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Tim Boswell loves a good story. Elements of drama, heroism, bittersweet moments and epic struggle are all part of narratives he connects to passionately. In fact, his love for real-life heroes, historical artefacts and rare treasures have taken him on adventures much like the figures he admires. His journeys have yielded valuable finds, which, while expensive to some, are priceless for ardent collectors.
Ocean View Antiques, Artefacts and Artwork on Shaikh Zayed Road is a monument "to antiques both from the past and of the future", says Boswell CEO of Ocean View Real Estate, who started collecting three years ago. His passion for art and memorabilia provided the foundation for the initiative, which is one of its kind in the UAE.
The space that houses the judiciously curated selection is a little bigger than 3,000 sq.ft and spreads over two storeys. Each part of it unfolds unique gems – original handwritten letters and notes by Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Dickens, Marlon Brando, Renoir and the British naval commander Lord Nelson.
You'll also find John Wayne's waistcoat, original colonial-era currency notes used by the first 12 states in America, a rare LP released by legendary boxer Mohammad Ali, his signed boxing gloves, as well as ancient maps from the 16th century, among other things.
These share the spotlight with other collectibles such as movie posters, lithographs, a brass Kermit sculpture, pictures of Marilyn Monroe and a statue of Bart Simpson.
Boswell bought most of the artefacts and memorabilia - worth millions – from museums, collectors and at auctions. "I have visited countless estate auctions in the US, the UK and Europe over the past three years and bought pieces I would want in my personal collection," he says. "They will go up in value with each year.
"Some of my prized possessions include items from Presley's estate, including his famous lion claw pendant, and Nelson's shoe buckles, sword and letters.
I have great admiration for Nelson. He was a man who came from humble beginnings and achieved great things. I am privileged to have these. The shoe buckles are the ones he wore to the last battle [in which] he died, and they are among my favourites.”
Boswell is equally proud of his Elvis memorabilia. The king of rock and roll has his own corner in the gallery. A golf buggy, several signed photo albums, gold discs, guitars, a watch and the famous pendant - they all have immense value, both sentimental and in terms of an investment.
As with everything in the gallery. Boswell has done his due diligence to authenticate his acquisitions from the estate. Also impressive is his collection of rare photographs of members of royalty and politicians from Harrow School in the UK from 1850 untill960.
"I have thousands of original glass-plate negatives and never-seen-before pictures of Churchill and the Thai royal family among others,” he says. "You can't put a price on things as rare as these."
Several avid collectors have shown interest in the gallery's collections. "We are seeing a growing fascination for such items among the younger generation looking to own a piece of history, or one in the making," he says.
"In addition to antiques and memorabilia, we have amazing works of art by William Verdult. The American artist's diverse styles, ranging from classical, contemporary and abstract to portraits, landscapes, and still life have seen the value of his paintings go up with every passing year. We also have paintings by Hector Munro, and his work is very popular as well."
Social media has helped spread awareness about the gallery and opened new avenues. "We have been amazed by the response, with our leads increasing tenfold," says Boswell. "We didn't expect it to be this successful. We are now able to interact and advertise globally to a massive audience.
"Our pieces are rare and great conversation pieces for any home. Our business really is a case of the past meets the present, as we are selling antiques or future antiques using modern methods, with a young passionate team."
Ocean View Antiques, Artefacts and Artwork is located at Showroom No. 3, Al Samaya Building, Shaikh Zayed Road.
Source: Neesha Salian, Special to Property Weekly
This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct In their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If It's got character and brings a smile to your face, it's a hidden gem that will find a place on this paqe. lf you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at email@example.com