John Dixon Antiques — History and Antiques Roadshow

An Antiques Roadshow Evening
13 September 2013
Remuera Library

Mary and David Dixon from John Dixon Antiques, 488 Remuera Road, joined with Terry Sutcliffe and members of Remuera Heritage for an evening of talking about everyone’s treasures and telling the stories behind them. Mary and Terry offered their appraisals and valuations on a wide range of items from silverware, ivory figurines, porcelain candlesticks to Japanese dolls and 1950s ornaments.

David Dixon talked about the history of John Dixon Antiques and the building at 488 Remuera Road. There has been a building onsite there since the 1890s – it would appear to have been a public hall owned by a Mr & Mrs Probert, and an antique shop since 1945. The Remuera Round newsletter of 1945 and the Auckland Star of October 1945 carried an advertisement for antiques at this address by a V. Millicent Beaumont. There were 3 shops, with one owned by a Miss Fairburn in 1945. A Mr Frank Thompson owned the antique shop in the 1950s and sold it to Arthur Pell in 1963. Mr Thompson then moved to Cambridge and set up an antiques shop there.

In 1963, the shops were bought by Arthur Pell who moved the entrance from the front to its current location on the side. He installed the pillars which came from Mt Eden and the two lions which originated in Germany. Street lamps were installed by John MacDonald in the early 1970s but were stolen and not replaced. Mr Pell converted the shop all to one level as it is today, with 5 flats and a dairy.

The photo of the interior is from John MacDonald’s time when he had an import licence to bring in antiques from England and silver from Hancocks of London.

The name John Dixon Antiques was an amalgamation of the names of John Macdonald and Leighton Dixon. They were working with antiques, first in Wellington in Molesworth St and Plimmer Steps and then took the lease on the Auckland shop in the 1970’s. Mary by this time had been working at 2YA in Wellington and at Liberty’s in London. She moved to Christchurch in 1959 and worked for The General Trading Company and learnt a great deal from L’Estrange Barker there having worked at Liberty’s in London previously.

Mary and David moved to Auckland in 1983 and bought John Dixon Antiques in 1987.

The business in 2013 is a happy mix of fine antique furniture, sterling silver, interesting porcelain and glass, porcelain repairs and furniture restoration, valuations for Insurance, sale or division and also a full Interior Design service with fabrics from leading fabric houses including Colefax & Fowler and Jean Munro of London.