Many of Tony’s past customers will remember this website for being the focal point of Tony’s tool auction business where he held two auctions per year, usually around early March and & September. Tony has been a friend of the family for many years whereby he often met my father to discuss and deal over what I once considered just old tools but little did I know back then being a youngster’ why these chaps found the subject of old tools so interesting and addictive. Yes, it is a passion and Tony had this in spades and dedicated his life in the pursuit of helping people appreciate old tools and the craftsmanship that makes them worthy of their status.
It was with regret to find out early last year that Tony was suffering from Motor Neuron Disease which takes no prisoners with its rapid progression, it is at this time incurable and terminal. Sadly, Tony passed away on Easter Sunday 2020 peacefully in his sleep. His determination to soldier on as long as he could and with the bravery he showed to the very end was the mark of a man who loved what he did and those around him.
A salute to a true gentleman who helped us when we restarted my father’s Tooltique business and beyond, he helped with the encouragement we needed when trying to re-establish the business again, it will never be forgotten. His generosity of handing over this domain to us at the end was I hope his approval of our commitment so we can continue his good work that keeps his spirit alive for many more years to come.
His final auction brought out many old faces along with many long-standing friends and his family, his standing ovation at the very end certainly brought a tear to the eye for the many who were there. God bless you Tony and in his daughters’ words, we hope you are on that beach in the sky and you get that large Margarita! We will all miss him dearly but never forget this enigmatic stature of a man whose presence lit up the room.
As a fellow dealer with a few years under my belt now I can say that dealing in old tools is not easy and making a living from it is even harder, so anyone who can do this successfully for many years has to be respected. I always remember a lesson Tony taught me at the start when I bought a batch of tools from him only to find out later there was some damage on some of them, he simply said ‘you should look harder and not take anything for granted. Lesson learned! I guess he had to learn the same hard way too, why should it be any different for me. After that, I made sure any problems were sorted out at the time of buying and he would often smile and say ‘is there?’ OK, no problem it’s good for spares. It was like he was always testing me and was all part of the game he played.
This reminds me of something Tony wrote about Bob Arnold at the news of his passing in one of his auction catalogs, it’s worthy of the recital.
Tony’s own words about Roy Arnold passed: 1926-2009
In 1991 I needed to move my Tool Shop from its location in Ipswich. I was talking to Roy and asked him if an opportunity arose would he mind me moving the shop to Needham Market? “Of Course Not” he replied, “it would do both of us good”. This spontaneous reaction sums him up well – a wonderfully kind and generous man. Two weeks later No: 78 High Street came up for sale and the rest is history. Roy was the best of friends and unselfishly shared his amazing knowledge with me without reservation.
Roy loved food and cooking – he was a gourmand. I miss the countless times I have called in and he insisted on scrambled eggs and smoked salmon – wonderful. If it was after 11.30 am he would insist on a glass of wine!
Roy Arnold was one of the first pioneers behind the whole world of antique tools and his close friendship with Tony speaks volumes.
After recently finding this tribute in an old catalog (of which I have only taken a sample), it got me thinking.
Tony, where were my bloody scrambled eggs!