Our fortnightly Victorian and General Household Auctions regularly turn up some fascinating items with a rich history.
One of the most interesting lots coming up in our forthcoming sale on Wednesday 25th August could easily be overlooked:
At first glance it's a fairly unprepossessing and shabby looking wooden box.
But when you open it you discover a lot more than you might expect, because folded up in that small box is a "Bilhorn Telescopic Organ".
Folding organs like this were invented by an evangelical musician P Bilhorn, and manufactured in the early 1900s. They were apparently used by touring preachers and missionaries because they were easily portable and quick and simple to open up and start playing. Some were even specially customised for missionaries travelling to tropical climates with extra features such as poisoned felt to prevent destruction by insects. There are some fascinating advertisements and flyers about the Bilhorn range, promoting its compact size and sweetness of tone, and the example coming up for sale at our next auction still makes a beautiful sound. This particular instrument appears to have been produced or sold under licence by an Englishman, John Bateman of Paternoster Square, London, and it will be intriguing to see how the bidding goes when this lot comes under the hammer.
Fans of retro china, kitchenalia and "shabby chic" collectables should have a good rummage through some of our box lots to find some hidden gems.
This lot of four small boxes reveals some real treasures such as these fabulous vintage tins
this wonderful tin drum
a brass kettle and three miniature metal teapots
some lovely childrens' china
and balloon whisks and patty-pans for kitchenalia enthusiasts
along with many more items including an amazing collection of novelty pencil-sharpeners - all from one boxed lot.
So next time you come along to Boldon Auction Galleries have a good look amongst the boxes and shelves and you might be surprised what you can find.