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Unique

Unique pieces of history for sale
  • Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson's Snuff Box
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    Paul fraser collectibles

    Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson's Snuff Box

    £45,000.00

    • A hugely rare and intimate piece of British history: Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson's snuff box

    Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson (1758–1805) is one of the most celebrated figures in British history, best remembered for his heroic efforts during the Napoleonic wars.

    Nelson's career as a naval officer saw him lead the British fleet to several victories, during which he suffered injuries, including the loss of his right arm and the sight in his right eye.

    His most famous victory came in October 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, in which the Royal Navy decimated the combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies.

    Prior to the battle, Nelson sent out the famous message "England expects that every man will do his duty". Tragically, he was shot by a French sniper and died on board his ship the HMS Victory mid battle.

    His body was returned to England where he was granted a state funeral, and numerous monuments were erected in his honour, including Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London.

    This tortoiseshell composition snuff box was originally owned by Lord Nelson, and features a miniature watercolour scene of the Amalfi coast on the top.

    The box was gifted by Nelson to his personal secretary George Unwin, during a dinner party in Sicily in late 1798 or early 1799 which was also attended by Nelson's mistress, Emma, Lady Hamilton.

    Nelson had first met Hamilton in 1793 and the pair were reunited in 1798 following the Battle of the Nile.

    Having been severely injured, Nelson recuperated in Naples, during which time he was nursed back to health by Lady Emma and her elderly husband, Sir William Hamilton.

    It was during this period that Nelson and Hamilton began their famous love affair, which lasted until Nelson's death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

    It seems highly possible that Nelson gave this gift to Unwin as a show of generosity, in an attempt to impress his mistress over dinner.

    The snuff box is offered along with a manuscript letter by Unwin's son, George, which reads in full:

    "My Father had either lost his own snuff box on going ashore or in some shop in Palermo and upon mentioning the circumstances at Lady Hamilton’s table where Lord Nelson was one of the party his Lordship handed over to him this identical box and desired him to keep it until he could get a better one."

    The box was later passed down to Unwin's own son George, then via his wife Anne Oxenham to her brother Rev. William Oxenham, and by descent through the family for several generations.

    A beautiful and rare item from one of Britain’s most famous heroes, and a small piece connected to one of history's greatest love affairs.

    Free global delivery. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • Frank James handwritten letter
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Frank James handwritten letter

    £9,500.00

    • A touching handwritten love letter by one of the most legendary outlaws of the Old West

    Frank James (1843 – 1915) was a U.S Civil War Confederate guerrilla and notorious Old West outlaw.

    Together with his younger brother Jesse James, he helped established the James-Younger Gang, which robbed banks, trains, and stagecoaches throughout the southern states.

    The gang cultivated a reputation as folk heroes, with help from the editor of the Kansas City Times, who published Jesse James' letters and proclaimed him to be a modern-day Robin Hood.

    The gang's spree of robberies and murder lasted from 1866 until 1876, when several members were killed or captured during a disastrous raid on the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota.

    Frank James retired from his life of crime soon after, but his brother Jesse struggled to adapt to normal life, and formed a new gang which continued to operate for several years.

    Following the murder of Jesse by fellow gang member Robert Ford in 1882, Frank James feared for his own life and surrendered to the authorities, stating:

    "I have been hunted for twenty-one years, have literally lived in the saddle, have never known a day of perfect peace. It was one long, anxious, inexorable, eternal vigil."

    He was tried for his roles in two robberies/murders in Missouri and Alabama, and was acquitted in both cases, before returning to Oklahoma to live with his family.

    For the next 30 years Frank James held a variety of jobs, including a shoe salesman, an AT&T telegraph operator and even a ticket taker in a burlesque theatre.

    He also gave public lectures on the Old West, invested in Buckskin Bill's Wild West Show, and gave tours of the James family farm, where he eventually passed away in 1915 at the age of 72.

    Frank James and Ann Ralston

    The story of how Frank James first met Ann Ralston remains somewhat of a mystery.

    She was the highly-educated daughter of a wealthy businessman, and was working as a teacher when she suddenly eloped with James in the summer of 1875.

