Wallis & Wallis Auction
- By Pete Moore
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- Last updated: 21/12/2016
We start with a pair — Naval General Service 1915, George VI issue with three clasps for Malaya, Cyprus, Near East (RM 8749 P.N. Thompson Mne RM); and a General Service Medal 1962 with one clasp for Malay Peninsula (Captain P N Thompson, RM). Mounted court style they were in very fine condition and sold for £975.
This year in particular we have seen a huge rise in the demand for WWI casualty groups. The following example is typical of many seen these days at auction. A group of four: Military Medal, George V first type (2341 C.Q.M. Sjt J F Holden, 8/ Rif Bde), 1914-15 star, (Sjt), British War Medal and Victory Medal (A.W.O. Cl 2). In very fine and extra fine condition, it came with the Memorial Plaque to John Frederick Holden. Military Medal London Gazette entry as follows 27.10.1916. Co Sjt Major John Frederick Holden MM, k.i.a. 15th September 1916 and commemorated at Thiepval. The group sold for £825.
A DSC group of seven: Distinguished Service Cross (lower arm engraved 1941, also with ‘Lt. Cdr (A) I.L.F. Lowe RN Malta’ engraved in script above), 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star with North Africa 1942-43 clasp loosely attached, Pacific Star, Defence, War with Mentioned in Dispatches leaf. very fine to good very fine, was hotly contested and sold for £1000.
Note: Ivan Lawrence Firth Lowe joined the Royal Navy in 1938. The London Gazette of 8th April 1941 announced the award of the D.S.C ‘for gallant service against enemy aircraft’ whilst serving with 806 Squadron aboard HMS Illustrious in the Mediterranean. On 29.9.1940 he downed a Cant Z501 flying boat before being hit, ditching and being rescued by HMAS Stuart. On 10.1.1941 he brought down a ju87 and again ditched before being picked up by HMS Jaguar. During 1941-42 he served as an instructor at the Fleet Fighter School, RNAS Yeovilton. In September 1942 he took command of 882 Squadron and was involved in Operation Torch, the landings in N. Africa. He later took command of 898 Squadron on HMS Victorious joining the US Pacific Fleet and supported US landings in Middle Solomans 1943. Following an Instructors course in 1944 Lowe served as Senior British Naval Officer to the American naval air station in Florida, he retired in 1946.
Anything with early Australian interest seems to be in much demand these days. A rare and most interesting mounted overseer’s painted black truncheon of the Port Arthur Penal Settlement (Tasmania), bearing (faint) crown, VR, ‘VDL’ (Tasmania was known as Van Dieman’s Land until 1855) ‘16’ and ‘Port Arthur Penal Settlement’. With a turned grip it measured 35-inches long and there was much interest from bidders in the room and on the Internet. It finally sold for £1300.
The first of two examples of Victorian headgear was a green cloth spiked helmet of the 7th Admin Batallion Middlesex Rifle Volunteers, with white metal peak binding, velvet backed chinchain and ear rosettes, top spike and Maltese Cross helmet plate. Inside was a leather headband liner and maker’s label of Hobson & Sons. In very good condition it went for £650.
A Victorian white metal helmet of the Fife Light Horse, with white metal peak binding, leather-backed chinchain and ear rosettes, spike with white hair plume and small rosette, ear to ear wreath and scroll with motto ‘Pro Aris et Focis’ and brass ‘FLH’ in the centre, surmounted by a crowned four pointed beaded star, in the centre of which the Thane of Fife on a brass rayed cross. It had a leather liner and was a crisp example. It sold to a telephone bidder for £900.
Now we move on to antique firearms and accessories with a scarce embossed copper ‘Gunstock’ powder flask (R1337). Measuring 8-inches long, by James Dixon & Sons, Sheffield. Although it was in good condition it lacked a spring but still sold for £270 to a bidder in the room against several on the internet.
There was a time when antique arms dealers used to split up cases and revolvers and in that way would make more profit. It was thought that this practice had disappeared long ago. However this next result may change things. Let’s hope not. This shows an original fitted mahogany case for an 111⁄2-inch Adams or Tranter percussion revolver, with circular brass escutcheon in the lid, green baize lined with most compartments present, containing a cleaning rod and plain copper flask by Sykes (the charger replaced). Overall it was in pretty good condition but there was minor damage where the lock appeared to have been forced at some point in the past.
Bidding started quite realistically at £300 but with a number of telephone bidders and room bidders eager to take part it soon became clear that it would exceed that amount by some way. Eventually the hammer fell at £2000. It can only be that both final bidders had very fine revolvers that fitted perfectly.
Completely by co-incidence later in the sale was this five-shot 56-bore Adams Model 1851 self-cocking percussion revolver. Measuring 111⁄2-inches overall, the 6-inch barrel was engraved ‘Deane, Adams & Deane, 30 King William St, London Bridge’, the frame engraved with scrolls and ‘Adams’ Patent. No 9503R’, the cylinder also engraved ‘No 9503R’, London proved. It had a chequered butt with butt trap and came in a modern baize-lined fitted wooden box containing a double cavity bronze 54-bore mould for pointed bullets (slightly battered), and a reproduction flask. It went for £825.
The next sales at Wallis & Wallis are on 25th November 2014. For more information visit www.wallisandwallis.co.uk