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A must-have clock and some Biggles-linked art

PUBLISHED: 09:02 20 November 2017

A Belgium slate mantle clock; a little out of fashion at the moment, but still good value for money.

A Belgium slate mantle clock; a little out of fashion at the moment, but still good value for money.

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Collectables: Mike Hicks looks at two reader queries this week.

The rare drawing done by a well-known writer and artist, who illustrated many of his own publications. The rare drawing done by a well-known writer and artist, who illustrated many of his own publications.

Molly and her family were staying on the outskirts of London in a bed and breakfast when she quite fell in love with a clock that she saw. After some negotiation, the owner agreed to sell it to her, and although she telephoned me originally, I did ask her to write and send pictures. I was horrified that she had paid something like £200 for this clock - a lot of money - but on further examination, the news was a little bit better. But always take care before spending money - do research first, if possible.

I have now received the picture of your clock. It is unusual and probably a bit better than normal. Even so, at auction you would probably get between £80-£120. Unfortunately, whichever way you look at it, it is still a marble mantle clock, and they just aren’t flavour of the month at the moment.

The actual works do go extremely well and they will last forever, it is just the stigma of the dark marble that the younger generation don’t like, but yours looks quite quirky and different, so I should carry on enjoying it regardless.

I’ve also an interesting inquiry from Mike about an aircraft drawing. At the bottom of drawing it says “The Bristol Wins”, and Mike had a feeling that it could be by a very well-known author, who himself was a pilot.

The drawing itself was on a special type of watercolor paper, known as Whatmans, produced by Windsor & Newton. Mike (and I) believe it is the work of W E Johns, famous as the author of the Biggles books.

Johns was shot down and captured while on a bombing mission to Germany in 1918, and he remained a prisoner of war until the armistice. He started writing after the war, publishing more than 160 books, almost 100 featuring his famous fictional pilot.

A picture by Johns up for sale in the middle of this year made more than £3,000, well above the £500-£700 estimate.

I can’t gain any credit for this, it was due to the fact that Mike saw it and thought there must be something good about it, and his intuition was absolutely right. Well done Mike, I really think you deserve my job!

Mike Hicks has run Stalham Antique Gallery at 29 High Street, Stalham (NR12 9AH) for more than 30 years. His business is open Mondays to Fridays from 9am-1pm and 2-4.30pm, and on Saturdays from 9am-1pm. You can contact Mike on 01692 580636 or info@mikehicksantiques.co.uk or www.mikehicksantiques.co.uk

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