    Her parents received a letter which read simply "Dear Mother: I am married and going West. Annie Reynolds", and were distraught at her disappearance.

    It wasn't until several months later that they discovered their new son-in-law was one of the country's most wanted men.

    In 1876 Ann's father arranged for a New York newspaper article about the marriage, to ensure his family was not linked to the criminal gang

    "The James brothers, who are, with the Younger boys, creating so much stir just now, have had a love scrape, or at least one of them has. But this love affair is different from all other love affairs. No one who knows anything of the career of the James brothers would expect them to woo, win and marry like other people...

    "Mr. Ralston has had no connection or communication with the train robbers whatever. His daughter he has not seen since she left home, a year and one month ago.

    "If she is alive she will not write home, lest her letters should guide the officers to her husband's retreat. If she was dead Frank James would have notified her parents. So they can only rest patiently in the uncertainty of perhaps seeing their daughter again."

    Ralston never returned home, but despite the dramatic nature of their courtship and Frank's life of crime, they maintained a happy and stable marriage.

    They had a son, Robert Franklin James, and following Frank's surrender and subsequent acquittal for murder in 1883, they remained together until his death in 1915.

    Ann Ralston James lived out the rest of her days on the James family farm, before passing away in 1944, and the couple's ashes were buried together at Hill Park Cemetery in Jackson County, Missouri.

    The letter

    The letter, dated July 7, 1883, was written by James to his wife whilst incarcerated in jail in Gallatin, Missouri.

    He was awaiting trial for murder and robbery of the Rock Island Line train at Winston, Missouri, in which the train engineer William Westfall and a passenger Frank McMillan were killed.

    Having spent a year in custody, James' trial began on August 20, and lasted just three days, before the jury returned a resounding verdict of 'not guilty'.

    The tender love letter reveals James to be both highly romantic and highly literate.

    Although he lived much of his life as a violent outlaw, he had been raised as a preacher's son surrounded by books, and during his youth developed a love for the works of Shakespeare.

    James was said to always carry a book in his saddle bag, even when he was on the run from the law, and he shared this passion for literature with Ann throughout their 40-year marriage.

    Here's the text in full:

    My dear wife,

    Your dear letter of the 1st was handed to me not exceeding an hour ago. It arrived here on the third, at least it is as marked. Now I sent foreword .. in this manner. There are very few men in this world that care anything for their wives, that they naturally suppose that all men are alike.

    How badly they are deceived. If there is anything on this earth that is half as dear to me as my wife I have failed to find it. You are everything to me and the only living human being that has ever possessed my whole love, my entire confidence, the only one that ever will and I feel as that love and confidence will never be abused.

    I have lived as I think to see all my fondest hopes realised. Long years ago I hoped and prayed that god would give me a true woman for my wife and i feel as if he has done so and anyone who has had a chance for happiness in this belief is more fortunate than the possessor of a thousand worlds.

    I am trying to pass the time reading and writing - I regret that I am deprived of your beauty and I am writing to suffer that I have no visitors as told you in last.

    Enclosed I send you an editorial from the trenchant pen of Rob M Yast that I think a grand effort.

    I suppose you remember the circumstances of Jarvis shooting Englehart. Yast talks of love and forgiveness & Jarvis has shown that he possessed both - as also has Yast. He’s shown himself to be a true friend of me and mine.

    Yast seems a man of most liberal whims. I dare say nine out of every ten would say that they would not forgive Jarvis for what he has done. Yet if it is the means of reclaiming the human I don't think he will ever regret it.

    Regarding mamma, this may not be interesting to you but it has been to me. I had a letter from ma today, she feels disappointed as you did not visit...

    I supposed it was useless to ask you again so will end further requests. I also had one further service. she also sends her kindness in regards to you and asked why you did not write. Please write her and let her know I will write Monday again.

    When you write, write me care of Sherriff - I don’t think he will read them.

    He has not opened any of my letters for a long time and if he should that would be better than not to get them so long after they’re written. I will kiss you both good night - write often your loving Ben/ f**k it is raining hard at this time.

    James autographs the letter as 'Ben', a protective alias that he used when writing to his loved ones.

    The single page letter, with text on both sides, measures 203 by 126mm, with fold creases and bleeding of ink in some sections.

    A remarkable piece of history, which offers a personal insight into one of the Old West's most legendary figures.

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • J.K Rowling personal illustrated horoscope
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    J.K Rowling personal illustrated horoscope

    £17,500.00

    • A rare, unpublished and illustrated work by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling

    J.K Rowling (1965 -) is an English author, screenwriter, producer and philanthropist. She's the creator of the Harry Potter series of children's novels, which to date has sold a record 400 million copies worldwide.

    The seven best-selling books also spawned a series of blockbuster Hollywood movies, video games, several theme park attractions, and an empire of merchandise worth an estimated $25 billion.  

    Aside from her literary career, Rowling has also been praised for her philanthropic work, and has raised tens of millions for good causes including Comic Relief and her own children's charity Lumos.

    The document

    J.K Rowling's fascination with astrology can be seen throughout the Harry Potter series of books, in characters such as Professor of Divination Sybill Trelawney and Firenze the star-gazing centaur.

    Whilst writing her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rowling also produced highly detailed personal horoscopes for some of her friends.

    This horoscope was written for Roger Julian Tosswill, who Rowling first met along with his partner Kate Buchanan during ante natal classes.

    Rowling also wrote a similarly detailed horoscope for their newborn son Jack Buchanan, which we are able to offer for sale here.

    Tosswill is a Libra, born October 13, 1966 at 11.05pm, and the horoscope covers his personality traits, relationships, potential careers and compatibility with his partner.

    The close relationship Rowling shared with the family is evident throughout the horoscope.

    When comparing the couple, she writes: "I should say at the outset that these two horoscopes (Roger and Kate) could have come straight out of an astrological text-book, captioned 'compatible partners'."

    And in reference to young Jack Buchanan, she writes: "The words 'isn't he like his father?' are likely to be repeated with tiresome regularity throughout Jack's childhood."

    Throughout the 12 page document Rowling displays a strong knowledge of astrology, referencing texts such as the influential 15th century French work 'The Kalendar and Compost of Shepherds'.

    The strength and humour of her writing also clearly shines through, particularly during a passage in which she images the couple escaping from international terrorists, using hand grenades made from Coke cans and Semtex "weaselled out of a guard who was no match for his Machiavellian Mars".

    The 12-page folio document features Rowling's cover illustration in pen, ink and coloured pencil, mounted on a sheet of blue card.

    The horoscope is a double-sided typescript on yellow card, and the astrological chart is printed on white paper with annotations in Rowling's hand, laminated with a sheet of plastic.

    The entire document is hole-punched, and bound together with gold and silver ribbons.

    Two of the pages feature small tears around the hole punches, and the cover displays signs of wear around the edges.

    A unique document, written and illustrated by the world's most successful living author.

    NB: Please note copyright remains with J.K. Rowling and no permission is granted for reproduction

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • Lester Piggott signed stirrup
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    Paul fraser collectibles

    Lester Piggott signed stirrup

    £750.00

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    • A racing stirrup signed by legendary jockey Lester Piggott 

    Lester Piggott (1935 - ) is a former jockey regarded as one of the greatest of all time.

    He has 4,493 career wins to his name, including nine victories at the Epsom Derby and his famous victory aboard Royal Academy in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile, aged 54.

    This is a single race-used stirrup signed by Lester in ink to the leather. A very collectable piece of horse racing memorabilia.

    Free global shipping. 28-day no quibble returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • Marilyn Monroe 'Happy Birthday Mr President' lock of hair
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Marilyn Monroe 'Happy Birthday Mr President' lock of hair

    £250,000.00

    • A large lock of Marilyn Monroe's hair, from the night she performed 'Happy Birthday Mr President' for John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden.

    • Accompanied by an instant photograph taken at the same event, bearing Monroe's lipstick kiss on the reverse.

    Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) needs little introduction. An actress, model and entertainer, she is perhaps the most recognisable of all screen icons.

    As such, her memorabilia is highly sought after, and continues to be widely collected across the world.  

