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At a Small & Whitfield sale in Adelaide on December 6, what is believed to have been an Australian auction record for a piece of carnival glass was established, with a “quality carnival glass peacock bowl” estimated at $80 to $150, selling for $12,000 hammer ($13,500 IBP)

Three sleepers get away

By Terry Ingram on 19-Dec-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Sleepers of exceptional Australian interest eluded buyers at sales around the world this month, writes Terry Ingram.  Exposure on the Internet and or last minute auction house catalogue and estimate revisions meant that no-one walked away with the premium bargains these promised.

In 2014 Sotheby's Australia will move to its permanent new city home at levels seven and eight of the strata office building at 41 Exhibition Street for what will eventually become the Melbourne headquarters of the up-market auction house. The futuristic building is being developed by the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Sotheby's and the city

By Terry Ingram on 11-Dec-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Major art and antique auctions are to be held again in the Melbourne CBD with regularity after decades of almost complete absence, writes Terry Ingram

Bonhams hopping on red hot bids


Bonhams was unable to contain the enthusiasm of one bidder at its Sunday Sydney auction of part one of the decorative arts collection of the late Graham and Elizabeth Cocks. Auctioneer James Hendy started at $1500 for lot 65, a glass vase, and had just asked for bids of $2000 when a telephone bidder inquired whether he would take a bid of $35,000. Well, yes, of course! That was where the hammer settled, the mystery buyer paying $42,700, including buyer’s premium.

Dan Kelly gun sells for $122,000


A private collector has paid $122,000 for a gun that may or may not have belonged to the Kelly gang. Bidding at Charles Leski Auctions in Hawthorn started at $75,000 with six bids made, all by phone, up to the successful bid of $100,000. Auctioneer's commission brought the price to $122,000. The catalogue for the sale described the modified East India Company Cavalry Pistol as Dan Kelly's pistol.

The Leslie Walford Sale - Curtains for minimalism

By Terry Ingram on 18-Nov-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

The overflowing crowd at auction by Mossgreen of the estate of Leslie Walford at the Tim Olsen Gallery on November 18 kissed goodbye to the minimalism which had displaced the life's work of the best known doyens of modern Sydney decorating.  Some of those cold clean empty interiors decorators created in the 1990s will now be lightened by bits of the colourful tat for which Walford, who was much lauded for his curtains for Elizabeth Bay House, was celebrated.

'Possible' Kelly pistol up for auction


When Dan Kelly burnt to an unrecognisable husk at the siege of Glenrowan, it is said police discovered an old muzzle-load single-shot pistol among the weapons used by the Kelly gang. ''But it disappeared, as far as I know,'' says Kelly historian Ian Jones, speaking from Beechworth. ''I've never seen records of it remaining in police hands.'' On November 22, an East Indian Company Cavalry pistol - the kind that uses powder and a lead ball instead of a cartridge - is going under the hammer at Leski Auctions in Hawthorn, and is expected to sell for up to $125,000.


The journal of Mary Ann Field contains one of the few eye-witness accounts of the establishment of the Swan River settlements at Fremantle and Perth in early 1830 and three previously unknown and unpublished watercolours of them.

Flea-sized outlays preserves WA flea bitten past

By Terry Ingram on 07-Nov-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

There is a reason Western Australians may have been inclined not to pay high prices for their past. It is rat infested and flea ridden. Or so it is described in the journal of Mary Ann Field which came up for sale at Christie's South Kensington in London on October 10. The State Library of Western Australia, however, grasped the nettle and bought the diary for AUD$196,041.

'Looted' Chinese antiques pulled from UK auction


Two Chinese antiques have been withdrawn from auction in Britain, the auctioneer said, after the proposed sale sparked fury in China amid claims they were looted from Beijing in the 19th century. Bonhams issued an apology as it confirmed the two jade carvings would not be sold after the owner withdrew them from a planned auction on Thursday to "avoid any possible offence".

Christie’s has joined auctioneers William J. Jenack in a bid to overturn a legal ruling that says New York salerooms must reveal consignors’ names to buyers.

Request for vendor ID opens a Pandora's box

By Terry Ingram on 31-Oct-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

The art and antiques auction industry around the world could lose much of its appeal to vendors as a result of a ruling in the New York Supreme Court. The opacity which traditionally made art an attractive trading commodity is under threat from a possible future requirement for auctioneers to reveal the names of vendors. The ruling, over a plea for the identity of the consignor of a silver box in a US auction has opened a Pandora's box. Although this promises a great boost to connoisseurship and scholarship, it would be another blow to a market which has thrived inexorably on the investment and money shuffling attractions of a commodity without title deeds, Terry Ingram writes.

Racing's top prizes


Phar Lap's mounted hide is in Melbourne, his skeleton is in Wellington, New Zealand, his heart is in Canberra. And a set of his shoes could be on display in your home. These are among the highlights of this Sunday's Leonard Joel auction of Horse Racing and Other Sporting Memorabilia in Melbourne.

The book uncovers numerous previously unheralded or unidentified makers, such as Thomas Butler, Charles Hendrick, Alexander McLeod and William Park (to name a few) – all, incidentally, connected to Alexander Dick.

The Houstone Collection of Early Australian Silver

By Jolyon Warwick James on 18-Oct-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Long awaited and now published, is the detailed and well illustrated catalogue of the Houstone collection of early Australian Silver. More than 40 years in the making by the industrious retired solicitor, the collection is certainly the most comprehensive in existence for the pre-1850 period and certainly no less than remarkable for works from the second half of the century. More than merely a catalogue, the book is an essential reference of new and updated wisdom on the subject.

The highest price in sale was achieved for an 18th century Danish gilt metal mounted walnut, marquetry and parcel gilt bureau attributed to Matthias Ortmann, Copenhagen, which sold for $50,000 hammer ($60,000 IBP).

Melbourne's answer to Owston Collection receives lukewarm response from buyers

By Supplied on 20-Sep-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

Leonard Joel advertised this auction as the "most important auction of its type in Australia since the Owston Collection". The Owston collection sold by Bonhams on June 25 and 26, 2010 at Sydney 's Overseas Passenger Terminal comprised 1300 lots sold under instructions of KordaMentha as receivers of Owston Nominees No.2 after the 42-year marriage of colourful Perth property developer Warren Anderson ended.


20 carat diamond sells at Sotheby's jewellery sale in Melbourne

A near-record diamond and a historic watch were standouts at Sotheby’s recent jewellery sale in Melbourne, with both local and international buyers showing strong interest in many of the high-end collectors’ items. Large diamond pieces were standouts of the sale, including one of the largest diamonds to be auctioned in Australia, a 20.15-carat round brilliant cut diamond, claw set and mounted in 18ct gold. The show-stopping piece sold for $222,000, which was at the upper end of the pre-auction estimate of $185,000 to $222,000.


Typical of the important items in the collection is the Florentine marble statue depicting Ariadne on the Panther, signed F. Vichi, recovered in South Yarra from the backyard glass house of a well-known Melbourne interior designer, all covered in leaves and grime.

Leonard Joel to dispose of 1800 lots from Graham Geddes Antiques over 3 days

By Supplied on 10-Sep-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

What is shaping up to be the final sale of Graham Geddes massive collection of important antique furniture and collectibles will take auction house Leonard Joel three days to complete. The first session will begin at 10am on Saturday September 15 and continue over the following two days from 10am and 6.30pm respectively at 333 Malvern Road, South Yarra.

Silver salver pulled from sale.

By Supplied on 07-Sep-2012 (Exclusive to the Antiques Reporter)

A piece of antique silver with a lot of interest to Australia been withdrawn from the market and may re-emerge with a new hallmark - for 2012. The piece, a circular presentation salver, was withdrawn from an auction of silver at Bonhams in Chester in the UK on September 4.



Antiques hunter ready for a new start


Graham Geddes is guiding me through his labyrinthine showrooms, an Aladdin's Cave spread across four shopfronts in High Street, Armadale, packed to the rafters with some truly exquisite and amazing antiques, decorative arts and antiquities. As we saunter among his collection of almost 2000 items - most of which go under the hammer over three days, starting on Saturday week - Geddes reels off object after object with a scholarly ease, as if running through a weekly grocery list.

Three rare coins sell for almost $900,000


Three rare Australian coins have fetched almost $900,000 at auction - taking out two records in the process. Australia's first coin, known as the "Hannibal Head" Holey Dollar, sold for $410,000, while the first gold coin, an 1852 Adelaide pound, netted $370,000. Both coins fetched record prices for coins of their type sold at auction, with the pound eclipsing the previous record by $240,000.

Rare coins expected to fetch more than $1m


Three rare Australian coins to be auctioned in Melbourne tonight are expected to fetch more than $1 million. One of the coins is a "Hannibal Head" holey dollar, created in New South Wales in 1813 from a silver dollar minted in Peru. Also on offer are one of Australia's first gold coins, the 1852 Adelaide Pound and an 1813 Colonial Dumps.

Going for gold


There may have been saturation coverage of the London Olympics during the past month but the world's greatest sporting event remains a relatively minor part of the sports-memorabilia market. Next week a significant local collection of Olympics memorabilia will go on sale through Leski Auctions in Melbourne. "It doesn't happen very often," Charles Leski says. "This is the collection of a local enthusiast who just loved the idea that he could buy these things."

Holmes a Court tops auction as Lisa Ho struggles


It was a tale of two auctions in Sydney yesterday where Peter and Divonne Holmes a Court's collection of contemporary art and furniture recorded a 90 per cent sale rate, while fashion designer Lisa Ho's 421-lot collection of antiques and frocks sold just 70 per cent. The twin sale by Melbourne's Mossgreen auction house at Byron Kennedy Hall in Moore Park in Sydney's east began at 2.30pm and finally wrapped up at 8pm. More than 100 people crowded the auction room, internet bidding was brisk and 10 staff managed bidding by phone.