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The 'Google Maps' of WWII sold

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Postcards and holiday snaps that helped plan the German invasion


An archive of postcards and holiday snaps were used to plan the German invasion of Britain sold for £1,200 in the second Military Sale from Baldwin’s and Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions. Attracting much pre-sale interest the sale offered historically fascinating collections to entice new and veteran collectors.

The archive included pamphlets and maps with a detailed analysis of the British coastline, cities and industrial areas, giving a fascinating insight into the extensive knowledge and cunning tactics used by the German military to obtain intelligence relating to the invasion of Britain.

Amassed by a military book specialist who had spent his career collecting curiosities relating to the books he was publishing, it sold for £1,200 [Lot 319 pictured above].

Bidders were joined by TV show Militaria Matters, who filmed the auction for broadcast on sky channel "Visions of War." Chosen as backdrop for the broadcast was a Knight of the Garter ceremonial uniform worn by Lieutenant-General Sir William Henry Pringle GCB.

Pringle served with distinction in the Peninsula, surviving being shot at Orthes in 1814. A bidding battle for the uniform (pictured below) pushed the price to £4,560 [Lot 219].


Topping the arms section was a 16th century German or Swiss hand-and-a-half sword which sold for £7,200 [Lot 184]. A rare pair of percussion over-and-under pistols by J & W Wood, Manchester, also made a bang, achieving £1,560 [Lot 193].

In the buoyant medals market, a number of poignant and high quality pieces soared above their estimates. After another fierce battle between bidders, an Afghan and Indian campaigns group of four awarded to Major-General Henry Pelham Burn sold for £13,200.

Major-General Henry Pelham Burn served with the 4th Bengal Native Infantry, Honourable East India Company, in the Afghan Campaign of 1840-1842 and was present at the siege of Jellallabad. He was also present at the siege of Delhi during the mutiny of 1857-1858 and was appointed Military Governor on its fall.

Pelham Burn personally interrogated the great Mughal court poet Mirza Azadullah Khan Ghalib, but aware of his fame and importance, provided the poet safe passage to his home [Lot 18].

Baldwin’s medal specialist David Kirk said: “The reception among bidders for today’s auction has been excellent. This is only our second Military Sale with Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions and we are starting to make great progress. Next year we are holding two important themed auctions to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Great War Centenary and we would be delighted to assist anyone wishing to consign to either sale.”

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