£20 picture turns out to be motoring Power print for estimated £60,000 at Bonhams

The Grosvenor School and Avant-Garde British Printmaking
16 Apr 2013
London, New Bond Street

A print of a speeding racing car that hung on a man's wall for 25 years, unregarded as anything other than a nice image, was shown to a Bonhams auctioneer who advised the client that it was very valuable. Now it will be sold in Bonhams Print sale on April 16th in London for an estimated £40,000 to £60,000.

Toby Wilson, Head of Automobilia at Bonhams, passed the print to Rupert Worrall the Head of Prints at Bonhams who confirmed Toby's belief that this was something special, way beyond the £20 value its owner had placed on it when showing it to Toby to get his opinion.

Toby says: "I was attending the Automobilia Exhibition at Seaside California during the Pebble Beach week, when I was approached by a private client who had found 'This old print that had been hanging in his garage for 25 years' and asked "If I liked it"? He believed it was worth no more than £20. I identified the print as much more valuable than that and advised him that it was very suitable for sale in our specialist print sales in London."

The print turned out to be by Cyril Edward Power (British, London 1872-1951), titled Speed Trial, a Linocut printed in viridian, permanent blue and Chinese blue, on buff oriental laid tissue, signed, titled and numbered 7/60, with margins, 196 x 375mm (7 3/4 x 14 3/4in)(B). It is estimated to sell for £40,000-60,000. The car in the image is based on Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird, which broke the land speed record in 1931.

A similar Power image sold last summer for £96,000. For the next Bonhams Print sale Rupert Worrall is looking for more linocuts by Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews and Claude Flight along with prints by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson.

Rupert Worrall comments: "This is a particularly nice Power that will doubtless attract a lot of interest from people who collect his work which grows in popularity each year. It was really fortunate that its owner thought to show it to Toby, who as an expert in all things to do with cars, recognised it immediately for what it was. Its owner obviously had no idea of its true value."


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com

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