Rare Fusiliers helmet is going up for auction

Nigel Blagburn with the Fusiliers helmet, book of photographs and signatures from 1854 and the British Army rifle.
Nigel Blagburn with the Fusiliers helmet, book of photographs and signatures from 1854 and the British Army rifle.

An extremely rare Northumberland Fusiliers 1870s First Battalion parade helmet is going up for auction this weekend – and it could go for thousands of pounds.

The prized item, which came from a private collection, will go under the hammer at Alnwick Auctions, located near to Barter Books.

Auction-house owner Nigel Blagburn has described it as the pièce de résistance, among what is the venue’s largest ever sale.

He said: “It is absolutely brilliant to have this helmet going up at this month’s auction.

“It is in excellent condition and it comes complete with its box.

“The last time we auctioned a similar helmet, back in 2014, it went for around £5,000.

“I have put an estimate on this one at up to £2,000, but you just don’t know, it could go through the roof.”

The helmet isn’t the only lot that Nigel is excited about, as he looks ahead to the auction.

Another piece of historical significance is a book of photographs and signatures dating back to the 19th century.

He explained: “In 1854, one of the vicars was leaving the parish of Alnwick. As a gift, people in the parish – including relatives of Northumberland heroine Grace Darling – signed a register, with an accompanying photograph.

“It is a unique and rare register and it is certainly an interesting one, and it could go for a decent price.”

In Nigel’s own words, the auction is ‘absolutely packed with silver’ this month.

Examples include a ‘beautiful’ vintage golfing trophy and an 18th century coffee pot.

In keeping with the military theme, a solid silver Persian helmet will go under the hammer, as will a solid silver sword from Burma.

Another lot, which Nigel has described as ‘absolutely cracking’, is an 1854 rifle from the British Army.

He said: “It is one of the only examples left of this type of gun and it has the Tower Mint marks on it.”

Other items up for sale include a range of toys, including Star Wars figures, old Meccano and trains and track. There is also furniture and artwork, among many other things.

Nigel said: “We have got almost 600 lots this month. There are boxes galore and every single table is full and loaded. It really is the biggest collection we have ever had.”

The auction will take place on Sunday. Doors open at 10am, with viewing until noon, when the auction will begin. Nigel says that he expects the Fusiliers helmet to come up at about 1pm.

For more information, to view the catalogue and to bid online, visit alnwickauctions.co.uk or the-saleroom.com