Entries in Auction (9)


Rare Australian Coin Fetches Record Sale Price

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MELBOURNE, Australia) -- One of the first coins ever used as Australian domestic currency was sold this week for the U.S. equivalent of about $508,000, setting a new world record, the auctioneer said.

The price set a record for sales of the rare coin known as the “Holey Dollar,” which was created in the early 1800s.

The auction occuredWednesday in Melbourne, Australia, and the buyer was a private collector from the Australian state of Western Australia, according to a release from Coinworks, the dealer that handled the auction.

The coin was one of the finest specimens of Holey Dollars in existence, Belinda Downie, a numismatics expert and managing director of Coinworks, said in a release.

“This Holey Dollar was created from a Spanish Silver Dollar that had been minted at the Lima Mint in Peru in 1808,” she said.  “Only twenty of the 200 specimens held by private collectors have ties to the Lima Mint.  And this is the absolute finest of them all.”

The previous high sale for a Holey Dollar was made in 2011.  The price was the U.S. equivalent of around $500,000.

According to Coinworks, the Holey Dollar was introduced in 1813 to alleviate a currency crisis in New South Wales, the fledgling colony that would later form part of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Gov. Lachlan Macquarie purchased 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars, then had the coins altered to ensure they would not be taken out of the colony in payment for exports.

A circular disc was removed from the center of each coin and the remaining outer ring stamped with the year and New South Wales issuing authority.  The coin’s value was 5 shillings.  

The inner portion that was punched out of the coin was re-stamped and used as a 15-pence piece.  It was called the 1813 Dump.

The coins were removed from circulation between 1826 and 1829 and melted for their silver.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Diana Photo Mystery Man Revealed

Caren Archive(LONDON) -- The mystery of the young man sitting beside the late Diana Spencer in a photo apparently prohibited it from being published has been solved.

The man in photo is Adam Russell, the great-grandson of former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, and currently a deer farmer in Dorset.

The photo of Lady Diana before she married into the royal family will be up for auction later this month. Besides the identity of the mystery man, the words, “not to be published,” written on the image in grease pencil, intrigued the photo’s owner, Eric Caren of Caren Archive.

Caren had bought images from the former British newspaper, the Daily Mirror.

Reached on the phone in western England, Russell confirmed with ABC News he was the man in the photo, but refused to say any more.

Asked whether he had any additional photos of himself at the time, he replied, “you’ve got one, it was just several years ago… The hair’s a bit shorter, otherwise you’d probably recognize [me].”

According to royal biographer Andrew Morton, the two were just friends.

In Morton’s book, Diana, Her True Story – In Her Own Words, he writes that her friend, Mary-Ann Stewart-Richardson, invited Diana to join her family on their skiing holiday in the French Alps. It was there that Lady Diana and Russell were injured.

Morton said, Russell “always liked Diana but nothing ever happened, in part because he never expressed his desire for her.”

Diana did not attend Oxford but the two apparently kept in touch when they returned to London.

“After the holiday, he went away for a year and when he came back he was told he had competition: the Prince of Wales,” Morton said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


UK Airport Closes; Giant Tag Sale Planned

FIle photo. Hemera/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- The entire contents of Plymouth airport in England will go up for auction this summer.

Plymouth airport opened for business in the 1930s, and was shut down last December after its leaseholders, a property development company called Sutton Harbour Group, said the airport was not economically viable. As advertised on the website of the auctioneers handling the sales, everything from flying school portacabins and runway vehicles to glass partitioning is up for grabs. Sutton Harbour Group will take 25 percent of all auction profits.

Plymouth is a city of 250,000 about three hours southwest of London by car. According to a local group of business owners and residents called VIABLE, the airport served about 125,000 people every year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Slice of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s Wedding Cake Up for Auction -- You can have a piece of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding cake if the price is right.

Days after the royal couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary, a slice of their wedding cake is up for auction online, where it is expected to fetch as much as $1,500.

The slice, believed to be the first up for auction, is from the multi-tiered, traditional fruit cake that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge served to guests at an afternoon reception at Buckingham Palace on their big day. Each of its layers was adorned with white icing and 17 varieties of 900 iced flowers and leaves, according to cake designer Fiona Cairns, who spoke to ABC News at the time.

The piece of cake comes in the white and gold presentation tin that was given out to 650 guests at the luncheon that day. A printed note from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and the 16-page Order of Service from Westminster Abbey, which includes the vows, hymns and prayers from the ceremony, are also included.

“We anticipate worldwide interest,” Kylie Whitehead of PFC Auctions, the online auction house offering the cake, told the U.K.’s The Sun. “We believe that this is the first piece of William and Kate’s wedding cake to appear at auction....It’s a fantastic opportunity to own such a personal piece of memorabilia from the future king and queen.”

The seller’s identity has not been disclosed. Bidding starts at £100, or approximately $160, and runs  through May 24, according the PFC Auctions website.

Cake from the 1973 wedding of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips is also up for auction, as well as the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In 2008, a buyer paid $1,830 for an elaborately decorated, 9-inch-square piece of cake from Charles and Diana’s nuptials. The royal dessert came with a signed thank-you letter from the couple.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana’s Back-Up Wedding Dress Sells for Thousands

Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage(LONDON) -- When you’re getting married in front of millions, you ought to have a back-up plan.

Or a back-up dress, to be more precise. Exact replicas of Princess Diana’s wedding dress and slippers were auctioned off in London this week for approximately $132,000. The David Emanuel gown and Clive Shilton shoes were made for the princess in case anything went wrong with her original outfit prior to the ceremony.

A fashion museum in Chile bought the dress; a private buyer took home the shoes (which, according to the Daily Mail, have the initials C and D joined together with a heart on the soles).

