Today I spent the day at Lawsons endeavouring to pick up a few more items. From the online catalogue I was particularly interested in chests of drawers, wardrobes and rugs. I haven’t been to a mid week auction before and it appeared to attract mainly dealers with a smattering of private buyers.
The internet must make a big difference to the auction houses as they can now publish the catalogue (with photos) online prior and take a significant amount of absentee, online and phone bids from people who can’t make the auction. It’s good to see the care taken to place these bids as a standard part of the procedure and the prompt follow up. It makes me feel comfortable in placing online/absentee bids.
There was a huge variation in bidding – many items were passed in, a few real bargains – I kicked myself over a Victorian mahogany chiffonier that went for $200. It’s hard to assess size on the internet and some of the chests of drawers were too big, some in poor condition, but the one I loved was unfortunately also loved by others. I didn’t get a bid in as it quickly went for more than double the estimate, which made it quite expensive. The wardrobes were all far too big for my needs.
This auction had quite a few Persian rugs on which I am no expert, but know I need rugs and this style will suit the Convent. There were two I really liked but both went for much more than the estimates. However I was really pleased with the one I bought for $425 which came with a valuation/insurance certificate of $2,250 . It’s in excellent condition and could go in a number of rooms. It’s also a good size.
Another purchase was an arts and crafts period oak framed mirror with hanging hooks that will be perfectly at home at the back entrance, that I snapped up early at $70 to the auctioneer’s comment that it may well have been the bargain of the day. The other was a beautiful late Georgian mahogany bowfronted mirror with drawers. This would look wonderful sitting on a chest of drawers – I just need to be able to buy one!
As I mentioned previously, I’m having a short break from the Convent as the floors get sanded, polished and carpeted. I’m using this time to tidy up the Sydney home to get it on the market, as well as attend some auctions to find suitable items for the Convent.
Auctions are a great way of getting quality pieces at much lower than in the shops. I love antiques (or at least vintage) pieces but the antique and collectable shop prices are often prohibitive. I follow a number of Sydney auction houses that have regular auctions. Usually around Thursday they send an email with a link to their online catalogue of sales for the weekend. The catalogue usually lists, with a picture, each item, sometimes with an approximate anticipated price range. The auctions themselves are usually held in their auction rooms on Saturday and Sunday with viewings of the items on Friday or just before the auction. You can leave an absentee bid (either at the auction house or online) if you can’t attend. I’ve been doing the occasionally during the year with some success but I’m very cautious if I have only seen the item online.
This weekend I went to viewings on Friday at Vickers and Hoad and John Williams and attended a site auction with Lawsons, with more success than usual. I’m also keen to start furnishing the Convent and I don’t have a great deal of items here.
I was thrilled with this lounge which was exactly what I was after. It is scrunchy, comfortable and generously proportioned. Whilst looking much loved, I was also pleased with how well it came up after a bit of TLC. After some quick internet research, it seems that lathering with moisturiser soap (Dove) and buffing with a dry cloth (just like washing a saddle with saddle soap) was the best approach and it’s made a huge difference. Eventually this lounge will be destined for the Chapel but in the shorter term is likely to go in the lounge room instead of the old cane furniture which was always planned for the outside porches.
One of the other big successes was a nineteenth century French brass and iron half tester bed which should look stunning on one of the guest bedrooms. Getting a mattress with it was a bonus. I’m now thinking of an interim furniture delivery to Kandos asap.
A large building such as the Convent lends itself to having a few more whimsical ornaments. This week a few beauties came my way. These two little cherubs on marble bases plus the larger work of entwined cherubs on a base.
The other success was a small but pretty one – a berry spoon and sifter to support the produce from the berry bed.