Film and Television Consultant
Registered Antique Appraiser and Valuer
For more than two decades Phil Sunman has been one of the leading Antique industry professionals in South Australia and indeed Australia. Phil has built Philicia Antiques and Collectables from a boutique antique shop into a significant antiques and collectable emporium. Regular clientele include government, business and corporate leaders from across Australia, and globally through an online network of customers developed over the past 15 years.
From a childhood love for Dinky toys Phil developed a strong passion for printed collectables, the ephemeral pieces that were so often used and discarded, such as postcards, photographs, letters, documents and advertising pieces. Today he has more than one million postcards in stock, catalogued by genre, which are perused on a daily basis by loyal fastidious collectors.
His extensive knowledge of the history of the printed image has enabled Phil to develop enduring relationships with many prominent museum and art gallery curators. He regularly consults to the Art Gallery of South Australia and the SA State Library, contributing to important exhibitions. At a national level he has provided significant historical items to the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, which is home to some 400,000 artefacts.
Academics and anthropologists from Australian Universities often engage Phil for his advice on historical and ethnographic photographs and images, particularly those which capture the first contact between European settlers and Indigenous Australians. Phil provided crucial historical evidence depicting the first Oodnadatta Children’s Home established in 1924 by missionary Annie Lock, for the South Australian Parliament’s Commission of Inquiry lead by the late Hon Ted Mullighan QC which reported in 2008. An important contribution for the families of those connected to the institution.
Phil has developed a reputation as a set design consultant to producers and directors of period feature films, including Scott Hicks. Historical pieces from Philicia Antiques have appeared in numerous films including Australian classics such as Rabbit Proof Fence, In a Savage Land, Red Dog, ANZAC Girls, Black and White and Wolf Creek. Phil guided and advised the producers of the 2007 film December Boys, filmed on Kangaroo Island starring Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe, Aussie icon Jack Thompson and Adelaide’s own Teresa Palmer.
Robert White, art director for the film Black and White describes Phil as a generous, obliging man who makes himself available to help people, including students making low budgets films.
Phil doesn’t restrict himself to film and has assisted many small screen productions. Philicia Antiques was regularly visited by the crew of McLeod’s Daughters, broadcast on the Nine Network, throughout its eight seasons from 2001 to 2008. Phil presented a segment with Professor Adrian Franklin on the historical significance of postcards and the printed image for the ABC Collectors program in 2009. More recently the BBC initiated plans for an Australian documentary program, and Phil was first port of call given his regular liaison with the popular BBC Antiques Roadshow program expert presenters.
Phil is frequently approached with requests to present keynote speeches for community organisations and collector clubs. He worked as a special consultant to the Walkerville Council for their commemoration of the Second World War and was Chairman of the Steering Committee for the exhibition.
He is the founder of the Australian Postcard Society and for many years has been patron of the Postal History and Postal Stationery Society of South Australia. A regular contributor to Carters Antiques Price Guide across all fields of collecting, Phil has also written, researched and published a number of books on printed collectables through Axiom books.
A teacher by training Phil worked as a School Principal for the South Australian Education Department during the 1980s and 1990s. Phil and his wife Christine have been serving customers since 1994 and look forward to welcoming you on your next visit.