The multitude of television shows devoted to antiques are rarely popular with the antiques trade as a whole – in a well-worn argument some credit them with the disintegration of the dealing community itself – but auctioneers are ready participants both for the publicity and the prospect of a decent consignment.
The occasionally-maligned Flog It! has, for
example, turned up some more-than-decent lots in its time and was
the source of the Aboriginal artefact sold for record figures at
the Lincoln Auction Rooms of
Golding Young & Mawer (17.5% buyer's premium)on
As the cameras rolled, the early 19th century stone carved broad
shield with earth pigments illustrated on this page was
Given no estimate in the catalogue and lotted together with five
other pieces of inconsequential African tribal art, it attracted
multiple bids from the room, the telephone and the internet.
The mix of collectors, dealers and museums included UK, US and
French participants, but the battle came down to one fought by the
internal Australian market. The winning bid of £30,000 was made by
the Sydney Museum of Primitive Art on the telephone with the
under-bidder being a leading Australian gallery bidding on the
The museum has previously acquired Aboriginal art from Golding
Young & Mawer's auction house.
Broad shields such as this, common to the south-east coastal and
river areas of Australia, were fashioned from the outer bark of the
gum tree, and singularly engraved and decorated using a black
basalt stone scraper and ochred pigments rubbed into the incised
"Very few broad shields come on the market and each is viewed as
an individual work of art and their merits considered by
connoisseurs on that basis," commented auctioneer Colin Young.
The price represents a house record for tribal art at Golding
Young & Mawer, beating a group of lime spatulas from Papua New
Guinea sold in December 2009 at £26,500.