Appetite for vintage autographs drives bids for Princess Elizabeth photo to nearly $9K

LONDON — Fraser’s Autographs, in conjunction with Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions, delivered an astounding result in their first live auction in Mayfair on Thursday 5th June 2014. The impressive prices achieved throughout the sale are a clear indication of the appetite for autographed material in the market today.

Dr Philip Best, said of the auction: “Our maiden auction at Bloomsbury House performed outstandingly in all areas, with a sold lot rate exceeding 85%, selling at 140% of the lower

Photo of Princess Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth the II, circa 1942.

Photo of Princess Elizabeth, who became Queen Elizabeth the II, circa 1942.

estimate, proving categorically that there is a strong hunger for autographed material in our Mayfair rooms. I now look forward to our September auction with some excitement.”

The star lot of the auction, selling for $8,791, was a wonderful black and white Cecil Beaton photograph of Princess Elizabeth. Taken in 1942, 11 years before she became Queen, the beautiful portrait is signed “Elizabeth, Colonel 1942”. [Lot 245]

In the ‘Politics and History’ section, an extremely rare New Year’s card From John F Kennedy sold for £3,800 [Lot 141], two photographs of Sir Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine, sold for an impressive £2,200 [Lot 136] and a black and white half-length photograph of Theodore Roosevelt in military uniform, taken in 1898, sold for £1,700, far over its pre-sale estimate of £400 [Lot 139].

One of the key lots in the auction, a unique and very interesting voting Ballot form from the 1903 Papal Conclave, sold for a pre-sale estimate busting £4,000. Accompanied by a ballot paper from Cardinal Svampa this is an important piece of Catholic history and of much interest to religious historians [Lot 128].

In the Arts section, an ABC Television photograph of The Beatles performing early on in their career and signed by all four members of the band fetched £6,000 [Lot 204A]. A delightful “Souvenir of Three Deuces” signed by Charlie Parker and accompanied by a photograph of him with six guests at the famous club fetched £3,000 [Lot 198]. Also realizing an impressive hammer price of £2,200 was a 1980’s Fender Stratocaster signed by B.B. King and Eric Clapton [Lot 205].

Fender Stratocaster

Fender Stratocaster, circa 1980, signed by Eric Clapton and B.B. King.

Finally, further proof of the current appetite for autographs is [Lot 239], a large and important collection of autographs compiled by an employee of Decca Records. It reached a hammer price of £5,000, £3,000 above the high end estimate. Signatures included in the collection are David Bowie, Rolling Stones incl. Brian Jones, Pete Townshend & Keith Moon (5 August 1965), Small Faces (12 August 1965), The Kinks (4 February 1966), Yardbirds (26 February 1966) and Reg Dwight (Elton John, 26 February 1966).

The sale was held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ saleroom in London’s Mayfair.

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