Masonic auction at Roseberys sells 98% of Albert Nice collection

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

In an unprecedented auction result, almost every one of the 560 lots belonging to the late Albert Nice offered for sale was sold

Collectors of masonic memorabilia from all over the UK and continental Europe converged on South London to battle it out for the extraordinary collection encompassing jewels, medals, ceramics, glass, books and ephemera. The saleroom was full and there were more than 200 people bidding online and on the telephone, many from Russia and the United States.

The owner of the collection, the late Mr Albert Edward Collins Nice, died in 1969 and the lots were kept locked away for almost 50 years meaning they were fresh to the market.

The vendor was completely taken aback when Roseberys valued the collection at £100,000. He was delighted when the total ended up being more than double that figure. He was also pleased that the collection has gone to others who will love and appreciate the items as much as his father did.

Roseberys’ Peter Greenway said, 'We knew this was a very significant collection and this was borne out by conversations with masonic collectors who rated it the best to come onto the market in living memory. Twitter has been buzzing with positive comments about the lots on offer and it is thought the auction catalogue will become a collectors’ item in its own right.'

Masonic jewels proved to be the most popular lots with a 100% sold rate. The most expensive (Lot 88, pictured above) sold for a hammer price of £3,000. It was of an unusually large size and set with multi-colour paste, making is one of the most attractive in the auction. It also had Scottish interest due to the inscription which made it as rare as it was aesthetically pleasing. 

The auction also included not one but 35 jewels by the pre-eminent 18th century designer and maker, Thomas Harper. Roseberys had been concerned about flooding the market but demand was such that they all made more than twice their high estimate and some very much more.

The Thomas Harper jewel which made the most money was Lot 75 which sold for a hammer price of £1,500.

The book section of the auction was also highly competitive with several museums from around the world bidding. The highest hammer price was £5,500 for Lot 496, a Scottish Rite Album, with exquisite water-colour drawings of the regalia of the 33 degrees of the Scottish Rite.

Other masonic items in the auction included ceramics, glass, snuff boxes and regalia. One of the most popular was a large cowrie shell and silver masonic snuff box, the base of which was engraved with freemasonry symbols. It achieved a hammer price of £1,150.

A limited number of catalogues for this auction are still available for sale at £10 each (£12 with postage and packaging). The hammer prices for every lot can be viewed on Roseberys’ website at 


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