Lit­tle list of op­eretta items does big busi­ness at sale

The Wokingham Paper - - BUSINESS - By JOHN WAKE­FIELD

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

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