The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 Sunday, August 9, 2020


Looking for something 'Out of the Ordinary'
A copy of the British Quad poster promoting the first Star Wars film in 1977 is pitched at £1500-2000.



STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET.- Ever wondered where you could buy a stegosaurus tail spike, a poster for the Middle Earth hippie club or Ron Weasley’s rat Scabbers? Ponder no more. The answer is the Out of the Ordinary sale at Sworders in Stansted Mountfitchet on February 11.

This annual event, now in its third year, brings together an eclectic mix of art, antiques, design and collectables with a wow factor. The sale will again be curated by Kent-based specialist Mark Wilkinson who joined Sworders after three decades working at Bonhams and Christie’s.

Living approximately 170 million years, the stegosaurus is celebrated for three things in particular - its tiny brain, the triangular shaped plates that adorned its back, and its fearsome spiked tail. Although one of the best known of all dinosaurs, fossils from the stegosaurus are rare. This 39.5cm long spike (estimate £5000-8000) comes from the collection of the natural history specialist Errol Fuller, author of a number of books on extinction.

An album compiled by the early aviator John Herbert Spottiswoode (b.1882) contains 154 photographs together with letters, telegrams, illustrations and newspaper cuttings. The contents cover a host of famous pioneers such as Louis Bleriot, Henry Farman and The Flying Dutchman Antoinette Kueller and features both flights of triumph and disaster. Spottiswoode’s personal invites to various functions, including the Daily Mail’s £10,000 prize dinner for the first successful airborne crossing of the Channel, are included in the lot that comes from an Essex vendor with an estimate of £800-1000.

Something completed different is a Pete Doherty self portrait rendered in both crayon and his own blood is expected to bring £3000-5000. The Libertines frontman pictured himself together with then girlfriend Kate Moss alongside the enigmatic inscription 'Ray Heads the son’. It was given by Doherty to the current owner sometime prior to July 2007 when his relationship with the supermodel finally ended.

A complete run of counterculture magazine Oz (numbers 1-48 together with inserts) is estimated at £3000-5000. First published in Sydney in 1963-69 and in London from 1967-73, in both Australia and Britain the magazine was subject to charges of obscenity. This collection was amassed at the time from a vendor who sold Oz from a stand outside the National Portrait Gallery in London’s West End.

Another ‘icon’ of the mid-to-late 1960s was the Middle Earth was hippie club in London, the successor to the UFO Club, which was closed down due to police pressure and the imprisonment of the founder John Hopkins. Groups that played at the club, a centre for psychedelia, included Pink Floyd and The Who. A rare poster titled A Trip to Middle Earth is pitched at £400-600.

For Harry Potter fans, Scabbers the Rat requires little introduction. Ron Weasley’s pet plays a key role in the plot as JK Rowling’s saga plays out. The taxidermy rodent (estimate £500-800) offered for sale at Sworders is one of a group of stuffed rats supplied for the 2001 film Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. Whilst it does not appear in the film, it was probably used in the production of the scene where Harry, Ron and Hermione meet for the first time on the Hogwarts Express.

Other stars of the silver screen are well represented. A copy of the British Quad poster promoting the first Star Wars film in 1977 is pitched at £1500-2000 while an exact replica of the Captain America chopper ridden by Peter Fonda in the 1969 film Easy Rider is available at £22,000-25,000.

Items relating to witchcraft and sorcery have been among the success stories of previous sales. This offering includes a rare 180-page book titled A Tryal of Witches at the Assizes held at Bury St Edmonds for the country of Suffolk; on the tenth day of March, 1664. Printed in 1682 this first hand account details the tragic case of Rose Cullendar and Amy Duny, two elderly widows living in Lowestoft, accused by neighbours of bewitching young children. They were tried by eminent judge Sir Matthew Hale, found guilty and hanged at Bury St Edmunds on the 17th March 1662. The estimate for this rare book is £500-800.










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