Extraordinary Tony Parker Collection a sell-out sensation at Ewbank’s in Surrey

Art Daily
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A Hofner 500/1 violin bass guitar dating to 1965 made £1,300.
A Hofner 500/1 violin bass guitar dating to 1965 made £1,300.

WOKING.-Ewbank’s Auctions proved that there is someone for everything when one of the most bizarre and eclectic collections ever to come to auction sold out for twice the predicted price today (August 26).

The ‘white glove’ auction included 274 lots which sold together for more than £76,000 including premium – well over the high estimate of £34,340.

With nearly all of the lots going to online bidders, the result was a fitting tribute to the late Tony Parker, who died aged just 70 last year. A fine example of the ultimate collector, his home in the south of England was covered wall to wall, ceiling to floor in his beloved rock, pop and entertainment memorabilia – especially linked to The Beatles – as well as the historical, the quirky and the quaint. From gold discs and musical instruments, to movie costumes and photos of the stars, as well as an extraordinary range of taxidermy, he had it all, with countless additional items of interest from many and varied fields.

Highlights at the sale included a vampire hunter’s kit, a fossilised penis bone from a walrus, a Star Trek latex Borg mask and original memorabilia from the TV gameshow Bullseye.

The top price for an individual lot was the £2,800 paid for a full-size Zebra sculpture originally sold for charity by Marwell Zoo. Painted with the iconic Abbey Road image of The Beatles, the estimate had been £800-1,200.

A large amusement arcade automaton, Laugh with Jolly Jack, which came in a glass case against a background painted in tribute to The Beatles song I Am The Walrus, shot past its £200-400 guide to take £1,500, while Parker’s impressive collection of electric guitars yielded two of the other top lots: a Hofner 500/1 violin bass guitar dating to 1965 that made £1,300 against a pitch of £500-600, and a Gibson Les Paul Studio electric guitar that went for £1,100 against hopes of £300-500.

“What made this special was that the sale was incredibly inclusive,” said the auctioneers’ partner, Andrew Ewbank. “While several lots went for four figures each, others had been priced so that even those with not a lot to spend could walk away with something.

“We and our clients were delighted with the outcome of the Parker collection auction today and to have achieved a white glove sale with sales estimates eclipsed, the total being double our most optimistic pre-sale estimates. It was a tribute to Tony Parker that there were nearly 1000 registered bidders.”

Titled Magical Mystery Tour – The Tony Parker Collection, it had been lovingly put together over several decades.

Tony Parker’s daughter, Fay Capstick, said: “He was an eccentric and ever inquisitive, whether about space, history or the paranormal. But he was also a musician and would-be pop star. I think once he started collecting and filling the house, particularly when he did the top floor extension, it became an all-consuming passion and he loved to see everything he owned right in front of him.”

The house, as remarkable as the collection itself, became a landmark in the village of West End near Southampton, as Tony added to it over the years. The garden, dominated by a pond, with statues, architectural pieces and even a parking meter and a telescope from the promenade Isle of Wight ferry, became as much a talking point as the stained glass, turret and gothic features with which he dressed the property.

On the inside, he made the most of every inch, commissioning a friend to make cabinets and frames for everything, including an extensive collection of taxidermy, whose bespoke cases slotted into each other to fit some of the quirky corners found there.

“Really that house is my dad’s brain exploded,” says Fay. “Every corner captures a piece of his restless and energetic imagination.”