Hansons Auctions - may 2020
13 lots net over £38,000
Hansons Auctions held a memorabilia auction at their Derby location earlier this month and realised £38,860 on 13 items owned by George Formby. George's niece, Pamela Bailey and her family bought four items at the sale. Lots included family photos, a scrapbook, personal letters, a film script, and material relating to his father, George Formby Sr. Michael Smith, Pamela's son said "George died before we were born but we wanted to buy these items for our mother and as part of our family heritage. We want our children and grandchildren to know they're related to one of the UK's greatest and, at one time, best-paid entertainers. We would really love to own one of his ukuleles too, and his OBE. We wanted to bid on the ukuleles but the prices go up and up. We would hope we can acquire a George Formby ukulele one day." Jim Spencer, associate director at Hansons, said: “It’s a hugely important private collection which could sell for in excess of £30,000. It celebrates the life of one of Britain’s most famous 20th century stars. In his heyday, Formby was the UK’s highest paid entertainer. He was renowned for his light-hearted, comical songs, accompanied by the ukulele or banjolele.” One notable item was the instrument used by George in the film, “Off The Dole” when he sang “If You Don’t Want The Goods Don’t Maul Em” playing a Will Van Allen banjo uke that at one time had been owned by a prominent GFS member. The reading lamp that Noel Gay presented to George Formby for his recording of “Leaning On A Lamp Post” sold for £4,000. I note that one of the Formby Snr items, "Songs for Records for 1920 onwards" details what songs he contemplated recording in the future. It reminded me of his date book, a copy of which is in the GFS archives, which provides detail in James Booth's hand of where he was playing and how much he was paid throughout his career. A priceless item for any fan of Formby or musical hall.