For sale: five coffins, one spacesuit

Last updated 05:00 21/03/2014

GOING, GONE: Westside Studios director Robert Baldock with some of about 600 props up for sale with the closure of the business.

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Westside Studios in Wellington is closing, with hundreds of props for sale, including everything from a spacesuit to an antique bible.

"It's a shame to break the collection up, but we've had to put a stick in the sand and say, 'that's enough'," director Robert Baldock said. "It's a young man's game and the bones are getting a bit weary."

Baldock, 65, has worked in the props business for 20 years. Westside Studios has been based at Wellington's Shelly Bay for the past eight years, supplying props and equipment to the film and television industry.

Its collection included items from productions such as Xena, Hercules, Dark Knight, The Tribe and many more.

Five coffins were for sale, alongside a lifesize gorilla, a ship's wheel, imitation guns, a spacesuit and a 300-year-old bible. "There's a lot of quirky stuff here."

An initial sale will be held by tender, with a giant garage sale to follow.

Buyers in Auckland and Australia were interested in the collection as one lot, he said. However, he hoped it would mostly remain in the capital.

"Who knows, maybe Sir Peter Jackson will come through the door with his cheque book!"

It was impossible to price the collection. "If someone was to come in with a few hundred thousand, I'd probably say, well, you can walk in and I'll walk out."

Two full-time staff would lose their jobs with the closure, Baldock said.

Westside had worked closely with local schools, and helped run parades for the past 15 years. "We're really going to miss the Christmas parade."

He planned to stay involved with Wellington's event scene.

He said he would miss the afternoon sun, but not the "bitter" winter cold of Shelly Bay. "We issue thermals to all our staff."

He hoped the decaying area would eventually become an "iconic" Wellington site, with cafes and cultural attractions.

"But it's going to take someone with very deep pockets and a collaborative approach from the many parties involved."

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- The Dominion Post

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