Thursday, 30 September 2021

Jerry Lee Lewis Tower Ballroom Poster-I Track Down The Man Who Made It-Piece of the Week.

I recently purchased this historic Jerry Lee Lewis concert poster.

The concert took place at The Tower Ballroom New Brighton.

 Just a Ferry 'Cross The Mersey in 1962.

I decided to track down the man who made it.

I caught up with Tex O'Hara at his sisters house in Liverpool.
He spoke to me in great detail about the techniques he used to design it, and about the concert itself. 
Tex O'Hara designed many of the early Beatles posters. 
His brother Brian O'Hara was lead guitarist in the Fourmost, who were in The Brian Epstein stable of Merseybeat groups. They played many times at The Cavern in Mathew Street Liverpool, England. And in the 60's they had a big hit with a John Lennon penned song, Hello Little Girl. And many others.
They had a residency, that lasted for over a year at The London Palladium.
Brian Epstein would employ Tex to produce the posters that promoted many of his concerts. 
Though he was not too happy when he spelt The Beetles incorrectly on one poster. 
That poster is now worth a lot of money. Tex O'Hara designed the first Beatles Drum Logo.

The 'Thank Your Lucky Stars' Concert at The Tower Ballroom took place on 17th May 1962. 
Many of the Merseybeat groups would be there to pay homage to The Big Bopper.

Appearing with JERRY LEE LEWIS were The Echoes, BILLY KRAMER and the Coasters, LEE CASTLE and the Barons, THE BIG THREE, THE PRESSMEN, THE UNDERTAKERS, THE STRANGERS, VINCENT EARL and the Zeros, KINGSIZE TAYLOR and the Dominoes, STEVE DAY and the Drifters, and RIP VAN WINKLE and The Rip It Ups.

Tex tells me about Rory Storm being manhandled off The Killer's White Piano and how Jerry Lee Lewis from The Deep South who had just married his 13 year old bride was welcomed to The Wild West of Merseyside. 

I got him to sign the poster. YOU CANT GET BETTER PROVANENCE THAN THAT. 

Watch the video below for more information about this historic event.



Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Jean Gerbino Micro Mosaic Ceramic Vase-Piece of the Week

 Jean Gerbino (1876 -1966) set up his pottery at Vallauris, in the South of France. 

Gerbino was born into a Sicilian pottery family, he started learning his craft at an early age. He left for Vallauris, France, where he worked as a potter under Clément Massier.

 In 1919, after a spell in Algiers then in Uzès, near Nîmes, then he returned to Vallauris. Where he was to stay.

The vase on the left is 12cm high.

He was heavily influenced by Japanese Nerikomi pottery known as Neriage. The work he produced involves laminating different coloured clays to produce blends of colour that seem to swirl yet was uniform. 

When you then cut across the grain, of the blended clay, you get beautiful repeated patterns. 

The making of a stick of rock come to mind.

The detail is amazing.

Jean Gerbino devoted 15 years of his life to developing this unique process, a combination of mosaic and Neriage.

 In 1931, it won him the Paris Concours Lépine prize. Many other awards followed.

The vase below is 9cm high.

His work is unique in Europe to my mind and is as timeless as the Venetian masters of glass who weaved their millefiori rods into beautiful artistic creations.

 It must have taken a great amount of time to produce his work.

 Firstly in the concept of getting all the different clay to merge in the kiln and then in the designs, which have an art deco inspiration though post war and are of their time.

The colours reflect the light in his part of the world and echo the provincial colours of the pottery creations that made Vallauris a draw for ceramicists.

I have four vases ranging from 9cm to 12 cm in height.

I am amazed by them.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

Little Italy-Corris. The Hidden Gem.

It is situated in an amazing place and seems to sit in a hidden valley. Surrounded by pine topped hills and mountain crags.

Corris lies between Dolgellau and Machynlleth (try saying that after a few beers).

Its a sharp turn in to the village of Corris if you are coming in from the A487. 

Easy to miss but there is a sign for a railway to remind you where it is.

Of a weekend you will hear the toot of the miniature railway tender that used to pull the valuable slate, from the quarry. Now lovingly restored and manned by volunteers. 
Corris slate is called monumental slate as it was used for the best jobs. 
It was used on the ill fated Titanic for its circuit boards. 
Corris is surrounded by slate quarries some you can visit and back in the day this was a working slate quarry town. 
Bridge street was lined with shops selling their wares. There was even a musical instrument shop if the old label on the harmonium still inside Capel Salem built 1868 is to be read.

