On the Auction Block: Princess Di Unpublished and a 18th Century English Sex Guide

Blair Pfander
On the Auction Block: Princess Di Unpublished and a 18th Century English Sex Guide
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We may not be history buffs, but we can still appreciate that anything previously owned or autographed by the likes of Princess Diana, JFK or George Washington is probably worth adding to a private collection.
Which makes this week an important one indeed in the world of top auctions. From an intimate, unpublished photo of Lady Di (holding a bottle of Ballantine’s whiskey) to an old, yellowed letter penned by our most famous Forefather, there are seriously exciting items up for auction this week.
If you prefer high-octane machines over historic relics, be sure to place your bid on one of the rare antique motorcycles heading to Bonhams on January 10th. Our top pick? A 1923 Indian Scout in fire engine red.

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Art Deco Platinum Star Bracelet: Art Deco baubles are resurging in popularity this season. Luckily this fine platinum, star sapphire and diamond bracelet heads to auction at Christies this week. Dating back to 1925, this show-stopper features a single cabochon sapphire and a geometric mille-grain motif inlaid with single-cut diamonds. Estimated $8,035 - $11,249, January 16 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

Princess Di Unpublished: One of the most exciting items heading to the block next week is a rare, unpublished image of a young Princess Diana lying in bed with a bottle of Ballantine's Finest Scotch Whiskey. Given the intimate nature of the photo, it's hardly surprising that the words "not to be published" are scrawled across the front. Opening at $200, January 17 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

1923 Indian Scout Frame: Indian Motorcycles hold a special place in any serious motorcycle collection, and in particular the 20's era "Scout," which gained a reputation for its supposed indestructibility. As the advertising claimed, "You can't wear out an Indian Scout." Estimated $6,000 - $8,000, January 10 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

1928 Ace Four "Hemi head" Prototype: Another highlight from Bonhams rare motorcycles lot, this rare Ace Four Hemi-Head prototype—which was designed by legendary engineer William Henderson in the 1920's—has been extensively restored and comes complete with its original engine. Estimated $200,000 - $250,000, January 10 at Bonhams.

Photo: Bonhams/Bonhams

1920s Babe Ruth Album Page: Baseball fans drool over any kind of Great Bambino memorabilia. The trouble is that a abundance of fake Ruth signatures make it hard to find genuine articles. Happily, this Ruth autograph (found on an old album page) has been already authenticated—a  real "home-run" for collectors. Estimated $3,000 - $5,000, ongoing at Heritage Auctions.

Photo: Heritage Auctions/Heritage Auctions

Jeff Koons Skateboards: There's nothing Jeff Koons won't paint or sculpt into a cartoon, including this trio of "monkey train" skate decks, which the artist completed in 2006. While we don't recommend actually skating on Koons' fine art sporting equipment, they might make nice—if slightly creepy—wall hangings. Estimated $3,000 - $5,000, January 9 at Christies.

Photo: Christies/Christies

JFK Portrait: Who doesn't like a little JFK memorabilia? This matte finish Bachrach photo is inscribed by the King of Camelot himself and reads: "For Senator Guy Gillette, with the esteem and warm regards of his old friend and colleague." Currently at $4,957, bidding ends January 16 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

Early Sea Ballads: Lovers of sea-faring stories and old fashioned sailor culture will appreciate this early printing of 107 nautical ballads, including "The Seaman's Life," "Lay of the Lash," and "The Loss of One Hero." Estimated £200 - 300, January 16 at Lyon and Turnbull.

Photo: Lyon & Turnbull/Lyon & Turnbull

18th Century Sex Book: This bizarre, illustrated guide to sex and pregnancy (which includes images of hairy children with mouths instead of navals) dates back to the 1760s, and was so scandalous that it was outlawed in the United Kingdom for over 200 years. Price TBD, January 16 at Lyon & Turnbull.

Photo: Lyon & Turnbull/Lyon & Turnbull

George Washington Letter: American history collectors will scramble for this rare letter to William Thornton hand-written by President George Washington. The note—which details "an advance of a thousand dollars being near at hand"—features Washington's unmistakable signature at the bottom. At $14,859, bidding ends January 16 at RR Auction.

Photo: RR Auction/RR Auction

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