A buyers’ frenzy developed in Theodore Bruce’s Sydney auction rooms on Sunday June 2. The much anticipated sale of the late Dr. Hugh Gallagher’s collection drew keen attention from Europe, the US and across Australia. Competing international phone bidders produced some of the best results of the day including the star lot – a nineteenth century New Caledonian Chief’s finial that fetched more than $43,000 IBP. Strong demand from internet bidders and a well-attended sale room, along with the phones and many absentee bidders, resulted in a clearance rate well above 90 per cent.

While the Oceanic material saw the most attention with impressive results for an early Sepik cult hook ($11,837 IBP) and a Solomon Islands Nusu nusu ($7012 IBP), the Indonesian material, which formed the bulk of the Gallagher Collection also found favour with buyers.

Highlights here included the striking Roti Style Ceremonial axe ($4080 IBP), a string of fine Nias Islands figures and the many small and enchanting amulets from across the archipelago. Together with lots from two other vendors the sale netted $284 thousand and reinforced the strong demand for quality tribal art works from dedicated collectors around the world.

Jim Elmslie

back to news