Bargain Hunt Australia Episode One


Each team is given $500 and 60 minutes to source three items in an antiques outlet. The hope is they’ll sell them off later at auction for a profit. Whichever team has the most profit (or least loss) is the winner but both teams get to keep any overall profit made.

The key to success is: buy well and negotiate! The experts are there to help, guide and advise throughout the search. With three items purchased, the leftover ‘lolly’ (money) is passed to their expert who goes in search of a ‘Bonus Buy’.

Later in the show once the main items have been auctioned, the teams have a few moments to decide whether to go with the Bonus Buy or not. The hope is it will add to their profits, not their losses, so there’s a risk involved but it’s a risk most teams seem prepared to take.


Peter and Damian (father and son) make up the Red Team with expert Paul Laidlaw.

Peter, a former airline worker, is now retired and able to spend time on his favourite hobby: astronomy. Damian’s a dentist in Ingham QLD. Their tactic is to bargain hard and buy quality.

Red Team Purchases

Item One:

Silver Danish Studio Vase by Dansk Guldsmede Handvaerk. The asking price was $250 but they got it for $145. It sold at auction for $150 making them a $5 profit.

Item Two:

WW1 Pair of Miniature Royal Flying Propellers. The asking price was $150 ($75 each) but they got them both for $55. They then sold at auction for $50 losing them $5.

Item Three:

Victorian Treen Washing Board. Asking price was $95 but they got it for $50. It sold at auction for $50 so they broke even.

Bonus Buy:

So with $250 worth of leftover lolly (English for money) Paul’s Bonus Buy excites him tremendously. It’s a Late Georgian Pressed Horn Snuff Box commemorating legendary Scottish poet Robert Burns. Inscribed ‘Mrs Robert burns to J Boyle 1830’. He pays $70 for it and it then sells at the auction for $300. Making the boys a heady profit of $230 – lucky they didn’t reject it!


Allison and Toni (sisters) make up the Blue Team with expert David Barby.

Allison and Toni are sisters who grew up in Papua New Guinea. Allison is a TV scheduler and Toni’s a teacher. They’re both keen collectors – Allison loves art deco and retro objects and Toni’s penchant is for weighing scales and kerosene lamps.

Blue Team Purchases

Item One:

HMA Silver Lidded Art Nouveau Jam Preserve Chester 1901, Maker Powell & Co. The asking price was $165 but they got it for $120. It sold at auction for $120 so they broke even.

Item Two:

Early Victorian Edmund Nye Tunbridge Wells Ware Box. They bought it for $50. It sold at auction for $140 making them a profit of $90.

Item Three:

Ladies 14ct Gold Cocktail Ring set with Green and White Stones (marked 18ct). Asking price was $250 but they got it for $220. It sold at auction for $160 so they lost $60 on it.

Bonus Buy

With $110 worth of leftover lolly – David’s Bonus Buy is a Georg Jensen Sterling Silver Scarf Ring circa 1950’s which he pays $80 for. It sells at auction for $100 making a profit of $20.


Tim finds a silver locket featuring the cricketing emblem of a bat across stumps. It opens to reveal space for 2 tiny photos. It’s hallmarked Birmingham, England 1888, the year Australia toured England for a test match (and England won). Tim thinks the price of $30 is a good one for such a unique item which is so collectable for cricket lovers.


The State Library of NSW built in 1826, which is the oldest library in Australia – and it’s not just full of books. The Mitchell wing houses an unrivalled collection of Australiana spanning $400 years that was left to the state by wealthy philanthropist David Scott Mitchell.

Lachlan Macquarie was a man of vision. During his decade as Governor between 1810 and 1820 he set about transforming Sydney from a penal settlement to a thriving town. The colony had no currency for over 25 years, so Lachlan Macquarie realising they needed to stand on their own two feet needed currency, so he ordered 10,000 pounds worth of Spanish Silver coins...and 40,000 of them were dispatched from London in 1812 – Tim shows us one of the coins – which has a hole in the middle.

This holy coin is now known as a Holy Dollar and the piece in the middle (which Macquarie ordered be bashed out) wasn’t rejected but was stamped with the crown on one side and 15 pence on the other. This middle bit is known as a Dump. A great investment, if you’d stashed a Holy Dollar in your bottom draw in 1813 – and it had stayed in the family – your heirs would be very one of them sold recently for $460,000!

Another of the prized Library treasures is Macquarie’s timber Collector’s Chest. This is so highly valued it can only be touched by glove-wearing curators. A number of draws and panels house colourful artworks depicting the natural world and others contain collections of native fauna such as bugs, beetles and birds. It also houses curiosities gathered from the surrounding areas – like trinkets and tools.

Panels of beetles and moths in Macquarie’s Collector’s Chest


All items sourced and filmed at the Sydney Antique Centre South Dowling St, Surry Hills.

The auction is held at Lawsons Auctioneers in Annandale.

Auctioneer on the day is Martin Farrah.

Want more? We thought you might like this video.

Like this artice? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered striaght to your inbox.

By registering you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Privacy Notice


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.