RARE autographs of famous people including Queen Victoria, Lord Byron and Charles Dickens will be going under the auctioneer’s hammer at Rye today (Friday).
In what is an incredible coupe for the gallery they have been asked to auction a beautifully bound red-leather and gilt autograph book which contains the verified signatures of some of the most eminent Victorians to ever live, including Queen Victoria herself and the Prince and Princess of Wales.
The detailed printed index lists 244 signatures of royalty, politicians, church members, actors, actresses, singers, sportsmen and poets.
They include the author Charles Dickens; the cricketer W.G Grace; Lillie Langtry; General Grant; Byron and former Prime Minister Gladstone.
The book is displayed in a velvet and silk lined oak box.
Jo Wells, from Rye Auction Gallery, explained: “We secured a house clearance from a property in Whitstable. in Kent.
“The autograph album has remained in the family for its whole life and now they are downsizing unfortunately this special item has to go.
“We have done some substantial research into the album and had verbal authentication from specialist in Nottingham that all the signatures are original.”
The autograph book has been available for viewing by appointment only and is listed, at a guide price of between £3,000 - £4,000 though it could go for a great deal more, given the interest.
It is a great come-back for the gallery, which was closed by owners Bournes last December, blaming the closure on online auction and internet shopping sites.
But former auctioneer Kevin Wall re-opened another business in January at Rye Harbour Road under the name of Rye Auction Galleries Ltd, employing two full time staff and one part-time member.
Kevin said: “There has been great public support for the gallery and many helped with time and materials.”