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Bang on the money with 'notable' investment

December 2023

The antiques experts at Greenslade Taylor Hunt are often asked by interested collectors what they should invest in and, of course, there are no easy answers.

You could however draw inspiration from one client’s recent experience. Back in 1986 they purchased an old white £5 note (dating from 1919) for £14. They entered it in one of Greenslade Taylor Hunt’s specialist sales this December where it went for £1,400. That’s not a bad return by anyone’s reckoning. 

It was not the only bit of currency that proved popular during two days of sales at The Octagon Salerooms, East Reach, Taunton.

A Victoria (1837-1901) jubilee coinage specimen part set, from 1897, which was missing two pounds, but still comprised five pounds; a sovereign; half sovereign; a crown; half-crown; double florin; two florins; shilling; sixpence; and threepence, went for £2,300.

Continuing the monetary-theme a George II guinea from 1759 sold for £800.

Undoubtedly the joy of the saleroom is the unusual and quirky items that a long-established auction house can attract.

Two wicker-clad flagons of rum - part of the final batch intended for distribution to sailors of the Royal Navy before the traditional daily ‘grog’ ration was discontinued summed this up perfectly. 

The famous piped call of ‘Up Spirits’ was heard for the last time on 31st July 1970: a date mournfully remembered throughout the service as ‘Black Tot Day’. They sold for a glass raising £2,800 at GTH.

A bronze study of a head by Indian sculptor Meera Mukherjee (1923-1998) which was gifted to the vendor’s parents by the artist when they lived in India in the 1960s and ‘70s sold for £1,100.

An enthusiast was able to snap up a Victoria automatic improved knitting machine, dismantled for restoration, for £500.

While claims that stamp collecting is a dying art seemed off beam at the sale where a number of sets saw brisk interest.

Traditionally viewed as an old-fashioned pursuit the Instagram age has given this hobby a new lease of life as younger collectors catch-on to the beauty and variety of these seemingly mundane everyday items.

Prices of note included £500 for a signed cover collection of the ‘Dambusters’ squadron, £480 for a Great Britain Buckingham commemorative cover collection 2004-2019 and £300 for a Great Britain commemorative collection, circa 2010-2015 featuring classic children’s tv characters including Bagpuss and Mr Ben.

Once again interest in Oriental items remained strong. A Chinese scroll, probably 19th Century, black ink and gouache, depicting elders and others in a landscape setting, went for £450 despite a few worm holes. Meanwhile a couple of books of Far East interest sold for £300.

As 2023 draws to a close, preparations are well in hand for the antiques department’s move to larger and more easily accessible premises at Sedgemoor Auction Centre, Junction 24, North Petherton in the New Year.

This strategic move promises to herald an exciting new chapter for 2024 and beyond for the highly experienced team. The first sale to kick off the New Year will be the antiques and interiors sale on January 11.



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