Bob Hawke wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth but on August 27, his widow, Blanche D’Alpuget, will auction off a sterling silver soup ladle he enjoyed as an adult – along with the entire contents of their Northbridge lovenest.
The sale, to be handled by auctioneers Shapiro, is titled “Bob Hawke & Blanche d’Alpuget Mementos, Curiosities, Art and Design” and is expected to raise about $250,000.
The couple’s Northbridge home, recently sold for an estimated $15 million, will be open to the public on August 24 and 25 to allow buyers to view the merchandise on offer. Mr Hawke died on May 16.
Even the former prime minister’s whisky flask, golf clubs and his cigar humidor will be on the auction block. Two Bob Hawke coffee mugs, possibly pressed to the lips of the man himself, are being flogged for $200.
The former ACTU leader’s worldly goods include an Alessi champagne bucket, Versace ashtrays, white leather Paolo Piva sofas and a silver footed bowl inscribed “presented by Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defence, United States of America”.
A used cast-iron fire tool set is optimistically priced at $300, but perhaps no price is too high for Labor Party true believers to keep the Light on The Hill burning.
Auctioneer Andrew Shapiro said entry to the former PM’s home will cost $5.
“It will be entrance by catalogue only, so it will be $5 to buy the catalogue,” he said.
“It is pretty exciting for us to be entrusted with the house of a former PM. I think people are curious about what was dear to his heart. We will be selling his desk and a lot of personal items given to him when he was prime minister.
Mr Hawke’s youngest daughter, Ros, is preparing to launch legal action over her father’s estate. Mr Shapiro said the items to be auctioned had been offered to family first.
The New Daily revealed last month that Mr Hawke’s children had been excluded from his will. Under the arrangement struck separately to the will, his three children – Susan Pieters-Hawke, Stephen Hawke and Rosslyn Dillon – were awarded about $750,000 each, in a payment from Ms d’Alpuget, immediately upon his death.
The same payment was also made to Ms d’Alpuget’s son, Louis Pratt.
“These are things after the family has chosen what they want to keep. There’s also a Bob Hawke museum in Adelaide that has chosen certain items,” Mr Shapiro said.
He said a large amount of alcohol was surplus to requirements at the museum.
But the price guide for a bottle of Penfold’s Grange Bin 95 is an absolute steal at $100-$200. According to website Winesearcher.com.au it sells for up to $500.
The late Mr Hawke and his wife and former biographer first fell in love when he was married to his first wife, Hazel Hawke.
Mr Shaprio said Ms d’Alpuget was looking forward to a new life in her new home.
“She’s a strong-willed person and looking towards the next move,” he said.
“It’s always difficult to live in a house where you’ve been for many years with a spouse. There’s a new chapter.”