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Christie’s Australia exit major boost for Mowbrays

Media release – March 16, 2006

Christie’s exit in Australia a major boost for NZ listed stamp dealer Mowbrays

The announcement today that Christies are to close its Australian operation was a boost today to New Zealand listed company Mowbrays.

Christies International confirmed they are to close their Australian offices after failing to rise above third place in the nation's art auction market.

Roger MacIllroy, Christie’s Australia chairman, said that they had received heavy competition from Bonhams & Goodman that the loss of Christie’s market share had contributed to the closure.

Otaki-based Mowbrays bought a 20 cent stake in Bonhams and Goodman in 2004.

John Mowbray said today the departure of Christie’s in Australia would significantly lift annual revenue for Bonhams and Goodman.

``This is great news for us and we are watching with interest Bonhams and Goodman’s big March sales coming up next week.’’

The departure of Christies would lift Bonhams and Goodman into second place on turnover in Australia.

Last year, In 2005 Bonhams & Goodman announced record turnover of $27 million.

``I guess it is fair to say that if it had not been for the Bonhams venture in Australia, Christie’s Australia may have survived,’’ Bonhams and Goodman chief executive Tim Goodman said today.

The upcoming Bonhams & Goodman March sales have evolved as the biggest auction event Sydney has seen in decades.

More than 20,000 people are expected to attend the six days of public viewings and day and evening auctions later this month. The value of the six days of sales is estimated at $A10million.

Over $A4million worth of rare and valuable cars are expected to attract bidding from around Australia and internationally later this month.

The collectors’ car auction on March 26 includes some of the finest classic cars to be offered in Australasia.

A superb 1927 Bentley six and a half litre Speed 6 Le Mans sport tourer is estimated to fetch up to $A780,000

Other star lots include a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing with rudge wheels (up to $A600,000) and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster (up to $A480,000).

The auctions will wind up on March 29 with the sale of Australian, Aboriginal and international art including over 200 pictures from the MacDonald estate.

Two major works by New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) which were recently discovered in the UK could each fetch up to $A85,000.


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