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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Unclassified: The auctioneer’s WWII wood box

Unclassified: The auctioneer’s WWII wood box

20 John Boulter

"Beautiful wooden box for sale. Box is 24.5 x 18 X 8cm and has flower and leaves inlaid in the top in contrasting timber. I believe it dates from pre-WW2. A beautiful piece that still has its price tag of 70 Shillings on the base. For sale at $70.”

John Boulter, 62, of Brisbane, worked for the Australian government for 30 years before moving to Cambodia in 2009. He now helps renovate apartments on a freelance basis.

“In Australia, I had a house full of things I didn’t need. I would use things for a while, put them in a cupboard and then never see them again for five or six years. I wasted so much.

This box had been stored away for years - I haven’t even looked at it.

Before that I just used it once or twice to store things.

My grandfather had the box. He used to be an auctioneer in Australia. He had some nice pieces. He sold a lot of things, a lot of furniture.

I didn’t know him very well. He died fairly young, when he was in his fifties. I was eight-years old when that happened.

I remember seeing the box when I was young, so it must be over 50 years old, I suspect pre-World War II. I’m pretty sure it’s Australian, because it has a wattle flower on it.

It still has a price tag for 70 shillings on the bottom, which would have been three pound and ten shillings, a lot of money in those days.

I have had it for a long time, and I like it for pulp of the wood. It’s beautiful. The workmanship of that thing...

I think its called  marquetry [the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns on an item].

It’s a nice box, but I have nowhere here to display it and it just gets dust on it.

I’ve been cutting down the things I’ve brought with me to Cambodia.

I’m living with the basics. You can give a good life in Cambodia with just the basics.”

To buy the box, call John Boulter at 0977409096 or e-mail him at john.s.boulter@hotmail.com.

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