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It's In The Post

Leading Dorset Fine Art Auctioneers Sotherbone's are known the world over for their enviable track-record of bringing before the public auction items of outstanding interest and as often as not of incalculable historic importance. In any given week this might be a recently recovered Dutch master [frequently from an undisclosed German source], a rare Italian Renaissence sculpture, a classic 20th century Swedish chair or even an early 21st century Thrupiece - the last of these being something of a house speciality given Sotherbone's close association with many of the leading dynastic houses in the environs of Great Heaving .

Every now and again, however, it is a modest, almost everyday piece that captures the discerning collector's attention - say a Dorset vernacular gatepost or a Friar's Cliff Arts and Crafts marmelade pot complete with cirtus-themed ceramic decoration.


This week's top "spot" - which is tipped to attract a great deal of interest both locally and [via the worldwide interweb] somewhat further afield - is a picture postcard from the late 1940s or early 1950s depicting Withybed Wood Boulevard in its post war heyday*. Postcards such as this are rare; most having been destroyed by families hastily emptying attics, garages and outhouses in an indiscriminate clearout following the death of aged grandparents and a rush to capitalise quickly on their once loved one's departure from this life.

* Withybed Wood's famous neon-lit tourist strip was the place to go when, ironically, almost nobody could actually afford to do so.

Even more rare says Sotherbone's chief deltiologist - R U A Kollecta - are postcards containing personal details - snapshots of their humdrum and sometimes tawdry lives. This one she insists, "is a cracker". "We can only imagine the sheer sense of joi de vivre that liberation from a pallias and the experience of a hotel-based luxury sprung mattress must have brought to Doreen and John" she adds**. "Equally, we can only wonder what Eric was after that Doreen was offering to give him on her return from holiday. We know that in these generally straightened times, money for presents was fairly limited, so perhaps she gave him something more personal; something that he had been hinting he wanted from her for some time but not yet managed to inveigle out of her. It is particualrly intriguing that John was kept in the dark about it!"

** for younger readers a pallias was a straw-based cloth bag on which many ordinary people slept. It was in common use in the UK until about 2005 and Dorset until 2018 when greater affluence and a less tolerant attitude towards vermin, rodents and bedbugs made their extinction pretty much inevitable. John's unfamiliarity with a proper mattress is evident in his failure to spell the word properly.

The next Sotherbone's auction will take place on June 3rd. Intending buyers are advised to register their interest - preferably in person at their Bishop's Caundle Office or via their new all-digital virtual electronic mobile-accessible worldwide interweb portal [] [CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW]

Fully illustrated catalogues are available on application priced at 85 guinneas.

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