Propaganda Playing Cards are featured in our latest selection of five auction highlights


Orange cards from a deck celebrating the Glorious Revolution – £8,000 at Dominic Winter.

1. Playing cards

The designs for these playing cards (above), sometimes titled “Orange Cards”, are generally attributed to anti-Catholic propagandist Francis Barlow. The numbers on each card allow the story to be followed in chronological order, with scenes ranging from the macabre, such as “The midwife cutting her husband into pieces”, to the satirical, for example “A priest auctioning relics ” in whose relics are ‘Tho[mas] at Becket’s Old Stockins’.

Many similar packs were produced in the years following the so-called Glorious Revolution in 1688, each emphasizing various aspects of the events leading up to the reign of William and Mary. The British Museum dates its similar sets to around 1700-25.

The cards pictured here are from a complete deck of 52 cards offered to Dominic Winter at South Cerney on September 7 as part of a private collection of playing cards. Estimated between £2,000 and £3,000, the game sold for £8,000.

2. Birth tablet

Birth tablets, the 7cm (3in) circular plaques made to commemorate the births of local children, are unique to Lowestoft and add to the factory’s great sense of place.

This example, donated by Woolley & Wallis to Salisbury on 13 September as part of a fine collection of Lowestoft porcelain from an East Anglian family, is inscribed ‘Maryann Lifin born 4 November 1790’. On the reverse is a vignette of a dove holding a leafy twig in its beak.

The Liffin family was closely tied to the Lowestoft factory. Mary Liffin (née Redgrave) was a porcelain decorator who married John Liffin in 1785. Her death in May 1795 at the age of 33 is commemorated on the reverse of another birth tablet which records the birth of Martha Liffin the August 17, 1794.

Baptismal records from St Margaret’s Church in Lowestoft show that Mary Ann Liffin was baptized on 7 November. She never married, and when her sister Martha was widowed in 1841, they chose to live together. Both are buried in St Margaret’s Cemetery.

The auction record for a tablet is the one registered Thos Anderson Born September 13, 1790 and painted on the reverse with an oriental landscape. Sold at Phillips in 1996 for £4,600, it cost £14,000 at Sprake in 2006. Prices today are more circumspect: the last one offered for sale at Bonhams in 2021 is listed Mary Rushmer born October 29, 1796took £7000.

Mary Ann Liffin’s tablet, once part of Lowestoft’s famous Colman collection sold by Sotheby’s in 1948, was offered with a guidebook for £6,000-8,000 and fared below expectations.

3. Football program


FA Cup Winner's Medal

Alan Sunderland’s 1979 FA Cup winner’s medal – £16,000 at Graham Budd.

The match between Arsenal and Manchester United in 1979 provided one of the finest finishes in FA Cup final history. Arsenal, led by Terry Neill, led 2-0 at half-time and appeared to be heading for a comfortable win as the game entered the final five minutes of regulation time. But there was another act to play. After two quick goals from McQueen and McIlroy for the Red Devils, the scores were suddenly level and extra time was on the way. However, in the 89th minute Brady and Rix combined to cross for Alan Sunderland to score at the far post.

Sunderland’s 1979 FA Cup winner’s medal was sold by sports memorabilia specialist Graham Budd in London on September 6.

Offered in its original case, complete with a signed Sunderland cup final schedule and associated photographs, it was guided for £6,000-8,000 but sold to a buyer via thesaleroom.com for £16,000.

4. Photo by Keith Vaughan


Photo by Keith Vaughan

Landscape by Keith Vaughan with Whistling Boy, 1945 – £29,000 at Great Western Auctions.

A conscientious objector enlisted in the Non-Combatant Corps in 1941, artist Keith Vaughan (1912-1977) was posted to Ashton Gifford in Wiltshire and then to Malton in Yorkshire. Working as a German clerk and interpreter, army duties precluded studio work and large-scale oil painting, but he worked on a series of gouaches and ink drawings depicting landscape and military life. His diary at the time (in Tate Britain) was preoccupied with topics such as loneliness, the horrors of war and the coming of VE Day.

Vaughan’s first solo exhibition was at Alex Reid & Lefevre, London in 1944 with a follow-up exhibition at the gallery in 1946. It was entirely possible that the 11 x 15 inch (28 x 37 cm) gouache and ink Landscape with Whistling Boy, 1945 was exhibited at this second salon. On the reverse is a Lefevre Gallery label plus a possible inscribed and dated artist label Yorkshire 1945. This well-preserved work from a key period in Vaughan’s development went on sale at Great Western Auctions in Glasgow on 9 September where, estimated at £6,000-8,000, it took £29,000.

5. Pot of mustard


jar of mustard

Fancy Victorian Silver Mustard Pot – £6500 at Lyon & Turnbull.

New condiment sets inspired by the far reaches of the British Empire are a hallmark of Victorian silver. This example shaped like a chimpanzee in oriental garb (with a spoon providing a plume to the hat) is dosed for London 1867 and the partnership of George Richards and Edward Brown.

It would originally have been accompanied by two other condiment pieces. A complete cruet of this rare and desirable type is in the archive collection of mustard maker Colman’s in Norwich while another fetched £21,000 at Bonhams in 2008.

19th and early 20se century novelty silverware continues to be one of the highlights of the collectible category. This pot of mustard went on sale at Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh with a guide for £5,000-8,000 and went for £6,500.

About Margie Peters

Check Also

VAXART, INC. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (Form 10-Q)

The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations should be …