By VINNIE RODI
BURNS and Co. Principal and Director, and auctioneer, Ashley Burns, can barely contain his excitement as he leads me on a tour of the group’s Eighth Street Auction Rooms.
Often home to some of the country’s rare and historic items, Ashely says that local residents would be surprised by some of the particular wonders often housed at the site.
For this particular visit, the Auction Room is bursting at the seams with some of the rarest and highly sought-after items from the petrol and oil world, with each piece of history to be auctioned off as part of Burns and Co.’s Feature Petrol and Oil Sale tomorrow.
Running from 7am until late, the multi-vendor auction features a number of items from numerous collectors across the country, including a range of collectable motor vehicles and trucks, enamel signs, petrol bowsers, oil bottles, tin tops, tins, boxes, cast iron, tin toys, pedal cars, Coca-Cola and other collectables including Golden Fleece, Neptune, Kangaroo, Gargoyle, Plume, Atlantic, Texaco, Shell, Cor, Castrol and MobilOil to name just a few.
Each item will be auctioned off one at a time, and will be sold to the highest bidder.
“There’s a lot of history in this room, and while these items might not appeal to everyone, some of it is one-of-a-kind, and extremely rare to come by,” Ashley said. “We have stuff in here from WA, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, and locally as well.”
Tomorrow’s auction is expected to net a combined $500,000 for vendors, with some $200,000 already committed by registered online bidders.
“We expect quite a few of the rarer items to fetch individual price tags of $20,000 plus,” Ashley said.
Bidding interest is not limited to Australia, with interest coming from across the world.
“We have quite a number of registrations from the US, with a couple of the pedal cars we have on offer being internationally-recognised and collected across the planet,” Ashley said.
“South Africa is also keen on their pedal cars.
“We’re anticipating a big crowd tomorrow, in addition to the 200 registered bidders online, and I am expecting to see 300 to 400 bidders on the floor.”
Ashley said that while the petrol pumps up for grabs weren’t as internationally recognised because they were so unique to Australia, they were still generating considerable interest.
“Every country has their own style when its comes to signs and petrol pumps,” he said. “However, there are some rare items here that are already appealing to Australian-based collectors.
“One 1920s ‘Shell Stick Man’ sign (considered very rare and is in fact the first-of-its-kind to be auctioned off in the past five years) should net $20,000.
“There’s also a Golden Fleece tin that will make $5000 to $6000. There’s some ripper stuff here.”
This weekend’s event follows a series of successful auctions by Burns and Co., with Ashley travelling to Cowra, Warracknabeal and Bathurst in the past to host similar events for collectors.
“Later this year we’re going back to Cowra, while also running another auction at Parkes,” he said. “It’s really taken off over the last two years to be honest, and it’s something that I really enjoy. If I could do this type of thing full-time I would.
“We did a sale here in May three years ago for a local bloke, and he started us off and gave us the confidence to keep going.”
Ashley said that a number of the auction items up for grabs would also appeal to more than just diehard collectors, with old style petrol pumps, in the past, transformed into fridges or even tool boxes.
“It’s also nice for locals to know that we have this type of stuff on offer,” Ashley said. “An auction like this also brings people to town, so the flow-on effect to other industries, like accommodation providers, restaurants etc. is substantial for the local economy.”
Inspection and registration will take place today from midday to 5pm, and from 7am tomorrow.
Tomorrow’s auction gets under way from 7am at 57/59 Eighth Street, Mildura.
More information is available online at burnsandco.com.au/clearing-sales/feature-petrol-and-oil-collectors-july292017.