Phar Lap collection going under the hammer

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An image of Phar Lap graces the cover of the Abacus Auctions programme.
An image of Phar Lap graces the cover of the Abacus Auctions programme.

A collection of memorabilia on legendary thoroughbred Phar Lap is going up for auction in Australia on Sunday.

Some 56 items from the Phar Lap collection of Dario Dicarla of Melbourne are going under the hammer in Abacus Auction’s sale of sporting memorabilia and collectibles.

Lots on offer include many photographs and race programmes, including the now-rare 1930 and 1931 Cox Plate racedays, and the Melbourne Cups from 1929 to 1931. The 1931 Cox Plate programme is expected to fetch $10,000.

Dicarla is an avid collector of stamps, antique toys and horse racing. He was kicked out of school at 15, after he was caught at the TAB (his horse was scratched). He has had shares in racehorses
since 1994, including a share of Arapaho Miss who won the VRC Oaks in 2007. His horse racing collection has focused on Australian champions: Phar Lap, Carbine, Rising Fast, Gloaming and Bernborough. The highlight is his Phar Lap collection, which includes pieces formerly owned by the key players in the Phar Lap story: auctioneer D.W.J.Gould, strapper Tommy Woodcock, owner Charles Davis, trainer Harry Telford and jockeys Jack Baker, Jim Pike and Billy Elliott.

Lot 376 is expected to fetch the highest price, at $30,000. It is a pair of Phar Lap’s shoes, one front and one hind, archivally mounted in a frame with an original photograph of Phar Lap with jockey Billy Elliot. The lot includes the original frame with a picture of Tommy Woodcock holding the front shoe, a letter of authenticity from master farrier Dick Bell, and a CD of Tommy Woodcock talking about the shoes in 1982. The lot was bought by Dario Dicarla at Mossgreen auctions in 2015 for $24,400.

Phar Lap's shoes and picture are expected to fetch about $25,000.
Phar Lap’s shoes and picture are expected to fetch about $25,000.

Many lots including pictures range from the $100 to $200 mark, but at the other end of the scale is a window mounted original photograph of Phar Lap at the 1930 Melbourne Cup with the official programme, which has a pre-auction estimate of $12,000.

Phar Lap’s racing bridle that was used during the 1930-31 season, as well as a whip used by Billy Elliott, are also among the lots.

A window mounted original photograph of Phar Lap at the 1930 Melbourne Cup with the official programme has a pre auction estimate of $12,000.
A window mounted original photograph of Phar Lap at the 1930 Melbourne Cup with the official programme has a pre-auction estimate of $12,000.

Many other horse racing items also feature in the sale, including a display of Carbine, with a horse-shoe, ex Auckland Museum, a strap from his saddle, and a photograph, window mounted and archivally framed. It is expected to fetch $2500.

The silks that Rising Fast’s jockey wore in the 1954 Melbourne Cup is expected to fetch $10,000, while a shoe provided by the horse’s trainer is estimated at $1200.

The auction will take place from 11am at Abacus Auction’s showrooms in Glen Waverley, Victoria, on May 19.

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