Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ephemera: How much is that old receipt worth?

The following two receipts recently appeared for sale on ebay - the wording under each is the title on the adverts - retaining the listing errors.



The auctions opened at £0.99 for each item, and proxy bids were placed. Two bids were placed on the Norman advert, and there were three bidders for the Reynolds advert.

How much do you think they are worth?

The price of items like this depend on what people are prepared to pay, and this can vary widely, depending on whether there are several people with a special interest in the item. In a contested auction on ebay the final price is up to one bid increment above the second bidder's maximum and the buyer might well have been prepared to bid more.

For the Frederick Norman Receipt the second bidder's maximum was £2.19
The item sold at the winner's top bid of £2.27 
For the J Reynolds Receipt the third bidder was only prepared to pay £15.00
The second bidder 's maximum was £25.51
So the winner bid was £26.51

Often documents of this nature go for very low prices (which is why I occasionally buy them to use as material on this web site) - and the price for the Norman document is pretty typical for the simpler documents with no graphics in the header. However I was surprised that there were was so much interest in the Reynolds document and if the unsuccessful bidders see this and are interested in exchanging information I would love to hear from them.
Planned Future Work
The Reynolds receipt was purchased to add to the file of research information currently being built up on the involvement of Jacob Reynolds in the marketing of artificial fertilizer, particularly in connection with Lawes of Rothamsted, Harpenden, and will be reported in detail later this year.

George Checkland was a colliery owner and iron master, who had retired to Hawkswick, St Michaels, near St Albans, and the receipts relate to the settling of debts associated with his estate following his death. Information is being prepared on George and the other prominent occupiers of Hawkswick.

Frederick Norman, Tailor, is also being investigated - and an information page is planned showing the kind of information available in local newspapers.

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