The great haul ofChina: Incredible archive pictures of Chinese life in the 1860s taken byBritish colonialist sells at auction for £40,000
An historic collection of some of the firstphotographs taken in China have sold for a staggering £40,000 - four times theestimated value.
The album of rare images and alsowatercolours was complied by a British interpreter who worked in the Far Eastfor 50 years in the 19th century.
Enterprising Herbert Elgar Hobson collectedthe shots of dignitaries, ships, landscapes and cities when he worked with theChinese Maritime Customs Service - a governmental tax collection agency.
The collection - one of the best ever seenby experts - remained with his family until it sold for £40,000 at DominicWinter auctioneers in Gloucestershire on Thursday.
Auctioneer and senior valuer Chris Albury said: 'It was an album of about 200photographs and watercolours and printed items from between 1860 and 1870.
'They were collected by Herbert ElgarHobson, who was an interpreter for General Gordon during the Taiping Rebellion.
'He was working out there with the Imperial Maritime Customs out in China andhe worked out there for several decades.
He added: 'It is very special anddifferent.
'Everything in the album is annotated byHobson in his own hand so it offers a fascinating insight into thoughts of thetime.
'When I first opened it I sat down and looked at it and when I finished Ididn't know what to say.'
There were five bidders of the phone fromAmerica, the UK and China, as well as buyers in the room from France andIreland and a handful of internet hopefuls.
The album - as well as a second smallercollection by the same collector - went to the same agent on the phone bidder fromAmerica.