Old cuttings reveal details of casket sale

The JM Barrie Freedom Casket, which was bought by Angus Council for �7,200.
The JM Barrie Freedom Casket, which was bought by Angus Council for �7,200.

Kirriemuir historian Sandra Affleck has came across some additional information about the 1938 sale of author Sir James Barrie’s freedom casket.

The silver casket, bought by Angus Council at auction last year, contained the Burgess Ticket bestowing the freedom of the town on the Peter Pan creator.

It was sold, along with other personal items, after his death and entered a private collection.

While browsing through her collection of newspaper cuttings, Mrs Affleck came across an item from The Kirriemuir Free Press and Advertiser of April 14, 1938, reporting on the Sotheby’s auction the previous Monday. Several other caskets marking the freedom of towns and burghs were sold off at the same time.

It revealed that: “Mr John Smith of Glasgow, who paid £56 for that casket and the scroll inside it, also paid £7.10s for the wooden casket made to contain Barrie’s Burgess Ticket of Jedburgh, bestowed on October 15th, 1928.”

They were sold by Mrs. W. Winter, Sir James’s niece by marriage, along with the scroll conferring on him the Freedom of Edinburgh, dated July 14, 1929, contained in a silver casket surmounted by the City Arms, which fetched £30.

Mrs Winter also sold another silver casket containing the Freedom of Dumfries scroll, awarded in 1924, which fetched £20, and a silver-gilt key use to open the Barrie Pavilion on June 7, 1930, along with three framed photographs, one of which was a group of the Queen, Princess Elizabeth and Barrie for £9.

Mrs Affleck said: “While it is a little sad that Barrie’s niece did not rate these honours highly enough to want to keep them in her possession, it is quite nice to know that the Kirriemuir Casket was valued more highly than the others at that time, and was therefore worth the £5,200 price paid last year by Angus Council.”