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Chance to snap up WA treasures
Auctioneer Peter McKenzie with some of the items from Sir James Mitchell's estate. Picture: John Mokrzycki/The West Australian

Valuable and rare mementos from the estate of former WA premier and governor Sir James Mitchell that reveal snapshots of the State's history will be auctioned next week.

Sir James, after whom the city's northern freeway was named, was one of WA's most influential figures in the five decades until his death in 1951.

His family have put dozens of items from his estate up for auction.

They include a photographic souvenir album of the visit by the Prince of Wales in 1920, an engraved sterling silver twin bottle inkstand to mark the opening of the Collie power station in 1931 and various solid gold "keys" from formal openings.

While Sir James was lieutenant-general of WA he was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George by the British Empire.

The silver gilt and collar chain, still in its original London retailer's box and with documentation signed by George VI, is believed to be worth up to $25,000.

Mementos from the royal family are among the most valuable and sought-after items, including two signed prints of the Queen Mother, Duchess of York and future King George VI, Duke of York, both circa 1927.

McKenzies Auctioneers, Valuers & Exhibitions director Peter McKenzie said the auction had generated strong interest and was an opportunity to buy a piece of WA history.

"It gives any person or institution - the State Government or Parliament House - an opportunity. If they want it, here it is," Mr McKenzie said.

"In WA we just don't have a lot of history. History here is undervalued compared with the rest of the world."

The auction will also include a rare painting, most likely commissioned by Sir John Winthrop Hackett, of him and his wife in 1905 by Florence Fuller, valued at $35,000.

A viewing of the items will run for three days from Saturday at McKenzies in Claremont ahead of the auction next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Sir James Mitchell was premier from 1919 to 1924 and from 1930 to 1933. He was lieutenant-governor for 14 years from 1933 and was then governor until 1951.