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Article and Photographs by Matt Bigwood

John Rolfe Auctions, based at Babdown near Tetbury, is staging their first ever three-day sale, starting this Friday, December 8th and continuing over the weekend.

Billed as the Deck the Halls Sale, the auction will, as ever, feature an eclectic range of lots, from a Victorian penny-farthing bicycle through to designer sunglasses and handbags.

Saleroom manager Ali Lidbetter with a Victorian iron-framed penny-farthing bicycle.

“We have over 100 lots from the estate of Peter and Joy Evans who were craftspeople from the Whiteway Colony, near Stroud,” said John.

The Whiteway Colony was founded in 1898 on Tolstoyan principles – private property was rejected and personal items shared. They didn’t believe in land ownership, so they burnt the deeds of the houses. The original community had eight colonists and embraced a self-sufficient lifestyle. The village now has 68 houses and more than 120 residents.

“Joy was born there in 1924 to her father, Basil Robert, who was one of the founders of the Whiteway-based Cotswold Handicrafts Co-operative. Lots include leatherwork pieces by Basil Robert, woven fabrics by Rene Mardel, pieces by other craftspeople such as Fred Foster, Eric Sharpe, Fred Banks and embroidery by Mary Robert. There are also hand tools from furniture maker Peter Evans and wood carver Joy Evans.”

John Rolfe with the special edition 1977 Silver Jubilee Raleigh Chopper bicycle.

Other unusual items to feature include a 1977 Silver Jubilee edition Raleigh Chopper bicycle, estimated at £1,000-£2,000, and a Victorian penny-farthing bicycle estimated at £500-£800.

‘Head’ by Ana Maria Pacheco, a polychrome carved sculpture on a plinth is expected to fetch £2,000-£4,000, and a large plush camel automaton has an estimate of £100-£200. A carved Victorian oak eagle lectern will go under the hammer on Friday with an estimate of £600-£1,000.

December’s sale is John’s biggest yet: “I don’t know how it keeps on happening, but happening it is! I naively thought I’d be offering around 500 lots in this sale, but it was only a few weeks ago that the scale of our popularity was realised,” said John.

“I can’t thank everybody enough in the local community for their support over the past year. A three-day sale here …. who would have thought it! I’m chuffed!”

To view the catalogue for the latest sale visit: johnrolfeauctions.com