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Newspaper legend Sir Ray Tindle's vast silver collection comes to auction at Ewbank's on December 8
A selection of highlights from the extraordinary silver collection of the late Sir Ray Tindle, the celebrated newspaper proprietor. The collection will be sold at Ewbank’s Auctioneers of Surrey on December 8.

LONDON.- Sir Ray Tindle CBE DL (1926-2022) was one of the great entrepreneurial newspaper publishers of the past 60 years.

At the same time as building a company that stretched across Southern England and Wales, the man who became known as ‘Mr Farnham’ in the Surrey town from where he directed his business interests also built an outstanding collection of silver, which will go on sale at Ewbank’s Auctioneers on December 8. It is expected to fetch up to £100,000.

The collection – one of the largest Ewbank’s have ever offered – reflects Sir Ray’s dedication to his beloved 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment, as well as his appreciation of the fine craftsmanship of 18th century, George III and later silversmiths.

“He had a fine eye for quality that matched his head for business and passion for the newspaper industry, especially as it served local communities,” says the auction house’s chairman, Chris Ewbank, who knew Sir Ray and whose company advertised with his publishing group for the past 30 years. “I have rarely seen so many early silver spoons together. Many are from the 18th century, but some are even earlier.

A newspaper man through and through

A newspaper man through and through, Sir Ray acquired his first newspaper, the Tooting & Balham Gazette, with his £300 demob payment after serving with the 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment in the Far East between 1944 and 1947, rising to the rank of captain.

Extremely proud of his association with the now-disbanded regiment, he greatly mourned its passing, going so far as to name his home in Farnham ‘Devonshire House’ in its honour.

The Tooting and Balham paper was the first of many launches and acquisitions over the years that created the widespread and highly influential Tindle Newspapers Ltd, a byword in local news and community reporting, that became the fourth largest UK local newspaper group by number of titles published.

It now owns local papers and radio stations covering large parts of Surrey, Hampshire, Essex, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man. Many of these papers are very long established, including the Monmouthshire Beacon founded in 1837.

Others were launched in Queen Victoria’s reign, such as the Farnham Herald (1892), Cambrian News (1860), Cornish & Devon Post (1856), Mid-Devon Advertiser (1863) and the Tenby Observer (1853).

Sir Ray made the Surrey town his home in the 1960s and made such an impact in the following 50 years that he was known by locals as ‘Mr Farnham’. If a charity or organisation needed help, Sir Ray was there. He eventually stepped down as chairman of Tindle Newspapers when he was 90, remaining as president, with son Owen, who runs the Oxon Hoath Retreat and Conference Centre in Kent, taking over as chairman.

Sir Ray retired as chairman of the Surrey Advertiser in 1977 after 35 years. He was also a director for 18 years on the main board of The Guardian & Manchester Evening News, and chairman for ten years of the Belfast News Letter, the UK’s oldest provincial daily. He was a founder shareholder and, for many years, an alternate director, of Capital Radio.

He became Master of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers in 1985 after some 20 years of service on several committees and of the Court.

Over the years he also donated sizeable sums to various worthy causes and projects, particularly in and around his hometown of Farnham.

In 1973 Sir Ray was appointed OBE for services to the newspaper industry and in 1987 he was appointed CBE. In 1989 he became a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Surrey. He was knighted in 1994 and was made the Newspaper Personality of the Year at the 2005 Newspaper Awards, in the same year becoming an honorary vice-president of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain.

Avid collector of silver

He was also an avid collector of silver, as his vast collection sold in this auction attests. Among the coffee pots, tea services and dozens of sets and part sets of flatware, many George III and later, stand-out lots pay homage to Sir Ray’s dedication to his beloved Devonshire Regiment and to the county itself.

"My father was an avid collector of antique silverware. Initially as a hobby, a distraction from the stresses and strains of running his huge newspaper empire, the hobby soon developed into a passion for seeking out rare pieces, quickly learning to recognise hallmarks and identify the craftsmen,” says Owen Tindle.

“Over some 35 years he would visit every antique shop that he could whilst travelling around the UK visiting his newspaper offices. Several of the pieces in his collection were gifts from the local newspaper staff around the country. Whenever he was on a business trip, he would make a point of making a detour to the local antique shop to see what pieces they might have to augment his collection. When he was at his holiday home in Brighton, he was very often the first visitor to the 8am Saturday morning market, keen to bargain the unwary stallholders down on the price of a set of spoons or a pretty ladle.”

Two lots have historic connections with the nearby town of Guildford: a presentation silver key ‘Presented to the mayor of Guildford… on the opening of the New Corn Exchange July 15th 1902’; and a presentation silver key and padlock ‘Presented to A.F. Asher Esq Mayor, in Commemoration of the opening of the new town bridge Guildford’, in an oak presentation case. Asher was the mayor in 1902 and the bridge replaced one destroyed by a flood two years earlier. Each lot carries an estimate of £200-300.  

Estimates for single lots across the collection range from as low as £10 to as high as £1,200.

The sale starts at 9.30am on December 8.

Highlights include:

• A composite rat tail silver service comprising, scoop, six large forks, 12 tablespoons, 26 dessert spoons, 12 dessert forks, seven teaspoons and six knives. The estimate is £800-1,200.

• A Victorian silver good quality three-piece tea service decorated with embossed panels of flowers and foliage, the teapot with fruit and vine finial by Charles Reily & George Storer, London 50.4oz (1598 grams). The estimate is £800-1,200.

• Victorian regimental silver cutlery, engraved with the 11th North Devonshire crest, in fiddle thread and shell double struck pattern by John Samuel Hunt London 1857. The estimate is £700-1,000.

• A composite collection of Kings pattern silver flatware, George III and later, comprising, six tablespoons, six table forks, six dessert forks, 15 dessert spoons, 12 knives in two sizes, weight excluding knives, 78.6oz (2447 grams) in a box. The estimate is £700-800.

• Thirty various George III and later silver tablespoons, weighing 58.6oz (1824 grams). The estimate is £550-650.

• A Victorian two-handled silver cup and cover, Sheffield 1893, engraved Devon County Volunteer Association, shot for by Company sixes 1894. At 30cm high and 49.4oz, it weighs 1537 grams and is estimated at £500-800.

• Old English pattern silver flatware of various dates – George III and later – comprising three tablespoons, six large forks, six dessert spoons, six dessert forks, and twelve knives in two sizes, weight excluding knives, weighing a total of approximately 40oz. The estimate is £400-600.

• A George V silver three-piece round tea service, dating to Sheffield 1912, the teapot with wood handle and knob, and weighing 34oz (1061 grams). The estimate is £350-500.

• A George V, silver cup two-handled cup of Devonshire regiment interest, inscribed Presented by Hon Lionel Waldron to E Company 4th battn Devonshire Regiment. It is 25cm wide, weighs 28.8oz (895 grams), has an ebonised stand and is dated to Birmingham 1911. The estimate is £300-500.

• A Regimental silver, coffee pot in George III style with ebonised handle, with Devonshire Regiment crest and motto Semper fidelis, and with the inscription, Presented to the officers 2nd Bn Devonshire Regiment by Lieut, J O Travers December 1895. Dating to c.1900 and standing 29cm high, it weighs 27.2oz (848 grams) and is estimated at £300-500.

You can view the auction lots online now at where you can also place advanced bids.

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