Bargain Hunt Australia Episode Two


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.


Ariel and Melanie (sisters) make up the Red Team with expert Paul Laidlaw

Ariel is studying to become a history teacher and is passionate about what she does. Mel’s a librarian.

Avid readers, they both love novelty bookmarks, Japanese culture/collectables, and antique jewellery. Avid fans of Bargain Hunt they know how to play the game and play it well.

Once shopping starts, they show enormous backbone. They know what they want, what they’ll pay for it and won’t back down.

Red Team Purchases

Item One:

HMS Silver and enamel feather Brooch Chester, 1911. Asking price was $195 but they paid $105. It sold at auction for $120 making them a $15 profit.

Item Two:

Early 20th century Gold Brooch set with rock and seed pearls and modelled as a leaf. They paid $105 for it and it sold for $50 so they lost $55 on it.

Item Three:

Post WW2 Mantle Clock modelled on an aircraft propeller and bearing a Royal Air Force Badge. Asking price was $125 but they paid $30 for it and it then sold it at auction for $120 making a $90 profit.

Bonus Buy

So with $260 worth of leftover lolly Paul’s Bonus Buy is a Silver Cap Badge of the British North Borneo Protectorate. He paid $25 for it and it sold at auction for $110 making a profit of $85.


Rod and Drew (friends) make up the Blue Team with expert David Barby

Rod and Drew met in a Sydney op shop and became firm friends. Rod is a mad bargain hunter and can’t pass a skip without checking out the contents (a pastime Tim describes as skip-dipping). He also loves optical art and has sold some of his own colourful 60’s geometric designs.

Drew likes art deco glass and trinkets, anything retro and most passionately the board game Cluedo. He has 30 something copies of the game and as much Cluedo merchandise as he can lay his hands on.

Blue Team Purchases

Item One:

Australian 1930’s Pokerwork Treen Vase featuring a Georgian dandy. They paid $100 for it and it sold at auction for $80 so they lost $20 on it.

Item Two:

German Weirmar Republic Ceramic Cigarette Dispenser in the form of a bellboy with vesta canister holder. A cute little item with a striking orange finish. The asking price was $270 but they struck a hard bargain and paid $120 for it. It sold at auction for $50 so they lost $70 on it.

Item Three:

South Australian Pottery Bread Crock with original timber lid, based on early 19th century bread barrels. The original asking price was $295 but they got it for $100 thanks to David’s charm (and some begging from the boys). It only fetched $50 at the auction but Tim had given them $100 credit as compensation for the lid being broken in transit from Melbourne to Sydney. So their tally at the end was a $50 profit.

Bonus Buy

With $180 worth of leftover lolly – David’s Bonus Buy is a 1950’s Swivel Desk Lamp – metal with an enamelled finish. He pays $120 for it but it sells at auction for $325 making a profit of $205.


Two small boxes and makes a comparison between them based on price and value. He shows us a kitsch polished, mother of pearl + shell adorned jewellery box from the early 60’s which sits on three chromium supports (as was popular at the time).

Priced at $10, Tim thinks it’s an unusual find and well priced for the workmanship. Then he shows us a small rounded paper mache box from China which is lacquered in many layers of black varnish and each layer sanded.

Embedded in the varnish are thousands of tiny pieces of shell...which make it an extraordinarily labour intensive object and a beautiful one. Tim suggests that in a specialist Chinese sale it would fetch between 400 and 600 around $800 and its price in the Bazaar was just $10. Snap that one up!


The Briars Homestead at Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsular was a property owned by the Balcombe Family for over 130 years until it became State property in the 1970’s. The story of ‘The Briars’ in Australia actually starts at the ‘The Briars’ on St Helena, the island in the middle of the south Atlantic ocean where Napoleon Bonaparte was famously exiled in 1815. Napoleon initially lived in a guest pavilion in the garden of The St Helena Briars owned by William Balcombe, an English East India company agent. Both Balcombe and his family gave Napoleon a warm welcome, for which the former Emperor was very grateful.

He gave them a number of small personal possessions the family would treasure and later bring with them to Australia when they moved here permanently. This Napoleonic collection known as the Dame Mabel Brookes Collection (Mabel was Alexander Balcombe’s grand daughter) is quite diverse and offers the visitor a terrific insight to the great French figure.

Tim is intrigued by the way the collection seems to feature Napoleon’s hair in various ways and shows us a gold Georgian ring with a centre panel filled with Napoleon’s hair and inscribed on the back with ‘the hair of Napoleon Bonaparte’ – it was given to Napoleon’s physician Dr Elliott in 1816. Denzil Ibitsen – a friend and artist who was presented with a lock of Bonaparte’s hair which is displayed on a card and who drew a pen and ink picture of Napoleon from behind with his hand tucked under his tail coat.

And there’s a lock of hair pasted into a scrap book and attached to a letter from Captain Poppleton whose job on St Helena had been to trail Napoleon when he exercised around the island. Fond of each other, he somehow obtained the lock of Napoleonic hair which has lasted in perpetuity ever since.

Tim also shows us a solid silver inkwell mounted with three solid gold Napoleonic coins and a death mask of the Emperor – the day after Napoleon’s death on the 6th of May 1821 an autopsy was prepared by the British Naval Authorities and Napoleon’s physician and a wax mask was taken of his face and translated into plaster and bronze, after that Napoleon was interred in a tomb at the head of the Seine Valley and Tim shows us a card with some dried foliage taken from the willow planted near the tomb.


All items sourced and filmed in Melbourne’s Chapel St Bazaar in Prahran.

The auction was held at Lawsons Auctioneers in Annandale,

Auctioneer on the day was Shauna Farren Price.

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