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2001 Auction Flier…..

Moorabool has some exciting news to share: we now run regular Auctions!

We once ran a successful auction rooms in Geelong, ‘OldBank Auctions’ for 10 years – the last sale being in 2004. It began when a good customer/collector asked us to sell his collection; today, it’s the exact same scenario.
We have a large collection of lush ceramics to sell on behalf of a good customer of 50 years, with most of it coming directly from us at some time. Along with the many other groups of items that have come in on consignment, we suddenly have a very full building….

So Auctions are our solution. There are many other auction houses accessible online today, so how will we stand out?

Back in the ‘OldBank’ days, we had a unique selling advantage: every lot was illustrated on a website, in the early days of the web. We had one of the early digital cameras, purchased in the late 1990’s. This resulted in bids from all over Australia – unique for the time! Today it’s normal, and bids come in from all over the world – but we still have a way to stand out in the crowd, along the same lines as ‘Moorabool Antiques’ has stood out at the retail level.

We can auction items using our usual clarity of the important things such as condition and date – we’ve been called ‘pedantic’ when it comes to these details, but it’s a good thing in the Antique Auction World. Have you ever seen the term ‘a/f’ describing the condition of a piece? As-found, or all-faults is the meaning. This could be describing anything, such as the entire head of a figure replaced with plaster, and stuck together from many pieces & painted over….. or it could mean a small inconspicuous hairline crack at the back which is hard to spot. ‘A/f’ is not at all helpful in making a decision to bid – and therefore not suitable when describing condition. As you’ll know by Moorabool’s descriptions, we talk you through any damages or flaws.


Bid with confidence

We’ll be pedantic in our condition reports and ensure items are photographed extensively. If we’ve missed something, it is a simple thing to request more images or information.

First of many Auctions

Moorabool Auctions will hold its first auction on June 1st. This is possible through Invaluable; they provide a robust platform, where we upload our items and run the auction on the day.

We plan to have a regular monthly sale, with the following sale scheduled for the first week of July. We’re open to accept items for upcoming sales at any time.

Bidding is simple.

It’s a simple procedure; you register your details on their site, and when the auction starts, just like a real one you’ll see the item being sold on your screen, and the amount. To bid, there’s a button: once you click, it sends your bid to the auctioneer…. and if no-one else bids, it’s yours. If someone else does bid, you’ll see you are no longer the highest: that’s decision time…. to bid or not to bid, how much do you need it……?

We are also able to bid on your behalf with left bids, which also saves you the 5% Invaluable adds to purchases on their platform…..


We’re able to offer a shipping service along the same lines as our shop. This is a major point-of-difference with other salesrooms, where the bidding & buying is the easy part: when it comes to getting your goods shipped, there’s so often a rude shock in the form of shipping quotes.

Our shipping is very reasonable: a cup & saucer, for example, will be around $20, Australia-wide – or around $50 to the US or UK, safely double-boxed & insured.

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English Enamels & Derby figures

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock release at Moorabool.

This week we have a fine selection of English Porcelain figures, and a collection of English Enamel patch & snuff boxes.

Enamel patch boxes and snuff boxes were everyday items for fashionable 18th century people of social status.

Patch-box with mirror in lid

Patchboxes, as their name suggests, were used to store ‘patches’ – literally small wax-based cosmetic ‘boils’ that were seen as essential beauty products in the 17th & 18th centuries. This ‘beauty spot’ fashion had a practical origin; the diseases of the era would often leave facial scars, and a patch could be used to fill the mark; however, it obviously became something more, with perfectly healthy un-diseased beauties feeling they had to add artificial patches to their faces!
The patchbox, with its compact size and elegant appearance, provided a convenient and stylish way to carry these essential fashion accessories on one’s person, ready to apply if needed. You can tell them by the mirror seen inside the lid – something seen into the modern era with the ‘powder-compact’.

Snuff boxes were used to store ‘snuff’ – essentially powdered tobacco, a popular stimulant in the 17th and 18th centuries. Snuff-taking was not only a social ritual but also a symbol of refinement and status. These boxes, often passed down as heirlooms, were prized possessions that reflected the taste and sophistication of their owners, making them cherished artifacts right to the present day.

Fresh to Stock – 18th century Enamel Boxes


One of these lovely enamel boxes isn’t what it seems: can you tell which?

SLIDE the line across to reveal the Sampson 19th century copy!

