A LOCKET containing some of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s hair will be one of the star attractions when the world’s biggest auction of Jacobite artefacts is held in Edinburgh.
Several hundred rarely-seen items, many of which have direct links with “The Young Pretender”, will be going under the hammer at Lyon & Turnbull’s auction house in May.
Global interest is expected from international institutions and private collectors in the sale, which is being staged to mark the 300th anniversary of the 1715 uprising. It is expected to dwarf the size of a previous auction staged by Christie’s in Glasgow almost 20 years ago.
World record prices are expected to be commanded for many of the lots, which will also include an ivory flute Bonnie Prince Charlie played, a Jacobite sword and a silver quaich used at the final meal of William Boyd, the Earl of Kilmarnock, before he was executed for joining forces with Charlie in the 1745 uprising.
Antique arms, rare manuscripts, fine silver, jewellery, glassware, traditional portraits and miniatures will all be coming up for sale on May 13. The sale offers the prospect of a host of privately-owned treasures relating to 18th century Scotland coming on to the market for the first time in years thanks to owners capitalising on interest in the anniversary.
Colin Fraser, Jacobite specialist at Lyon & Turnbull, said: “At this point we don’t know exactly how much we’re going to have in the sale, but it’s building well and we have a really broad mix already. There hasn’t been a sale anything like this for many moons and the last one, at Christie’s in Glasgow, was mainly focused on prints and books.
“The 1715 Jacobite Rising is not quite as well known or glamorous as the 1745 one, but it was still a hugely important point in history for the Jacobites and, in a sense, created the later one.
“It’s a great opportunity for collectors and families to sell in a unique environment. We find that items always sell better in focused sales and we’re sure this sale is going to create a lot of excitement.
“We’re expecting a wide range of interest from private collectors in Scotland, the UK and abroad and as we will have some wonderful, extremely rare and strongly provenanced items, I would expect some very strong institutional bidding as well.”
The Jacobite Risings had the aim of returning James VII of Scotland and II of England, and his later descendants of the House of Stuart, to the throne. His Catholicism had led to him being deposed in 1688 when William of Orange invaded and he fled to France.
Mr Fraser added: “We would encourage anybody who has something that might be of interest to make contact. We’re travelling all over the country, and indeed abroad, to get items.”