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History

On the anniversary of the Grateful Dead's famous 1977 Cornell show, Bonhams San Francisco ...

This year would have been the 70th birthday of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, had not a heart attack ended his life at the age of 53. Last year, one of the great man's guitars – his Lucky 13 – was auctioned on eBay for charity, and next month memorabilia from the influential player's life will go under the hammer at Bonhams San Francisco on the anniversary of the band's famous 1977 Cornell show. Among original and rare works by Garcia, Deadheads will also find no less than three of his guitars – including the very Takamine acoustic seen on the cover of his Ragged But Right album, released almost 23 years after it was recorded.  Read More

Astronaut Shannon Lucid's spacesuit is a Sokol KV-2 (Photo: Bonhams)

A rare piece of space history will be up for grabs when record-setting US astronaut Shannon Lucid’s spacesuit goes on the block at Bonhams auction house in New York City on April 26. The Russian-made Sokol KV-2 “Falcon” pressure suit was worn by Lucid while training for her mission aboard the Russian Mir space station where she set a new space endurance record. It is expected to fetch up to US$50,000.  Read More

The TitanicBelfast museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland

On April 14, 1912, the luxury liner RMS Titanic, just four days into her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City, struck an iceberg and sank with the loss of 1,514 lives. At the time, the massive, state-of-the-art ship was the largest vessel afloat and considered by many to be "virtually unsinkable." Built in Belfast, Northern Ireland by shipbuilding firm Harland and Wolff for the White Star Line at the then-astronomical cost of US$7.5 million (US$171 million in 2012 dollars), the ill-fated Titanic has been a source of pathos and fascination for nearly a century. To bring the remarkable ship's story to countless more future generations (and presumably give the local economy a shot in the arm) the government of Northern Ireland, the Belfast City Council and numerous private groups have pooled resources and created Titanic Belfast, a futuristic, US$160 million, nine-gallery museum - the world's largest exclusively dedicated to the ship and its only voyage. The facility finally opened late last month – just in time for the centennial of the tragedy coming up in a few days.  Read More

Ayrton Senna's Toleman TG184-2 F1 car up for sale

Ayrton Senna is one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time and his premature 1994 death created a scarcity which is driving memorabilia prices skyward. Earlier this year an ex-Senna helmet fetched US$100,000 at auction and now the car he drove in his debut season is to go to auction - the same car in which Senna drove his way into legend at the wet 1984 Monaco GP.  Read More

The 2012 Atalanta Sports Tourer

On March 5, 1937, a new automotive marque was born in the form of the Atalanta Sports Tourer. The high-tech Atalanta was well received but when Britain went to war just two years later, all production capacity was turned toward the war effort and the marque ceased to be. Last week, exactly 75 years later, the Atalanta marque was relaunched as a traditional sportscar built to modern standards with modern electrics, brakes, suspension, chassis and a grunty 185 bhp 2.5 litre VVT engine.  Read More

Two iconic automobiles will go under the hammer in June - a 1912 Rolls-Royce Double Pullma...

Each year the Goodwood Festival of Speed hosts an auction by Bonhams, and due to the importance of the event and the unique crowd it draws, the best come out to play. This year there are two stand-outs going under the hammer: the first is the 1912 Rolls-Royce Double Pullman Limousine (estimated GBP2,000,000/US$3,147,000) which was reproduced in the popular Corgi Classics series of widely circulated die-cast toy cars, the second being the personal 1938 Type 57C of the Ettore Bugatti, lovingly built for Le Patron by his staff.  Read More

Copper negative of an October 1881 phonograph (Photo: Patrick Feaster/National Museum of A...

Recently, and for the first time in living memory, sound recordings made in 1881 at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory Association have been heard aloud. The experimental phonographs made by the association where Bell worked alongside instrument-maker Charles Sumner Tainter and chemist Chichester A. Bell are thought to be the oldest preserved sound recordings intended for playback.  Read More

Germany's Autovision Museum has built a replica of the Ayrton and Perry electric car - whi...

As more and more mainstream car manufacturers join a new wave of electric vehicle development, it looks like we're definitely headed for an electric transport future. While powering a car with an electric motor is not exactly a new innovation, you may be surprised to learn exactly how old the technology is. A team led by Horst Schultz - the director and founder of Germany's Autovision Museum - has spent the last year or so painstakingly recreating the world's first street-ready electric car, designed and created by English scientists William Ayrton and John Perry, and which first hit the streets in 1881.  Read More

Hublot's miniature replica of the Antikythera mechanism

Why on Earth would you want to strap one of these to your wrist? It barely tells the time, and it can't take pictures, tweet or connect to your Facebook. In fact, very few people would have the faintest idea what it is, or why you'd want one at all. But for those that do recognize its intricate gears and dials, this tiny, complex piece of machinery tells a vivid and incredible tale. It's a story of gigantic scientific upheaval, of adventure and shipwreck on the high seas, of war and death. A story of amazing intellect, lost riches and impossible chance - a sunken treasure that Jaques Cousteau once described as "more valuable than the Mona Lisa" - and it's connected with an ancient celebrity whose star shone so brightly that he's still a household name more than 2200 years after his death... Read on!  Read More

Roper Steam Cycle set to become most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction

One of the world's most valuable motorcycles will go under the hammer early next year. Built by Sylvester H. Roper, one of two people with legitimate claims of having invented the motorcycle. Though built in 1894, 27 years after the first Roper Steam Motorcycle, the machine is one of a very small number of motorcycles built by Roper (around nine), and was ridden by him regularly before his death in 1896. The Roper Steam Cycle hence has a provenance of massive historical importance, and is expected to establish a new world record for a motorcycle sold at auction in Las Vegas on January 12 – 14.  Read More

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