County Durham Professor David Bellamy sells collection of microscopes

Former Durham University professor David Bellamy puts his rare collection of microscopes up for auction

Botanist David Bellamy
Botanist David Bellamy

Green champion Professor David Bellamy has sold his lifetime collection of 19 rare microscopes.

Among the items sold by Prof Bellamy, who lectured at Durham University and is president of Durham Wildlife Trust, was a rare example of a George Adams mid-18th Century microscope in its original leather covered case, which sold for £12,000.

The sale at Tennants auctioneers in Leyburn in North Yorkshire raised £39,180.

The 81-year-old’s collection was amassed throughout his career and had been kept at his home in County Durham where he has lived with his wife Rosemary since 1960.

However the couple are due to move to France.

Among the microscopes was an 1875 microscope with a mahogany case containing a large selection of accessories which made £8,500.

The 18th Century Adams microscope from the David Bellamy collection which is being sold at auction
The 18th Century Adams microscope from the David Bellamy collection which is being sold at auction

An 1890 microscope made £4,600 while a 19th Century mahogany case with 21 trays of around 700 slides covering geology, zoology and insects sold for £3,000.

An 1890 microscope and a copy of David Bellamy’s book Backyard Safari, showing him using the instrument, realised £900.

Various natural history books, signed by Prof Bellamy, went for £100.

Two board games, Save the World and Rare Species, endorsed by Prof Bellamy, and an I-Spy with David Bellamy, sold for £40.

“The sale included rare items collected by David Bellamy over his lifetime,” said the auction house’s Jane Tennant.

“It is a very interesting collection with the added interest that it comes from David Bellamy.

“To have a collection of that quantity and quality is rare in itself but the fact that it was put together by a celebrity is pretty special.”

The sale also included 15 lots from a private family museum in the Yorkshire Dales, whose collection dates from 1900 and includes mounted heads of a leopard and hippo, a lion and tiger skin rugs with heads and a duck billed platypus and crocodile.


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