Auctioneer Press Release Turner Auctions + Appraisals LLC


Apr 04,2024 | 17:00 EDT By Stephen Turner

Online Auction Features 95 Rediscovered Autographs, Stamps & Gold Coins

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 4, 2024 – Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to open for bidding A Secret Vault on Sunday, April 21, 2024. The sale features intriguing items recently discovered, or rediscovered, by the owners, a couple from Northern California. The 95 lots include autographed letters from famous people, postage stamps from Great Britain, and an assortment of gold coins from the 19th-20th centuries. Auction highlights include signed correspondence by the late Princess Diana from 1994; by abolitionist leader John Brown; and by biologist Charles Darwin, known as the father of evolution. Also of note is the Great Britain 30 pence Comedians Error Stamp from 1998 that featured English entertainer Joyce Grenfell. 

The owners are unsure of the exact provenance of the items in the vault, but many come from overseas and/or were passed down from late family members. In fact, most of the stamps and autographed items were acquired some years ago from Stanley Gibbons in London, England, the world’s oldest rare stamp seller and one of the foremost purveyors of such collectibles. (However, despite its prominence and 167-year history, the company has had a recent change of fortune. After its ill-fated purchase in December 2023 of the world’s most expensive stamp, the British Guiana 1c Magenta, Stanley Gibbons has now become part of the Strand Collectibles Group.)

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Eventually, the owners’ items were shipped from Europe and were sent to a storage vault in Wyoming. There other items accumulated over time, and they rested for some years -- only to be rediscovered recently when the owners moved to California. And what a marvelous surprise it must have been to revisit the vault! Now the couple has moved the rediscovered items to auction, in hopes that others will enjoy and appreciate in the light of day what has been hidden away for years.

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Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Sunday, April 21, 2024, at 10:30 am PDT; sale items are available for preview and bidding now. The online auction will be featured live on multiple platforms:  LiveAuctioneers, Invaluable, Bidsquare, and Turner Auctions + Appraisals’ free mobile app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Apps ("Turner Auctions"). All are easily accessed through ‘Upcoming Auctions’ at the company’s website:

Here below are some highlights of the upcoming online sale (please see auction information and lot details in the online catalog). 

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Lot 6:  Darwin, Charles Robert. 1809-1882. A signature clipped from a two-sided letter page in black ink, reading: "With my sincere thanks, your truly obliged Charles Darwin". 1 15/16" x 4 1/8". The text fragment verso in Darwin's hand includes the name "Mr. Herbert Spencer," the English philosopher/biologist/ sociologist et al who coined "survival of the fittest." Estimate $3,000-$4,000. (Photo, top left)

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Lot 1: Brown, John. 1800-1859. An autograph letter signed by the American abolitionist to his son, John, Jr., Akron, Ohio, 3rd Sept. 1852; draft business letter verso. 4 3/4" x 4 11/16". In the personal letter, Brown writes that he would like his son to travel with him from Cleveland to the fair in Buffalo. He signs: "Your Affectionate Father, John Brown." There is an unsigned draft letter verso in the same hand, addressed to A.B. Ely, Esq. of Boston, relating to Brown's work as an agent for Ohio wool growers' concerns with New England manufacturers. Together with an autograph note signed by John Brown's second wife, signed "Mary A. Brown," addressed to J. R. Baily, Sept. 23 [no year]. 3 1/8" x 4 15/16". Brown writes: "Please find enclosed an old letter with an autograph in it." Estimate $2,000-$3,000. (Photo, top right)

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Lot 2:  Patton, George Smith. Jr., 1885-1945. A single-sheet, three-page autograph letter signed "George Patton," to his father, George Smith Patton, II, on West Point stationery. With original envelope addressed in Patton's hand, stamped, and franked 1908. 6 3/4" x 5 1/4"; 10 5/8" x 6 3/4" opened. Estimate $1,000-$2,000. (Photo, lower left)

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Lot 27:  Great Britain Unused 30p for 37p "Joyce Grenfell" Comedians, 1998. Very fine unmounted o.g. example of this famous error of value. Scarce Pierron records circa 30 examples known. Estimate $300-$500. (Photo, lower right)

Lot 34: A 1928 $20.00 Dollar Liberty Gold coin / St Gaudens Double Eagle. In the form of a pendant with diamonds. Estimate $2,000-$2,500. (Photo, top left)
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Lot 89:  Mexican 50 Pesos Gold Coin, Dated 1947. Gold coin, Mexico 50 Pesos, 1821-1947, 37.5 Gr. Oro Puro 37mm Dia. 41 grams. Estimate $2,000-$2,500. (Photo, top right)

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Lot 46:  1983/84 Olympic Gold 6 Coin Set, Having Two $10 Proof Gold Plus Two $1 Dollar Proof, In a Presentation Box, 0.968 oz. Estimate $1,500-$2,000. (Photo, middle left)
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Lot 19:  Great Britain 1855 Blue Two Pence Stamp. SG 34 Unused 2d Blue Pl.5. Very fine and fresh unused o.g. example lettered BB. Estimate $400-$600. (Photo, middle right)

Lot 31:  Great Britain Postal Union Congress Stamp, 1929. Great Britain 1929 £1 Postal Union Congress. Superb unmounted o.g. example overprinted "SPECIMEN" type 32 in red. Estimate $300-$500. (Photo, lower right)

Lot 21:  Great Britain 1880 1/2d-5d "Provisional Issue" Stamps. Very fine unused o.g. set of seven, including both 1/2d and 2d shades. Estimate $300-$500. (Photo, bottom)A group of red stamps

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Lot 9:  DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES (DIANA FRANCES SPENCER). 1961-1997. A single-sheet, two-page autograph letter signed to Diana's friend and reflexologist, Chryssie Fitzgerald, on Kensington Palace stationery, dated July 12, 1994. With original stamped/franked envelope addressed in Diana's hand (most cut out). During the difficult period of her marriage breakdown and separation, Diana regularly visited Fitzgerald's clinic and valued her friendship. Estimate $2,000-$3,000. (Photo, page 1, left)

Lot 48:  United States 1842-D Liberty Head $5 Half Eagle Gold Coin. Ungraded. Estimate $4,000-$6,000. (Photo, page 1, right)



Based in South San Francisco, Turner Auctions + Appraisals was founded by Stephen Turner to expand and complement the capabilities of Stephen G. Turner Associates, an auction and appraisal consulting firm founded in 2004. Turner Auctions + Appraisals presents online auctions in diverse categories of personal property ( Among them are Fine Arts, Decorative Arts, Asian Arts, Toys, Jewelry, Militaria, Ethnic Arts, and others. The company offers a range of auction and appraisal services for buyers, sellers, and collectors. Online auctions are held several times a month. Working with leading live and online auction houses on the West Coast since 1991, Turner is a professional appraiser of personal property and seasoned auctioneer. His areas of expertise include fine art, decorative arts, antiques & residential contents. The company welcomes consignments and appraisals.

For more information about the company, please contact:
Stephen Turner, President
Turner Auctions + Appraisals, 461 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080
415-964-5250 / /

For media inquiries or photos, please contact:  
Jill Turner
Rodin & Shelley Associates / 707-944-2433 /

By Turner Auctions + Appraisals LLC