Archive for July, 2010

The Art of Picking – Episode 3

July 19th, 2010 by

Reyne Haines interviews dealers who show their picking conquests, including Civil War letters from the Wars most unlucky soldier, who was shot once in the groin, recovered only to be shot in the forehead in a subsequent battle and then buried in a mass grave, which he crawled out of on his own.

Picking with Reyne – Vol 12 – By Reyne Haines

July 16th, 2010 by

To continue with picking storage units, I thought I’d give you a peek inside a day of one of my pickers…

Yesterday he was the lucky bidder for this storage unit:

From the average person’s eye, this looks like a whole lot of junk right?  Would you pay $50 for all of this?  Before you are quick to judge, let’s take a look at what was tucked away in all those garbage bags…

Rule # 1 – Never leave food or trash in storage units.  Mice will get to them and then you will have bags with holes, and dead rats!

Rule #2 – Silver doesn’t stand up to temperature and humidity well!

Rule #3 – If you were hoping to pass down the family china, you might want to pay your bill.  (Notice the Wedgwood porcelain in the image?)

Over time, he has found a great array of designer brand items kept in storage units.  Maybe this will be more than just a bag!

Rule #4 – Unless in a climate controlled unit, you might want to leave artwork of all kinds somewhere else.  With the heat and humidity, this print has probably acquired foxing, and other paper issues which could greatly depreciate the value.

Ahhh, reward!  Hopefully the movement is still in good working order!

All in all, this wasn’t a bad buy.  Lots of garbage and furniture to toss, but the porcelain (Wedgwood, Nippon, Bavaria), there was a piece of Roseville pottery, the clock and a few misc pieces of furniture will net him around $800+

Not bad for a $50 investment!

Happy Hunting!


Du Mouchelles – August Auction

July 16th, 2010 by

August Auction Catalog now online

Du Mouchelles

Detroit, Mi

Neal Auction Company – Two Day Important Summer Estates Auction

July 16th, 2010 by

July 17th & 18th

Featuring over 1000 lots of 18th & 19th c. American, English, French and Continental antiques, Southern Paintings and Historical Material.

Bonhams & Butterfields – Oriental Rugs & Carpets

July 16th, 2010 by

Oriental Rugs and CarpetsAuction

Featuring a collection of a prominent Southern California Collector

August 2nd, 2010

Catalog now online

Old Toy Soldier Auctions chalks up ‘best sale to date’ as Thompson, Graham collections score top prices

July 16th, 2010 by

Haffner Frederick the Great and troops, prewar, 21 pieces, $3,186. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image.

PITTSBURGH – Ray Haradin’s Old Toy Soldier Auctions operates in a world of miniature antiques, but prices on top lots were strictly big league in the company’s May 1 auction featuring the collections of John Graham (part III), brothers Bill and Don Thompson, and other consignors.

“At $229,000 with 99 percent of the lots sold, it was, by far, our best sale to date,” said Haradin. “I was thrilled with the result.”

The 645-lot auction inventory featured an extraordinary toy soldier collection that was established in the 1940s by two brothers from Chicago, Don and (the late) Bill Thompson. When their family moved to California in 1947, the boys’ carefully wrapped and boxed toys made the journey as well, but they would remain in quiet storage until 2009, when they were unwrapped and assessed for auction purposes.

“We got terrific prices on the Thompsons’ soldiers because they were very desirable, early pieces in fabulous condition,” Haradin said. “I think condition was the reason there were so many new bidders for this sale. I suspect many of them were younger people, too, since 47 percent of the purchases were made through the Internet.”

Extremely rare version of Britains Set #1476, Coronation Coach with single figure of uncrowned King Edward VIII, made in 1937, $5,015. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image.

Among the highlights from the Thompson collection was an exceptionally rare version of Britains’ 1937 Coronation Coach Set #1476 containing a single figure of the uncrowned King Edward VIII. The 28-piece boxed set, which also included grooms, footmen and Yeomen of the Guard, topped its high estimate to settle at $5,015 (all prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 18% buyer’s premium).

Another lot with an Edward VIII connection consisted of a figure of the British monarch in his purple, ermine-trimmed Coronation robes. Made by Britains prior to the King’s abdication, the figure came in a box with both a yellow manufacturer’s label marked “King Edward VIII” and a Marshall Field department store $1 price sticker. In Old Toy Soldier’s sale, it concluded its bidding run majestically at $3,422.

