First the story set up – Barbara and I were in Warwick Oakman’s Antique Shop recently in Sandy Bay, Hobart. The building is shaped like a thin slice of pie, with floor to ceiling windows on both sides jam-packed with the fruits of his labour. Warwick’s early home schooling was amongst the stock of his antique dealing parents and led to his training as an architectural historian in Sydney. Then came his self-imposed transportation to Van Dieman’s Land to seek the colonial austerity only few could endure. We love this guy for his own discrete charm, his wealth of knowledge of things Tasmanian and the way he launches into research on things profoundly eclectic . Warwick is also the President of Australia’s foremost Antiques and Art Dealers Association – the AA&ADA, click here to read his President’s message on their current web site. 

So back to the story and Warwick’s shop, this time I  purchased a late 18thC yew wood snuff box with subtle (but sensitive) initials carved into its top, an early 19thC wall mounted, cast iron vesta box with American raised lettering + Barbara chose a 1stC Roman phallic signet ring . . . as we were wrapping up the sale, chatting about catching up for lunch the following Sunday. Warwick grabs this Victorian bar of carbolic soap and quips about a fellow antique dealer from the mainland . . . who commented on the fact that Warwick had such a common little thing for sale in his shop! But there’s the rub….. Warwick values the two important elements of trading, 1) the history and the intriguing story attached to the piece, and 2) that a proprietor has the option to seize the moment to appropriately gift a piece at his or her whim. Warwick showed me the interesting text on the object, and said “here you had better add this to your soap collection – and lets make it three text pieces in a row today”.

I did also find The Indian Soap Company still in existence, here. . . made without the use of any animal products.

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