Archive for October, 2010

Bonhams & Butterfields – SoMa Estate Auction

October 14th, 2010 by

Auction Oct. 17th beginning at 10am

Includes, Fine Art, Rugs and Carpets, Furniture and Decorative Art and Silver

Auction Oct. 18th beginning at 10am

Includes, Toys and Collectibles, Asian Works of Art

Swann Galleries – Autographs

October 14th, 2010 by

Swann Autograph sales feature Presidents, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, military figures, statesmen, royalty and nobility, writers, scientists, artists, musicians, and entertainers. We are pleased to talk with you about your area of Autograph collecting interest.

This auction includes two autograph inscriptions signed by Thomas Edison declaring Abraham Lincoln his favorite American hero.

David and Marcia Hirsch antique advertising collection takes the spotlight at Morphy’s, Nov. 19-20

October 14th, 2010 by

DENVER, Pa. – In the field of graphic design, Chicagoan David Hirsch is known as the man with the golden eye. A founding partner of David Hirsch Design Group and later Hirsch O’Connor, he was the mastermind behind the artwork that branded a legion of commercial entities and products. And while it may be possible for many professionals to leave their work at the office, it has never been an option for Hirsch, who cannot view life through anything but an artistic lens, 24/7. The allure of illustrative imagery has always been a fascination to Hirsch, on or off the job, and it was his love of design that launched and perpetuated the phenomenal collection of antique advertising tins, signs, store displays and other promotional items he amassed over 40 years with his wife, Marcia. That collection, in its entirety, will be auctioned Nov. 19-20, 2010 at Morphy’s.

Opia Cigars reverse-on-glass sign with embossed flowers and gold-foil lettering, near mint, 10 inches by 9 inches, estimate $1,000-$1,500. Morphy Auctions image.

With the extended preview period currently under way, visitors to Morphy’s are being treated to a visual feast representing every color of the rainbow. The gallery walls and showcase shelves are laden with incredible signs of glass, tin, porcelain and paper; extraordinarily rare tins, many with paper labels that pre-date chromolithography; countertop and floor-model store displays, and every other imaginable form of packaging adorned with advertising.

Well over half of the articles to be offered in the 1,435-lot sale pertain to tobacco, with as many as 500 of them associated with cigars. There’s a 4-foot reverse-on-glass Ben Bey Cigars sign with porcelain store-counter lighter, a commanding 8-foot reverse-on-glass sign advertising Chancellor Cigars, and several signs featuring beguiling beauties of the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Among them is a stunning reverse-on-glass sign for Opia Cigars that features an ethereal woman surrounded by poppies and stars. Hirsch said he finds it curious that there is no manufacturer’s identification anywhere on the sign. “Considering it’s called ‘Opia’ and decorated with poppies, I can’t help wondering if the product might have had more than just tobacco in it,” Hirsch joked. The collection also contains both a tip tray and a change receiver with advertising for Opia.

Many items in the sale are as close to factory fresh as anyone could hope for. A pre-1900 Sweet Lavender Tobacco sign still has its original tobacco-theme cabinet cards attached to it, while a superb 24-inch-diameter Bull Durham charger is complete with its original ornate frame and shipping frame.

Derby Smoking Tobacco sign, late 19th century, embossed lithographed cardboard with horseracing image, 14¼ inches by 9 inches, estimate $900-$1,200. Morphy Auctions image.

A late-19th-century embossed and lithographed cardboard sign for Derby Smoking Tobacco, with the image of a jockey on a racehorse, could cross the finish line at $900-$1,200. Also very desirable are a Lillian Russell store counter lighter and an early Chicago Motor Club Cigars lighted display with original cigar tin.

Collectors will be spoiled for choice with the array of tins to be auctioned. One of only a few known examples, a Home Run Cigar tin features images of baseball players on a field and is expected to make $8,000-$12,000. Another baseball-oriented item – a pocket tin for 3-Strikes Granulated Cut Plug Tobacco – features the image of an old-time baseball player. Still housing its contents and believed to be one of only a handful in existence, it is expected to cross home plate at $5,000-$8,000. With a crossover comic character theme, a Buster Brown Cigar tin retains its original tax stamp and could make $2,000-$3,000.

Containers sized for small cigars include an unopened St. Leger Little Cigars tin with full tax stamp and a band indicating a silk novelty is included in each package; and an Intermission Little Cigars tin complete with a boxing card for pugilist Joe Jennette.

Kennebec Havana Cigar tin store bin with image of Indian chief on three sides, estimate $2,000-$4,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Metal bins once used to hold cigars for consumers to access in stores are extremely desirable. Among those in the Hirsch collection are an example for Kennebec Havana Cigars, with a beautiful image of an Indian chief on three sides, estimate $2,000-$4,000; and a circa-1910 Moa cigars tin store bin with an appealing image of an emu-like bird, estimate $2,000-$4,000.