There was widespread interest for a Haffner (German) 21-piece military set featuring Frederick the Great with mounted troops, two drummers, a flag bearer and other figures. The very rare ensemble mustered a winning bid of $3,186 against a presale estimate of $1,200-$1,500.

Competition was keen, as well, for knights produced by the British firm Courtenay. A signed and numbered (XX1) hand-painted figure known as “Le Borge de Prie” was pushed well beyond its $400-$600 estimate to close at $1,062.

An early production by the still-active British company King and Country depicted a dashing corps of Seaforth Highlanders in foreign active service dress, complete with piper and mounted officer. The 26-piece set garnered a within-estimate price of $590.

Unlike W. Britains, whose origins date to the mid-Victorian era, King and Country was a late entry on the toy soldier playing field, Haradin said. “They started in the early 1980s but didn’t become popular till the mid-1990s. Now they rival Britains in sales and maybe even surpass them. There’s a very dedicated following for this brand when it’s offered in our auctions. Newer collectors want to buy the pieces that came out before they got into the hobby.”

Cherilea 22-piece postwar baseball set, $4,425. Old Toy Soldier Auctions image.

Speaking of the playing field, bidders came from all directions to pursue a seldom-seen Cherilea postwar baseball set featuring 11 figures, including a black-suited umpire. In its original, colorfully lithographed box and with each of the pieces still tied in place, the like-new set estimated at $1,800-$2,400 crossed home plate in championship style at $4,425.

Other notable boxed sets in the auction included a Britains 8-piece prewar “Los Rurales de la Federaction” Mexican Infantry Set #186, $1,770; a 1937-1941 British Army Active Service Display Set #1328, also by Britains, $1,298; and a postwar Mignot (French) 6-piece “Gardes du Corps du Roi” set #294 featuring an officer, trumpeter and standard bearer, $325.

“What impressed me most about this sale was that it was strong across the board. We made sure we catered to every type of collector, and we didn’t note softness in any category,” Haradin said.

Old Toy Soldier Auctions is expanding its operations. Joe Saine of Toledo, Ohio, an expert in both new and old toy soldiers, is joining the company’s staff to assist with future sales. Additionally, OTSA will conduct its first-ever two-day sale over the weekend of Nov. 20-21. The auction will feature part I of the late Fred Wehr’s collection, which contains many rare, early Britains, approximately 140 King and Country sets, German-made Heyde figures, and an extensive selection of figures by Bill Hocker, a boutique manufacturer from California whose contemporary toy soldiers are often favorably compared to Britains.

To contact Ray Haradin and Old Toy Soldier Auctions, call 412-343-8733 (tollfree: 800-349-8009) or e-mail Visit the company online at

Michaan’s Auction partners with expert Reyne Haines for 20th Century Design Sale

July 14th, 2010 by

Michaan’s Auction in Alameda, California is pleased to announce their partnership with decorative arts expert, Reyne Haines. Their first auction will be held in November and includes 20th Century Decorative Arts, Furniture, Jewelry and Fine Art from the Art Nouveau, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco and Mid-Century periods. They are currently accepting consignments for the inaugural sale.

Ms. Haines founded Houston’s eponymous Reyne Gallery, as well as The Finer Things in New York City. These two firms emphasize fine 20th century design in art glass, pottery, furniture, fine art and jewelry. Ms Haines expertise ranges from vintage watches to art glass to decorative arts. She has written for and has been interviewed extensively by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Home and Garden, Traditional Home, and 002 Magazine. She is the author and contributor to a number of books about auctions, appraising and collecting.

Michaan’s Auctions is the leading full service auction house on the West Coast. Specializing in the appraisals and sale of antiques and fine art, Michaan’s has specialists in the fields of Furniture and Decorative Arts, Modern, Contemporary Art, European and American Paintings and Prints, Books and Manuscripts, Jewelry, Asian Works of Art and Ethnographic Art.

