A COLLECTION of theatre memorabilia has fetched more than £20,000 at an auction in Wokingham.

Martin & Pole Auction House, in Milton Road, featured 108 lots of Gilbert & Sullivan and theatre memorabilia, belonging to the late Peter Joslin, in their auction on Wednesday, September 6.

The collection sold for a total hammer price of £23,918.

Mr Joslin was a renowned collector for all things Gilbert & Sullivan, Offenbach and Puccini within the theatre history and memorabilia community.

Items sold included programmes from the original productions of the Gilbert & Sullivan operas, signed manuscripts, books, photographs, posters, libretto, and sheet music. A collection of 19th and early 20th century sheet music of Gilbert and Sullivan works fetched £1,400, and a collection of over 300 Victorian Carte de Visite photographs sold for £5,500, including portraits of Arthur Sullivan, Guiseppe Verdi, Richard Wagner, Charles Dickens and others.

Amongst the theatre programmes, a single programme from a Gilbert & Sullivan production fetched £1,500. The programme for Thespis at the Gaiety Theatre is dated in pencil Monday, January 29 1872. Thespis was the first production where W.S. Gilbert and Arthur S. Sullivan collaborated to produce a popular opera. The production opened on the 26th December 1871 at the Gaiety Theatre, only a month before the date on the programme sold in Wokingham.

Other memorabilia included a programme from the first production of Oscar Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1892 selling for £140, and a programme from the Liverpool Olympia with Harry Houdini on the act in 1909 selling for £120.

Also in the sale were signed manuscripts including a signed card by Jacques Offenbach fetching £750, an inscribed visiting card from Giuseppe Verdi made £320 and a signed letter from Edward Elgar which raised £190.

Auctioneer Matthew Coles said: “We are delighted with the result of the auction. We had potential buyers using all the available viewing days to inspect the large collection, so we knew that we had the interest. But it was still gratifying to have buyers in the USA and Canada vying online with the bidders in the room. We are also very pleased that all the lots offered were sold.”