A 7-foot-tall circa-1880s museum-quality heavy paper sign for Sweet Caporal has a military theme and advertises a tobacco manufactured by Kinney Bros. in New York. According to Hirsch, it is the only known example. Because it is possibly unique and has no past auction record for comparison, it has been given a wide estimate range of $3,000-$10,000.

While the Hirsch collection presents an incomparable panorama of tobacciana, it also includes a wealth of exceptional coffee tins, early marshmallow tins, spool cabinets, display cabinets, Ever-Ready razor displays, lozenge and medicinal canisters, and counter displays and signs for a huge variety of other products.

Sweet, Orr & Co. Overalls lithographed heavy paper advertising sign, 19th century, with United Garment Works of America label in center, only known example, estimate $2,500-$10,000. Morphy Auctions image.

“Just about anyone who collects antique advertising knows Dave and Marcia Hirsch, and recognizes the impeccable taste they have,” said Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “For many years Dave did the design work for the Antique Advertising Association of America’s award-winning quarterly newsletter, which is the best club newsletter I’ve ever seen. It’s not surprising that the same aesthetic carried through to the magnificent collection Dave and Marcia built over 40 years.”

All forms of bidding will be available for Dan Morphy’s Nov. 19-20 auction of the David and Marcia Hirsch antique advertising collection, which will be held at the Adamstown Antique Gallery, 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517. For additional information, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid online at or

Sotheby’s Old Master & British Paintings Sale

October 14th, 2010 by

Auction: Dec 8th and 9th 2010  London

Highlights Exhibition:

Oct 29th – Nov 9th 2010  New York

Nov 15th – 18th 2010  Paris

Nov 26th – 30th 2010  Amsterdam

Reyne Gauge: When a penny is worth more than 1 cent

October 14th, 2010 by

Do you remember when 1 cent would actually buy you a piece of gum in the gumball machine at the grocery store?  A little before my time there was also penny candy.

It’s been years since those copper colored coins meant much to anyone. I remember in high school seeing them on the ground and walking past them.  My friends and I thought “Find a penny pick it up..” but instead of the “and all day you’ll have good luck” part of the line – we said eh….keep walking….

The penny (or at least this one) has found a way to show everyone that a vintage penny can certainly shine again.  This particular coin was actually a mistake.  It was struck in a copper alloy in 1943 and is the only known “mistake of this kind” out there.

It was sold by a New Jersey coin dealer, Legend Numismatic ( for $1.7 million dollars.  And to show a penny can still be lucky, the proceeds went to charity.

In 1943, zinc coated steel was being used for pennies instead of copper. Copper was being used for war efforts.

The collector who purchased the penny noted he has searched for this coin for a very long time. He began collecting coins as a teenager and at one point, thought he had found the elusive penny but learned it was a fake.  Now, he has an example of every mint 1943 bronze cent produced.

What do I mean by every mint?  Apparently there were copper pennies produced in Denver, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.  It is estimated that less than 20 were struck in San Francisco and Philadelphia, and this coin being the only one known from Denver.  (I would be willing to bet another will surface after this publicized sale)

I would strongly suggest you check your pockets daily to see what coins might have been given to you throughout the day.  There are numerous websites that will offer pricing on coins for free. It could certainly be worth your while to investigate that spare pocket change which might be worth YOUR weight in gold.

Sotheby’s – Impressionist & Modern Art

October 14th, 2010 by

Impressionist & Modern Art in New York will feature some of the finest examples of European Masterwork from the late 19th and early 20th century, including innovative Impressionist canvases by Monet, Pissaro and Renoir, dynamic sculpture renderings in bronze by Matisse, Giacometti, Marini and Bugatti, vibrant landscapes by German Expressionists and powerful canvases from the final years of Picasso’s career.

Auction November 2nd & 3rd, 2010

S&S Auction – Decorative Arts, Modern Art & Design Auction

October 14th, 2010 by

Auction: Oct 18th 2010  8:00 am

Includes a selection of fine furnishings, modern art and modern furnishings.  There will also be pieces from private collections as well as estate pieces.

The Eleventh Annual Sewickley Antiques Show – October 15-17, 2010

October 14th, 2010 by

The Eleventh Annual Sewickley Antiques Show  will be held on October 15th, 16th, and 17th, 2010 at the Edgeworth Club in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.  This show is regarded as one of the premier antique shows in Southwestern PA with twenty-seven exhibitors from eight states.

