Antique expert celebrates 'double-whoopee' - The Stratford Observer
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9th Aug, 2022

Antique expert celebrates 'double-whoopee'

Laura Kearns 29th Apr, 2018

A LAUREL and Hardy-loving antiques expert was doubly delighted after discovering two sets of the comedy legends’ autographs during a Kenilworth valuation day.

Jim Spencer was working at one of Hanson’s Auctioneers free valuation day at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall when the autographs, which he valued each between £200 to £300, arrived like proverbial buses.

The ooks, prints and manuscripts expert said: “I couldn’t believe it. It was an incredible coincidence. I had just finished valuing one Laurel and Hardy autograph when the very next client waiting to see me also had one.

“I have always been a huge fan of Laurel and Hardy, so it was wonderful that my first client of the day walked up with an autograph album featuring the duo.

“The lady collected a number of autographs at the Coventry Hippodrome when she was a little girl.

“My next client walked up and, inside an old movie scrapbook I discovered another signed photograph of Laurel and Hardy. I describe the moment as a ‘double whoopee’ because that was the name of one of their famous shorts.

“The photograph is especially interesting and I have guided this at £200-300 on its own, but it could easily sell for £400-500.

“Their timeless comedy still makes me cry with laughter, actual tears. I grew up watching the films with my dad and grandad. I think each generation shares in the laughter, which is why they continue to remain popular. Memorabilia like this always fares well.”

In later years they toured theatres on both sides of the Atlantic and arrived in Coventry for a two week stint at the Hippodrome in 1947, when Stan stayed at the Abbey Hotel in Kenilworth and Oliver at the Clarendon Hotel in Leamington.

The duo returned some five years later, both staying at Chesford Grange near Kenilworth.

The autographs will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire at a auction of books and works on paper on Monday July 2.

The next valuation day in Kenilworth will take place at St Francis of Assisi Church Hall on Warwick Road between 10am and 4pm on Thursday (May 10), and there is another at Stratford Armouries in Pathlow on Wednesday May 9.

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