6:00pm – Sunday, June 10 on ABC1
William McInnes takes us to an auction room we haven’t visited before – David Barsby Auctions on Sydney’s North Shore.
Retired school teacher Susan Baker is taking a prized piece of theatre memorabilia to auction at Barsby’s.
Her mother and three of her girlfriends took off from Sydney in 1950 to sail to London and Europe for a year.
The four young women shared a passion for the theatre.
They saved every penny, and went to plays five nights a week. At play’s end they went to the stage door and were rewarded with autographs galore from the stars – the likes of Gielgud, Richardson and Olivier. There are bulging scrap books and folders, most of which Susan is keeping for posterity.
Susan has chosen a rare signed program from the 1948 Old Vic Company tour of Australia’s performance of ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’ by Thornton Wilder. It is handsomely signed by none other than Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
The other lot highlighted in this week’s show is a one-carat diamond solitaire ring with an intriguing history.
SBS TV’s Julie-Anne Edwards inherited the ring from her Russian-born grandmother, who lived most of her life in China. After the Communist Revolution in 1949, many foreigners, no matter how long they’d lived and worked in China, were made to feel unwelcome. Leaving China for good was the only option, but taking money out was all but prohibited. Each adult could take no more than $10 and each child $5.
Jewellery was not restricted though, so the chosen method for many was to convert their cash into jewels, which is what her grandmother did. The ring’s original purpose represented currency, and now Julie-Anne is realising the asset at Barsby’s.
Please be advised that auction results are embargoed until broadcast.