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Treasures Discovered In Castle That Once Belonged To James Bond Books Publisher

The location of the castle in Wales is shrouded in mystery for security reasons. 

An incredible Aladdin’s Cave of 17th century treasures has been discovered in a castle, which once belonged to the publisher of the James Bond books. The 460 items, many from the Cromwellian period, were found stashed in attics and in rooms of the former home of George Wren Howard. The location of the castle in Wales is shrouded in mystery for security reasons.

Howard co-founded Jonathan Cape Publishers, which famously published Ian Fleming’s 007 novels. The entire contents of the castle in Wales, where Howard lived before his death in July 1968, is going under the hammer for a total of £100,000 ($112,408) when they go to auction on October 28. 

Seven iron wine racks, originally used by Major Sir H Harmood-Banner Bart, circa 1900-1910. 

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “We discovered Cromwellian period lobster-tail helmets in the attic. Whose heads might they have protected 250 years ago? The diversity of works of art, objects, and furniture is exceptional. There’s an early 18th century shotgun, fine paintings, a massive 16-gallon copper Victorian wash tub, Georgian mahogany inlaid cutlery boxes, and a centuries-old table valued at £50,000.”

The 19th century tulipwood bureau-plat table is similarly of renowned cabinetmaker Jacques-Laurent Cosson. A late 18th century Italian walnut and marquetry inlaid commode cabinet is tipped to fetch between £2,000-£3,000 ($2,248- $3,372). A fine flintlock blunderbuss, barrel circa 1680, stock early 18th century, is set to go for between £3,000-£5,000 ($3,372- $5,620).

Other cheaper items include fishing rods from the 1890s worth £50 ($56). A set of seven iron wine racks used by Major Sir Harmood-Banner Bart in early 1900s can also be snapped up for between £50 and £80 ($56-$89).

“It is a star lot within a jewel of a castle brimming with surprising and lovely things,” Charles said. “Some items have remained in the house during the occupancy of several previous and, indeed, illustrious owners, such as G. Wren Howard, co-founder of Jonathan Cape Publishers, which published the James Bond books, and his son, Michael S Howard.

“These antiques, collectors’ items, and books, used and loved for many decades, give a lovely feeling of history and continuity. The sale includes library steps, a metamorphic chair, a cool 1960s Danish teak rocking chair, amusing cast-iron door stops, fine drinking glasses, and a splendid assortment of garden urns and statuary. Meanwhile, in the dining room are two Grand Tour bronze classical figures of Venus by Metello Amadio (Naples 1884-1967). Standing 63cm (2.07 feets) and 65cm (2.13 feets) high, respectively, they carry hopes of £1,800-£2,500 ($2,023- $2,810).

“The Italian Grand Tour, mainly enjoyed by aristocrats for educational and other life experiences, is the source of two visually exciting lots. In the library, up high and away from bright sunlight, is a fresh-looking pair of superb watercolors by Frantz Keiserman. They depict The Ruins of Paestum and The Forum, Rome, and are signed and dated 1818. The estimate of £4,000-£6,000 may be outstripped on auction day.

Produced in association with SWNS Talker.

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