Kevin Parker – Antique Dealer & European Specialist
Kevin Parker, Known as a “rough diamond” in the trade, is an European and Australian antique specialist. Beginning in 1969, his expertise encompasses the retailing, consulting and wholesaling of antiques and collectables. He specializes in buying whole collections from estates.
From years of trading, he has an amazing amount of collectables amongst his treasured possessions. If Kevin is not out treasure hunting, he is only too pleased to share his knowledge and may be able to source the item you are looking for.
Kevin Parker’s Dealer Profile – The Cha Cha Kid
From “Antique Trader” By Brian McVey
One of the subjects that always amazes us at Carter’s is the diverse background of antique dealers, and how in so many cases they simply drifted into becoming full time dealers. Certainly few ever left school saying “I’m going to be an antique dealer”, but rather graduated into the business through possibly being a collector or through their love of some particular aspect of the huge range of antiques.?Kevin Parker however is “different”, he was born to deal.? At school he traded anything that returned him a profit, and looking back he regards this period as the most important in honing his trading skills.
Born and educated in Queensland, he developed a strong and enduring love for the carefree lifestyle generated by the weather, and the endless hours with his mates at the beach.?From this group of friends developed a successful rock and roll band with Kevin becoming its regular bass player.?Gradually Kevin moved into this area full time and became a professional bass player with work coming from a variety of bands. Eventually he travelled through Queensland playing with different bands which enabled him to seek out classic American cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s, and he slowly began to build up a small select collection of these cars. It was during this stage of his career that Kevin began to take an interest in antique furniture and collectables. His continuous search for cars took him to many farm sheds and he was amazed at the abundance of “antiques” to be found, simply tucked away or forgotten by their owners. He began buying many of these items and his attention rapidly swung towards actively dealing in a wide variety of items, his main outlet being through various city auction rooms, an approach that quickly taught him what various buyer wanted.
Being the type of person who can’t resist a challenge, Kevin decided that rather than being a member of a band, it would be better to simply own a band, and so he just went out and bought one! It just happened however that this band came complete with its own nightclub and restaurant The Cha Cha Cabaret at Surfers Paradise, so in one huge move Kevin now owned the lot, quite an achievement for one of Kevin’s age. It is only natural that Kevin quickly acquired the title of “The Cha Cha Kid”, a tag he carried for many years.
The difficult hours associated with running such an establishment finally forced him to sell out (after five years of ownership), and look for something with a complete change of pace. Deciding to pursue his love of antiques as a full time career he moved to Melbourne in the mid 60’s to establish a small shop in the suburbs. After feeling his way for a couple of years he decided in 1969 to move to the Dandenongs, and proceeded to open a fantastic antique shop selling a wide range of Australiana. Over the next four years this business grew rapidly, and on one of his country buying trips he stumbled across an amazing blue stone farmhouse near Kyneton. He just had to own it! After months of frustrations and bargaining he finally owned the house, and to enable him time to carry out massive restorations he sold his antique shop. As soon as he began the restorations he discovered that he needed more money, so he opened what was to become the first antique shop in Pipe Street, Kyneton. He has since owned and renovated four different shops in Piper Street, and in the 18 years he has been in Kyneton a strong clientele has developed.
His expertise in renovation has enabled him to develop a wide range of skills, and for many years he has taught French polishing and furniture restoration at the local adult education centre.
Over the last 10 years Kevin has developed an extensive network of contacts in the interior decorating field, and has been responsible for supplying antiques to decorate dozens of hotels, clubs, motels and restaurants with an enormous array of functional and decorative items. The crowning glory in this field came when he was awarded the contract to supply all the antiques to fully decorate the Hyatt Hotel at Sanctuary Cove. This contract occupied his time totally for 18 months as every room in the hotel was decorated with appropriate antiques.
Kevin’s ability to work hard astounds all who come in contact with him, and his ability to overcome adversity is nothing short of amazing. Recently, at one of our Carter’s Giant Antiques Fairs, Kevin looked a little jaded whilst unloading his truck and blithely commented, “It isn’t much fun loading and unloading with a couple of broken ribs.” It appears that one night the previous week while out buying for the Fair, he fell down a hole in the farmer’s yard and broke a couple of ribs.
Over the last year he has been appointed the local distributor for nationally known renovation products such as “Liberon” and “Acecroft” products, and is always on hand to advise the correct use of the products.
His continuing interest in Australian furniture is evident in his shop and in his displays at the various Carter’s Fairs, and he maintains that his business will always centre around this area of the trade.
As you might glen from this brief look at Kevin Parker, he is a great achiever and one of the trade’s most colourful and best liked characters. When next in Victoria head for Kyneton and look him up at Pipe Street, you won’t be disappointed.
Note: Kevin still loves and collects cars from the 1920’s through to the late 1960’s, and he will be displaying a fantastic 1932 Sedan delivery unit in the entrance of the Exhibition Building during the Carter’s Giant Melbourne Antiques Fair.