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News Release: Exceptionally rare 1920s Rolls Royce Christmas gifts expected to make thousands at auction

TWO very rare Christmas presents given by Rolls Royce to a valued business contact in the 1920s are expected to make thousands of pounds at auction later this month (Mon 28 November)

Known as the sterling silver ‘Objects de Bureau’ desk set, and made up of 11 items produced between 1926 and 1937, experts believe only seven complete sets exist. The company didn’t commission an item in 1931.

A silver ashtray and a cigarette box, given to John Harold Kaye in 1926 and 1928 (respectively) and engraved with his initials, are now up for sale with 1818 Auctioneers on behalf of a grandson.

John Kaye, who later became a Sheriff and Lord Mayor of York, worked for Myers and Burnell coach builders in York. Such was his loyalty to the famous car company that during WW2 he stored Rolls Royce cars at his home in Haxby to protect them from the York bombings.

Valuer Jackie Rothwell, from 1818 Auctioneers on the Cumbria, Lancashire border, conservatively estimates each piece at £1,000 to £1,500 but knows of other pieces which have made over £3,000.
She said:

“This was an extraordinary seasonal gesture of thanks from the world’s most luxurious brand to the managing directors of its seven main dealerships. What we are not sure of is why John Kaye was singled out for two gifts as he didn’t work for a dealership. It must link to his job and his love of these amazing cars.

“The expert opinion is that there are only 77 pieces in existence, or seven sets. As they were never available for sale, and only given as gifts, this makes them exceptionally rare and desirable.

The ash tray was the first piece Rolls Royce Motors commissioned in 1926. It was made by the highly celebrated London Crown Jewellers ‘Gerrard and Co.’ The cigarette box was the firm’s 1928 Christmas present and that was made in Birmingham. It has an ingenious design on its lid created by painting a negative of the Rolls Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ emblem under glass. Both items are about four to six inches in size.

Anyone interested in viewing the collection at 1818 Auctioneers J36 (of the M6) can do so on Friday 25 November (2-4pm), Saturday 26 November (10am-1pm) and from 8.30am on the morning of the sale. Further details can be found at:

Attached image shows: Jackie Rothwell with two very rare 1920s Christmas gifts commissioned by Rolls Royce Motors and expected to make over £1,000 each at auction this month. Images of each item are available on request.
Notes to editors:
Known as the sterling silver ‘Objects de Bureau’ desk set, an item a year was produced for Rolls Royce Motors between 1926 and 1937 (except in 1931). A full set consists of: 1926 – ashtray; 1927 – clock; 1928 – cigarette box; 1929 – inkwell; 1930 – a sweetmeat/bon-bon dish; 1932 – ink blotter; 1933 – barometer; 1934 – a cigarette light; 1935 – a salver; 1936 – a rose bowl, and finally; 1937 a pair of bookends.
Recipients of desk sets included the following Rolls Royce dealerships: Clyde Automobiles of Glasgow; Watson of Liverpool; Cockshoot of Manchester; Rippon Bros of Huddersfield; Car Mart of London; Roltes of Maidstone and; Croal of Edinburgh.

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