Wednesday, 28 September 2011

History is saved from a dumpster

A PIECE of Tyneside history has been saved after being pulled from a rubbish skip.

Precious Brian Bateman from Boldon Auction Galleries holding the Shipyard Visitor Book
This leather-bound book records the ships built at a shipyard along with 170 launches and the VIPs who attended them.

They were built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson at the Neptune Yard on the Tyne from 1910 to 1963.

At each launch the yard’s top brass and visiting dignitaries have signed the book, which also contains watercolour paintings of flags and crests of the vessels.

Now, Tyne Wear Archives and Museums has bought the book for £310 after it was put up for sale at Boldon Auction Galleries in South Tyneside.

It joins a similar visitors’ book which TWAM owns from the neighbouring Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend.

The Neptune Yard book was sent for auction by Trevor Ashman, who lives in Warkworth and served in the merchant navy before a career of more than 30 years in the fire service. He said: “It is a remarkable, one-off book which is an important piece of North East history. It was found in a skip by a man I knew when the Neptune Yard closed.

“Because of my time in the merchant navy I am interested in the sea and maritime items and I bought it from him.

“It contains the signatures of local and national dignitaries from admirals to Lords and Ladies.”

One of the signatures is of Susan Mary Auld – born Susan Denham Christie in Tynemouth – who was the first woman to graduate as a naval architect from Durham University and designed battleships for the Royal Navy and floating vessels used to land Allied troops on D-Day in 1944.

In 1903 Swan Hunter merged with the Wigham Richardson yard specifically to bid for the prestigious contract to build the liner Mauretania.

Visitor books were kept for both the Swans and Wigham yards.

Ian Whitehead, keeper of maritime history at TWAM, said: “The book is a significant piece of Tyne shipbuilding history and it is really good that we now have the visitor books from both yards.

“The launch pages were signed by the top people at the yards and the VIPs who attended which is valuable archival information and also gives you the feel for what happened on the day.

“The company also obviously had somebody who could do the watercolour paintings which illustrate the pages.”

The Neptune Yard launch page for the MS Bamburgh Castle in 1959 is decorated with a painting of the castle and beach, while a Roman soldier illustrates the launch of the Border Sentinel in 1955.

Launches of locally-named ships include the SS Alnwick in 1928, and the SS Craster in 1935.

Published in the Evening Chronicle Tuesday 27th September 2011, written by Tony Henderson

Monday, 26 September 2011

Flog It! success

We had another resoundingly successful day at our Fine Art and Antique auction on Wednesday 21st September - despite the fact that we had no broadband coverage at all and had to run the live online sale via telephone to in London!

One of the Flog It! experts Anita Manning at the Alnwick Valuation Day

The team from Flog It!  were filming the sale after an excellent valuation day at Alnwick at the beginning of August. 

We were selling over 30 lots for the program and all but one sold with most fetching higher prices than anticipated. Particularly good lots included Lot 200, a collection of 11 Stevengraph silk woven pictures of different sporting events which were in excellent condition and had been estimated to fetch between £120-180 but were so popular that the hammer finally fell at £1250;

lot 285, a pair of pistols marked A F Gerding and estimated at £300-400 which sold to a telephone bidder for £1100

and lot 300, a gold Dunhill Cartier lighter that illustrated how much gold prices have risen recently by selling for £460.

The entire BBC crew, lead by the extremely charming Paul Martin, were a pleasure to work with and the day ran incredibly smoothly.  The programmes made from the day's filming are expected to be screened in about 6 months but the BBC will let us know exact dates nearer the time so we will make sure that we announce it in plenty of time!

Other bestsellers included Lot 1, a 148cc Lambretta registered in 1959 which generated a lot of interest before selling for £2100

and lot 221, a Chinese incised Celadon vase, estimated to fetch between £3000-5000 that finally sold to an overseas bidder for £8800.

And one of our most interesting lots, a box containing a piece of bunting, a small piece of leather strap and a piece of cord with a papers stating that they came from the British Antarctic Expedition, really caught the bidders' imagination and sold for £200.

We are now accepting entries for our next Fine Art and Antique Auction to be held on Wednesday 14th December.  Our next General Sale will be held on Wednesday 5th October with an Open Valuation Day on Friday 7th October between 10-12 and 2-4.

Monday, 12 September 2011

From the Borders to Boldon

Antiques Road Trip will be broadcast on Wednesday 14th September at 5.15pm on BBC2. (Series 3, Episode 3 of 30)

Anita Manning and Mark Stacey's antique hunt takes them from the Scottish borders to Boldon Auction Galleries in an episode that was filmed in the early Summer.

Antiques Road Trip pairs up some of Britain’s best loved antiques experts and sends them on a road trip across the UK in a selection of beautiful classic cars. Along the way, they compete with each other to make the most money buying and selling antiques, continually trading up so that they increase their profits each time they sell at auction. While searching for antiques to sell, they paint a picture of Britain as they travel through stunning landscape.

At the end of every week the expert who has traded up best and made the most money will be the winner. The final episode of the series sees all of the experts team up for the final auction where the ultimate series winner is decided.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Our next Fine Art and Antique Sale

We are very much looking forward to our next Antique and Fine Art Sale, to be held on Wednesday 21st September 2011, which has a fantastic selection of over 500 lots including this particularly fine pair of rare Qianlong Chinese bell shaped incense burners estimated to fetch between £15,000-20,000.

The Qianlong Emperor reigned from 1735-1796 and was the fourth Qing Emperor to rule over China. He was a major patron of the arts, and saw himself as an important preserver of Chinese culture.

Each burner is finely decorated with two oval panels depicting mountainous lakeland scenes with pine trees, flowering foliage, farmers and fishermen, against a millefleur gilt background. The undersides are decorated on a turquoise ground with an iron red Qianlong six-character seal mark.

Viewing will be held on Saturday 17th September from 10am-1pm and Tuesday 20th September from 2-6pm.

 Our full catalogue is now available online.