News and Opinion

In our News and Opinion and News Bites sections we publish relevant and timely articles on the antiques, collectables and decorative arts markets by respected and independent writers such Peter Fish, formerly the Sydney Morning Herald ArtSmart columnist, Richard Brewster of The Age and other writers. Subscribers are notified by email of the publication of important and time-sensitive articles.

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Joel's cradle still to rock at Mossgreen

A piece of furniture which sold in a Leonard Joel decorative arts auction in Melbourne for $3210 on May 24, 2010 is being promoted as the star piece of a Mossgreen sale of Australian Antiques and Historical Collectables on June 3 in Melbourne, with estimates of $250,000 to $300,000.
By Terry Ingram on 23-Apr-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

A piece of furniture which sold in a Leonard Joel decorative arts auction in  Melbourne for $3210 on May 24, 2010  is being promoted as the star piece of a Mossgreen sale of Australian Antiques and Historical Collectables on June 3 in Melbourne, with estimates of $250,000 to $300,000.

Mossgreen has yet, of course, to find a buyer for the piece.  But intensive research by the furniture history buff who bought it appears to support something of a revised re-evaluation of this rather unlikely candidate for stardom.

The lot, which could give a push to the static market in Victorian furniture and colonial collectables, is an elaborately made cradle from the 1840s which in outward appearance, is the very nemesis of current taste.

Museum Te Papa and Chinese buyers bring waimarie pai* to lengthy auction

Chinese buyers bid strongly at the Sotheby's Australia auction of Fine Asian, Australian and European Arts and Design in Sydney on April 15, with the highest price in the Chinese section of the sale for a rare “famille rose” figure of the god Amitays. Estimated at $10,000 to $15,000 it found its way ultimately to $185,000 hammer with two Sotheby's staffers taking bids over the phone. The "Te Pahi" silver medal made the lower estimate of $300,000 after bidding began at $200,000.
By Terry Ingram on 15-Apr-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Chinese buyers paid one staggering and several top notch prices  at Sotheby's Australia auction of Fine Asian, Australian and European Arts and Design in Sydney on April 15, writes Terry Ingram.

Their bidding was still the major contributor to the $2.29 million gross which represented 134.15 per cent by value and 72 per cent by lot and compared with estimates of $1.71 million to $2.54 million.

Australian sale to show London newcomers how to buy

<i>Mrs Moody ….Holding a dog in her lap</i> by 18th century British artist George Romney is pictured here in an interior from the former Watsons Bay home of French fashion plate designer Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez and the late Lex Aitken. They formed the Sydney collection being sold in London on June 4 by Christie's, and were also the vendors of the Bridget Riley works sold in Sydney last August.
By Terry Ingram on 09-Apr-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

At the invitation of Christie's, a Sydney collection is being bulked up by the Mayfair decorative arts trade to create an innovative type of auction at South Kensington on June 4. The Art of Design sale is being led by two portraits from Australia by the Belle Époque painter Emile Blanche and 18th century British artist George Romney.

The Romney, Mrs Moody ….Holding a dog in her lap is pictured here in an interior from the former Watsons Bay home of French fashion plate designer Alfredo Bouret Gonzalez and the late Lex Aitken who formed the Sydney collection and also were the vendors of the Bridget Riley works sold in Sydney last August.

Puzzle picture finds happy home in New Zealand but will meritable medal follow?, asks Terry Ingram

A watercolour included in Christie's auction of Australian and New Zealand art in London last October has been reattributed and acquired by the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. In Australia, a piece of Kiwiana, a silver medal the size of a 20 cent coin, has been consigned to Sotheby's Australia's auction in Sydney on April 15, and it too may well find its way into a collection across the Tasman. The medal was presented by Governor Philip King of NSW to Te Pahi, a New Zealand Maori chief, in 1806.
By Terry Ingram on 05-Apr-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

The surprise inclusion of Christie's auction of Australian and New Zealand art sale in London last October has been acquired by the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.

But visitors to that august public institution, part of the National Library of New Zealand, may have some difficulty in finding it if they look under the artist named in Christie's catalogue.

The inclusion, a watercolour titled A Settler and her Daughter with Maoris at Wanganui, with Mount Ruapehu Behind, was catalogued as the work of John Alexander Gilfillan (1793-1864). 

The door to close on one of the biggest Australian antique trading places of all.

The door to close on one of the biggest Australian antique trading places of all. In another defining moment for the antique and art market in Australia, Sydney's oldest antique centre, the Sydney Antiques Centre, is to cease trading on June 30, writes Terry Ingram
By Terry Ingram on 01-Apr-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

In another defining moment for the antique and art market in Australia, Sydney's oldest antique centre, the Sydney Antiques Centre, is to cease trading on June 30.

The building housing the 40 year old centre is going out to selective tender and the 50 plus stall holding tenants given until that date, that is triple their normal monthly notice, by the owner Anibou Pty. Ltd., to leave. 

Buyers compete for trophy art of the colonies by Terry Ingram

Two pieces of Australiana sold comfortably above their estimates at very different auctions in Melbourne and Sydney this week. At Leonard Joel's Fine Art Auction on March 25 View of Mr Sturgeon and Mount Abrupt from the Crater of Bald Hill by Eugene von Guerard painted in 1869 sold for $270,000 hammer ($329,400 with premium) while at Noble Numismatics auction in Sydney on March 26 a bidder acting for Westpac paid $334,000 ($280,000 before buyers premium) for one of the first Australian banknotes.
By Terry Ingram on 27-Mar-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Two pieces of Australiana sold comfortably above their estimates at very different auctions in Melbourne and Sydney this week, writes Terry Ingram .

The confident pictorial expressions of the colonies in different stages of their early development – and almost trophy lots - sold for around exactly the same hammer price which was well over $300,000 and in excess of expectations.

The end of (the) World is nigh.

Andre and Eva Jaku said this week in a letter to friends and clients that they would be closing the Bondi Junction publishing operations of their JQ Pty Ltd and its associated companies. As well as giveaway quarterlies these produce the glossy half yearly magazine, World of Antiques and Art and their six a year Collectables Trader.
By Terry Ingram on 10-Mar-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Andre and Eva Jaku said this week in a letter to friends and clients that they would be closing the Bondi Junction publishing operations of their JQ Pty Ltd and its associated companies.

As well as giveaway quarterlies these produce the glossy half yearly magazine, World of Antiques and Art and their six a year  Collectables Trader

Mossgreen takes the trail to Adelaide

By Terry Ingram on 10-Mar-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Mossgreen Auctions is expected to announce shortly and with a big fanfare the auction of the contents of one of Adelaide's most prestigious properties.

Continuing the frenetic growth of its business out of swank new premises in the Armadale High Street, the Melbourne-based company looks like having its first sale in South Australia from one of Adelaide's most respected families.

Another Sterling event but traditional stamp missing

The $3 million stamp collection of Mr Julian Sterling, the deceased Melbourne art and antique dealer, will be sold by Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne in three sales in April, May and June. Concentrating on Commonwealth stamps (King George heads) that were being used when he was a boy, he bought many prize specimens from collections, but ran out of time to complete it.
By Terry Ingram on 23-Feb-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Mr Julian Sterling's last collection - of Commonwealth stamps - faces an uphill battle after a decade of saturation at the top end of the market. The deceased Melbourne art and antique dealer ran out of time to complete it.

But a new generation of  mostly men in their 50s are turning to philately and rare stamps are becoming a hot collectable. This is despite the decline in traditional mail in favour of the Internet and the over- supply of new issues.

This year a legendary magenta South American stamp is expected to make millions of dollars and the world's finest collection of Tasmanian stamps also listed to go under the hammer in Switzerland.

Youngs Auctions - out of the old and into the new

From their Camberwell salerooms, Youngs Auctions sold the collection of Richard and Fran Berry, who ran a Melbourne antiques shop, mostly out of Flinders Lane in the 1960s. The collection comprised 2266 lots and was sold in three tranches over two years in 2008 and 2009. Amongst the 'sleepers' was this short wooden Papuan ancestral figure, which sold for 40 times its top estimate: a $24,000 hammer price against a high estimate of $600.
By Terry Ingram on 12-Feb-2014 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Another auction house is to become a property developer with Youngs placing its property in Melbourne's Hawthorn East for sale with Colliers with estimate of $4 million \ to $5 million, and a search underway for a property to replace it.

The single-storey building on a 445-square-metre block at 229 Camberwell Road a few doors from Camberwell Junction and the busy Burke Road shopping strip, will most probably make way for the suburb's next medium-density apartment building.

Martin Miller (1946 - 2013): Knew the price of everything, and the value of everything

10-Jan-2014

Martin Miller, who died on 24 December 2013, was a charismatic entrepreneur and bon vivant, and after co-founding the bestselling antiques price guides that bear his name (and made his fortune) went on to become a successful hotelier. Once described as “the Richard Branson of the antiques world”, Miller failed his 11-plus exams in childhood but developed a natural flair for business, spotting gaps in the market which took him into such diverse fields as publishing diaries, devising and marketing his own premium brand of gin, and running country hotels.

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