As the road dips past the Corris Institute people will be sitting whiling away the hours outside the village cafe, Idris Stores, run by Rob and Hazel.

You will find a friendly welcome from all there.

Everyone says hello as they go about their business.

Just past the historic grade II listed Slaters Arms run by Mike and Charlotte you may wish to stop to have drink in the friendly pub before take a left and tackle the hill that seems to get steeper the further you climb. 

Looking back to the village of Corris the views just seem to get better as the dots of people disappear.

Just past the Corris Hostel you realise, if you check your watch, that this is like the land that time forgot. 

And the views keep getting better.

It is mystical in the rain that feeds the lichen that cover the trees as you rise even further.

When you come to a little branch in the dirt track and take the right hand it seems you are heading towards a secret garden, a fairy glen as the shadows of the pines dapple the light.

Keep going you will not be disappointed.

Suddenly you can hardly believe it, your eyes are feasted by............. an Italian village.

In miniature. 

In Corris. 

In Wales.

Florence Cathedral, in what seems like perfect replica. 

The Colosseum in perfect model size, apparently to scale.

 There's more everywhere you look there are famous Italian landmarks looking as if they have been transported from the Mediterranean to Wales.

It the most amazing sight that is more than worth the hike. 

Wear steady boots.

Looking a little bit further some of the historic landmarks in miniature need a little bit of restoration. 

The Welsh wind and rain has been pounding the magical little gem for several decades now. 

Lets hope it can be restored back to the original plan.

So just who created this wonder of the world of miniature?

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Manchester United v Liverpool-The Good Friday Match Fixing Scandal.

 Old Trafford 2nd April 1915.  The Day The Beautiful Game Turned Ugly.

I was recently  asked to look over a very old FA cup runners up medal awarded to a Liverpool player.  Tommy Miller.

Growing up a stones throw from Anfield. I just had to take a closer look. It was a simple gold medal in a presentation box....but there seemed a bit more to this than first met the eye.

Tommy Miller had a habit of borrowing money he couldn’t pay back, so when his brother asked for Tommy to pay a debt, Tommy gave him his gold medal instead. The medal was made by VAUGHTON AND SONS and is hallmarked gold.

This passed down the family and eventually it turned up at a Antiques Roadshow valuation day at Culzean Castle, Scotland.

Tommy Miller was born in Motherwell. 

He played for Larkhill Hearts, Glenivan and Lanark Utd. Then Third Lanark and Hamilton Academicals (I always think they sound more like a University Challenge team than a football team) before moving on to Liverpool in the 1911-12 season. He had two brothers that also played the game.

He was the top scorer for Liverpool  in 1913-14 with 16 goals. He was 5 ft 9 inches, eleven and a half stone and described as a handy player. Tom Miller made 127 appearances scoring 52 goals. 

He played 19 FA cup games scoring 6 goals. He won a Scottish cap while playing for Liverpool.

This is a runners up medal for the FA cup for the season 1913-14. That match was won by Burnley 2-0.

This medal was awarded by King George V. The match was played pre Wembley at CRYSTAL PALACE. 

Ed Mosscrop playing for Burnley received a winners medal and this medal is in the Football Hall of Fame. Should this medal of Tommy Millers be in the Football Hall of Shame.

A man once said that some people think football is a matter of life and death. I can assure you that it is much more serious than that. And during the was.  If you were playing in the league you were not in the trenches, in France. In 1914 The Christmas truce was called and a football match was played in no mans land. Read More Here Football had become a universal game.

The FA Cup Final of 1915 year was named The Khaki Final as the whole crowd seemed to be in uniform.

While the war was on the top players were encouraged to take a pay cut in a spirit of brotherhood. Those on the maximum wage of £5 took a cut of 15% those earning £3 took a 5% cut.

The FA had written to the war office to ask for official sanction to continue playing the matches, but be prepared to stop at any time. Recruitment for the army was stepped up on match days. People were seen giving out white feathers to those who did not show their patriotic duty and go and fight. For King and Country. Cricket had been cancelled.

Public attacks in the national press especially from Dr Thomas Fry of Lincoln suggested that it was nothing more than financial greed that kept the season going.

He wanted restrictions in place preventing anyone under the age of 40 from entering a football ground.

He even sent a telegram which suggested that the monarch withdraw his patronage of the game.

It was thought that the war would suspend matches, thus ending the career of many players. Many thought this could be the last game they played, before going off to war.

2nd April 1915 The teams met at Old Trafford. THE GOOD FRIDAY GAME

18,000 people attended Old Trafford. The drop in receipts due to the war had put some clubs in financial peril.

