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    Saturday, November 27th, 2021

    Before settling in Rosscarbery in 1971 the late Anthony Bartley was one of the few to whom so much was owed by so many. The medals of the Battle of Britain fighter ace, once married to the Hollywood actress Deborah Kerr, are to be sold by Dix Noonan Webb in London on December 8. Squadron Leader Bartley, one of the founder members of 92 Squadron, is credited with at least 12 victories, eight damaged, a number of probables and possibles, and countless unclaimed.He cut his teeth over the beaches of Dunkirk, shooting down two enemy aircraft after his first dogfight on May 23, 1940.

    On September 15, 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain he survived against the odds.  His description of what happened that day makes exciting reading. ‘I heard a cannon shell explode behind my armour-plated seat back, a bullet whizzed through my helmet, grazing the top of my head and shattering my gun sight, while others punctured my oil and glycol tanks. A 109 flashed by. Fumes then started to fill my cockpit, and I knew without doubt that I had had it, so I threw open my hood, undid my straps and started to climb over the side. As I braced myself to bale out, I saw my enemy preparing for another attack, and knew it meant suicide to jump with him around. Escaping airmen over their own territory were fair game in some combatants’ log book, and a friend of mine had been shot down in his parachute. So, I decided to bluff it out, climbed back into my aircraft, and turned on my attacker.My ruse worked; he didn’t know how hard he’d hit me, but he did know that a Spitfire could turn inside a Messerschmitt, and I fired a random burst to remind him, whereupon he fled for home. By this time I was too low to jump, so I headed for a field and prayed. At a hundred feet, my engine blew up, and I was blinded by oil. I hit the ground, was catapulted out, and landed in a haystack, unharmed”.   The seven medals he was awarded come up with an estimate of £100,000-£140,000.
    After moving to Hollywood he formed European American Productions. He wrote and produced television films for Fireside Theatre, MCA and Douglas Fairbanks Presents.  He moved to Rosscarbery in 1971 with his second wife Victoria.  Born in India Bartley’s father was Sir Charles Bartley, an Irish judge who served in the Calcutta High Court.



    Friday, July 10th, 2015

    Another Spitfire flew into the record books in London on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.  It sold for a world record price of  £3,106,500  to contribute to an extraordinary week at Christie’s. The Exceptional Sale and sales of  Old Master and British Paintings, the collection of a Swiss Gentleman, Taste of the Royal Court with French furniture and works of art from a private collection and Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours  have achieved £48,451,788 so far. A total of 14 works sold for over £1 million.

    Among the highlights are the unique last of its kind Mark 1 Spitfire; a 19th century Luba female figure for a bowstand, which made £6,130,500, the second highest price at auction for an African work of art and the world record price at auction for a Luba figure; the most important oil by Richard Parkes Bonington to come to the market in a generation which made £2,490,500, a world record price for the artist at auction; and the only surviving armchair from the most expensive suite made for the French queen Marie Antoinette which made £1,762,500, a new world record price at auction for an 18th century chair. The Old Master & British Paintings Day Sale takes place today.

    (See post on for April 28, 2015)

    This fauteuil en bergere supplied to Marie Antoinette for the Pavilion Belvedere sold for £1,762,500.

    This fauteuil en bergere supplied to Marie Antoinette for the Pavilion Belvedere sold for £1,762,500.

    The Spitfire in Flight - copyright 2011 John Dibbs.

    The Spitfire in Flight – copyright 2011 John Dibbs.



    Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

    The Spitfire in flight © 2011 John Dibbs

    The Spitfire in flight © 2011 John Dibbs

    Souvenir of the Battle of Britain anyone?  A remarkable piece of British history at auction – an authentic and immaculately restored Vickers Supermarine Spitfire Mk.1A – P9374/G-MK1A – comes up at Christie’s in London this summer.  The fighter plane will be offered at The Exceptional Sale in London on July 9. This is the 75th anniversary of  the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain.  The Spitfire P9374 is estimated at £1.5-2.5 million.

    There are only two Mk.1 Spitfires restored to original condition and still flying, P9374 and N3200.  Both belong to the American philanthropist and art collector Robert Kaplan. P9374 will be sold to support the RAF Benevolent Fund and Panthera, a leading wildlife charity. Spitfire N3200 will be going to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford. In September 1980 the wreckage of P9374 emerged from the sands at Calais beach where it had crash landed after being shot down in May 1940 during the air Battle of Dunkirk. Peter Cazenove, later a veteran of the Great Escape, was flying it when it was shot down.

    Robert Copley, Deputy Chairman Christie’s UK and Head of The Exceptional Sale: “Christie’s is proud to be entrusted with the sale of this Spitfire; a truly iconic aircraft which is symbol of the bravery ‘of the few’ in the Battle of Britain. We look forward to seeing this extraordinary Mk.1 Spitfire reach new heights at ‘The Exceptional Sale’, which will be a unique moment in auction house history.”