A pair of old metal garden dogs fetch over $250,000 at Bonhams and Goodmans record breaking Melbourne house contents auction

On Sunday 4 March 2007, Bonhams & Goodman conducted the extraordinary contents sale of Dalmah, a private mansion in Melbourne’s affluent suburb of Toorak.

The auction is one of the most successful estate sales conducted by Bonhams & Goodman with 100% sold by volume and 150% by upper-end estimate, excluding Buyer’s Premium. In total the sale achieved a result of $1.6million.

There was extensive interest in the sale with thousands attending the pre-auction viewing at the mansion and 1,500 registering to bid. The auction was conducted at the nearby Glamorgan School. It was standing room only as the sale commenced with Tim Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of Bonhams & Goodman knocking down lot after lot at the unreserved auction.

“Experience has shown us that estate auctions sell well as people are fascinated by items they can view insitu and the history of their former owner. However this sale was astounding”, says Tim Goodman, Chief Executive Officer at Bonhams & Goodman. “I haven’t ever seen such an eclectic mix of items in my 36 year career. It really was quite extraordinary”, says Goodman.

The auction commenced at 9.30am and was somewhat of a marathon with the last lot going under the hammer at 7:00pm.

Lots of garden statuary were the last items to be auctioned and the highlight of the auction clearly came from this category – lot 707, a pair of cast iron painted seated hunting dogs by Alfred Jacqumart, a 19th century Italian sculptor. The dogs were hotly contested on the phones and in the room, eventually selling to John Griffith from Attic Antiques for $250,950.

Many of the other 700+ lots went for much higher than expected prices and some items flew.

Some of the many highlights at the auction included:

Lot I, the right to display Victorian numberplate ‘782’ which sold for $51,980
Lot 64, a pair of Sevres style urns sold to a well known dealer in the United Kingdom for $27,485 who also bought lot 145, a fine late 19th century French ormolu jewel casket for $46,605 – substantially more than had been estimated
Lot 38, a French 19th century gilt bronze mantle clock was one of many clocks that sold, for an impressive sum of $28,680
Lot 190, a full suit of fifteenth century style Gothic armour for $23,900
Lot 268, a ceremonial trowel used at the building of the Houses of Parliament in Brisbane which sold for $10,157

The works of art on offer sold well with two in particular exceeding expectations:

Lot 220, an oil on linen oriental work titled Circle of Youqua which sold for $38,240
Lot 168, a work by Dr Alfonso Sanz titled The Battle of Manilla Bay which sold for $26,290

The executor of the estate Nina Stanton was present at the auction. “I am thrilled with the result and am pleased that so much money has been raised for the Copland Foundation. I am sure Alex Copland would have been delighted that so many people shared an enthusiasm for his broad collecting tastes”, says Stanton. “Equally as pleasing to him would no doubt have been the fact that a fellow Australian can now travel abroad to study fine furniture and decorative arts using the proceeds raised from the sale”, adds Stanton.

Bonhams & Goodman has built a reputation for estate sales conducted in a seamless and professional manner. “At Bonhams & Goodman, we have a policy of never adding to estate auctions – what you see is the original offering. There is something very special about being able to buy something from an entire collection, knowing its provenance,” says Goodman.

Bonhams & Goodman will reinforce recent Melbourne presence at the March and April auctions at new Melbourne rooms in the Hawksburn Village. For a full schedule of forthcoming auctions, please visit www.bonhamsandgoodman.com.au