Established in 2002, Michaan’s Auctions holds up to thirty sales each year attracting a broad base of buyers and consignors from all over the world. With one of the largest facilities in Northern California and the Bay Area’s lowest buyers premium, Michaan’s offers buyers and sellers the opportunity to preview and bid on many unique and desirable property. Some of these pieces realized world record prices. In 2005 A.D.M. Cooper’s oil painting, “Three Graces 1915” sold for a record $21,060 and an Eduard Gaertner oil “German City Street Scene 1831” sold for $266,000.

Michaan’s has built its reputation on its ability to accept single items, groups or entire estates with its “no risk consignment policy” free of hidden fees and charges. Michaan’s specialists are dedicated to staying current on the latest issues and developments in the market and are committed to providing personalized and professional attention throughout the entire auction process.

For more information, additional photographs or to consign your own fine property contact Reyne Haines at 713.253.7505 or For a complete listing of Michaan’s other Fine and Estate Auctions visit:

Press Office Contact:
Talesa Santos

Bonhams & Butterfields – Sunset Estate Auction

July 14th, 2010 by

Auction July 25th, 2010

Los Angeles

Featuring Fine Art, Books and Manuscripts, Rugs and Carpets, Asian Works of Art, Africa and Ethnographic Works of Art, Silver and Silverplate, 20th Century Furniture and Decorative Works of Art, Furniture and Decorative Arts


July 13th, 2010 by

Fairfield, Maine, June 22-23, 2010 – For the few weeks leading up to their auction, the Julia firm was filled with pride, anticipation, and trepidation. Pride because they had been told on numerous occasions that their upcoming glass and lamp auction was perhaps the largest, finest, and most diverse grouping of this type that had ever been offered at one auction anywhere in the world for the last couple years. Anticipation because they had a considerable amount of monetary value and the potential for doing well. Trepidation because this is a different world today and the world economy and collecting fraternities of the world are not what they were three years ago. This is a buyer’s market, not a seller’s market. It is exceedingly difficult to predict what is going to happen. They of course knew that because this was such a high profile auction, a great number of collectors would be watching the performance. If they were successful, it would bode well for their company and for the glass and lamp world as a whole. Healthy prices create confidence in buyers, and the positive cycle continues. Poor sales results exacerbate doubt and insecurity in the market. The auction was a cross-section of the art glass marketplace, consisting of objects found in the booths and shops of leading dealers throughout the world. As such, the value ranged from a few hundred dollars to $100,000+ and included art nouveau, 20th Century American art glass, paperweights, KPM plaques, lamps of all types, miniature lamps, French and English cameo glass, Fairyland Lustre, and more.

When the smoke cleared, it was clear the market was still healthy and active. Just over 1,000 lots were offered and the low estimate of the items sold of approximately $1.6 Million with a final selling price of just under $2 Million. This was over $300,000 over low estimate and certainly a statistic to be proud of.

Picking with Reyne – Vol 11 – By Reyne Haines

July 12th, 2010 by

Over the years I’ve heard about people buying unclaimed storage units. I often wondered why anyone would bid on something like that…until recently.

Had I really given it any thought, I would have figured it out. People rent storage facilities for things they have no place for, but have enough value to warrant you to keep them.

It also dawned on me, that depending on the size of the storage facility, the difference in how much they were paying each month. So, you’d at least have an idea of the value of the items in the unit by how long they had it, and how much they had paid. For example, I lived in New York for 4 yrs. I didn’t want to move all of my furniture to New York from Houston at the time, along with boxes of my great grandmothers fine china, some older stuffed animals, records, etc. If you think about how much I paid in monthly rent for 4.5 years…well…you see where I am going with this.

Now before you rush out and start bidding on this week’s storage lots, keep in mind its not all fine antiques and vintage cars kept in those places.

Last week, a picker friend of mine bought a box of Ferragamo shoes, a pair of authentic Louis Vuitton trunks, and an array of Chanel, Hermes, and Missoni clothing (thanks so much for the great buys!)
A friend of his found a pair of “Blue Dog” paintings (yes, I still want them when he makes up his mind on price).

Another buyer wound up with a car, and a dead body. I kidd you not. Fortunately he had not paid for the unit when the body was discovered. Yes, he would have forfeited his money had he.
I think you should keep in mind the location of the units (what part of town), how long have they been renting, and some even let you peer in (not dig through) the units before bidding.

I’d love to hear your storage unit stories…post them here if you would!

Happy Hunting!