Auction unites two leading players in 1983 America's Cup victory

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 20th October, 2016

Two leading players in Australia’s 1983 America’s Cup victory – Alan Bond and Ben Lexcen – will be reunited posthumously through the auction of their private collections from 2pm Sunday October 23 by Mossgreen at the Western Australian Maritime Museum in Fremantle.

Lexcen was the designer and Bond the high profile businessman and owner of Australia II (with its secret weapon winged keel) that wrested the cup from the United States for the first time in the history of the event.

Steeped in history, drama and prestige, The America’s Cup is the world’s oldest international sporting trophy with the race first held in 1851.

In a devastating moment for the Americans, Bond and his team won the cup after the New York Yacht Club had successfully retained it for 132 years.

Australia II attracted controversy from the moment it was launched with the New York Yacht Club protesting the yacht was not a legal 12-metre vessel and that the revolutionary “winged keel” had in fact been designed by the Dutch.

However, protests were overturned and the resultant victory was one of the most celebrated in Australian sporting history.

Then Prime Minister Bob Hawke declared Australia’s victory so significant it should be marked with a public holiday and joked that any State Premiers who disagreed “might find themselves in a spot of bother”.

The auction is being held at the venue where Australia II has been displayed since December 2002 – and it is pure coincidence that both collections were offered to Mossgreen at the same time.

The major highlight is a magnificent gold model of the yacht mounted on a sea of amethyst quartz crystals from Alan Bond’s private collection.

Other highlights include two separate sets of Lexcen’s original plans, drawings and blueprints, carrying respective catalogue estimates of $20,000-$22,000 and $25,000-$30,000.

Further America’s Cup related items include an Australia II radio controlled yacht with the famous keel finlets comprising the winged keel, a superb Australia II scale model built by Costello Ship Model Company of New York from Lexcen’s original plans, and an album of 33 coloured photographs detailing Australia’s victorious America’s Cup challenge – including the design, construction and launch of the yacht.

The auction also features furniture, decorative arts, and fine art from Bond’s home including an exquisite French Empire style circular ormolu mounted mahogany centre table with verde antico marble top and the painting Munch Money 2007 by Australian contemporary artist McLean Edwards.

Viewing 10am-5pm Friday and Saturday, 10am-12.30pm Sunday at Victoria Hall, 179 High Street, Fremantle. 

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