Kicking off the Antique Show is the Preview Party held on Friday evening, October 15th. The Preview Party runs from 6:30pm to 9pm with an after party following from 9pm to 11pm. The cost for this exclusive event that includes a weekend show pass, entertainment, a drink voucher, and hours d’oeuvres is $65.00 per person.

The Show will run from Saturday October 16th, 10:00am to 5:00 pm., and Sunday October 17th, 11:00am to 4:00pm EST. The cost for the show pass is $10.00, valid all weekend. Proceeds benefit Child Health Association of Sewickley.

For more information, send us an email or call Jack Squires at 724-992-1290.  Click here for directions to the Edgeworth Club in Sewickley.


Susan’s Antiques
New Cumberland, WV

J and M Antiques
East Amherst, NY

Sweets Antiques
Gowanda, NY

Candlewood Antiques
Ardara, PA

Timeless Treasures
Pittsburgh, PA

Paul Fisher Antiques
Indianapolis, IN

Jack Squires Antiques
Grove City, PA 16127

Peter Chillingworth
Scenery Hill, PA

Spencer Antiques
Granville, OH

Frank and Mary Ann Brandt
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Jane Langol Antiques
Medina, Ohio

Bedford on the Square Antiques
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Malcolm McFarland
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

John Kroeck
Leetsdale, PA

Brill’s Antiques
Newport News, VA

VanWhy’s Antiques
Zelienople, PA

East End Galleries
Pittsburgh, PA

Fern Larking Kao
Bowling Green, OH

Kevin T. Ransom Bookseller
Amherst, NY

Martines Antiques
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Johanna Antiques
Kingsville, MD

Sandra Rutan
Warren, Ohio

White & White
Skaneateles, NY

Moir Galleries
Chagrin Falls, OH

Whimsy Antiques
Harmony, PA

Steve Levine Antiques
Alexandria, VA

Joseph Hayes Antiques
Columbus, OH

Noel Barrett presents the Old Salem Toy Museum and Thomas A. Gray antique toy collection in a Nov. 19-20 auction

October 13th, 2010 by

Highlight: George Brown ‘Monitor’ to be auctioned together with illustration from George Brown Sketchbook.

NEW HOPE, Pa. – Last May the Old Salem Toy Museum in Old Salem, N.C., closed its doors for the last time on a spectacular collection of antique toys, holiday items, dollhouses, miniatures and other children’s playthings, some dating to as early as 225 A.D. The collection was built over many years by businessman Thomas A. Gray and his mother Anne P. Gray, members of a highly respected family of North Carolina philanthropists. Both Tom Gray’s grandfather, James A. Gray, and his great-uncle, Bowman Gray Sr., held the position of chairman of the board of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. One would presume correctly that the museum’s toy collection ranked among the very finest of its type.

While the museum is now part of antique toy history after eight years of operation, the collection has one last public appearance to fulfill, which it will do when it is auctioned by Noel Barrett on Nov. 19-20 in New Hope, Pa. Auction proceeds will be used to acquire and conserve Moravian and Southern decorative art objects for the Old Salem Museum & Gardens, a restored 18th-/19th-century North Carolina Moravian community that is part of a National Historic Landmark district.

Early to mid-19th-century Erzgebirge (Germany) ship with paper sails, pennants and flag; carved-wood horse figurehead, 12 painted-wood sailors, 7¾ inches long, estimate $8,000-$10,000. Noel Barrett image.

Between 800 and 900 lots will be offered in the Friday evening/Saturday auction sessions, with the main categories including early European and American toys, Erzgebirge carved-wood figures and sets, beautifully outfitted rooms and shops, Christmas and other holiday antiques, desirable German-made miniatures, and doll’s houses.

Noel Barrett explained that when the museum was in its formulative stages, Tom Gray was actively buying American toys. One of the great treasures he acquired was George Brown’s Monitor. “Any aficionado would agree, this ship is an American toy masterpiece,” Barrett said. “It’s one of the most highly prized pieces in the collection and will be auctioned together with an illustration from the George Brown Sketchbook.”

Marklin child-size fire pumper, possibly the only surviving example, heavy sheet steel and cast iron, 32½ inches long, 16 inches wide, estimate $15,000-$20,000. Noel Barrett image.

German toys of tin and other metals are highlighted by an incredible 33-inch-long Marklin child-size fire-pumper wagon large enough for two small children to pump simultaneously. It is the only known example, Barrett said. Additional key lots include a lovely clockwork airplane roundabout with Wright Brothers-style bi-planes and a lithographed American flag; and an oversize Fischer Bleriot-style airplane. Among the Marklin boats to be auctioned is a large-size Battleship New York.

