Art, piano, Rolls Royce, furniture from philanthropists' estate to be sold at auction

Colourful Ted Harrison paintings, jewelry, a black Steinway grand piano, 19th century silver from Paris, painted clay bowls signed Klee Wyck by Emily Carr and a shiny Rolls Royce are among hundreds of items from the estate of Shirley and Eric Charman being offered at auction this month.

The Charmans were well known in the capital region for their philanthropy and were especially passionate about the Victoria Conservatory of Music, Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera. They staged many fundraising events at their Donnington Farm on the Saanich Peninsula.

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Eric Charman, who served as president of the Canadian Real Estate Association, was a colourful, larger-than-life personality who hosted hundreds of charity auctions, egging on his friends to open their wallets.

Shirley died in 2019 and Eric in 2020. Individual portraits displayed at Lunds Auctioneers and Appraisers are not for sale — they have been donated to the Victoria Conservatory of Music, said Lunds president Peter Boyle.

All items will be on preview at Lunds at 926 Fort St. for four days: April 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and April 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The virtual auction starts on April 27 at 6 p.m. at Boyle recommends that anyone interested in registering to bid avoid doing so at the last minute. Those who wish to submit an advance bid can do so at Lunds, which will then bid on their behalf during the event.

Boyle and his family knew Eric Charman for many years — he believes a large drop-leaf table in the auction may have originally come from his own parents’ home. A large collection of oak furniture is part of the auction offerings.

Large family estates like the Charmans’ come to the auction every five to 10 years, he said. In 2016, Lunds held an auction for items owned by Ann-Lee Ross, also a patron of the arts. She had been married to Ian Ross, whose family established Butchart Gardens.

Lunds also handled an auction for the estate of Shirley Charman’s father, Hubert Wallace, whose family controlled the publicly traded Yarrows Shipyard, which is no longer operating.

For the past couple of months, Donnington auction pieces have been featured in the front window at Lunds.

Notable items include a large Ted Harrison acrylic-on-canvas painting titled Magnificent Yukon that stops pedestrians in their tracks. It measures 121 cm by 163 cm and is valued at between $25,000 and $30,000.

Eric Charman’s 2001 Rolls Royce Silver Seraph will be parked in front of Lunds during the preview days. It has an estimated value of $40,000 to $50,000. There will be no test drives, but Rudy Koniczek, who repairs and restores high-end automobiles, inspected the vehicle and reported that it’s in “very fine condition,” Boyle said. “Eric was the type who took care of things.”

Other items up for auction include Cavelti jewelry, European art, a collection of 13 rugs, a 142-piece set of French silver flatware and the Steinway piano, which musician David Foster and others have played at special events, Boyle said. “That’s a nice piano in nice condition.”

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