I purchased in person the Strathallen Chest, now known as the Macquarie Chest, in 1989 for $583,000 on Monday 17th April as Lot 327 in a sale at Sotheby’s Melbourne having previously negotiated a three-month term of settlement. I had visited Strathallen Castle on two occasions over a period of 5 years in an effort to purchase the chest from Sir William Roberts all to no avail.
I firstly offered it, as agreed, to Warren Anderson who declined to purchase it having been underbid by Rene Rivkin. I then rang, as agreed, the late Ruth Simon at Claridges Hotel in London and she purchased this wonderful object, much to the satisfaction of us both. As her principal advisor I was later to be responsible for its sale to the State Library of New South Wales. The reader is referred to Elizabeth Ellis and her excellent summary of the history of this great Australian object: