Sunday 25 February 2018

London Lots - on footballers and enigmas

Enigma machine
Enigma machine
Norman Hunter

The Leeds football favourite Norman Hunter sold his personal collection of memorabilia at, appropriately enough, the Norman Hunter Suite, Elland Road, United's Stadium and covered Leeds Utd 1962-76 and England 1965-74.

The highlights, predictably, centred on his achievements in the late 1960s/early 1970s when the club enjoyed a golden period, and Hunter's 1968-69 1st Division Championship Winner's Medal which made Stg£8,350.

Another very popular lot was his 1971-72 FA Cup Winner's Medal sold for £11,000 and awarded after Leeds beat Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley on May 6, 1972.

Norman 'Bites yer legs' Hunter played 724 games for Leeds and won 28 caps for England. Hunter said: "loads of people have asked me if I need the money; the answer is no. For me the point is that I am now 70 and if someone else can receive some pleasure and enjoyment from the items then that makes me happy."



German Enigma machines and Swiss singing boxes provided the top prices at a London sale of cameras, scientific and mechanical musical instruments. The two Second World War Enigma machines fetched the highest sums.

Offered first was a 1944 three-rotor German example by Heimsoeth & Rinke which came complete with its original I, III and V rotors. As all machines could use the interchangeable wheels from any Enigma, it is unusual to find a matching set of wheels with the same serial number as the Enigma. It sold for £46,000.

Trumping this price, however, was the other three-rotor German Enigma machine which dated to c.1940-41. This earlier example had survived in slightly better overall condition, although some of the serial numbers had been defaced. It sold at £48,000.

Other prices at this sale included £28,000 for a silver and enamel singing bird box by Jacques Bruguier, c.1835; grand format overture musical box by Nicole Freres, £16,000.

And a 1.5in gilt-brass compendium was dated 1589 and attributed to the instrument-maker Augustine Ryther, the earliest known maker in the Grocer's Company. Only two instruments signed by him are known, and this attribution was based on similarities to a signed compendium in the Science Museum in London. It sold for £12,000.


A double bill of Old Master and 19th century drawings, and modern works a day later, together realised €6.5m for 212 lots. The sales were held at the Drouot auction cooperative in Paris.

The top lot was Jean-Thomas Thibault's (1757-1826) pair of highly detailed watercolour views of the Place de La Concorde, signed and dated 1799, which made €155,000.

These large scale watercolours on paper, now laid on canvas, measured 2ft 1in x 2ft 9in and showed the newly named Parisian space (formerly the Place de La Revolution) from the esplanade of the hotel Saint Florentin with Francois Frederic Lemot's statue of Liberty centre stage.

Another highly detailed work of a couple of decades earlier was Gabriel-Jacques de Saint Aubin's (1724-1780) view of the Pont Neuf and the Quai de La Megisserie, the foreground peopled by market traders engaged in a fight. The 8 x 14in signed work in red chalk, pen and brown wash with white highlights and traces of pencil, had a detailed late 19/early 20 century provenance featuring various appearances at the hotel Drouot and sold for €110,000.

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