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Furphy water cart collector’s big payday 50 years in the making

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Roger Frankenberg is an avid collector who has spent a long time sifting by means of piles of steel and discarded scraps in the hunt for a specific treasure. 

For 50 years he has collected Furphy water carts and stored them on his farm in Burrumbuttock, north-west of Albury in New South Wales.

Now, he is made a tidy sum after promoting dozens of items to a different collector.

“Finally rely, there have been about 80 ends and about 40 of them had been made into water carts,” he stated.

“So I’ve bought about 20 full water carts and the remainder of them are ends.”  

Made in Shepparton, the carts date again to the late 1800s after they had been ferried across the nation offering the life-giving useful resource.

They’ve now turn out to be prized collector’s gadgets value hundreds of {dollars}.

The water carts are well-known for the saying, “That is a Furphy”, uttered after listening to one thing unbelievable.

It grew to become a part of the Australian vernacular throughout World Warfare I after diggers gathered round water carts spinning tall tales.

A close up of a brass tap
Furphy water cart faucets alone can fetch greater than $2,500 at rural clearing gross sales.(ABC Rural: Annie Brown)

Through the half century he has been amassing, Mr Frankenberg has seen a drastic surge in worth for Furphy carts, tanks and ends.

“The bottom worth I ever paid for a cart was in all probability $20, however on common I paid round $100 for a cart,” he stated.

“Probably the most helpful one which I personal is a single finish I unearthed from a pile of rusty barbed wire and lengthy grass in a junkyard north of Shepparton.

A close up of a cast iron wheel of a cart
Founder John Furphy added a forged iron foundry to his enterprise in Shepparton in 1873 and began producing equipment.(ABC Rural: Annie Brown)

Collectors in race for uncommon gadgets

Paul Durden has labored in Shepparton actual property for 18 years and has been closely concerned in clearing gross sales.

In 2017, he was concerned in a sale the place an unique Furphy water tank bought for $26,000 — a worth he believes remains to be a document.

“We have bought ends on their very own for as much as $13,000. We have even bought a Furphy gate for $11,000,” he stated.

“Furphy has bought a complete number of various things that they’ve made over time like camp ovens, wheels, pig troughs.

“We have even bought a faucet for $2,500.”

The end of an old Furphy water cart
Mr Frankenberg’s assortment has been bought for a whole bunch of hundreds of {dollars}.(ABC Rural: Annie Brown)

Mr Durden stated demand for Furphy gadgets was not slowing.

“A variety of them are uncommon and folks need them for his or her collections,” he stated.

“There are massive collectors who’re attempting to get the complete set and they’ll pay for them.

“I consider there are roughly 24 various kinds of ends made over time and there are just one or two full collections on the market.

Furphy household connection spurs curiosity

For Mr Frankenberg, nevertheless, the time has come to say goodbye to his Furphy assortment.

“The principle motive I am saying goodbye to them is as a result of my kids have very firmly indicated that they do not need to be left with them once I die,” he stated.

“I am doing my finest to oblige and I’ve a keen purchaser and the sale has been organized and they’ll all be gone after Easter excluding about three or 4 that I will hold.”

The end of an old Furphy water cart includes a stork figure.
Mr Frankenberg says the storks on the tank ends represented John Furphy’s want for his kids to begin their households.(ABC Rural: Annie Brown)

Mr Frankenberg has a household connection to the Furphy identify.

His spouse Judy’s maiden identify was Furphy and the corporate’s founder John Furphy was her nice uncle.

He stated it was his pure curiosity behind the objects that additionally sparked his fascination with the previous farming tools.

“I do not assume it is ever been confirmed the place that saying got here from, and I do not thoughts a little bit of a thriller.”

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