Arts & Culture

Remarkable antiques collection to go under the hammer

Sally Hopman20 September 2021
Selection of jewellery up for auction

When you devote the first day of a weekend auction to jewellery, you know there has to be some serious bling about. Photo: Supplied.

When you’ve followed in the tradition of your father by collecting antiques, and spent your working life buying and selling them for other people, chances are you’ve amassed a treasure or two.

Chances are you’ve probably also run out of room.

On the weekend of 25-26 September, 2021, Tuckerbox Auctions will put one of the most remarkable collections of antiques under the (virtual) hammer in Gundagai.

“This is one of the better collections I’ve ever seen,” says auctioneer Brad Clark, who has spent the past few weeks cataloguing and photographing it.

“Some of the things here haven’t been seen on the market for 50 years.”

The collection belongs to John and Barbara Wiggs and comes from their recently sold bluestone home and antique business in Wagga Wagga.

The two-day sale will feature more than 400 items, split between jewellery, furniture and collectables.

When the first day of an auction is devoted just to jewellery, you know it’s a special event. More than 200 luxury pieces will be up for auction, and the list includes high-carat diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and topaz, with many of the rings, pendants, necklaces and earrings being works of art.

But for Brad – who has been running Tuckerbox Auctions for more than 30 years with his father, John, and brother, Grant – it’s the ‘man cave’ pieces he’s uncovered while cataloguing for the sale that have really captured his attention.

Antique cannon

Whoever buys this rare cannon will need a big a truck to cart it off because it weighs about 200kg. Photo: Supplied.

“There’s an original cannon,” he says. “Can you believe it? It must weigh about 200kg. We hope whoever gets it has a really big truck to carry it home.”

The cannon comes with its original undercarriage and measures 840mm x 650mm x 440mm. The auctioneers estimate it could go for between $10,000 and $20,000.

“There’s also this remarkable old Cobb & Co pub safe,” says Brad. “We think it might have been used for gold back in the gold rush days. It looks to be one of the earliest we’ve ever seen, maybe the 1800s from England. There’s also a great original Cork Distilleries Co sign. You don’t often get an original like this – mostly they are reproductions.

“There is also some good solid colonial furniture; the real thing. Along with some other great man cave stuff.”

Some of the antiques already drawing interest include a full cedar lyrebird hall table, with Thomas Hope back; a matching pair of Victorian cedar fireside bookcases, circa 1880; a Victorian cedar eight-drawer chest with barley twist columns; a Kauri pine three-tier island workbench on industrial wheels; French cast iron church pew seats; and an English dome-top pigskin trunk with timber and metal bindings.

Antique Cork Distilleries Co whisky advertising sign

This rare, authentic pub sign will be up for auction on Sunday, 26 September. Photo: Supplied.

There’s also a manual butter churn, an iron ice shaving bucket, an HV McKay Sunshine Cast tractor seat, an old monkey pump, an anvil, old railway lamps, vintage badges, Beswick china and Royal Doulton Bunnykins.

Brad says the collection is special because not only does it encompass one person’s collecting life, but also the many treasures he bought for his antique business which ran from the main street of Wagga Wagga for more than 50 years.

“It’s rare to see so many one-offs in a collection,” he says. “There’s a huge moose head which apparently came from the Russian embassy. He also had about 40 demijohns, but I think he’s only going to be selling 10 of them.”

The two-day sale starts at 2:00 pm on Saturday, 25 September, with all the jewellery going under the hammer, followed by the house contents sale at 11:00 am on Sunday, 26 September.

For more information, visit Tuckerbox Auctions.

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