Jackie Howe's personalised shears make 85% over estimate in Melbourne

A handpiece for a set of personalised mechanical shears owned by legendary Australian farmhand Jackie Howe realised $46,360 at Sotheby's Melbourne on October 29.

The shears made 85% over their estimate of $14,409-24,015, reflecting their cultural importance. They were purchased by the National Museum of Australia.

Wolseley Jackie Howe shears
In one week, Howe sheared 1,437 sheep, a record that stands to this day

Jackie Howe worked on a sheep farm in Queensland during the late 1800s. On October 10, 1892, he sheared 321 sheep using hand shears in just seven hours and 40 minutes - a feat that has never been equalled.

He is considered an Australian folk hero.

The personalised shears were presented to him in 1893 by the Wolseley Company, who were the patent holders of the new mechanised shears which were introduced throughout Australia and New Zealand in the 1890s.

He was also presented with a medal, which sold alongside another sheep-shearing medal for $328,490 at Sotheby's Australia in 2008.

A number of Chinese artefacts and porcelain bowls also appeared in the auction, including a turquoise ground famille rose dish featuring the seal mark of Daoguang (1782-1850) that realised $46,355.

It features stylised floral sprays circling a central shou character mark.

A jadeite-insert gilt bronze sceptre, dating to the same era and decorated with elaborate engravings, achieved $34,766.

A yellow famille rose sgraffiato bowl, dating to the Qianlong period (1736-1795) and painted with hibiscus and peony flowers, made $30,130.

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