Archive for April, 2010

Du Mouchelles April Auction – Detroit, MI

April 16th, 2010 by

Du Mouchelles April catalog now online

Auction: April 16th – 6:30pm, April 17th – 11am, April 18th – noon

Estate Auction with over 2000 items including art, furniture, jewelry and memorabilia

Bohnams & Butterfields – Los Angeles Preview – April 20th, 2010

April 16th, 2010 by

20th Century Decorative Arts

Including Property from the Estate of  Nancy M. Daly

Tuesday April 20th

Los Angeles

Reyne Gauge – Bankable Antiques – by: Reyne Haines

April 16th, 2010 by

As children, we rarely gave thought to caring for our toys. They were made purely for our entertainment, and not to be dusted and kept on the shelf.

I had my share of Barbie’s who’s hair was cut, colored with a magic marker, and occassionally chewed on by the dog.

My brother could tell you all about flipping baseball cards, creating racetracks for his Matchbox cars and the autographs he collected over the years being a serious sports fan.

Sometimes, when I see a toy I played with as a kid in an antique shop it makes me pause. I wonder, had I taken care of those Barbie’s – what would they be worth today? How many rookie cards did my brother bend, tear and flip that would add up to some serious coin now?

Gone are the days for the $6.00 Barbie. Now, they are designer inspired and can cost a few hundred dollars right off the shelf. How can you justify spending that price when you know they are going to take them out of the box, lose those “designer” shoes within the first week, and potentially get a fresh look by your daughter and a pair of scissors?

Will these toys increase in value over time if you buy them, and place them on the shelf only to be admired from afar?

I don’t have a magic 8 ball to answer that question, but recently I read a press release about a few toys that have increased, just a little, since originally sold.

If you are interested in recreating your youth (or perhaps the youth of your grandparents!) take a look at the upcoming toy auction at RSL Auctions on May 22nd:

The sale consists of 360 lots, which translates to, something for everyone.

A portion of the collection up for sale came from Richard Stevens, an avid mechanical bank collector. Stevens was known for buying only the best. The best meaning the rarest, and those in the best condition.

A few of the best items in the sale are:

J&E Stevens “Calamity” cast iron mechanical bank. This bank comes from the ex-Stephen Steckbeck collection. It still has it’s original box! Estimate: $60-90,000

A very rare circa 1930 Kilgore cast-iron Turtle bank. Formerly in the collections of Stan Sax and Gertrude Hegarty. Estimate: $50-70,000

Circa 1886 – J&E Stevens “Breadwinners” cast-iron mechanical bank in near mint condition. Estimate: $90-120,000

I would have to imagine when these were first produced, the cost was a few dollars (if that).

80-100 years later, their value has increased exponentially!

I find it a bit ironic. A toy created to help children save their money becomes more valuable than the coins placed in it.

Happy Hunting!


Bonhams – Fine African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

April 15th, 2010 by

Catalog Now Online

Fine African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art

May 13th

Bonhams – New York

Rago Arts and Auction Center – Jewelry in Rago’s 20th C. Design Auction Weekend – April 24th & 25th

April 15th, 2010 by

Early 20th C. Design – April 24th 12pm

Modern Ceramics/Glass – April 24th 3pm

Modern Furniture/Lighting – April 25th 12pm

Burchard Galleries – International Estate Antiques & Fine Art Auctioneers – St Petersburg, Florida

April 15th, 2010 by

Multi Estate Marathon Auction – April 17th  8:30am

Estate Antiques & Fine Art – April 18th – Noon

These Steiff birds rule the roost!

April 14th, 2010 by

They say birds of a feather flock together… and based on this note from a reader in Switzerland, nothing could be closer to the truth! Check out this inquiry from Petra, who asks about a three-quarter century old collection of fine feathered Steiff friends. She writes…

“Hello Steiffgal,

I’m from Switzerland and have inherited six Steiff woolen birds in great condition. They are definitely from the 1930s, but I don’t know the exact year. The birds are a complete series and have the original tags numbering from 6508,1 to 6508,6. They are about 5 cm in height and are able to stand in different positions (head up/down).

