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Mara`s Antiques & Collectibles

garage-inalia and 50s and 60s collectables

355a Wellington St Clifton Hill VIC AU

+61 (0)3 9489 1402

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Jim Pavlidis grew up in the midst of the antique trade in Melbourne. His own parents, Aunt, and Grandparents all ran very successful antique shops - Fitzroy Antiques, Fitzroy Auctions (Gertrude St) and Menka's Antiques (Clifton Hill). Jim's passion for collectable pieces has never waned.

Instead of the rich smells of aged wood and Danish oil, Jim and his partner Mara SilvestroClick here to enlarge (popup 60K) are drawn to the fumes of old garage-inalia, the luminescent glow of Peter's Icecream cone and Golden Fleece sheep signs, and reminiscences of the 50's and 60's. Crowded in their shop 'Mara's Antiques & Collectables' are such items as Drive-in movie speakers, retro kitchenware and furniture, plastic Jesus and Mary plaques, old metric scales, a red telephone box, wireless radios, an ex-Myer window display of Disney's GoofyTM, and children's toys.

Click here to enlarge (popup 70K)This four year-old business is an oasis of eclecticism in the lush café suburb of Clifton Hill. Mara and Jim have carved out an uncompromising working lifestyle that is serving them well; they choose to open Mara's Antiques & Collectables on weekends only so that customers needn't compete with the weekday parking restrictions in the area and they choose also to be moderately priced while being the only business in Melbourne's Eastern suburbs to sell garage-inalia and 50s and 60s collectables. Mara and Jim have been rewarded for sticking to their principles as Mara says, "There isn't a Collectable dealer in Victoria who doesn't know us ... we've set the price for Telephone Booths in Victoria."

Click here to enlarge (popup 77K)In a shop like this the inexperienced shopper may see its interior as an artistic jumble of unrelated items, but Mara and Jim are smart enough to be led by the demands and appeals of their consumers instead of wishing to sell cohesive items of all one sort. "In the last four years we've discovered that red things bring passing traffic into the store, while anything yellow and white, apart from Shell petrol station memorabilia, doesn't sell as quickly. There is a high demand for petrol bowsers ... People like big talking points when living in or decorating large spaces. The toys that we sell are often bought by parents who are sick of buying new expensive toys for their kids that break within a few days, they buy antique toys from us that are quality made. There are some items we've been surprised when they sold, there was an anatomy that revealed the brain and internal workings of the eye, a coffin which we sold to a Gothic couple, mannequin legs bought to use as table legs, a mannequin head for a sculpture student. Many people buy stuff from us for kitsch birthday presents while some see the memorabilia as a good investment, or a shop fitter has a wacky idea for a café. Most clients tend to be decorators of theatre restaurants, cafes, pubs, and residential warehouses, and photographers who need props."

Click here to enlarge (popup 57K)Finding these kinds of collectables to fill the 355a Wellington St. premises has not always been easy. Jim and Mara used to attend auctions in the earlier years of the business, but they found that auctioned items always cost too much, and they'd need to wait around for hours to purchase too few items. Jim tells, "Now most people come to us to sell us their collectables, mostly collectors who are wanting to cull their own collections. Some people ask me as they are looking around the shop with their eyes opened wide, 'Where do you get all of this stuff?' Sometimes I'm tempted to send them on a wild goose chase down a dusty road somewhere miles away with a secret password that'll get them into that one warehouse that has all of the items they could want to buy. It's never like that, collecting always takes patience and time."

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