Auction 150 Highlights

Welcome to Smalls Auctions Sale 150

We have accumulated two hundred lots of collectables for our 150th Sale encompassing Australian Pre-decimal Banknotes, Militaria, Royal Worcester Porcelain, Rare Books and Jewellery.

Perhaps the highlight of the Sale is a thin but extremely rare volume that gives an unofficial account of Captain James Cook’s Second Voyage of Discovery to the Pacific. It is thought that the account was penned by Third Lieutenant Richard Pickersgill on the vessel ‘Resolution,’ a respected naval officer who accompanied Cook on his first and second voyages of discovery. It was the practice for officers to keep a daily journal during voyages that were collected from them just before they returned to home port so that damaging information that was contrary to the official account could be controlled. It appears that Pickersgill  secreted away his journal at the end of the voyage and his rollicking account certainly adds spice to the official and relatively tame version served up by the Admiralty. It is a true testament to the courage of the seafarers who set forth for unchartered and unforgiving waters.

An example of his florid writing can be found in his account of November 23 (1773).

"Some gentlemen rowing about the shore for pleasure, pulled in at a cove and sent a boy up the land to see if he could find any greens: the boy returned soon after in a great fright, and told the Lieutenant he had seen a number of Indians feasting upon a body, and that he could distinguish the head and some entrails under a canoe. On this intelligence, the gentlemen landed and made up to the place described by the boy; where they beheld, with great horror, a company of the natives regaling themselves over the mangled body of a murdered Indian. On their approach some of them got up, and one of them presented the Lieutenant with a piece of liver and lights upon a spear and seemed rather affronted at his declining to eat it. The Lieutenant bought the head of the Indian and brought it on board. The unhappy man to whom it had belonged had been killed but a very little time, for the animal inhabitants of the hair were running about alive. The skin was torn from the forehead; there appeared many bruises on the face, the eyes were black and blue. There were two holes in the crown, and the skull appeared to have been cut under one ear, and so continued the cut round the poll of the neck to the other ear, and from thence through the mouth to where the cut began, so that the chin and lower lip were severed off. The tongue, teeth and jaw-bones were taken out. In the evening some Indians came on board the ship, and seeing the head, expressed great satisfaction, and begged of the Lieutenant to give them a part to eat: The Lieutenant complied with their request and cut them off some of the flesh, which they broiled, having first dipped it in some stinking grease, and then eat it greedily, in preference of all on board. They afterwards licked their fingers and smacked their lips, as expressing how luscious a morsel they had made. The head was afterwards put in spirits. In the night we had reason to think the Indians were murdering more of their captives, of which they said they had taken twenty, for we heard at times hideous shrieks and cries, which ended at last in low hollow groans."

Amongst the Militaria on offer there are examples of weaponry spanning from 1000 B.C. to the 20th Century with evidence that they saw service in the battlefields. They are a solemn collectable that reminds us of the savagery of war hopefully undertaken for a noble cause.

The Sale also includes a fine selection of Australian Pre-decimal Banknotes. It is estimated that over 90% of Australian Pre-decimal Banknotes held in collections have been pressed, flattened and in some cases bleached to give the illusion of a higher grade. It is a practice that has been going on for decades and so it is a bonus that we can offer in this Sale a selection of fresh £1 and £10 notes that have been taken from bundles. Unfortunately, few notes have survived in bundles, but you can be assured that if we attach O(riginal) P(aper) Q(uality) to the description of a banknote then the paper has not been interfered with in an attempt to deceive. We grade our notes in strict accordance with the standards of the International Banknote Society and we will tell you if in our opinion the note has been given the ‘special’ treatment.

The Sale concludes with a cameo selection of Jewellery that might get you back in the good books on Christmas Day.

Smalls Auctions