Wonder if Duchess Catherine had her own replicas waiting in the wings?

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rare Color Photographs of Hitler Hit Auction Block

Austrian Archives (S)/Imagno/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Rare color photographs of Adolf Hitler have surfaced and will be put on the auction block at  Dreweatts in London Sept. 20.

Although the images aren’t the first of their kind, they are extremely rare, said Randy Bytwerk, a professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Bytwerk created and maintains the German Propaganda Archive.

“We’re so used to seeing Hitler in black and white, that it’s startling to see the color,” Bytwerk said.

One photograph shows the dictator in a striking blue suit and signature glare surrounded by four men who are wearing traditional Bavarian hunting attire.

“This one is peculiar,” Bytwerk said. “It’s not the type of thing you’d see in Nazi Germany, with Hitler just posing in a blue suit. I don’t know why they took it.”

He said the other pictures fell more in line with the German style of propaganda.

One photograph, which according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail was taken in 1932, shows Hitler being welcomed at his Eagle’s Nest mountaintop retreat by the Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party.

"This is typical Hitler,” said Bytwerk. “He’s charging to the forefront, saying, ‘I’m in charge!’”

Another shows the chancellor shaking the hand of a rosy-cheeked girl, who was a member of the League of German Maidens, the girls faction of the Hitler Youth movement, handing Hitler flowers.

Her blond hair and blue eyes, Hitler’s Aryan ideal, are hard to miss in the photograph.

“We have so many black-and-white photographs just like this one, so it is very striking to see one in color,” Bytwerk said.

According to the Daily Mail, Dreweatt’s plans to sell the photographs as part of a larger military memorabilia auction.

The photographs are bound into three books of cigarette card images, which were taken between 1932 and 1935, according to the Daily Mail, and are expected to set off a bidding war.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana's Iconic Gowns Up for Auction

Tim Graham/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Some of Princess Diana's most iconic dresses -- including the gown she wore when she danced with John Travolta at the White House -- are to be auctioned off Thursday in Toronto after the Florida woman who owned them went bankrupt.

The dresses up for grabs also include two Diana wore for her photo shoots with Mario Testino that were designed by Catherine Walker, whose fashion house designed the outfit that Kate Middleton's mother Carole wore at the royal wedding in April.

Waddington's auctioneers will place 14 dresses under the hammer, with the "John Travolta" dress designed by Victor Edelstein estimated to sell for between $800,000 and $1 million, according to Vince Ciarlo, a spokesman for the auctioneers. He said interest has been expressed by bidders in China, Germany and Britain as well as the U.S. and Canada.

The sale will take place exactly 14 years after Diana herself auctioned off the gowns for charity at Christie's -- a move suggested by Prince William. Diana, who would have been 50 on July 1, 2011, died in a car crash in Paris two months later.

Tampa businesswoman Maureen Rorech Dunkel bought the 14 dresses at Christie's in New York for $670,000.

Dunkel bought the gowns as an investment, and now she needs to cash in. She went bankrupt last year. Her lawyer, Jeffrey Warren, told the St. Petersburg Times, "The dresses are far more valuable than what she owes."

Dunkel founded the People's Princess Charitable Foundation and sent the dresses around the world. They later were on display for a decade at Kensington Palace, Diana's former London home, and returned last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Princess Diana's Letters May Fetch As Much as $30,000

Tim Graham/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A 30-year collection of previously unpublished letters penned by the late Princess Diana has been unveiled for the first time and is slated to be sold to the highest bidder.

"Just a cosy nest for Mr. and Mrs. Wales to roost," the Princess of Wales wrote of Highgrove, the new home she shared with Prince Charles shortly after their lavish royal wedding.

The letters, dating as far back as September 1981, will be sold on June 21 at a Royal Memorabilia auction in England.

The correspondence, including letters, signed Christmas cards and Royal Wedding invitations, were all sent from Diana to nursery teacher Margaret Hodge, who worked alongside the former Lady Diana Spencer at a small kindergarten in London, when the future royal was known as just "Miss Diana."  She remained friends with Diana until her death in a 1997 Paris car crash.

Diana wrote to Hodge about everything from her early courtship with Prince Charles to the births of her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

"It's heavenly up here, just having the opportunity to do what you like and walk for miles," the princess wrote of her September 1981 honeymoon with Prince Charles at Balmoral.

Written in girlish handwriting and sometimes hard to decipher, the letters and Christmas cards reveal a very personal side of a very public figure, and document the building, and break-up, of a family.

"When she started out she was obviously deeply in love with Prince Charles," James Grinter, an auctioneer who has viewed the collection, told ABC's Good Morning America.  "It seems like from the early letters she doesn't really know what she's letting herself in for."

Later letters share the pain of her very public divorce from Prince Charles in 1992, an experience the two women could share.

"Unfortunately they both went through quite messy divorces," Grinter said.  "So from that point of view they kept in touch, they had something in common that bound them together."

Despite the tumultuousness of her marriage and life, all played out under the glare of the royal spotlight, the letters show little sign of her unhappiness and often have an upbeat tone.

"I know she was very much in love with Prince Charles and she just wanted to be loved in return," Hodge told British newspaper the Daily Mail.

Hodge, 69, says she is selling the letters, valued at more than $30,000, reluctantly because she wants to have a level of [financial] comfort in her old age.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rare Find Nets Family $69 Million

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(LONDON) -- A once-forgotten porcelain vase has amassed $69 million at auction, the highest price for any Chinese artwork ever sold.

The discovery was made in London by a brother and sister who were cleaning out their parents' house. The pair found the 16-inch porcelain ornament and brought it to a local shop.

It turns out the piece was commissioned by the Chinese imperial family in the 1700s and made its way to England in the 1930s.

The sister was so shocked that she almost passed out during the auction.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio