A rare copy of The Gremlins, the first book by Roald Dahl, has an estimate of £3500-4000 at Hansons’ online-only Fine Art & Library Auction on May 21-22 and May 25-26.

Published in 1943 in a run of just 50 copies, this wartime tale (which involves the gremlins joining forces with the RAF against the forces of Hitler) was written for Walt Disney, although the proposed movie was never made.

This copy was given to Dahl’s RAF comrade Wing Commander John Alexander and comes for sale from his daughter who now lives in Ontario. Suggesting that Alexander provided literary inspiration to the project, alongside creations by the author in pencil it contains a playful note which reads: To John, who wrote the bloody thing anyway Roald Dahl, 25/5/43

hansonsauctioneers.co.uk or view this item on thesaleroom.com

Mallams resumes auctions on June 3-4 with a two-day live online sale of Chinese, Japanese and Islamic art in Cheltenham. The 710 lots include a group of scrolls, albums and textiles from the estate of Katherine Talati (1922-2015).

A career diplomat for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, she was also a talented artist who received private tutorials from the classical landscape painter Prince Pu Quan (a great-grandson of the emperor Daoguang and cousin of the last emperor, Pu Yi).

Three of her ink on paper scroll paintings will be offered for sale, with a 13 x 18in (34 x 44cm) scene of figures on a rocky outcrop signed with the artist’s seal mark Da Shunming carrying an estimate of £400-600.

mallams.co.uk or view this item on thesaleroom.com

The sale at Dominic Winter of South Cerney on May 27-28 includes this very rare copy of an Eskimaux and English vocabulary book published in 1850 for use on the Arctic expeditions ‘to carry relief to Sir John Franklin and his companions’.

The 160-page book in original cloth gilt was created ‘as we learnt from the accounts of Cook, Kotzebue, and Beechey, that much intercourse took place during these voyages with the natives of the north-western coast of North America’. Only the second copy recorded at auction, the estimate is £3000-5000.

dominicwinter.co.uk or view this item on thesaleroom.com


Dreweatts’ Transport sale, rescheduled as a live online sale for May 28, includes this restoration project, a 3½in gauge model of an A4 LNER 4-6-2 tender locomotive, Silver Fox.

The model was built by the late Bill Dwyer of Surrey over a period of 10 years but due to ill-health it was not rebuilt after the copper boiler (included in the lot) was removed in 2000.

Estimate £3000-4000.

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An Arts & Crafts brass and copper oil lamp in the manner of WAS Benson with a vaseline glass shade has a guide of £200-300 at Mander Auctions in Sudbury on June 6.

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This £50 note shown above, bearing the signature of Chief Cashier B.S. Catterns and the date June 15, 1933, formed part of Operation Bernard, a plan hatched by the Nazis to flood the UK with forged banknotes.

The first iteration of this scheme to destabilise the British economy, trialled in 1940, was to air-drop banknotes over Britain followed by a second phase that sought to fund German intelligence operations in the UK with fake currency. The unit charged with the project successfully duplicated the rag paper used for British banknotes, produced near-identical engraving blocks and deduced the algorithm used to create the serial codes on each note.

Enough Operation Bernard currency entered circulation that the Bank of England redesigned its banknotes after the war. Not too many survive today, with this example, carrying the serial number 50 N 54500, expected to sell at £80-120 as part of a timed auction at Sworders of Stansted Mountfitchet ending on May 24.

sworder.co.uk or view this item on thesaleroom.com


This 1st-2nd century hollow-formed bronze foot above is all that remains of a Roman statue. At 11in (28cm) across, the dimensions suggest the sculpture was near life-sized and probably depicted an actor or a young man. The footwear with elaborate strapping is a variant of the Greek trochades sandal, known to be a favourite of travellers.

The property of a London gentleman and previously acquired on the UK art market in the 1990s, it has an estimate of £15,000-20,000 at the next TimeLine sale in Harwich, Essex, from June 2-7.

timelineauctions.com or view this item on thesaleroom.com


Lyon & Turnbull holds a picture and sculpture sale titled The Classic Tradition on May 28. Estimated at £8000-12,000 is a 7 x 11in (17 x 27cm) oil on board by John Lavery (1856-1941).

On The Shore dates from the summer of 1887 when Lavery was recalled to his native Ulster to paint a large plein air group portrait of the Smiley family who lived at Drumalis, Larne, in County Antrim. The small sketch depicts the familiar black volcanic basalt boulders of the local coastline.

lyonandturnbull.com or view this item on thesaleroom.com