CII to auction historical fire marks


Decision follows the body’s move from Aldermanbury and money raised will be donated to charity.

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) will auction around 600 fire marks on Tuesday 12 November, with the proceeds being divided between Insurance Charities and insurance-associated good causes. 

According to the CII, this is being undertaken as a joint venture with the Heritage working group. Members and collectors are welcome to hear the auction live from the CII office at 21 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9AH.

Around 200 British and 400 overseas marks will be auctioned off by former Christies auctioneer and fire mark auction specialist Hugo Marsh at Special Auction Services Berkshire premises.

When the CII announced its move from Aldermanbury in 2017 and later moved to Lombard Street, concern was raised about what might happen to the organisation’s artefacts and books which were held at the Aldermanbury site.

Earlier this year, the CII set up a website, Our History, dedicated to highlighting the history of the insurance industry.

The objects being auctioned off formed one of four fire mark collections that were in the possession of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Following the auction, the remaining collections will consist of:

  • The Basil Dawson collection, consisting of approximately 350 fire marks. They will be on display in the CII’s former Aldermanbury building, now owned by the City of London Corporation, once restoration has been completed.
  • Around 500 fire marks known as the German Collection. These were given to the Institute by American collector Bill Evenden and have now been returned to America.
  • Around 40 fire marks that were previously on display in the museum area of the CII’s former offices in Aldermanbury – including important Silver Arm badges plus rare lead fire marks. These are now on display in the CII’s new offices in Lombard Street.

Details of the fire marks, which have been valued at around £15,000, have been shared with UK and American collectors.

Sian Fisher, chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “This auction means rather than being hidden away in storage, these fire marks will be bought and preserved for future generations by collectors and interested members with the proceeds going to good causes.”

Once the auction is completed, the CII will announce the good causes which will benefit from the sale.

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