Derby Figures

Derby figures, originating from the renowned Derby Porcelain Factory founded by William Duesbury in 1756, represent a pinnacle of 18th-century ceramic artistry. These exquisite porcelain sculptures, often depicting scenes of pastoral life, classical mythology, or notable historical figures, are celebrated for their impeccable craftsmanship and artistic detail. From elegant ladies and gentlemen in period attire to elaborate animal and mythological motifs, Derby figures encompass a diverse range of subjects and styles, each meticulously sculpted and hand-painted with vibrant enamels. Reflecting the tastes of the aristocracy and burgeoning middle-class of Georgian England, these figures adorned the mantelpieces and tables of affluent households, serving as both decorative ornaments and symbols of status and refinement. Today, Derby figures remain highly sought-after by Collectors and Connoisseurs of Fine Things, cherished for their timeless beauty.

Fresh to Stock – Derby Figures – and more!

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Fresh Stock- Jewellery, Pottery & Porcelain, including Masons, Worcester, – a fine mix of quality items

Dr Wall Worcester at Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Welcome to Moorabool’s latest Fresh Stock release – a fine selection of items, fresh to the market.
We’re also beginning to stock more jewellery, with an interesting selection of reasonably priced estate jewellery.

Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong
Jewellery @ Moorabool Antiques, Geelong

Mother’s Day is coming!

Why not spoil your mother with a lovely antique piece?
we’ve put together a gallery of ideas, have a browse here >

Fine 19th Century English Porcelain and more

The Worcester Factories

Worcester BLue & White Porcelain

In 1751, Dr Wall was one of the Worcester businessmen who funded the establishment of what was to become perhaps the most famous of all English porcelain manufacturers – the Worcester factory.

He held the reins of the firm for the next 25 years, and his business sense saw the firm becoming ‘the one’ that aristocracy & the wealthy of England turned to for their porcelain needs.

He died in 1776; in 1783 Thomas Flight, the London agent who had been marketing Worcester porcelain for a while, took over the factory; his two sons, Joseph and John managed it, known as the ‘Flight’ period.

John died in 1791, and a new partner came on board – Martin Barr. This is the ‘Flight & Barr’ period. In 1804, one of his sons is part of the firm, the name being ‘Barr Flight Barr’, the order of seniority. Then in 1813, Martin Barr died, and another of his sons joined, with Joseph Flight being the senior – hence the name is ‘Flight Barr Barr’.

Throughout these decades of the late 18th-early 19th century, across all the different partnerships, the same shapes and patterns were in use: it’s hard to separate the different periods visually. Luckily they were very good at marking pieces, and it’s an interesting exercise to find examples from each period.

These simple but elegant pieces were collected by someone keen to learn the chronology of the factory – basically, an example of the various partnerships of what was to become the major porcelain factory of the 19th century. They’re ready to serve the same purpose with a new owner – terrific ‘examples’ that are budget-friendly!

A Dr Wall Worcester rarity

This ‘Dalhousie pattern’ Worcester cup & saucer is a spectacular rarity, coming from a single identifiable service.

Worcester Stormont Service  cup & saucer
Worcester ‘Dalhousie’ type, ‘Stormont’ Service cup & saucer, c. 1780

The ‘Dalhousie’ pattern name comes from a service owned by the Earl of Dalhousie, with central landscape surrounded by blue border, and swags of fruit to the rim; however, there are multiple variations on this theme in the Worcester products, so the name ”Dalhousiue’ has come to refer to a style rather than a service.

This cup and saucer, however, does have an important association with another service: in the Zorensky Collection there is an identical coffee cup& saucer which Spiro & Sandon associate with the Lord Stormont service. 7th Viscount Stormont had been the Ambassador to France in the 1770’s, and this Worcester tea service from the 1780’s reflects this:

“….. the shape of the handle is unusual and the saucer has a well recessed slightly in the centre in which the foot of the cup sits, a feature derived from Sèvres. These features are unusual but occur on the Stormont service which was a special order involving many unusual tea ware forms.” 

A 'Sevres' handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup
A ‘Sevres’ handle on a Dr Wall Worcester cup, Stormont Service c. 1780

The 7th Viscount Stormont also had a desert service made to Sèvres shapes, also represented in the Zorensky Collection. These Sèvres services are still at Scone house, ancient Royal seat of the Scottish Kings and home of the present Viscount. The Worcester ‘copies’ seem to have been dispersed at some time, and this rarity found its way to a collection in Melbourne, Australia.

Also ‘Fresh’…..

