CHENNAI: Wine, fine dining and a line up of items that would capture the pride of place in any collector’s mantlepiece — that was the scene at the third edition of the Collectabillia Winter Auction. And if the spirited bidding that went on late into the night was anything to judge by, that’s exactly what everyone else thought too.
Even before the event started, fashionably late as it was, the mood at the ballroom of the Vivanta by Taj-Connemara was ticking along perfectly fine. Full bodied reds and dry whites kept making the rounds and the Amritraj family, which according to the inimitable Vijay was stepping out together after ages, was in top form.
Prakash Amritraj got on stage a little after 8pm to bring to their seats a small, albeit excited crowd. He then invited his father to sit down with him, have a drink and the father-son duo embarked on a conversation that had the audience alternatively smiling and roaring with laughter.
“We used to have conversations like this when we boys were kids,” Prakash told his audience as his father took his seat. “But it wasn’t until later that the conversations became really interesting,” Vijay shot back. And so it went on for the better part of the hour.
Sometime in the conversation, the first items began to make the stage. And the bidding started. Autographed photos of Hollywood greats such as Al Pacino and Tom Cruise came, were bid. But the show stealers were the boots, spikes, jerseys and gloves of some of the sporting world’s most famous icons.
Mohammad Ali’s autographed boxing gloves went for a whopper. Other names made their entries one after the other. Luis Suarez and his autographed boots, Usain Bolt’s signed running spikes, Cristiano Ronaldo’s jersey, Roger Federer’s racquet and Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s autographed bat — the line-up featured everything a sport lover would dream of owning.
As the night went on, the wine kept flowing and one collector’s item after the next was bought out after some truly spirited bids. And sitting through it all, the Amritrajs did what they do best — they kept the game going.