'Cottingley Fairies' Photographs to be Sold at Auction
A series of the famously controversial 'Cottingley Fairies' photographs are to be sold at auction this month in the United Kingdom.
The photographs, taken in 1917 by 16-year-old Elsie Wright and her nine-year-old cousin Frances Griffiths in the village of Cottingley, near Bingley in Yorkshire, show a variety of purported faeries interacting with the girls. The photos have been widely disregarded as a hoax, albeit one clever enough to fool Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and other members of the Theosophical Society.
In 1983 Elsie and Frances confessed that the ‘faeries’ were created by copying illustrations of dancing girls from Princess Mary's Gift Book, drawing wings on them, and then cutting out the cardboard figures and propping them up with hatpins. Both girls maintained that they had, in fact, seen faeries, despite the hoaxed photos, and Frances insisted that the fifth photo, Fairies and Their Sun-Bath, was genuine, although Elsie claimed it was another hoax.
The 13 lot series—valued at upwards of $85,000—includes a selection of photographs and Frances Griffiths’ `Cameo' camera. Frances’ camera is believed by some to have taken the arguably genuine Fairies and Their Sun-Bath photograph.
The items are being auctioned by Dominic Winter, the auction house that sold two other ‘Cottingley Fairies’ photographs last October for over $25,000.
The latest batch of items for sale have come from Frances Griffiths’ daughter, according to Chris Albury, auctioneer and photography specialist at Dominic Winter.
The items are slated for auction on April 11th at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
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