COLLECTING PRE-WAR AUTOMOBILIA
Many enthusiasts start their collections in a small way when they spot an item for sale that reminds them of their own motoring history, reviving memories of the period it evokes. Others will look back to the earlier days of motoring in the pursuit of collectables from the pre-war period, and while it may not be viable to own a complete pre-1939 vehicle, a few choice items for your garage or mancave can make great conversation pieces.
For some collectors, pre-war means before World War One, and the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Run sale includes some fine automobilia for these enthusiasts. This year’s sale is to be held at New Bond Street, London on 3 November (bonhams.com).
Another auction that features lots from the earlier days of motoring is Peter Card’s Transport Collector Auctions, with the next sale being at South Cerney, Cirencester, on 7 November (tcauctions.com).
Richard Edmonds offers many early gems in the automobilia and petroliana section, plus various vintage and classic spares, in its three-day sales at Allington, Wiltshire. The next is on 26-28 October (richardedmondsauctions.com). Other sales with pre-war items are Cheffins of Cambridge (cheffins.co.uk), and Herefordshire Vintage Auctions (hvauctions.com).
The pre-war collectors’ market is a growing one. ‘It’s a large and diverse subject matter that has many collectors, whether they specialise in petrol globes, enamel signs or mascots, or if they collect specific items related to a car company’, says auctioneer Andrew Spicer of Dee Atkinson & Harrison, of Driffield, East Yorkshire (dee-atkinsonharrison.co.uk).
Andrew says that another important area of interest is period enamel signs, but as always it’s a case of being sure of what you are buying. ‘Enamel signs are always popular, although one has to be wary of reproductions, which can be very convincing. One of my favourites was a local bus company sign which sold for £130,’ he says.
You will also find pre-war items at the big collectors’ sales, such as the two large automobilia events held at Beaulieu, but be prepared to search the many stalls there. A good tip is to look at specialist events featuring pre-war cars, as savvy traders will bring lots of tempting items reflecting that period. Happy hunting!
Events such as the annual Syston Park Speed Trials for pre-1939 cars and motorbikes are a good source for early items of automobilia.
This glass petrol globe sold for ten times its estimate in a recent Dee Atkinson & Harrison auction, with the gavel eventually falling at £765.