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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Bid to raise £30k by auctioning antiques

THEY may not be the most typical of auction lots – but a council still hopes to raise £30,000 by selling antique weights and measures.

The auction, at Bonhams in Chester on October 18, will sell off one of the biggest collections of 19th and 20th century measures and weights.

Cumbria County Council inherited the weights and measures from several councils as a result of local government re-organisation.

Bonhams estimates the collection, which dates back to the 1824 Weights and Measures Act, could tempt UK and American collectors to bid.

Angela Jones, trading standards manager and chief weights and measures inspector, said: “Proceeds from the bulk of the collection will go back into the county council.

“Weights and measures are an important part of our culture and heritage and it was important some examples should remain in the area.”

The collection, which weighs in at several tonnes of bronze and brass alloy, had been previously stored in the attic of a council building in Carlisle.

The star lot to be auctioned is a set of George IV Imperial Standard bronze alloy measures and matching yardstick for the County of Westmorland, bearing a 1824 verification cipher and the name of London maker Benjamin Payne.

It is believed the set, estimated to go for up to £3,000, is one of the first batch of around 2,000 sent out by the Exchequer after Imperial Standards had been created for the yard, gallon and bushel.

Antony Bennett, Bonhams UK regional director, said: “The importance of weights and measures cannot be underestimated. The arrival of these measuring tools ended trade confusion and trickery dating back to the Magna Carta, and continue to help public services in the 21st century.”

Also to be auctioned is a set of 11 early Victorian brass alloy Imperial measures that is estimated to attract a bid of £1,500 to £2,000.

At the other end of the time-scale, several sets of copper and brass petrol measures for the Counties of Westmorland and Cumberland, Boroughs of Kendal and Barrow and Furness and City of Carlisle, all dated around 1930, are to be sold.

Councillor Ray Guselli, a Cumbria county and Barrow borough councillor, said: “At a time when all councils are under immense financial pressure, it is essential we raise revenue from wherever we can. The sale of these goods is a necessary action in a time of financial constraint.”

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