Angus Council was rightly cock-a-hoop at the discovery near Carnoustie of a Bronze Age spearhead with a gold socket at the end of its shaft. The weapon is one of only five gold-bound spears to have been found in Britain and Ireland.
Many families keep grandad’s silver pocket watch in a bottom drawer. Alas, having fallen out of fashion, these once-treasured heirlooms often face a fate of being melted for scrap.
I welcome Rosebery’s Auctions of London to this column for the first time, as I have dipped into their summer antiques sale for a little item which I cannot recall seeing previously.
A rare Jacobean mourning ring in memory of a five-times Dundee provost is expected to sell for hundreds of pounds in London this week.
The only stand-alone Medieval Museum I have seen is in Waterford, Ireland.
Tea was once a luxury. Its price, heavily taxed, placed it beyond all but the well-to-do. The Female Spectator in 1745 declared that the tea table “costs more to support than would maintain two children and a nurse.”
From the late 1700s, venture capitalists took advantage of Dundee’s outstanding location for Baltic trade. Shipping records show regular connections to Archangel for flax from the growing areas north of Moscow, large imports from St Petersburg when the White Sea was frozen, and quantities of cheaper flax from Latvia and Estonia, shipped through Riga.
THERE’S RARE and there’s special. So when Glasgow auctioneers McTear’s described an 18th century 18 carat gold key wind pocket watch as rare, they weren’t fibbing. Key wound watches from anywhere in the 1700s are uncommon.
We could argue all day about the world’s rarest book. Audubon’s Birds of America tends to fetch mega-money. A copy was sold by Christie’s New York on June 14 for £6.24 million, and even that was not its auction record. But if a first of a Shakespeare first folio came up…who knows?
Sold by French auction house Thierry de Maigret in Paris last month was a striking 16th Century men’s leather doublet, or in their words, ‘très rare pourpoint de gentilhomme en chamois brodé, France, vers 1580-1600’.