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Bidders Slice Through 800-Lots as Swords Lead the Day...

11th September 2020

With a remarkable selling rate of over 90% and a plethora of strong prices from start to finish, Lawrences’ day-long sale of over 800 lots of Militaria, Coins and Medals was an undoubted success.

Skilful catalogue descriptions that emphasised the lots’ importance ensured that collectors and dealers alike competed eagerly for the vast variety of material on offer. The bidding was almost entirely online and by telephone bids and commission bids in order to protect social distancing practices, but sustained enthusiasm showed the strength of demand for a sale that so exalted the allure of history.

Swords belonging to Marshal of the Royal Air Force The Viscount Trenchard GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO (1873-1956) comprised the Viscount’s own Officer’s Mameluke sword and scabbard, £2,750, a Japanese General’s sword from World War II, £6000 and the Viscount’s Royal Scots Fusiliers sword that took £8,125.

From a good selection of medals, an important and historic Military Cross and Bar Group of six awarded to Captain Canning of The Suffolk Regiment made £3,125, a Royal Berkshire Yeomanry Cavalry helmet made £1500 and a six-shot percussion revolving rifle by Mortimer of London shot to £2,500. Aviators’ watches have become especially sought after in recent years: they combine a strikingly large and bold design with inherent historical significance as they are so immediately associated with endurance and precision. One such watch by Hanhart exceeded hopes of £500 to tick up bids of £2,375.

From the selection of coins and banknotes, five lots deserve mention not least on account of their diversity. A Harold II pax-type penny from the immensely significant year of 1066 tripled hopes of £600 to make £1,900, despite showing forgivable signs of its great age but a George IV £2 gold coin from 1823, more inherently valuable (16g of gold) and a more finely made piece, nonetheless made slightly less at £1,625. A coin mounted Palestinian bridal headdress, adorned with no fewer than 115 coins and worn as a presentation of a bride’s dowry more than doubled hopes of £300 to make £680, whilst two more familiar British £5 notes from the 1950s – a not insubstantial demonstration of wealth for anyone lucky enough to have one in the 1950s – made £150 to the same buyer.

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