    History of the lock of hair 

    On the night of May 19, 1962, Marilyn Monroe gave one of the most famous performances of her career, during a celebration for President John F. Kennedy's 45th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York.

    Monroe sang a sultry version of 'Happy Birthday Mr President' whilst wearing a virtually see-through dress, fuelling rumours of a secret affair with the President which have endured to this day.

    Just hours before her performance, Monroe visited her personal hairdresser Robert Champion at the Coiffures Americana Beauty Salon, housed within the luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman on Fifth Avenue.

    After he had cut and styled her hair, Monroe asked Champion to attend the event with her, so that he could touch up her hair and make-up just before she went on-stage.

    Upon her arrival at Madison Square Garden, Monroe was presented with her outfit for the evening. Designed by Jean Louis, the highly revealing, flesh-coloured dress was covered in thousands of rhinestones, and was so tight Monroe had to be sewn into it, delaying her stage entrance.

    Robert Champion recalled those moments before her performance:

    "As we stood for a long time back stage at Madison Square Garden, she was very nervous about her appearance. I refreshed her lipcolor, powdered her nose, checked her blusher, and then she was announced again 'Miss Marilyn Monroe, better late than never.' In her very tight gown, she had difficulty ascending the make-shift stairs and I assisted her to the top where the spotlight hit her. The next is history."

    The lock

    This large lock of blonde hair was trimmed from Monroe's head by Champion just prior to that iconic performance, and remained in his personal collection for decades.

    The lock measures approximately 2.57" by 1.18" (7cm by 3cm).

    It is accompanied by an instant Polaroid photograph of Monroe, taken at a party following the event.

    The image captures Monroe smiling radiantly, perhaps in relief after getting through the performance, and bears her lipstick print in place of a signature on the reverse.

    Huge prices for Monroe memorabilia

    For collectors, Marilyn Monroe remains the most sought-after of any star in Hollywood history, and her personal memorabilia regularly sells for seven-figure sums.

    In December 2016, the dress worn by Monroe during her performance of 'Happy Birthday' sold at Julien's Auctions for $4.8 million, making it the second-most valuable dress ever sold.

    The record is held by the famous white dress she wore in The Seven Year Itch, which sold in 2011 for $5.6 million.

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • Neil Armstrong Hairdressing Scissors & Comb
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    Paul fraser collectibles

    Neil Armstrong Hairdressing Scissors & Comb

    £25,000.00

    • One of the most talked about pieces of Neil Armstrong memorabilia
    • Used to cut the hair of the first man on the Moon
    • Accompanied by 25 strands of Neil Armstrong's hair

    In 1969, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon. 

    He was awarded a Congressional Space Medal of Honor for his efforts and has been decorated by 17 countries in total. Shortly after Apollo 11, Armstrong announced that he would not be flying into space again.

    For one year he served as Deputy Associate Administrator for Aeronautics, NASA Headquarters and then went on to teach at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati between 1971 and 1979. From 1982 until 1992 he was chairman of Computing Technologies for Aviation Inc.

    This is a pair of scissors and a comb used by Neil Amstrong's barber, Marx Sizemore, to cut the Moonwalker's hair.

    They are accompanied by 25 strands of Armstrong's hair.

    In May 2005, Neil Armstrong became involved in a legal battle with barber Marx Sizemore of Lebanon, Ohio, after finding that the barber was selling off cuts of his hair to memorabilia hunters.

    Armstrong threatened legal action unless the hair was returned or the sale proceeds donated to charity. Following Sizemore making the charitable donation, the scissors & comb used by the barber have been held in a private collection.

    Provenance

    This is a well documented collection.

    Included in the sale are copies of the legal correspondence between Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP, Armstrong's legal representatives, and barber Marx Sizemore.

    Also included are sworn testimonies from Sizemore declaring the hair to be genuine:

    "This is to inform you that I have been the barber of record of Neil Armstrong since October 1999. I generally cut his hair once a month. This is the, Neil Armstrong, who was an astronaut for N.A.S.A. and the first man to walk on the moon. I do attest that the hair clippings submitted to you are his hairs that I cut from his head."