Coming Soon…..

Pottery coming soon
Some early English Pottery @ Moorabool Antiques
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Nod if you like Antiques….. a collection of ‘Nodders’ + other funny things.

Japanesque Nodders
Japanesque Nodders

Today’s Fresh Stock is a bit of a laugh…..

These classic bits of Victorian are the ultimate ….. ‘kitsch’!

A fair number of people will not like them at all…. but they’re still going to make you smile, no matter what!

The originals were actually probably Chinese temple figures, designed to look alive. An early European example can be found in the production of the Meissen factory in the mid 18th century – copying Chinese examples. It’s no surprise then that these late 19th century examples – made in Germany for English, American & Australian markets, amongst others – are also Asian in origin. They fit the definition of ‘Chinoiserie’, being entirely the product of European Imaginations of what they thought Chinese or Japanese characters looked like. A little off the mark with this example – the very pretty man with a magnificent moustache, flowing dress, and sun parasol over his shoulder – and a lovely big pink bow in his hair – he’s more of a German than an Asian!

A Nodders Committee: most agree, but there’s always one that disagrees…….

There’s some serious stock as well, don’t worry: although amongst these you’ll find some more ‘funnies’ – cartoon sketches which were probably printed in publications of the period.
But also some ‘serious’ ceramics, including Baxter Studio decorated Coalport, Rockingham, and 18th century French Faience.


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Fresh to Stock – Small & Precious ‘Vertu’

Welcome to another fabulous ‘Fresh Stock’ at Moorabool Antiques.
This release has a great variety, with some choice small precious pieces of ‘Vertu’, some Furniture – and lots more.


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Fresh stock – it’s almost Valentines Day!

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock Release. This coming week brings Valentines Day, and we start things with a fantastic early Victorian example of a fancy ‘Valentines Day Card’.

SPRAGG Victorian Valentines Day Card, c.1860
SPRAGG Victorian Valentines Day Card, c.1860

Victorian Valentines Day cards were sent anonymously and often carried no message to the recipient. They had emerged as a trend in the earliest Victorian period, and grew in popularity as the century advanced. Technology led to elaborate mass production utilising die cut embossed ‘paper lacework’, as seen in this example, and chromolithography printing allowing multiple bright colours. The ‘Penny Post’ introduction in the 1840’s was the crucial component in the rise of the printed cards, allowing an admirer anywhere to send a cord to someone. Records for cards sent for Valentines Day 1841 show 400,000 within the English postal service – and this number increased constantly every year. The poor postmen were given an extra allowance ‘for refreshments, to help them keep up their energy’ while doing cupid’s work! 

This remarkable large piece of English Majolica is the ultimate pottery rarity. It’s a Punch punchbowl – the figure balancing it on his belly is the character so familiar to Victorians as the character of the ‘Punch’ satyrical magazine. The bowl itself is like a giant orange, and the moulded holly around the edge reveals the intended usage for the bowl: Yuletide Cheer, sitting in the middle of a lavish Christmas table.

It was created by George Jones, famous for his quirky products. It bears the diamond registration mark for 1873, as well as the ‘GJ’ impressed initials of the proprietor. This is interesting, as 1873 is also the year George Jones included his sons in the business, changing the mark to ‘GJ & Sons’. This bowl must have been made in the initial part of 1873, before the change of the mark was implemented. It’s rare we can date something so precisely…..

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Fresh Stock including fine Ceramics, Silver, and Artworks

Welcome to our latest Fresh Stock release.

Chamberlain's Worcester jug, c. 1820
Chamberlain’s Worcester jug, c. 1820

This week, we have a splendid selection of ceramics, including 18th & early 19th century pieces from a local gentleman’s collection – all sourced from Moorabool over the past 60 years….. he recalls buying his first piece off John Rosenberg in 1965!

Many of these pieces may be familiar to regular customers, and feature in some of our printed catalogues for the Exhibitions we held in our Geelong premises in the past: now they’re back in stock, and looking for a new ‘custodian’ to enjoy and care for them.

Meissen sweetmeat basket with birds, c. 1755
Meissen sweetmeat basket with birds, c. 1755

There’s a number of early pieces of European porcelain.

