Yours for £5 million

Beken of Cowes, probably the world’s most famous name in marine photography, is up for sale at a cool £5 million.

Beken’s work in the country’s maritime and artistic history is recognised by its Royal Warrant. The black and white archive – which goes back to 1888 -is up for £3.5 million and the colour archive two million less at £1.5 million.

This collection of over a million images, which ranges from the era of 12″ x 10″ glass plates, to today’s digital images, is described as a “national treasure” that can go on earning its keep for many more generations.

Sailors and power-boaters of every status, from weekend warriors to household names like Robin Knox-Johnson and Ellen McArthur, along with many of the crowned heads of Europe, have crossed the threshold of the famous business in Cowes to buy the legendary images that three generations of Bekens have produced.

Over the years three generationa of Beken, Frank, Keith and Kenneth have produced over twenty books, and for the last forty years the world famous Beken Calendar.

They have recorded all the major events on their home stretch of water, the famous Solent, and also travelled the world to many renowned regattas like the America’s Cup, the Tall Ships Race, offshore powerboat races and the Olympics.

Now after spending over 40 years afloat with his camera, Ken Beken is ready to retire, and this window on nearly 200 years of British maritime history is for sale.