At least 10 sets of German painted-wood figures in bentwood boxes reside in the collection, with Barrett’s favorite being a 19th-century Erzgebirge hunting set comprised of a hunter on his horse, a dog, eight trees with tightly curled wood shavings to replicate leafy branches, four deer and a wild boar. Described as being similar to sets depicted in an 1850 book, it is expected to make $8,000-$10,000 at auction. Also noteworthy in the section devoted to wood toys are: one of the most complete Schoenhut Humpty Dumpty Circuses ever to be displayed publicly, at least four different German-made menageries containing a wide array of miniature animals (mostly painted wood), and two rare hand-colored sample catalogs issued by German manufacturers.

“One of the great strengths of the collection is the Erzkebirge and other miniatures made by premier European makers,” said Noel Barrett. “There’s a huge variety of miniatures by Rock & Graner, Evans & Cartwright, and many pieces of what are generically called ‘ormolu’ but recently were determined to have been made by Ehrhardt & Sohne for Marklin.” Within the auction inventory’s many delightful miniatures by Rock & Graner are a jardinière with lithophane and serpentine front legs, and a squirrel cage that Barrett says is “even more elaborate than the one Flora Gill Jacobs had in the Washington Dolls’ House and Toy Museum.”

German tobacco shop room box, late-19th century and almost certainly a Christian Hacker, featuring deluxe appointments such as faux-marble columns, a Schweitzer chandelier, glass-topped cigar display box full of miniature faux cigars, two finely dressed circa-1880 Simon & Halbig gentlemen dolls, 21¼ inches long by 15½ inches tall by 15½ inches deep, estimate $8,000-$12,000. Noel Barrett image.

The collection contains the only known cigar shop/tobacconist room box. Previously, it was thought to have been the work of Rock & Graner, but thanks to the recent publication of a scrupulously researched book on Christian Hacker, it is now almost certain that the tobacco shop was a Hacker design. “It has all the earmarkings of Hacker’s style, which is very distinctive,” Barrett said.

Its interior fittings are “simply magnificent,” Barrett continued. “It has a zinc humidor with marbleized top built into the wall, a Rock & Graner display table full of cigars, and all sorts of tobacco products arranged on the shelves. It’s exactly how a late-19th-century tobacconist’s emporium would have looked. It has marbleized support columns, faux-wood fixtures and cabinetry with numerous opening doors, embossed gold trim, glazed doors, a velvet valance – no detail was overlooked. It even has a Schweitzer chandelier.”

Other room boxes to be auctioned include a millinery shop, multiple Nuremburg kitchens, and a butcher shop previously in the collection of the Mary Merritt Doll & Toy Museum. “When Mr. Gray bought the butcher shop at the Merritt Museum auction, it had a white-painted case. He managed to remove the paint so the case could be returned to its original finish. It’s luscious looking, now.”

One of the grandest of Rock & Graner’s many superlative designs is the museum collection’s circa-1890 oversize tin landau coach measuring 30 inches in length. It features such deluxe realistic details as a folding oilcloth roof, opening doors, plated lamps and spoke wheels.

German-made holiday antiques will be in plentiful supply, including Santa figures and colorful Halloween and Easter rarities. “It’s very difficult to pick a favorite from this collection,” said Barrett, “but the top ten would certainly include the 23-inch-tall hollow Santa with faux-ermine trim and one of the greatest painted faces I’ve ever seen. It’s a very unusual size and simply beautiful.”

Circa-1870 Erzgebirge (Germany) ark with painted-straw marquetry designs, more than 200 passengers including six people and 61 pairs of animals, 23 pairs of birds; 22 inches long, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett image.

Nominated by Barrett as “possibly the best of the Easter lots” is a standing rabbit with three baby rabbits that was formerly in the Mary Merritt Doll Museum collection. “It’s surely one of the most charming Easter toys ever made,” Barrett said.

Those who appreciate the incomparable quality of late-19th and early 20th-century German lithography are sure to be tempted by the two exquisite pop-up books with a circus theme. One of them, made by Meggendorfer, is titled Grand Circus; while the other is a rare Nister book featuring early European-style circus characters.

Uptown real estate to be auctioned includes two lovely Spanish dollhouses. One of them is a duplex house with five sliding panels on the front; the other is a Second Empire townhouse with mansard roof.

Barrett said the Old Salem Toy Museum and Thomas A. Gray collection will attract the buyer who goes for quality and European artistry. “Toys of this type just don’t come to the auction market,” he observed.

All forms of bidding will be available for this sale, including live via the Internet. For additional information, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail Visit Noel Barrett Auctions’ Web site at

Swann Galleries – Whistler & His Influence and Old Master through Modern Prints

October 13th, 2010 by

Catalogues now online

Auction: Oct 27th 2010  2:30 pm & Oct 28th 2010  10:30 am – 2:30 pm

New York