A HANDPIECE used by legendary shearer Jackie Howe has sold for $38,000 at auction in Melbourne.
The mechanical shears, used by Howe for many years, were listed for auction on October 29 by Sotheby’s Australia. The auction house put an estimate on the shears of $15,000 to $25,000.
A Sotheby's spokesman said the auction was "hotly contested".
Sotheby’s said an inscription on the handpiece showed it was presented to “Jack Howe” in January 1893 by the Wolseley S.S.M.C (Sheep Shearing Machine Company).
The previous year, Howe had set records for the highest tally of sheep shorn in one day for both hand shears and a shearing machine.
His incredible record on hand shears - 321 Merinos in seven hours and 40 minutes - stands unbroken to this day.
Sotheby’s Australia chairman Geoffrey Smith said Howe was not only a champion of the shearing shed but a champion for the worker and contributed strongly to the Australian Labor movement.
“While the man is no longer with us, his legacy remains through the tool of his trade.”