Little list of operetta items does big business at sale
A WOKINGHAM auction house rang forth ye bells after a collection of theatre memorabilia raised almost £24,000 at its September sale.
Divided into 108 individual lots, Martin & Pole, based in Milton Road, sold the collection of Peter Joslin, comprising all things Gilbert & Sullivan, Offenbach and Puccini.
The included programmes from the original productions of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, signed manuscripts, books, photographs, posters, libretto and sheet music.
A collection of 19th and early 20th century sheet music of Gilbert and Sullivan works fetched £1,400, and a collection of over 300 Victorian Carte de Visite photographs sold for £5,500, including portraits of Arthur Sullivan, Guiseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Charles Dickens and others.
Sprites of the earth and air bid on the items which also included a programme for Thespis at the Gaiety Theatre. It is dated – in pencil – Monday, January
29, 1872. The operetta was the duo’s first collaboration and originally opened on Boxing Day, 1871.
Other memorabilia included a programme from the first production of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1892 selling for £140, and a programme from the Liverpool Olympia with Harry Houdini on the act in 1909 selling for £120.
Also in the sale were signed manuscripts including a signed card by Jacques Offenbach fetching £750, an inscribed visiting card from Giuseppe Verdi made £320 and a signed letter from Edward Elgar raised £190.
Auctioneer Matthew Coles said: “We are delighted with the result of the auction.
“We had potential buyers using all the available viewing days to inspect the large collection, so we knew that we had the interest.
“It was still gratifying to have buyers in the USA and Canada vying online with the bidders in the room. We are also very pleased that all the lots offered were sold.”
Now preparations are being made for the auction room’s next sale, which will take place on Wednesday, October 10.
Original Gilbert & Sullivan posters were auctioned by Martin & Pole