Collector couple. Tim Boswell with wife Sara Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/XPRESS

A private British collector is selling over Dh1 billion worth of fascinating collectibles at his plush Palm Jumeirah mansion after shutting down his gallery on Shaikh Zayed Road.

Following the closure of Ocean View Antiques Artefacts & Artwork gallery last month, Tim Boswell has brought home his massive collection of personal items. From exquisite art, antiques, figurines, autographs, wartime memorabilia, Boswell’s six-bedroom villa on the Palm is now stacked with precious artefacts, all of which are on sale.

“Everything has been bought from specialised auctioneers and galleries. They come with a life-time guarantee of authenticity which means that if ever it is proven that the item is not an original, a 100 per cent payback is assured,” says Boswell, who is also CEO of Ocean View Real Estate in Dubai.

He admits to having cash flow problems in the brokerage business, but is quick to add the proceeds of the gallery are not going to settle just that. “What I have here is worth a lot more than my current financial problem. I am expanding my real estate business to London and the Far East and the sale will help increase my capital base. Of late the Dubai property market has been slow and in such a scenario there is less demand for artefacts as few people are buying new homes and decorating them with precious art. But there are always intelligent collectors who know what will appreciate in value and we hope to find them.”

Asked about the safety of the items, he says the 20 odd cameras, numerous door censors and three dogs in the house provide enough security.

We bring you our pick of the 10 most interesting items on sale.


Elvis Presley Lion’s Claw necklace

Asking price: Dh1.3 million

History: This famous African black mane lion claw necklace was bought over a telephone call with Jimmy Velvet, Elvis Presley’s confidant and friend. Made of 14 karat yellow gold, two cabochon ruby eyes and 15 round cut diamonds, this was Presley’s favourite piece of jewellery which he wore both on and off stage.


Hills and Saunders Queen Victoria Harrow School Collection

Asking price: Not disclosed

History: A collection of 93,000 glass plate negatives first discovered inside a cowshed in Cotswolds, England, now sits in Boswell’s Dubai mansion. The multi-million dirham collectible has rare pictures of famous personalities of the 19th and 20th centuries. Former British Prime Minister - Winston Churchill, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, the Thai royal family, King of Jordan are some popular faces in the collection.


Elvis Presley guitar

Asking price: Dh368,000

History: The guitar was bought from the Elvis Presley museum in Las Vegas where it was kept for 20 years. It is believed the King of Rock and Roll played this guitar in the mid-70s wearing his iconic white eagle cape.


Marilyn Monroe contract

Asking price: Dh92,000

History: In this April 1957 legal contract, Marilyn Monroe grants proxy rights of her production company to Robert H. Montgomery and Paul J Newlon after firing her former husband who was her manager then.


King Henry VIII painting

Asking price: Yet to have it valued

History: This 10x5-foot painting by an unknown 17th century artist was bought from a Beverley Hills estate sale four years ago. Henry VIII played a key part in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church.


Albert Einstein letter

Asking price: Dh128,000

History: In this letter dated December 6, 1950 and addressed to a woman named Nan Mizrachi of Brooklyn, Einstein writes: “I have publicly and repeatedly warned the American public against the military mentality and have compared this state of mind with that which prevailed in Germany since the time of Wilhelm II.” This was written five years before the Vietnam war.


Lord Nelson shoe buckle

Asking price: Dh920,000

History: This is Lord Nelson’s shoe buckle first auctioned to the public in 2002 by Sotheby’s. It was displayed in various exhibitions across London through the 19th century. Lord Nelson wore these buckles in the famous Battle of Trafalgar in which he was killed.


Walt Disney cheque

Asking price: Dh56,000

History: Bought from ‘Heritage Auctions’ in Dallas, the cheque, dated June 5, 1957 drawn on Bank of America for $750 to a special Walt Disney account, is testament to an era before computers when banks kept a history of all transactions by physically keeping the cheques.


John Lennon cheque

Asking price: Dh73,560

History: John Lennon’s signature is one of the most coveted autographs in the world but also one of the most forged. But this one is stamped by PSA DNA Authentication services in the USA which has certified over 25 million collectibles to date.


Butterfly Girl

Asking price: Dh367,800

History: The Butterfly Girl is a 30”x 40” oil painting on masonite and is studded with gemstones. Bought at an asset recovery auction in the USA, the painting has an insurance valuation of $150,000. The artist is William Verdult whose works have been bought by Barbara Streisand, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other celebrities.