The only minor flaws are that one of the original Steiff tags is red and all the others are (formerly) white, and that bird number 6508,3’s tag is a little rusty and discolored. Other than that there are no flaws or damages.
Do you have any further information regarding these little birds? Maybe how rare they are, especially in a series like this. And how much are they worth, each or as a series? Are they worth more because it’s a complete set? Why is one label red and all the others are beige?
Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,


These wonderful birds are certainly something to crow about and rarer than hen’s teeth! Let’s take a look at this collection and the history behind it.

This full nest of birds consists of (left to right) Steiff’s robin (article number 6508,1), green woodpecker (article number 6508,2), finch (article number 6508,3), blue tit (article number 6508,4), sparrow (article number 6508,5), and golden bunting (article number 6508,6). Each is standing, has a swivel head, felt beak and tail feathers, metal legs, and black bead eyes. These birds are made from Nomotta wool, a dense material that feels like a cross between the texture of Steiff’s well-know fuzzy post-war “pom-pom” animals and really lush alpaca. Each of these beautiful birds was in the Steiff line from 1934 through 1943.

This fabulous flock has two mysteries which are fascinating in a good way. The first is the size of the birds. Petra describes each being 5 cm. However, they are all numbered in the 6508,X convention. The ” 08″ in the last digits of the article number series indicates that they are 8 cm. A very intriguing 3 cm disconnect! (Just for interest, all of these birds also came in 4 cm; their article number series is 6504,X.)

The second mystery is the tags on the legs of the birds. In general, as a rule of thumb, white tags indicate products made from 1905 through 1926, reddish-orange ones indicate products made from 1926 to 1934, and yellow ones indicate products made from 1934 onward. One of the birds has a reddish-orange tag and all the others are much lighter, yet the entire collection appears to be from the same time frame. How can this be?

Let’s take a bird’s eye view of the situation. The green woodpecker was made in 1934 – 1943 and has a red tag from the 1926 -1934 time frame. This points to the fact that he most likely was made in 1934 if you align these two factors. It is Steiffgal’s best guess that the whitish colored tags on the other five birds were at one time a pale yellow. If that were the case, since the birds were all made in the 1934 – 1943 time frame, and the yellow tags indicate products made from 1934 onward, the other birds were probably were made also around the same time as the green woodpecker. Net-net, 1934 was a transition time between the reddish tags and the yellow tags, which would explain why the set sports both reddish and lighter Steiff tags.

As for the value of this fine collection of woolen miniatures… Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and strongly believes that something is “worth” what someone else will pay for it. Many parts of the country are seeing a most welcomed uptick in the economy which may be slowly leveling the playing field between buyers over sellers. It does seem these times still slightly favor buyers over sellers, though! However, this is quite the grouping in fine condition; the crisp pre-war Steiff labels add tremendously to the collection’s appeal. Based on other sales and some auction research, Steiffgal will go out on a lark and value this collection as a group in the $750 – $1000 range.

On a wing and a prayer you made it to the end of this posting on vintage Steiff birds… now that’s a feather in your cap for sure!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, bird brained or otherwise? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.

Quittenbaum Art Actions Munich

April 14th, 2010 by

Art Nouveau – Art Deco Auction, April 20th

Hagenauer – Private Collection, April 21st

Phillips de Pury & Company – BRIC – Auctions April 23rd-24th – London

April 14th, 2010 by

BRIC: Brazil, Russia, India, China

Contemporary Art

Auction April 23rd – 24th   Preview: April 18th – 23rd

Susanin’s – 2 in 1 Auction Day – April 17th, 2010 – Chicago

April 14th, 2010 by

Important Asian Collection + Rugs and Carpets

April 17th,  10am

Preview – April 12th – 16th  10am – 5pm,  April 15th late viewing till 7pm, April 17th 9am – noon

Jewelry and Couture + Accessories

April 17th, 1pm

Preview – April 12th – 16th  10am – 5pm,  April 15th late viewing till 7pm, April 17th 9am – noon