Engraved Brass Tape Measure to go Under the Hammer

14th January 2013

An engraved brass tape measure stolen by a convict who was subsequently transported to Australia for his crime looks set to go under the hammer in Lincoln.

The early 19th century tape measure, which is engraved '1839 Charles White was transported for seven years for stealing this tape', will be featured in the next sale at auctioneers Golding Young & Mawer on Wednesday, January 23.

Auctioneer John Leatt said: "This is a fascinating piece of social history and one which will certainly attract the interest of collectors, historians and museums countrywide. We estimate it will sell for between £60 and 80."

White was just 22 years old when he was tried for the theft on June 26, 1837, in Oxfordshire and sentenced to seven years in the colonies. He set sail for New South Wales on the Portsea from Portsmouth just over a year later on July 24, 1838.

Records show that the ship's Master was Samuel John Lowe and its surgeon Thomas Bell. Of the 240 prisoners on board, one died on the journey and the others arrived at Sydney on December 18, 1838 after a journey of 140 days.

Australia became a penal colony in the late 18th century to alleviate the overcrowding in British jails. The first 780 convicts arrived in 1788 and by the time the last shipment had disembarked in 1868, 160,000 criminals had been transported from Britain. Most of the convicts were men who were transported for minor crimes.

Elsewhere in the sale, a collection of signed First Day Covers of stamps are sure to attract the interest of collectors. Among the collection are stamps signed by footballers Alf Ramsey and Stanley Matthews, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Arctic Explorer Edmund Hillary and war hero Douglas Bader.

Meanwhile, a mid-19th century Italian tortoiseshell snuff box is expected to sell for in excess of £300. Mr Leatt said: "This box features a top inset with a micro-mosaic panel and is certain to have come into the country by someone who had been on a Grand Tour of Europe in the mid-19th century."

There is also a 19th century Irish reform-related stoneware flask of the Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell which is expected to sell for between £400 and £600. The flask was brought in to the auction house's free Friday valuation morning.

Known as 'The Liberator', Daniel O'Connell (1775-1847) was an Irish political leader during the first half of the 19th century who campaigned for Catholic emancipation. In particular, he campaigned for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament and a repeal of the Act of Union which combined Great Britain and Ireland.

One of the most unusual items in the sale is a card signed by Adolf Hitler which reads 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year' and is dated December 1943. The card is being sold by a local collector and is estimated to make between £200 and £300.

Among the furniture in the sale, there is a Victorian walnut and marquetry credenza from a local deceased estate which expected to sell for between £1,200 and £1,500.

Within a section of die-cast model railway, tin plate and others toys is a rare Captain Scarlet 21st century driving game in good condition and in its original box which is estimated to sell for between £150 and £200. The game is copyrighted 1967 and was made by Triang.

Gerry Anderson, the creator of the hit TV shows Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Stingray and Joe 90, died aged 83 in December last year. His most famous show was Thunderbirds, a science fiction fantasy about a daring rescue squad which ran from 1965. 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' was first broadcast in September 1967 and was the follow-up to Thunderbirds.

The sale also includes a collection of vintage weights and measures equipment previously used by officers in the former HM Customs and Excise, now HM Revenue and Customs.

« Back to News