Sold on Portrait photos of the Queen, the cabinet of a Japanese sword maker and a special memento of Live Aid

From the thousands of lots that appear at auctions every week on, here we focus on three exceptional lots bought by online bidders this month.

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A set of portrait photos of the Queen by Anthony Buckley, £13,000 at William George.

A set of portrait photos of the Queen by Anthony Buckley

This set of nine portrait photographs of the Queen were those used to create Canadian bank notes in the 1960s.

The images, taken by court photographer Anthony Buckley (1912-93), capture the monarch aged 37 in a variety of different poses. Once approved, they were presented to the Security Printers and the Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations, which distributed images of the monarch for use in bank notes, coins and postage stamps across the British Commonwealth.

The photographs were later adopted into the design of Canadian currency.

It is rare that royal photography used for official purposes comes on the market. A set of these 1963 photographs, which each measure 8 x 10in (20 x 25cm), was donated to the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Anthony Buckley archive in 1995.

This second set was offered by online auction house William George on behalf of a private collector in Peterborough. Guided at £5000-8000, they sold via at £13,000 when the auction closed on April 23.


A signed Live Aid poster

This original poster marks Live Aid, the duel-venue benefit concert held simultaneously at Wembley stadium in London and the JFK stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985.

Designed to raise money for the relief of the ongoing Ethiopian famine, the ‘global juke box’ was the most ambitious international satellite television venture to date with an estimated audience of 1.9 billion.

Original Live Aid posters (there are several designs) are not too hard to find but this example, offered at the Movie & Music Memorabilia sale at Excalibur Auctions on April 25, carries three authenticated signatures: those of the poster artist Peter Blake and those of Midge Ure and Bob Geldof, the organisers of the Live Aid event.

A great momento of perhaps the greatest benefit concert of all time, it took £3400 (estimate £250-350). Bonhams sold a similar poster carrying the signatures of many of the performers at the Wembley concert in 2015 for £3800. 


A miniature cabinet attributed to Komai Otojiro

Estimated at £2000-3000, this Meiji period iron and gold inlaid miniature cabinet sold for £11,000 at Hannams in Selborne, Hampshire on April 27. The winning bid came via

Standing just 6in (15cm) high it is nonetheless larger than many similar miniatures and is wonderfully inlaid with birds, dragons and foliage. The decoration is attributable to Komai Otojiro (1842-1917), the great metalwork artist who swapped a career making sword fittings in the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate for a business under the Meiji restoration making decorative damascened ironwares for wealthy European and American travellers.

Taking his inspiration from the popularity of small-scale cabinets and boxes made from lacquered wood, a favourite with globe-trotting visitors by the 1880s, Komai focused production on these miniature furniture-shaped pieces with decoration executed in nunome zōgan, (cloth-texture inlay). 

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