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TopLots – UK culture on eBay

Howard Lake | 7 March 2008 | News

“Allows dreams to happen and charity to benefit”
‘Lots’ of arts, heritage and cultural experiences up for grabs – in new auction series on eBay!
The 2008 series of TopLots auctions has just been announced: raising funds and profile for museums and heritage organisations across the country by auctioning exceptional experiences…on eBay for Charity.
8-18 May Museums and Galleries (in association with Museums and Galleries Month)
5-15 June Historic Houses, Castles and Gardens
26 June- 6 July Transport and Steam
16-26 October All Heritage and Culture
The diversity of Britain’s heritage attractions will again be represented – an extraordinary range of heritage and cultural organisations large and small, across the country, will offer exclusive and unusual experiences, uniquely available to bid for on eBay. Already the National Trust, English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces are entering lots, alongside independent museums, galleries, houses and gardens. Fantastic experiences up for grabs will include the chance to:
• Go behind-the-scenes at the Tower of London – to explore secret spaces; or join in the ancient ‘Ceremony of the Keys’; or even have a personal, private, after-hours tour of the spectacular Jewel House, its priceless displays even more glittering at night!
• Play the organ in York Minster, or dare to take a trip up the scaffolding to get close to the extraordinary restoration of the glorious Great East Window.
• Be the first member of the public ever to ride in the UK’s only operational original WW II Panzer III tank!
• Learn to swordfight from the man who taught the Monty Python team (and Brad Pitt – though not at the same time!) at the Royal Armouries Museum
• Take a seat in a splendid veteran car in the London-Brighton Run, or lunch with Lord Montagu as part of a VIP day at Beaulieu
• Cross your palm with a piece of silver stamped exclusively for you as part of a unique tour of Sheffield’s historic Assay Office with the Assay Master
• Dine in the Officers’ Mess at Fort Nelson near Portsmouth complete with your own private gun firing salute.
• Join massed ranks of fearsome Viking warriors as they prepare for torchlit procession to spectacular battle in the annual Jorvik Viking Festival
• Take a peek at a first edition of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language in the place it was written – in an exclusive candlelit tour of Dr Johnson’s beautiful 18th century townhouse in the heart of the City of London
• Strut your stuff at the launch and exclusive private party to launch the major Vivienne Westwood exhibition at Sheffield Museum – its only UK venue
These TopLots 08 auctions follow the success of the pilot auction in October 2007, when 61 diverse organisations took part, offering 127 exceptional heritage experiences. People from around the world bid for ‘behind-the-scenes’ tours; opportunities to meet curators, celebrities and famous families; participation in re-enactments; undertaking unusual hands-on activities and learning new skills. Successful bidders came from Alaska, California, the Netherlands and France as well as the UK.
The pilot auction raised nearly £30,000 of ‘new money’ for the organisations involved, and generated extensive media coverage around the world. This was an excellent outcome for this innovative new fundraising venture run by Development Partners in partnership with the Association for Independent Museums and eBay for Charity.
Participants have been thrilled with their experiences:
“Once in a lifetime experience that will leave treasured memories” – re a day spent with the North Yorkshire Moors Railways (including a footplate ride)
“..a fantastic idea to allow dreams to happen and charity to benefit – Thankyou!” – re a day spent with North Country Quilter Lilian Hedley
“It was one of the best experiences of my life! TopLots UK was an incredible experience for me and my traveling companion. One we will never forget.” – re a day spent with Sir Thomas Ingilby (26th generation) at Ripley Castle, Yorkshire by the Alaskan successful bidder – on her first trip to the UK!
To find out more about TopLots auctions, visit www.toplots.co.uk, where you can browse the lots and register to be reminded of the auctions starting.
For any organisations interested in entering lots there is still time – deadline for registration for the May/June auctions is 31 March; for the October auction 31 May. Again see www.toplots.co.uk
Note to Editors:
Organised to generate vital new funds for the participating museums, galleries and heritage properties – all not-for-profit organisations, the TopLots heritage auctions are run in partnership between eBay, the Association for Independent Museums, and UK heritage fundraising specialists, Development Partners, working closely with Museums and Galleries Month and Culture 08, VisitBritain and EnjoyEngland.
For further information, or images in support of the various lots, please contact:
Jean Hunter j.******@de******************.uk 0845 1301621
Development Partners work with cultural, heritage and education organisations on fundraising, development and marketing, and are based in Oxford, York and London.