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Figurehead Oamaru farm hedge sells stg14,4000

Figurehead blocking Oamaru farm hedge sells for stg14,4000

A wrecked ship’s figurehead which used to block a hole in a farm hedge near Oamaru sold at Sothebys auction in London early today for stg14,400.

A Sotheby’s spokeswoman said they could not disclose the identity or nationality of the successful bidder.

The large figurehead was from the Star of Tasmania which smashed on the Oamaru foreshore in 1868. The cream and blue painted pine figurehead was later salvaged by Captain William Sewell and in the 1950s was found on a farm near Oamaru blocking up a hole in the hedge, a Sotheby’s spokeswoman said.

It remained on the farm near Oamaru until the 1950s when it was purchased by an antiques dealer, who in turn, sold it to a couple in Christchurch, who kept it in their back garden.

The figurehead was subsequently sold at auction in Auckland. It was sold at last night’s marine auction by a man from New Zealand who bought it at auction. He told Sothebys did not want to talk to media.

The large 192cm high carved ship’s figurehead was accompanied by a full set of documents giving further information on the Star of Tasmania.

This fully rigged wool clipper had made previous visits to New Zealand. She was built by the Scottish shipbuilders – Halls of Aberdeen in 1856.

In 1868, destined for New Zealand, the 632 tonne Star of Tasmania was driven ashore at Oamaru in a violent storm and became a total loss. Two of the 22 crew – David Petrie of Scotland and William Brooks of London, and two Baker children lost their lives when the Star of Tasmania was destroyed on the Oamaru Beach foreshore on February 3, 1868. The ship had 2095 bales of wool aboard, bound for London.

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