June 2023

Abacus Auctions

"Man catcher" a lethal auction collection reminder of PNG head hunters

It’s an horrendous instrument – a Papua New Guinea head hunter’s “man catcher”, comprising a sharpened wooden shaft with bamboo noose.

Innocuous looking but deadly, it was used to capture and enslave enemy tribe members by encircling the head, the razor-like point protruding into the back of the neck inflicting fatal injury if they continued to struggle.

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Abacus Auctions

Rare chance to buy famous Australian photographer's large prints at auction


One of Australia’s most famous photographers and an internationally respected master of his craft, Wolfgang Georg Sievers (1913-2007) compositions were often magic personified and changed the face of industrial and architectural photography in this country forever.

So important is he to Australia’s photographic history that 65,000 of his images reside in the National Library of Australia in the national capital, Canberra – the largest single collection on record.

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Abacus Auctions

Australian fast bowling great's collection a piece of auction cricketing history

After he retired, legendary left-arm Australian fast bowler Alan Davidson (1929-2021) used to amuse guests at Sydney Cricket Ground official lunches by using round bread rolls to demonstrate how to hold a cricket ball to bowl an inswinger.

In fact, it became such an obsession that staff started substituting the elongated variety to counteract him.

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Menzies Art Brands

Old rubbish dump inspires iconic Australian auction painting

Leading Australian landscape artist Fred Williams (1927-1982) was fascinated with a “billabong” in the Melbourne suburb of Kew and during the mid-1970s used it as the basis for his Kew Billabong series – numbering more than 30 paintings.  

Describing it as “splendid” but noting that the place was in fact “just a rubbish dump of all things”, he admitted to using a rubber tyre in his painting as a motif (first ever) and found it a great place to work.

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Philips Auctions

Famous London dealer's Indian silver collection in Melbourne auction

Robert Reis was such a famous and knowledgeable London-based antiques dealer and collector that one of England’s oldest and largest auction houses Christie’s was keen to employ him – and he also trained many of the commentators on the well-known TV show Antiques Roadshow.

For 45 years with partner Gay Bowler, he spent much of his time travelling throughout Europe and the United States in the pursuit of his passion before moving to Australia in 2009.

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Christian McCann Auctions

Tudor style country mansion the venue for decorative arts auction

An attractive Tudor-style mansion called The Gables, belonging to a prominent local antiques dealer and situated in the Victorian Western Districts town of Hamilton, is the venue for Christian McCann’s forthcoming on site fine and decorative arts auction from 12pm Sunday June 25 at 69 French Street.

The entire contents are destined to go under the hammer and featuring a superb collection of 18th and 19th century English furniture and French, English and Italian glass chandeliers, the auction is a must for collectors.

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Deutscher and Hackett

Melbourne artist auctions some of his indigenous art collection

Melbourne-based abstract artist James Smeaton has given some of his indigenous art collection to Deutscher and Hackett for a timed online auction ending from 7pm Tuesday June 6 at 105 Commercial Road, South Yarra.

Smeaton, 59, has been exhibiting solo since the early 1990s – most recently with Scott Livesey Galleries – and his paintings concentrate on aquatic and maritime features in Melbourne’s port area.

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