    There is another Sizemore document authenticating the scissors used to cut Armstrong's hair.

    A notarised Public State of Colorado document is also included, detailing how the original purchaser obtained the hair from Marx Sizemore.

    Rarity

    Since 1994, Neil Armstrong ceased signing autographs as he found out that many forgeries were selling for large amounts of money.

    Armstrong's is now considered to be one the most valuable and best-performing signatures. 

    An estimated 600 million people tuned in to watch the launch of Apollo 11 and so it comes as no surprise that memorabilia related to the mission and its astronauts is highly sought after.

    Combine this demand with the shortage of Neil Armstrong signed memorabilia out there and it becomes apparent why personal items such as this comb, scissors and hair, are incredibly rare.

    History of hair collecting

    Hair collecting was hugely popular in the Victorian era. Military officer, Robert E. Lee would regularly give away a sample of his hair instead of an autograph.

    A curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Harry Rubenstein, says "more so than an autograph, it was a sign of affection".

    The poet Leigh Hunt is known to have had a collection of hair from 21 notable figures inducing Edgar Allen Poe, John Keats and George Washington. This collection is currently on display in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.

    Comparables

    The value of the 25 off-cuts of hair alone should not be underestimated... A single strand of Elvis Presley hair recently sold for £1,055 ($1,750) at auction.

    Also in recent years locks from Babe Ruth have sold for $38,000 at auction, John Lennon for $48,000, Elvis and Che Guevara for $119,500. Even teen sensations Justin Bieber's hair has sold at auction for $40,668.

    The price of Armstrong memorabilia soared at the recent Apollo 11 40th Anniversary celebrations. A personal cheque signed by Neil Armstrong on the day of his lunar mission sold for a record $27,350. That's 54 times the minimum bid price of $500.

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 

  • The Trafalgar Collection of historical Lord Nelson & HMS Victory artefacts
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    • A spectacular collection of memorabilia associated with Admiral Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar (1805)

    Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was a British naval officer famous for his victories against the French during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson was known for his superb leadership skills and somewhat unconventional strategies. Nelson was involved in battle almost constantly between 1793 until his death in 1805.

    During this time he lost the sight in his right eye at the Battle of Calvi in Corsica and lost his right arm at Santa Cruz in Tenerife. 

    Admiral Lord Nelson is remembered as one of the greatest British war heroes in history. He died during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

    The Trafalgar Collection is a unique limited edition collection of Lord Nelson and HMS Victory historical artefacts that has taken over 25 years to assemble. Only 1805 were ever made.

    This remarkable collection of memorabilia contains:

    1. A small piece of original wood from HMS Victory. This wood was salvaged during the ship's restoration, with a royalty paid to the 1922 'Save the Victory Fund'. The wood's provenance is authenticated by Lt. Cmdr. John Scivier RN, Commanding Officer, HMS Victory.
    1. A small piece of white ensign flag from HMS Victory. Understood to have formed part of the catafalque (the platform used to carry the coffin) at Lord Nelson's funeral procession. C.Wesley Cowan, an expert on the US Antiques Roadshow, states "it is in my opinion that this flag is 100% authentic and beyond dispute".
    1. A strand of Lord Nelson's hair. This hair was acquired from British Naval Auction experts Charles Miller Ltd Auctions in London, United Kingdom with the following description: "A generous curl of typically fine pale hair... conforms very closely to other known hair examples of Lord Nelson's late-period hair. It is well recorded that Emma Hamilton was given Nelson's hair among other things".
    1. A piece of Lord Nelson's handkerchief. Acquired from International Autograph Auctions with the following provenance: "This handkerchief formerly belonged to Lord Nelson and was given by John Braham to John Dickinson, Solicitor of Broad Street, City in the year 1828". John Braham (c1774-1856) was an English tenor, one of Europe's leading opera singers. Lord Nelson was present at a performance by the singer at Livorno, Italy in 1799.

    The collection is beautifully framed and double mounted to a size of 19 x 16 inches and includes images of Lord Nelson and HMS Victory. At the base of the frame is a description of the collection and full provenance is provided within an information pack that accompanies the collection.

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included.