to light in 2007 when a member of the family went through a trunk in the attic and found the MC in its case, along with an ID disc, a revolver and “some poetry medals”. It was put up for auction “on behalf of the family” with an estimate of £25,000 (about 100 times more than an MC without the Sassoon connection at the time).

However, it seems that not all the family agreed and it was withdrawn from the sale, later turning up with his Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in the Museum of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

In case you find it off-putting to discuss fame and bravery in terms of cash, don’t. As an ex-antiques dealer I can tell you nobody else does. In fact, many of the recipients sell their own medals. As the links show, Sassoon wasn’t much bothered about his medals, and apparently told the family to sell them.

He never bothered to claim his campaign medals, which were eventually claimed by his son. They were duly put up for auction with his CBE and made £4,375 despite the fact he was dead before the campaign medals were issued so they had no personal link to him. Again, this would be about 100 times more than you’d normally expect.

If you think that’s a lot, how about his hockey medal? It was sold with the final contents of Heytesbury House (after the building itself had been sold) and then sold again in 2012 for £880.

I could go on. In fact I’ve probably gone on too long anyway.

There are plenty of catalogues of around relating to sales of Sassoon’s property (he seems to have had a lot of stuff) if you search for them, including his Point to Point Cups and hunting coats – Wooley and Wallis 27th October 2010 if you’re interested. (I just had a look through their last militaria sale and see they recently sold Lord Kitchener’s tea cosy for £600).

Just one final note – when Cambridge University bought his papers, seven boxes of them, they paid £1.25 million. That really is a lot of money for the sort of stuff Julia makes me throw away.