Prize gold beer glass part of historical Melbourne auction

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 24th May, 2021

In 2010, a couple purchased a promotional carton of Carlton Draft beer as part of a special “Win a Prize” competition.

The prize – a beer glass in 18-carat gold by Hardy Brothers Jewellers (silversmiths to Queen Elizabeth) engraved with the words “SINCE 1864 CARLTON DRAFT Brewery Fresh”.

On April 16 of that year they were pronounced the lucky winners and now the glass (listed as lot 64 with a catalogue estimate of $120,000-$150,000) is a major drawcard to Melbourne-based Leski Auctions Australian & Historical two-day auction, of more than 1300 lots worth over $1 million in pre-sale estimates, beginning at 11am on Saturday May 29 and continuing from the same time Sunday May 30.

Because of the current Victoria-wide COVID-19 seven-day lockdown, the auction will be live behind closed doors with online, telephone and absentee bidding available for auction goers.

The auction starts with the Edward Clark collection of important Australian silver (lots 1-38) that features such treasures as Christian Ludwig Qvist’s stunning pair of mounted emu egg urns adorned with Aboriginal figures seated in strikingly natural poses with weapons and spears (lot 14) and a catalogue estimate of $30,000-$40,000.

Born about 1818, Qvist was a Danish designer, goldsmith, jeweller and artist who migrated to Australia in 1852 and died 25 years later in East St Leonards New South Wales.

Other important pieces include an ornate five-piece coffee service (lot 40) by Martin Hall & Co. Sheffield 1860 from the estate of James Service (1823-1899), 12th Premier of Victoria.

Born in Scotland, Service arrived in 1853 in Melbourne as a company representative for the Glasgow-based tea importing business Thomas Corbett and Company.

The following year, he established his own import and wholesale merchants firm, a large organisation which prospered for many years after his death.

A founding member of the Emerald Hill (now South Melbourne) municipal council in 1855, Service went on to have a distinguished political career as a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly – becoming Premier and Treasurer in 1883.

The coffee service was presented to James Service in October 1861 by residents for his untiring and successful efforts to have the Emerald Hill township declared a municipality and as a mark of esteem and appreciation at his impartiality as its first and twice-elected chairman and chief magistrate.

Goldfield and goldrush era jewellery is well represented through the Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie brooches (lots 70 and 71) and Australian pottery (lots 128-290) full of rarities such as a Merric and Doris Boyd vase (lot 140 ), a William Ricketts piece (lot 187) and a Deborah Halpern sculpture (lot 277).

There are furniture pieces to suit all tastes including a servery table (lot 292), a settee (lot 294), a colonial library sofa table (lot 295) and a Melbourne Sock Exchange partners desk (lot 317).

Lots 426-570 cover the auction’s general section, in which auction goers will find such worthwhile pieces as a fine example of apprentice cabinet making constructed from beautiful New Zealand timbers (lot 441), a Robert Prenzel panel (lot 497), Pitcairn Island souvenirs (lots 491-493) and a fabulous coat-of-arms (lot 468).

Sunday’s offerings begin with a unique group of items from the estate of Joseph Cook, Australian Prime Minister during World War One.

These include an illuminated presentation created in 1913 by his constituents (lot 685), his diplomatic passport (lot 694) and Lady Cook’s stunning art deco brooch (lot 695).

Other auction highlights feature a silk program for an 1893 Romeo & Juliet performance starring Dame Nellie Melba (lot 741), early Australian issue comics (lots 785-793), early maps (lots 799-810), Japanese katana swords (lots 925-926) and a large offerings of paintings and other artworks (lots 950-1276). 

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