The death of prominent Canberra architect Alastair Swayn made headlines last month, when it was revealed that the proceeds from the sale of the Estate would be given to his foundation, which supports young architects and designers.
But what you may not know is that the Estate includes a collection of modernist assets which are being auctioned off on Allbids this month.
Andrew Whitehead, a certified valuer who works with Allbids says, “Being an architect, Alastair had many items in his house that are functional but have a definite design pedigree. He obviously spent time choosing pieces that played exceptionally well with the space he lived in.
The house in itself is a rare find, but it’s been fantastic to be able to leave the pieces in their natural state inside the home so bidders can view them the way Alastair displayed them. Anyone wanting to have a look can attend the open home, and each piece has a barcode which corresponds with the online Allbids listing. After the house sale we will have one special viewing right before the hammer goes down.”
The auction includes a range of Italian designer furniture, Danish lighting, artwork, personal objects and even a collection of high end Italian silk ties. Everything is up for grabs, un-reserved, on Allbids until 7pm on the 30th March.
Online auctioning has become a very popular avenue for handling the assets from a deceased estate.
Rob Evans, CEO of Allbids says, “The process is really quite simple, and the return can be exceptional. At no cost, we send a valuer out to the house to go through the items, talk with you and give you an idea of what it should sell for. Where possible it’s always good to leave everything in the home during the auction, so people can view them in their natural state.
We’ll catalogue each item, photograph it and then market it online for you. Because we are working on commission it’s always in our best interest to obtain the best possible price for the seller.”
Andrew Whitehead, experienced valuer says, “Ethically, auctioning ticks a lot of boxes for Will executors. When you piecemeal a collection and sell it on classifieds sites, to a pawn broker or through a garage sale, you have a lot less chance of obtaining market value, which for beneficiaries should be quite important. Auctioning also makes it easy for anyone interested – family, friends, acquaintances – to see what is on offer.
The other important point is that you don’t often know what’s valuable. I’ve reviewed many items that people think are valuable but aren’t, and then I find a piece in the back of a cupboard that’s worth a fortune. You just never know.”
You just never know is something many people are familiar with, following the increasing popularity of TV shows such as Antiques Roadshow and Pawn Brokers.
A month ago Allbids managed the sale of two local estates with a vast collection of Asian antiques. Andrew, who valued them, knew they were valuable but could never have anticipated the results that were achieved.
“We put the collection on the website and advertised it locally, as well as overseas. Bidders came from everywhere, including New York and Singapore. We ended up selling a pair of antique Chinese ivory carvings for just over $30,000 and a Chinese scroll painting for $23,000.”
Asian antiques have exploded in value in the past decade, with many wealthy Chinese wanting to spend their money buying back items of Chinese heritage sitting in Western collections.
“We have a lot of highly educated people in Canberra, many with political or diplomatic backgrounds, and they have fascinating collections,” says Rob. “Often people head to Sydney auction houses because they think it’s a bigger market and therefore a better place to sell. However, the big city markets tend to be oversupplied.
There are many collectors in Canberra with money to spend, and they are very happy to be able to find quality antiques and collectables locally. This means more money in the seller’s pocket, and a lot less hassle worrying about moving their assets interstate.”
And Rob’s tips for getting the best price on your assets?
“Start with a low price and let the market determine the worth. Auctioning online means people from all over the world can buy your assets. We do our part in making sure that all of our items are properly catalogued, so that when collectors search for what we’re selling, they find it. And often specialist collectors have their own understanding of how valuable something is going to be in the future, so they pay a much higher price than even we may anticipate.”
Those in the process of handling a deceased estate are welcome to contact Allbids for a free valuation on 6239 2262 or visit Allbids.com.au.
The Alastair Swayn auction runs until the end of the month.
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