Treasure trove to go under hammer

Asian ceramics collected by Leslie Kenneth Lansberry on sale at the Louis Johnson auction.
Asian ceramics collected by Leslie Kenneth Lansberry on sale at the Louis Johnson auction.

A veritable treasure trove will be going under the hammer, thanks to one man’s passion for collecting.

More than 950 lots will be up for grabs in an upcoming sale at Louis Johnson Auctioneers in Morpeth, including Asian ceramics, clocks, cameras, watches and musical instruments.

And the vast majority of them are from single collector, the late Leslie Kenneth Lansberry.

Auctioneer John Hayes said: “I have been auctioneering at Louis Johnson since the 1980s and could tell a tale or two about some of the spectacular items I have unearthed, but this collection, for sheer volume alone, is up there with the best.”

Mr Lansberry’s family discovered the impressive hoard at his home in Cullercoats following his death in November.

Born in Gosforth in 1929, the son of a bank manager, Mr Lansberry served in both the Royal Navy and Territorial Army. His career included office-based engineering and working for the civil service.

He was a keen musician, playing the trombone, trumpet and clarinet, and was a member of the Louisiana Jazz Band and the Northumberland Hussars Marching Band, having been trained at the Royal Military School of Music.

Mr Lansberry clearly had a passion for collecting, with his home piled high with antiques, but his particularly interest seems to have been in Asian pottery and porcelain.

The sale takes place on Saturday, February 7, from 9.30am. Viewing is on Thursday, February 5, from 10am to 7pm, and Friday, February 6, from 10am to 3pm. To view the lots online visit

Mr Hayes said: “When we saw Mr Lansberry’s garage it was filled to the roof with boxes and boxes, and the whole house was full of items. The miraculous thing is that they survived a fire. It is astonishing.

“Over the years I have cleared numerous houses, but the quantity of items here was quite outstanding.”

No estimates have been put on the collection, but it is expected to draw strong interest, particularly from the Chinese market.

“I would expect some of the ceramics to attract considerable interest because of the Chinese market these days,” said Mr Hayes.

“The internet has brought the Chinese market to every small saleroom throughout the country as Chinese bidders seek to buy back their history.

“Having said that, the vintage cameras could also do well, and there are so many items there will be something for everybody.”