Train number plates, sewing supplies, fob watches and fancy cigarette lighters from bygone eras have made their way to a Quigney collectable shop where they will be auctioned on Saturday.
Kim’s Corner owner Kim Schwarz, 55, has amassed a treasure trove of fascinating collections, many of which belonged to the late Vittorio Zanoncelli, who once owned an antique business in the city centre’s Caxton Street.
“He collected and knew about everything and I grew up learning a lot from him,” said Schwarz. “He was very well respected and collected everything from top-class antiques to sweet wrappers.”
Zanoncelli even collected a wooden box containing Daily Dispatch copper printing plates harking back to pre-digital days of this newspaper’s history.
She said the items that had attracted the most interest ahead of the auction was the collection of rare train plates which would have been affixed to locomotives and numbered according to train type.
“The oldest is from the early 1900s. They are solid brass and weigh a ton and come mainly from the Eastern Cape. They are very collectable.”
Less valuable, but no less interesting are train memorabilia such as signs reading: “Do no occupy the lavatory for more than 10 minutes” and “Hot and cold baths available at Bulawayo Station”.
Another auction item expected to draw much interest is an early 20th century Thornton-Pickard triple extension camera with its concertina-style extension and accessories which is expected to fetch about R5000.
“I have not seen one on sale in South Africa before and I already have phone bids for it from all over the country.”
Other enchanting vintage pieces harking back to East London’s early years include a revolving stamp set holder and boxes that would once have contained dainty trinkets and watches from the city’s watchmakers and jewellery shops.
An old portable Empire typewriter weighing “only” 5kg is emblazoned with the legend “lightweight model” and would have been used by a writer or journalist on the move in the early 1900s.
Schwarz will be wielding the gavel alongside daughter Jerry Leyland, 27, also a qualified auctioneer. “We take turns and make the auctions fun so that nobody gets bored,” she said.
“We have been doing vintage and antique auctions for 13 years and are starting to get more and more interesting items. We have clients all over South Africa who leave phone or e-mail bids and there is especially a lot of interest in this one.”
l The vintage and antique auction takes place from 9.30am to 1pm on Saturday. — firstname.lastname@example.org