An emergency meeting in Manchester by the football league on 9th October declared that an extra 2.5% of gross match receipts be made to the war effort.

The Good Friday game, it was said, was played in a uncertain manner and several chances were muddled.

“A more one sided first half would be hard to witness” One local reporter said.

The aptly named Thomas Fairfoul missed a penalty.

At 48 minutes a penalty was conceded against Liverpool after Bob Purcell handled it. 

Patrick O'Connell missed the goal completely. It was more like three points to Wigan as a Rugby kick was sky-ed into the stands. He walked back from the spot laughing to his colleagues.

At one time one Liverpool player, Fred Pagnam hit the crossbar with a shot and was and was chastised by his fellow players.

He was seen running around to get the ball and players from his own side wouldn't give it to him. 

The Manchester Daily Dispatch said “The second half was crammed with lifeless football. United were two up with 22 minutes to play and seemed content with their lead that they apparently never tried to increase it. Liverpool scarcely ever gave the impression that they were going to score.

George Anderson scored both goals for the Manchester United.

When the match ended players were seen to be waving betting slips around as the match finished. Others were seen arguing. The referee ordered an investigation into the match.

Four players were Scottish.

Liverpool had nothing on that season as they could neither win the league, nor be relegated. They were safe in 13th position in the league.

Bookmakers had laid odds of 8-1 against a 2-0 victory for United and a suspiciously large amount of bets had been placed that the odds shortened to 4-1. Something was wrong. The match was said to be SQUARED.

The bookie known as “The Football King promised a substantial reward for information that would lead to punishment of “the instigators of this reprehensible conspiracy”

The FA interviewed players one by one. The Good Friday commission was set up. The honesty and integrity of the game must be upheld.

It was said that several players held back the truth. It was found that several players had colluded to throw the match.

John McKenna the chairman of Liverpool was also the Chairman of the football league and later admitted he had been in an awkward position. He said "There can only be one decision for those who had been so callous as to bring the game into disrepute". 

He regretted the guilty decision had not come earlier. They had to be ousted from the game of football.

They concluded it had been a conspiracy by the players alone and that no match officials were involved. Neither club were fined or had points dropped.

Billy Merideth denied any knowledge of match fixing but stated that he became suspicious when none of his team mates would pass to him. 

Jackie Sheldon an ex United player was said to be the go between and Man Utd. 

Fred Pagnam said he had been offered £3 on route to the match in a Taxi.

It was Pagnam who threatened to score in the game despite threats from the ringleaders.

The FA said they sympathized with the clubs but they had substantial evidence that a betting scandal had taken place.

left to right.Thomas Fairfoul, Tom Miller, RR Purcell and Jackie Sheldon, of Liverpool

Sandy Turnbull, A Whalley and Enoch J (Knocker) West of Man Utd and L. Cook of Chester where implicated.

In total seven players were charged.

All were permanently suspended from taking part in football or football management, and should not be allowed to enter any football ground in the future. The report stated “There was grave suspicions that others were also involved but we have restricted our findings to those whose offence is beyond reasonable doubt”.

In...apparent patriotic gesture. They left the controversy behind.

Miller along with many of the players involved joined up to fight in the war.

Jackie Sheldon sent a letter to the press published in The Athletic News 10th April 1916 saying he was fighting in France. He claimed innocence and asked anyone with information about him placing a bet to come forward. Sandy Turnbull was killed.

In September 1916 Sheldon who had been wounded in France whist serving came home on leave. He wanted to go to Anfield to watch Liverpool play Burnley and even though he was banned was granted admittance, as a wounded soldier. He was told to, "stay away from the dressing rooms".

He later confessed his roll. 

Enoch West vociferously denied his innocence and sued the FA for libel in 1917. He lost his case and the ban stood but by this time matches had been stopped for the war.


2nd June 1919 the Liverpool players were pardoned. after they apologised. 

Because of the FA's “high appreciation of the great sacrifices and services of its members during the war and the deep gratitude for the success which had been achieved.

All except Enoch “Knocker” West were allowed to return to Football. West was the only player not allowed to return to playing maintaining his innocence and was punished further...... for being innocent.

He had to wait until 1945 for his ban to be lifted and a pardon.  By then he was 59 nearly 60.

That year Manchester Utd were saved from relegation and Chelsea went down.

Tom Millers career continued. He scored 13 goals in 25 starts in the 1919-20 season.

 In 1921 he started the season scoring 3 goals. Then he left the club......and in 1921 he went to play for......... Manchester Utd

There he won two further caps for Scotland.

Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur who both had been relegated were returned to the 1st Division.............along with Arsenal who were 5th when the season finished.

It was agreed to expand the league by two teams....meaning no complaints from Chelsea. 

This also helped to merge the North and South divisions.

At the time of the scandal the Secretary of Manchester United and responsible for moving the team from Clayton to Old Trafford was JJ Bentley who had been a previous President of the football league. I recently came across his personalised season ticket. United had almost gone  bankrupt as he took over.  He retired in 1916. He died in 1918 aged 58. He left the club in a good financial position. He had been a founder of the Football League and once called the most influential man in football. In 1886, he left his Bolton accountant's office to work in Manchester as Assistant Editor, and later Editor, of  "The Athletic News". the publication that published the Jackie Sheldon letter that proclaimed his innocence. I wonder how much influence he had. 


Tom Millers Medal the one he gave away. Was it burning a hole in his hand? 

Did he feel guilty? We may never know.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Antiques Roadshow 2021 Venue Dates.

 This year its the same format as last year because of potential restrictions. These may be eased at some time. There is a mixed bag of venues including The Ulster Folk Museum near Belfast.

If you feel like coming along please contact Antiques Roadshow. 

Antiques Roadshow venues for 2021

At this moment in time, we are only taking online submissions for items that you wish to show to our team of experts. We will review all submissions and select a number for filming at one of our events this summer. These events will be invitation only in order to comply with Health & Safety regulations but we are continually monitoring the latest government advice around public events. If your item is shortlisted for filming, a member of our team will contact you to discuss potential filming dates.

Follow the links below to let us know about the items you want to show us.

Friday, 19 February 2021

Dr. No Film Poster-Scraped Off A Wall.

I was recently asked to appraise a Dr. No film poster that had been scraped off a wall by Jim the Scrim.

Film posters were not thought of anything more than wall-paper when it was pasted as a backdrop in a basement room. They were probably cheaper than wallpaper. per square yard. Who wanted them, they were everywhere.

Once scraped off it was put in a frame by a fan of the James Bond series of films.

 So it was my job to look it over and put the poster into context, from its its now. Had it appreciated.............................

Dr. NO


PRINTED IN ENGLAND by STAFFORD AND CO Nethinfield Nottingham and London.

It introduced The Spectre Organisation

The first James Bond film was not really tipped for anything spectacular but numerous films later its now a multi billion pound industry.

Ian Flemings sixth James Bond novel was originally written in 1956 for an episode of a never produced TV series 'James Gunn Secret Agent' with the episode being entitled Commander Jamaica. The working title of the film was 'The Wound Man'.

Dr. No was written in 1958 was a follow up to From Russia with Love.


All the sets and furniture were filmed slightly smaller so Connery would look bigger.

It featured a stolen Francisco Goya picture. The Duke of Wellington, which was stolen in 1961 from London's national gallery. 

Next to the stairs in Dr. No's dining area Bond stops to notice it. As he passes. Bond says "So there it is".  The audience laughed as it had been widely publicized at the time. It was recovered in 1965. Read More Here

Director Terence Young said the idea for the stolen picture came from Irish co-screenwriter Johanna Harwood. Pictures from national Galleries were then thought of as priceless.

After viewing the film Ian Fleming simply said 'Dreadful Simply Dreadful'

He didnt like Sean Connery being Scottish as Bond was English and not upper class but then when the money started rolling in he wrote a Scottish Heritage into James Bonds past. A recent Bond film Skyfall brings in his Scottish ancestry.

Albert R Broccoli attended a screening of Darby O'Gill and The Little People (1959) and then asked his wife Dana to confirm Connery's sex appeal.

The theory is, BOND IS someone all men wanted to be. AND ALL WOMEN WANTED TO BE WITH.

Cary Grants daughter would say her father later regretted turning down the role.

Patrick McGoohan also turned down the role.

Dr. No was losely based around Fu Man Chu. 

Fleming asked his good friend Noel Coward to play the role and he replied in a telegram 

Dr No? No! No! No!

Dr. No is plotting to disrupt an American space launch from Cape Canaveral.

John Barry did not compose the theme but arranged and orchestrated it from a song by Monty Norman for a aborted musical called The House of Dr Biswas.

Anthony Sinclair the Saville Row tailor stated that a truly great suit would be able to stand up to a great deal of abuse such as grabbing by the lapels and still look great afterwards. Connery was asked to sleep in his suit and was stunned to wake up the next morning and it still looked great.

Filming lasted 58 days.

