The fine art of collecting collectibles

Whyte’s eclectic sale features stamps, photos of Bing Crosby and unused tram tickets

 

Antiques auctions routinely include a selection of items which are described as “collectibles”. Some are mainstream and relatively popular including coins and banknotes, autographs, guns and uniforms, stamps, postcards and sporting and entertainment memorabilia. But some lots defy categorisation because people can – and do – collect pretty much everything.

Whyte’s in Dublin is holding its annual auction entitled “The Eclectic Collector” next Saturday, May 14th, in the Freemasons’ Hall, 17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2 starting at 1pm. The 465 lots will go on view, in advance, at Whyte’s galleries at 38 Molesworth Street from 10am on Wednesday (May 11th).

Among a selection of Irish stamps in the sale is Lot 397, “an unused two penny stamp issued in 1935 estimated at a whopping €8,000-€10,000. Why such a high price? Whyte’s head of collectibles Stuart Purcell said while the stamp looks very similar to the regular two penny stamp sold at Irish post offices from 1922 to 1968, it has a crucial difference “in that it is not perforated all around – two vertical sides are imperforate (straight-edged)”.

This experimental version was specially created for use in stamp affixing machines – mainly used by small charities and schools – in the 1930s. The stamp is very rare unlike the ordinary “tuppeny” stamp, issued in the tens of millions, which is worth just a few cents.

Among the banknotes is Lot 325, a twenty pound “Lady Lavery” note issued by the Central Bank of Ireland in 1944 which is estimated at €3,000-€4,000 because it bears a “War Code” – a special random overprint designed to thwart forgers – used during the second World War.

Lot 163 has appeal for both collectors of entertainment and sporting memorabilia and consists of six unpublished photographs of Bing Crosby playing golf during a charity event at the Woodbrook Golf Club near Bray, Co Wicklow, in September 1961.

Extremely rare

David ShanksIrish Times

Crosby was one of the most famous American singers and actors of the 20th century – best known for the song “White Christmas” – and often visited Ireland, most famously in 1965 when Meadow Court, a horse he co-owned, won the Irish Derby at the Curragh.

More traditional sporting items include Lot 153, an “extremely rare” Wexford football All-Ireland gold medal from 1893, estimated at €5,000-€7,000 and Lot 156, a programme and ticket from the 1948 Ireland vs Wales international rugby match at Ravenhill, when Ireland beat Wales 6-3 to win the Grand Slam (€250-€350).

Among the entertainment memorabilia is Lot 125, a court document dated 1775 that “proves” Elvis Presley’s ancestor William Presley was a native of Co Wicklow and emigrated to the United States thereby explaining, according to Whyte’s, “why Elvis was born in America and not Wicklow”. (€500-€700).

Grumpy

Vanity Fair

“The party comprised William Burridge (85), his wife Elizabeth, their daughter Justina and her husband Robert Clarke, and granddaughters Muriel (14) and Kathleen (12). News of the Rising filtered through to Howth during the course of the day. Learning that all trains were cancelled, the family walked home to South Circular Road, 18 miles away.

They decided to keep “the partially used tickets as mementoes”. They are estimated at €250-€300.

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