Auction Room: June 3

This Sunday night on Auction Room, people part ways with prized possessions in order to unclutter their lives.

This Sunday night on Auction Room, people part ways with prized possessions in order to unclutter their lives.

Host William McInnes takes us back to the much-loved Melbourne institution The Collector auction house.

This week’s auction is blokey, sports, tools, militaria and pubanalia.

Bruce Rogers is an inveterate collector who has been collecting since he was six, and says this is both a hobby and puts bread on the table. Bruce has a vast amount of stuff, and has reluctantly decided to downsize bit by bit.

He is selling a Victorian-era Magic Lantern, an early version of the slide projector. It is made of steel and brass, and projects a powerful beam of light through glass photographic slides, of which there are several hundred. Bruce is also selling a Tantalus, which is a type of decanter in which the bottle stoppers are locked down tightly by a metal bar. This was to prevent the theft of the contents by servants. As the name suggests, the decanters themselves are visible, and therefore open to temptation and a key is required for entry.

Meanwhile, Helen Bernard is a bowel cancer survivor, who had a long, hard battle before beating the disease. Before her sickness, she and her husband Ross were enthusiastic collectors of antiques and decorative arts pieces. After feeling overwhelmed by their collection, they are clearing the decks because materialism now means absolutely nothing to them. They claim what they want to achieve through the sale is not financial gain, but rather the simple, uncluttered life.

They have started with two decorative pieces, both of ethnic origins. The first is an impressive Japanese Shibayama vase. This style is semi-precious inlay with raised carved decoration – in this case, bamboo. The inlay is mother-of-pearl and ox bone and the piece is 61cm tall. Although slightly damaged, it is nonetheless very handsome.

Their other offering is an African carved ebony female head and torso, 30-cm tall and very heavy, as ebony is an extremely dense timber. This is in the style of the popular 1960s Black Lady lamps and is consequently very decorative.

6pm Sunday on ABC1.

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