By John Furphy, on 01-Mar-2017

Mossgreen tested the market's appetite for the Trevor Kennedy Collection by selling "Part 1" in Sydney on 21 February 2017.

Subtitled "Important Moorcroft and Australian Pottery and Porcelain", the Moorcroft brand was to be found on 84 of the 226 lots, and was estimated at $160,000 - $250,000 compared with the total estimates for sale of $220,000 - $346,000 – 37% by number but 73% by value, based on the low estimates.

In the sale of Part 1 of the Trevor Kennedy Collection in Sydney on 21 February 2017 Moorcroft ceramic wares dominated, pre-sale accounting for 73% of the lots by value, based on the low estimates. Highest price was for a Moorcroft vase decorated in Tasmanian blue gum on a green ground 42 cm high which sold for $16,740 (IBP).

In the sale of Part 1 of the Trevor Kennedy Collection in Sydney on 21 February 2017 Moorcroft ceramic wares dominated, pre-sale accounting for 73% of the lots by value, based on the low estimates. Highest price was for a Moorcroft vase decorated in Tasmanian blue gum on a green ground 42 cm high which sold for $16,740 (IBP).

Trevor Kennedy, a former journalist, went on the establish a stellar business career as right-hand man to Kerry Packer and with many public company directorships, but resigned from these in 2003 after he was linked to undisclosed ownership of a stake in printing company Offset Alpine along with Graham Richardson and Rene Rivkin.

His interest in antiques and decorative art can be traced back to at least the early 1980s when as a trustee on the board of the Sydney's Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (now Powerhouse Museum) and Executive Director of Consolidated Press he facilitated the transfer of two items from the collection of Consolidated Press, Kerry Packer's private company, to the museum.

Then Sydney based dealer John Hawkins, advised Kerry Packer in the formation of the Consolidated Press collection, so it was almost a given that his advice would also be sought by Kennedy in building his own collection.

Kennedy's collection was given a significant boost in 2008 when it was reported in the Australian Financial Review Saleroom column that he had acquired the four-decade collection of Sydney collector Ruth Simon, which had been sold to antique dealer John Hawkins in 1985, on condition that she retain possession of the bulk of the collection for her lifetime.

In the Mossgreen sale, only 17 of the lots carried a Ruth Simon provenance, and these were all Moorcroft ceramics, including the catalogue cover lot, a rare (one of only two) William Moorcroft flambe Waratah Exhibition vase (Lot 67 ) from 1939, 47 cm high, estimated at $30,000 - $50,000.

Although the cover lot failed to find a new home, 78 of the 84 Moorcroft pieces did, bringing in $216,000 (IBP) compared with the low estimate total for all Moorcroft of $160,000.

Two other Waratah vases achieved the second and third highest prices in the sale. A green ground Waratah vase (Lot 76 ) circa 1930 and 19 cm high made $10,640 (IBP) compared with estimates of $3,000- $5,000 and while the other on a blue ground, circa 1935, and 23 cm high sold for $6,540 (IBP) estimated at $4,000 - $6,000.

Highest price in the sale was for a Moorcroft vase decorated in Tasmanian blue gum on a green ground (Lot 81 ), 42 cm high designed by Sally Tuffin. Made for and originally retailed by E.A. Joyce & Son of Hobart, in a limited edition of 50, the vase sold for $16,740 (IBP).

Other examples of this vase have been sold for higher prices - in 2008 by Sotheby's for $26,400 and in 2009 by Sotheby's Australia for $19,900 (IBP)

Understandably the Moorcroft took the top 16 prices in the sale ahead of a Carnival glass, colbalt 'Kookaburra and Waratah' fruit bowl, (Lot 20 ) 25.5 cm diameter which although only estimated at $300 - $500 brought $4,216 (IBP)

The remainder of the sale was populated with English European and a few pieces of Australian ceramics as well as 10 pieces of Australian Carnival glass of which 5 sold.

The sale of "Part 1" raised $282,000 (IBP) but so far as what might be in the Australiana section of the collection, the shutters have been kept firmly down, except for members of the Australiana Society, many of whose members are keen collectors of Australiana, who were invited to a paid tour of the collection (journalists excluded) earlier this year.

What was offered in "Part 1" would have been of limited interest to an institution. According to the catalogue introduction, the "sale of the first part of of this collection is happening at the same time as Mossgreen is seeking to place significant components of this major collection within our national institutions by private treaty sales. What is not placed this way, will be sold in a series of auctions over the next year".

Sale Referenced: The Trevor Kennedy Collection of Important Moorcroft and Australian Pottery & Porcelain, Mossgreen Auctions, Sydney, 21/02/2017