Right, there is no way on earth that I am going to be able to do today’s auction justice. This is partly because I am tired (I had to get up at 5.45 am to go to Stonehenge, don’t ask) and partly because it is tomorrow, but mainly because it is just such a vast, sprawling and wonderful beast that it would be impossible to cover all the highlights in one blog post. So this is just a taster, and you really do have to go and look at the catalogue yourself.
The auction in question is the posthumous sale of the collection of Bob Date, who was a dealer in books and ephemera, and clearly blessed with exceptional taste. Along with the collecting gene, clearly, as there is tons of the stuff.
How do I know he had good taste? Well he liked Barnett Freedman, to start with.
But there’s so much more than just catalogues. How about an accordion folded, peepshow diorama?
Or perhaps an entire archive of more than a hundred items of almost limitless Freedman glory?
And there are also posters too, and not just by Freedman either, although he is of course represented.
And not just by the known posters either. This – which I assume is for the Festival of Britain – is fantastic. If somewhat large.
And there’s plenty of posters by other artists too, scattered throughout the tail end of the auction.
And not just posters, but books about posters too, whole lots of them. And books about canals, and trains, and architecture, and books of designs for the Curwen Press. And then there’s the ephemera, which is here in industrial quantities. You could probably start up as a dealer just by buying one lot like this.
A collection of approx. five hundred and forty items, to include: labels; advertising; book plates; packaging; a few postcards; etc., 19th century to modern, largely in fine condition. (Approx. 540)
That’s lot 98, if you’re interested, estimated at £200-300. Although I have no idea how the values will work out tomorrow, it really could go either way. Possibly these are wild under-estimates and there will be a crazed frenzy of buying the like of which I have not seen for a while. Equally, it could go the way of Morphets, and people will be so boggled by the sheer volume of stuff for sale that some things will slip by for almost nothing.
I am, obviously, hoping for the latter as there are one or two things we’ve got our eye on, but I have to say I think it’s a pipe dream. Over the last few days, the estimate on one item I’ve been looking at – a Paul Nash lithograph since you ask – has risen from £150-200, to £500-700. Which means we won’t be getting that, or much else either I should think. But watch this space.