Bond sings 'Under The Mango Tree' the only time he has ever sung in a film.

Location manager was Chris Blackwell who later founded Island Records

It was filmed in 1962 but was delayed release in America till 1964 because of the Cuban missile crisis.

JFK was shot in in November 1963.

Now a lot of people say they remember where they were when they heard the news that JFK had been shot.

I remember exactly where I was when in the 70's I first saw Honey Rider came out of the sea in that white bikini.

I was at home with the family..My mother said “Wayne close your mouth you'll catch flies in it”.

Julie Christie was considered for the role.

The scene of Honey Rider walking out of the sea was shot at Laughing Waters, an estate owned by Mrs Minnie Simpson in St Ann Jamaica.

The discovery of Ursula Andress.

Brocolli wanted an unknown with a new face who wouldn't demand a large salary.

Two weeks before casting Honey Rider part had not been cast the producers then saw a photograph of an unknown actress in a wet T-shirt and offered her the part without even meeting her.

Ursula's voice was dubbed by Nikki Van der Zyl.

Andress salary for the film was $6000.

Ursula later says “I am amazed all all I did was wear this bikini not even a small one and whoosh overnight I made it”.

All my school chums were talking about it the next day.

Honeychile Ryder the last surviving member of an old plantation family in Jamaica.

Ursula won golden globe best newcomer 1964.

After the film bikini sales rocketed.

The Vatican issued a special communique expressing its disapproval of the movies moral sentiment.

In Catholic countries local artists were employed to redesign and all implied nudity was censored.

THE POSTER HAD TO BE CENSORED IN IRELAND AND we see URSULA UNDRESS, IN A DRESS. The small amount of posters were coloured in by hand with marker pens for display.

THE Girls in the poster were designed from studio shot STILLS. They seem to be props.

First Ursula Andress from a still that is retouched.

Second ZENA MARSHAL She is really The Model Hooks with Zena Marshals painted in face

Third Eunice Grayson was the first ever Bond Girl Sylvia Trench.

Fourth in line and FAR RIGHT is ZENA MARSHALL her hair has been altered to look like Margerite Le Wars playing Dr No's photographer Anabel Chung she was a Miss Jamaica 1961.

She played the role while serving the title.

Years later the famous white Bikini was sold for $35,000 dollars with commissions and taxes £41,000.

But recently has caused a new stir Read More Here

So would you have a priceless Francisco Goya on your wall or a Dr No Poster?


ONE 30 by 30 inch Quad POSTER Linen backed. In perfect conserved condition. It had an estimate of £12,000 to £18,000 sold for £87,000. 10th April 2019.

A Dr No poster albeit a bigger size sold for £40,000 with commission and taxes.

Generally you could acquire one in good condition for around £25,000.

This poster was in quite bad condition though..................

So how much? For a poster scraped off a wall!!!!

Well, you will have to watch The Antiques Roadshow Sunday 21st February to find out.

Read More Here          In The Metro          See more         And Here

Friday, 29 January 2021

Art Deco Statue-Piece of the Week

Marcel Bouraine (1886-1948) is a well known name in the style we know now as Art Deco. The term Art Deco is an abreviation first seen in the 1960's taken from the name of L'Expostion Art Decoratif et Industrial Moderne in 1925. In Paris. This is the now accepted date when this new modern style was brought to the world in any sufficient quantity as to make a substantial difference. I have had some really strong bronze studies by this artist.

He also had a pseudonym. I have also had several Art Deco statues signed Derenne mainly in spelter some have had slate bases other had had marble.

This is Marcel Bouraine.

I have built several collection both for myself and for my several of my clients over the years and they always seem to include a sculpture by Bouraine.

He was working mainly in France.

Here I have a Disc dancer signed Derenne.....I have misplaced the discs that go onto both hands unfortunately. Though it is not taking away the movement in the piece. Made of green patinated spelter on a Belgium slate base. I sold this piece over ten years ago and have recently acquired it back. She is 20 inches high almost dancing off the base.

Born in Pontoise France largely self taught. He was taken prisoner during the Fiirst World War and sent to Switzerland. He was active until 1935 exhibiting at The Paris Salons. He designed for Argy-Rosseau who was a magician in Pate-sur-Verre. 

He preferred a classical theme. his Art Deco sculpture of Amazon with shield and spear has become a regular on the auction market.

 He may have also used the pseudonym Briand as there is a definitive connection between the two. 

Bouraine studied with Pierre Le Faguays and Max Le Verrier at The Ecole Des Beaux Arts in Geneva. Max Le Verrier would later cast many of his sculptures for him.