Russian silver an auction drawcard

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 19th March, 2014

Among Philips Auctions latest decorative arts sale (from noon tomorrow at 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern) are two collections – one, 19th century milk glassware and small “end of day” vases by various well-known glassmakers, the other Russian and English silver dating from the 17th century.

The glassware belonged to solicitor the late Robert McCracken, whose ancestors, brothers Robert and Peter, migrated from Scotland in 1841 and established a brewery that was eventually taken over by Carlton United.

The family left an indelible mark on Essendon – helping to build the railway to the suburb and founding the Essendon Football Club listed among its achievements. It also sparked the formation of the Royal Agricultural Society.

Robert McCracken attended Scotch College and then studied law at Melbourne University before establishing his own firm F.W. Robson in West Melbourne.

Well-known names in his collection include Bittossi and Whitefriars along with Chinese, Czech, Italian and Scandinavian vases.

The Russian and English silver belonged to the late Michael Holdorf, who suffered with a congenital heart condition.

For more than 20 years until his death at age 40, both his mother Marie and father Brian helped him collect hundreds of these silver items from antique shops and deceased estates throughout Victoria.

Their plan was to establish an antique shop – but Michael died before his dream could be realised.

Included in the collection are 1890s Russian silver charkas and 1890 silver cake basket and Georgian sterling silver items.

Interesting is the 1863 silver bosun’s call, presented to T. Dorgan by Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne at the Marquis’s inauguration as Canada’s fourth Governor-General.

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