Human stories intrigue bidders and boost prices at auction

Tennants Auctioneers’ Militaria & Ethnographica sale on 9th August proved that it is often the human stories behind the objects that draw in buyers at auction. In a particularly buoyant and well attended sale it was those lots with added provenance and history that attracted the most attention.

One of the highlights of the sale was a private family collection of late 19th century and early 20th century military uniforms and military accoutrements relating to the Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry, the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and the Duke of Lancashire’s Own 3rd Lancashire Militia. The stand-out lot from the collection, and the top lot of the sale, was a comprehensive and unusually complete early 20th Century uniform that belonged to Major G O Sandys of the Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry. A full length oil portrait of Major Sandys wearing the uniform was recently sold at Tennants. After competitive bidding, this rare uniform was sold to a telephone bidder for £8,500 against an estimate of £2,000-3,000.

Oonagh Drage, Militaria Specialist at Tennants Auctioneers said of the collection ‘It is so unusual to see such a complete and extensive collection of uniforms from one family. The uniforms had been packed in their original metal trunks, and each item was carefully wrapped in tissue paper.’

Also selling very strongly were medals that were sold along with extra material relating to the recipients of the medals. Of particular note were a group of First World War Medals awarded to Sgt. S H Streeter of the Queen’s Regiment, which were sold together with a set of miniatures and Streeter’s Officer’s Record of Service, photographs of him in his uniform and further related ephemera. The fascinating photographs and comprehensive material helped these medals sell well over the £300-500 estimate to reach a hammer price of £3,600.

Elsewhere in the sale strong results were achieved for a 17th century Half Suit of Armour (Sold for £5,500), and a Tsonga Carved Wood Headrest (sold for £4,500). Also catching the attention of bidders was a lot worthy of 007 himself – a Special Operations Executive ‘Assassin’s’ Pen Dagger – which sold for £1,300 against an estimate of £150-200.

The sale resulted in a total hammer price of £175,550 with 90% of the 557 lots sold.

We are currently accepting lots for the next sale of Militaria and Ethnographica on 13th December, please contact us on 01969 623780 or for details.

Full results are available here

A Comprehensive Early 20th Century Uniform to Major G O Sandys, Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry – Sold for £8,500
A First World War Group of Four Medals awarded to Sgt. S H Streeter, alongside the officers record of service and photographs – Sold for £3,600
(top left) A Special Operations Executive ‘Assassin’s’ Pen Dagger – Sold for £1,300