You can’t beat the quality of these extraordinarily rare Meissen chocolate cups. They literally ‘walked in’ to our shop from a local house where they have been sitting for many years, with the family tradition being they came to Australia in the 19th century. We believe they are from a unique dèjeuner set, the tray which held them being in the Museum collection in Munich.
They are Meissen, made in around 1775, and the distinct style of painting belongs to a known artist: Johann Georg Loehnig. Active at Meissen from around 1770, he was regarded as one of their best artists, and given the prestigious commissions. They are extraordinarily rare, and possibly relate to a single service, the main tray which held them being in the Museum at Munich.
Who could such magnificent cups have been for?

Rare Meissen beakers in the Sèvres style, by Johann Georg Loehnig, c.1775
Rare Meissen beakers in the Sèvres style, by Johann Georg Loehnig, c.1775

Fine Antique Ceramics

Fresh to Stock


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Fresh 18th century Porcelain, Venetian Glass, Australian Art + more

We’re pleased to offer a fine selection of fresh-to-the-market items today, including a stunning micro-carved ivory plaque, an 18th c. enamel egg, and some local watercolours by Arnold Jarvis.

Micro-Carving – a miniature masterpiece

A needle, to compare size....
A needle, to compare size….

This beautiful little piece is no bigger than the bottom of your tea-cup – and yet the detail is as good as a large sculpture. Set into a very early lacquer & gold mount, probably from new, it is a type sometimes seen mounted as a snuff box lid. Often catalogued as ‘French’, we have attributed it to the English carvers Stephany & Dresch, ‘Carvers in Miniature to his majesty George III’ .

Stephany and Dresch attributed micro carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong
Stephany and Dresch (attributed) micro-carved ivory plaque, circa 1795, Moorabool Antiques Geelong

A Salviati Aventurine Centerpiece

Salviati Murano Venetian glass centrepiece with dolphins, Aventurine, circa 1880
Salviati Murano Venetian glass centrepiece with dolphins, Copper Aventurine, circa 1880

This flamboyant piece of glass is – believe it or not – Italian! Actually a stunning example of an interesting period in the development of the ‘Murano Glass’ we are familiar with, it dates to the later 19th century years when the revival of the Italian Art Glass was just beginning. It comes from the workshop of Antonio Salviati (1816-1890), who paired up with an English archaeologist, Sir Austen H. Layard, M.P. (1817-94).

Salviati’s products, the ‘Compagnia Venezia-Murano’, won the highest prize, a gold medal indicating the First Order of Merit. After the exhibition closed in 1881, 130 pieces were purchased for the Gallery, which still retains a good number of them. At the same time, the impressive wealth in Melbourne meant the top-end department stores were also offering these luxury products for sale. As this piece was sourced in Melbourne generations ago, it is most probably from one of those sources.

We have an article on this splendid centrepiece and the connection with the 1880 International Exhibition in Melbourne.

Arnold Jarvis 1881-1959 – local artist of interest

Arnold Jarvis (1881-1951) watercolour
Arnold Jarvis (1881-1951) watercolour
Arnold Jarvis (1881-1951) watercolour
Arnold Jarvis (1881-1951) watercolour – Victorian Southern Coastal Scene

Arnold Jarvis was a prolific artist, specialising in classic Australian vistas with ancient River Redgums, and was once described as ‘The other Hans Heyson’. However, he doesn’t even come close to Hans Heyson’s value today, and his story is somewhat neglected.

He was born in South Australia, and literally ‘joined the circus’ in his teens, travelling as far as Perth to perform on stage. He had balance & tightrope acts – and a ‘speed painting’ show, where he would produce a painting from a blank canvas ready to hang on the wall in under 3 minutes! This was no doubt a brilliant way to refine his brushwork, as they say practice makes perfect, and he certainly perfected his impressions of ancient river redgums. By 1901, he was no longer a juggler, but a full-time artist.

Arnold Jarvis (1881-1951) watercolour
Arnold Jarvis (1881-1959) watercolour, English thatch cottage & steamship, c. 1910

We have a group of four Arnold Jarvis watercolours to show you today, including one remarkable example which includes an English thatched cottage, set on the Victorian coast! We have an interesting interpretation of this work, read more in the blog page dedicated to Arnold Jarvis.

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Australiana Discovery: a Conductors Presentation Baton & the untold story of ‘The Richmond Coffee Palace’

Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897

While the vast majority of Victorian items we see are perfectly anonymous, once in a while we find a piece with an inscription or dedication; thanks to the excellent free resource that is Trove Australia, we can use such information as names, places & dates to find the original Newspaper reports of the events for which it was engraved.

A recent piece of local history which fits this scenario is a beautiful ebony & silver conductor’s baton, in original leather-clad case.

Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897
“Token of Esteem – Dec. 22nd 1897”

Arthur J Hardeman was born in Birmingham in 1864. One of five siblings, his father is listed in the 1881 census as living in Rudlan (Flint), Wales, occupation ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. In 1884, the whole family migrated to Australia on board the ‘Melanope’, still listed as a ‘Piano Forte Dealer’. The family lived in Richmond.
Arthur set about becoming a teacher, advertising lessons from the Eastern Arcade in the city in 1886. He also advertised classes in Geelong, although he is still listed as living in Richmond.

He also had an idea of forming a musical group, advertising in the Age in January 1886: “AMATEURS.— Wanted. String Band, Pianist, Trombone, E flat bass, side Drum. Hardeman, Age office.”

The Richmond Amateur Orchestra’s first performance, October 10, 1894

The ‘Richmond Amateur Orchestra’ was formed in 1894 by a group of 25 local musicians under Arthur J Hardeman.
Their first performance was on the 10th October, 1894, a Wednesday evening performance of ‘Jo Smith’s play “Drifting” ‘.

By 1897, the year this baton was purchased & presented to Arthur, there were 30 in the group. They provided music for numerous stage performances, as well as musical interludes for other stage shows.

1897 Australian Silver mounted conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Orchestra

The ebony is a luxury imported wood; the silver-work is not hallmarked but appears to be silver – the engraved maiden-hair ferns and inscription show the same metal throughout. It would have been made by one of the numerous Melbourne silversmiths, housed in a handsome silk-lined leather presentation box, and custom engraved for the musicians of ‘Professor’ Hardeman’s musical group in time for them to present it to him a few days before Christmas, 1897.


The event is recorded in the “Richmond Guardian” newspaper, Friday 24th December 1897:

“A very pleasant invitation social was given by the Richmond Amateur Orchestra to Mr and Mrs Arthur J. Hardeman at the Richmond Coffee Palace on Wednesday evening, 22nd inst. There was a large attendance, and the evening was a most pleasing one. Mr W. Spangler, on behalf of the members, presented their conductor, Mr Arthur J. Hardeman, with a handsome silver-mounted baton, in a morocco ease, and beautifully engraved., with inscription, Mr Spangler spoke in high terms of the worthy recipient, whom he hoped would be spared many years to employ the baton with his wonted musical skill. Mr Hardeman acknowledged the compliment paid to him in graceful and cordial terms. A capital programme of orchestral, instrumental and vocal items was gone through in a highly efficient manner, and dancing was indulged in later on. Mr Lee Murray acted as M.C. Great credit is due to the managers, Messrs LeBoeuf Bros, and A. Moorehead. The catering was carried out in an efficient manner by Mrs Coles.”

Presentation of the Hardeman Baton, 1897

Moorabool is very pleased to offer this fascinating piece of social history.
There’s also some interesting research below on the ‘City of Richmond Coffee Palace’, an undocumented piece of Melbourne’s history which we have unearthed in the process of researching this baton.

The City of Richmond Coffee Palace was a briefly popular entertainment venue. ‘Coffee Palaces’ were extremely popular in the boomtown days of late Victorian Melbourne, being an alternative to the pub -only more family friendly, without the alcohol. The ‘City of Richmond Coffee Palace’ was established with the funds of public shareholders in 1888 – but just 3 years later found itself in trouble, running at a loss. A ‘stormy’ public meeting was held in 1892, addressing concerns of profitability; the idea was controversially put forward to apply for a liquor license to make some money; naturally, the core of Temperance share-holders were outraged! It was wound-up as a share company in 1892, a director pinning the blame on the Bank of Victoria, which had raised the interest rate on the loan the company had from 6 to 8 %…… and a liquor license secured. It was still known as the ‘Richmond Coffee Palace’, but you could get a little bit of something else mixed into your coffee!

It was in this entertainment complex the party was held and this baton presented. It’s a fascinating piece of Melbourne’s history.

The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, 232-234 Bridge Road, Richmond, constructed 1888
The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, 232-234 Bridge Road, Richmond, constructed 1888. This is not documented elsewhere.
  • The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace, view in Swan Street today
  • The City Of Richmond Coffee Palace
  • Richmond Coffee Palace opens, 4th August 1888
  • The End of the 'Coffee Palace' concept, Newspaper report 1893
  • Australian Silver presentation conductor's baton, Hardeman, Richmond Amateur Orchestra 1897