COL­LECT­ING PRE-WAR AU­TO­MO­BILIA

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Great Pre-war Car Events - David Brown

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.

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