G E T T I N G S TA R T E D

Country Style - - COLLECTABLES -

One of my fond­est child­hood memories is of sit­ting on the ve­ran­dah with my grand­mother and watch­ing elec­tri­cal storms. They promised sum­mer was on the way and soon we could sit un­der the trees in the gar­den, en­joy­ing lunch, read­ing, or just doz­ing. In the gar­den we sat in deck chairs that had been made by my fa­ther. On the ve­ran­dah there were cane chairs, which prob­a­bly came from China. This fur­ni­ture was the most com­monly avail­able meant for out­door use and be­longed to a long tra­di­tion of spe­cialised fur­ni­ture. Cast iron fur­ni­ture — much made in Great Bri­tain, but some in Aus­tralia — was very pop­u­lar ini the late 19th cen­tury. Coal­brook­dale iron fur­ni­turef is ea­gerly col­lected by en­thu­si­asts anda some pat­terns, such as nas­tur­tium, en­sure highi prices at auc­tion. As an ex­am­ple, in 2014 two benches went for an amaz­ing $14,500. Vin­tage cane fur­ni­ture can also bring high prices, but most pieces sell for well un­der $1000. Good ex­am­ples of the so­phis­ti­cated rus­tic fur­ni­ture made by Aus­tralian bush­men and hob­by­ists are rare. In 2013 a Jimmy Pos­sum chair from Tas­ma­nia sold for nearly $3000 and I would ex­pect higher prices now. But don’t over­look the end­less stools and chairs made from boxes and scrap tim­ber that are part of the Aus­tralian ‘mak­ing do’ tra­di­tion. While col­lec­tor en­thu­si­asm has driven-up the price of Aus­tralian bush fur­ni­ture, and a milk­ing stool might cost as much as $200, the en­dear­ing charm of the best is still well worth it.

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