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Auction with a difference

The police presence for today’s auction. PHOTOS/STEVE RENDLE

Today is one of the more unusual antique collections auctioned in Greytown by Wakefield Auctions. STEVE RENDLE went to see the pieces on offer and then had to find out a bit more about the man who owned them.

Clive Phillips in his shop, And So To Bed, in Carterton in the late 1970s. His top hat and tails were a common sight. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Auctioneer Mike Perry is looking forward to one of his more interesting workdays tomorrow in Greytown, with a collection from the estate of former antique dealer Clive Phillips going under the hammer.

The 400-odd lots in the Wakefield Auctions sale range from six vintage motorcycles – in various states of roadworthiness – to classic advertising signs, plenty of toys, and some collectible tins from the likes of Marmite and Whittaker’s Chocolates.

Perry is expecting a lot of interest.

“It’s unusual for Wairarapa,” he said. “Wairarapa people are very guarded about their treasures.”

Clive Phillips was a collector and antique dealer, who lived in Masterton.

His daughter Hope, one of four children [three girls and a boy], recalls a father who was a bit different.

“How do I describe my Dad?

“He was very unique – he didn’t conform,” she said.

Born on December 30, 1944, he died on March 27, aged 74.

“I spent my childhood collecting with him,” Hope said.

Motorbikes were a passion for Clive Phillips.

“I learned the value of things, and how to look in boxes, under boxes, in dark corners … we travelled all around New Zealand, looking in antique shops and boot sales.

“He collected things, but he also collected memories.”

Hope remembers a man who was generous with his time.

“The door was always open for a cup of tea – he was a good host.”

And she says motorbikes were an abiding interest.

“He had a passion for vintage motorbikes and was riding up until he finally couldn’t.”

Space-age toys from the past.

BSA motorbikes are a feature of today’s auction, including a BSA Sloper from the 1930s and a World War II-vintage M20, unusual for its military-style fuel tank, designed to allow an air filter to be fitted for use in desert conditions.

Perry said while the auction will include six motorcycles, they didn’t all arrive in one piece.

Three were relatively complete, and there were enough parts for another three to be put together – rideability not guaranteed.

Also included are several advertising signs, which Perry expects to attract considerable interest.

“Vintage advertising is the new art.”

Something for everyone … if you are envisaging a gas attack.

Also on offer are a range of tins, including a rare Marmite container, dating back to a time when the product was made in Christchurch, rather than Australia.

And an ageing Whittaker’s tin.

“You could go out looking for one of those and you wouldn’t find it,” Perry says.

Aside from Phillips’ estate, the auction also features a chest of drawers dating back to 1892, and artwork, including paintings by RH Wilson and Olivier Spencer Bower.

The auction starts at 10am today, with viewing from 9am, at the Oddfellows Hall, Hastwell St, Greytown.

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