Archive for February, 2011

18th-Century Aubusson Tapestry, Superior English Inlaid Tilt Table Poised for Success in Quinn’s March 5 Auction of International Fine Art, Furniture

February 28th, 2011 by

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – While Washington, D.C., has long been a hive for international activity, the district’s suburb of Falls Church, Va., is where the fine art of many nations will be showcased on Saturday, March 5. That’s when Quinn’s Auction Galleries will host its 500-lot International Furnishings, Fine & Decorative Arts sale.

English walnut and marquetry inlaid tilt-top center table, mid 19th century, manner of Edward Holmes Baldock (English, 1777-1845). Estimate $8,000-$12,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image.

“The selection of fine art and furniture in this auction is, by far, the finest and most diverse we have ever offered,” said Quinn’s VP Communications & Marketing Matthew Quinn. “The main consignor is a Washington-area physician who has very refined taste and a preference for English furniture and Continental paintings.”

A premier piece from the doctor’s consignment is an 1850 English walnut with marquetry tilt-top table measuring 57 inches tall and 56 inches in diameter, crafted in the manner of Edward Holmes Baldock (English, 1777-1845). Supported by a deeply and ornately carved base, its cabriole-edge tabletop features panels decorated with a profusion of inlaid wildflower bouquets in natural-wood tones, and a central design of multicolored flowers and foliage.

“It is one of the best pieces of furniture ever to come to our gallery. The quality is just tremendous,” said Quinn, who related its history. “An interior designer had been brought in to furnish the doctor’s spacious residence and suggested decorating it with new furniture. The doctor didn’t like the idea, so he and his wife traveled to the UK and handpicked furniture for the home. According to the sales receipt, they bought the table from Butchoff Antiques in London on Feb. 4, 1999.” At Quinn’s auction, the table will be offered with a conservative estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

Circa-1850 Louis XV Aubusson fete champetre tapestry, wool and silk, 7 ft. by 12 ft., ex Mayorcas Collection of Tapestries and Textiles. Estimate $15,000-$25,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image.

Also from the physician’s residence comes an exquisite circa-1750 fete champetre Louis XV Aubusson tapestry after Jean-Baptiste Huet, 7 ft. by 12 ft. and titled Le Cheval Fondu. The wool and silk tapestry depicts a garden party, with four young men engaged in a game, and a woman sitting with a child on a log, all against a densely detailed background of trees. Provenance: The Mayorcas Collection of Tapestries and Textiles, Christie’s, Feb. 12, 1999, Lot #7. It is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

An 1876 gilt-framed Gustave Colin (French, 1828-1910) Impressionist oil on canvas of a French village is signed and dated by the artist. Colin’s mastery in creating the illusions of light and shade is amply evident in his depiction of a stately tree that towers above villagers in and around a town park. The 29- by 38-inch (sight) painting is expected to fetch $15,000-$20,000.

Jose Gurvich (Lithuanian/Uruguayan, 1927-1974), Puerto de Montevideo, 1950, oil on canvas, 19 by 16 inches (sight). Estimate $13,000-$15,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image.

The European art lineup continues with a painting from a different consignor – a Jaroslav Vesin (Bulgarian, 1859-1915) oil-on-canvas depiction of two horses pulling a primitive sled against a bleak wintry setting. A driver commandeers the horses past a snow-covered mill house as two bundled-up female passengers share an animated exchange from their seat in the sleigh, giving the viewer much to study in the well-executed 19¼- by 29½-inch (sight) painting. The presale estimate is $10,000-$15,000, but as Quinn remarked, “It has the potential to do much better. The subject matter is quite desirable in today’s marketplace, and its quality is obvious.”

A previously unpublished screenprint of an Andy Warhol painting titled Orchids could end up being the sale’s “sleeper.” Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from The Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board Inc., it carries a $5,000-$8,000 estimate. “Prints of Warhol’s known works can brings in the tens of thousands of dollars,” Quinn said. “This print was unpublished, so it could be very intriguing to collectors.”

Two paintings by Lithuanian/Uruguayan artist Jose Gurvich (1927-1974) will be auctioned. One of them, a 1950 Montevideo port scene, is signed and dated by the artist and estimated at $13,000-$15,000.

Other artworks to be auctioned include an 1874 oil-on-canvas painting of Shakespeare’s tragic character Ophelia, by Tomkins Harrison Matteson (American, 1813-1884); and a work by the noted African-American folk artist Clementine Hunter (circa 1887-1988).

While Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse’s (French, 1824-1887) bronzes are more commonly seen at auction than his works in other media, many collectors are enamored of his terra cotta figures, like the one in Quinn’s upcoming sale titled Amazone Captive. The subject is a nude maiden chained to a tree stump with arrows, a shield and helmet alongside her. Estimate $8,000-$12,000.

Madoura/Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) earthenware pitcher, Cavalier and Horse, 8¾ inches high, circa 1952, 28/300, Madoura Plein Feu pottery stamps. Estimate $4,000-$6,000. Quinn’s Auction Galleries image.

A wonderful example of Picasso pottery to be offered is a painted earthenware pitcher titled Cavalier and Horse. Standing 8¾ inches high, the piece was made around 1952. Under its base, it has an impressed Madoura mark and in black paint, the words “Edition Picasso 28/300.” According to Matt Quinn’s research, only a few of its type have been offered in major auctions in the last 10 years. Estimate $4,000-$6,000.

Among the many other items included in the March 5 auction are: English plant stands, an étagère, music cabinet and circa-1800 chest on chest; 150+ Chinese snuff bottles from a Southern California collector, a Maria Montoya Martinez (Native American, 1881-1980) decorative pot in rarely seen red coloration, an early 19th-century Regency carved giltwood Ouroboros mirror, and three 18th/early-19th-century limestone garden ornaments. Additionally, the sale includes an 1860s repousse sterling silver tea kettle on stand in the Castle pattern and repousse silver service, both by S. Kirk & Son, Baltimore.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet. For additional information, call Matthew Quinn at 703-532-5632 or e-mail Visit Quinn’s online at

Fellows – March Auction Talk

February 28th, 2011 by

Antique & Modern Jewellery Auction – March 3rd 2011, 10:00 am

Silver, Plated Ware, Coins & Medals Auction – March 7th 2011, 10:00 am

Costume, Silver Jewellery & Novelties Auction – March 7th 2011, 10:00 am

Antique & Later Furniture, Ceramics, Clocks, Glassware, Paintings, Toys, Dolls & Collectables Auction- March 22nd 2011, 10:00 am

Swann Galleries – Printed & Manuscript: African Americana

February 27th, 2011 by

Auction: March 10th 2011, 10:30 am and 2:30 pm

Antique Toy Soldiers & Miniatures

February 22nd, 2011 by

Contributed by – a membership-based service specializing in providing identification & appraisal advice on antiques & collectibles.

There is a long-standing interest that seems to be growing of collecting Antique Toy Soldiers or troops and battalions of these metallic Lilliputians. The most widely known organization for Antique Soldier collectors is the Miniature Figure Collectors of America that regularly convenes at various locations where avid collectors and dealers meet in admiration of the miniature martial arts. In these collectors meetings, many awards are usually handed out with a categorical diversification rivaling the Oscars.

To the regular person, this may seem a passion appropriate only to little boys, but amassing toy soldiers is becoming ever more recognized as a serious collecting concern. It is certainly becoming a great deal more expensive, a fact that may contribute to its apparent new image. Commerce is definitely taking accelerated note of the hobby. Toy soldier shops have sprouted up in such cities as San Francisco, New Orleans, Boston, Pittsburgh and Denver. On upper Madison Avenue in New York stands the oldest of such stores, the Soldier Shop. Nearby, the Burlington Bookshop has been converted a balcony into a glassed-in barracks for small troops; and a midtown Manhattan store, The Complete Strategist, not only sells the toys but also entertains aficionados at Saturday afternoon “war games.”

Not coincidentally, the fine art auction house, Phillips, has frequently held many auctions in the United States devoted entirely to toy soldiers, sales that often include more than 5,000 pieces from various private Toy Soldier collections. The sums fetched are always noteworthy, rivaling amounts produced at London Auction houses.

These auctions provide good examples of what models sell for – and how, in general, prices are exceeding expectations. The appreciation in value of miniatures is dramatic. Models now sought-after used to be purchased by children in Woolworth’s – when five-and-dime meant five-and-dime. Orson Munn, who should know on two counts, since he is both an avid collector and a money manager, recalls: “Toys that cost ten cents not too long ago are today worth six dollars. I remember walking home from school to save subway money so I could buy a box of soldiers for sixty-nine cents. Those soldiers are now bringing up to eighty dollars a box.” Mainly mass-produced and inexpensive, many of these early toys are indeed treasures today. An increase in value of 50,000 percent is not uncommon. It must be acknowledged that individual soldiers once cost as little as a penny and also that fifty years of rising prices cloud the true value.

Most of the models are identified by the brand names of their manufacturers: Britains, Mignot, Heyde, Courtenay, Stadden, Warren, Johilico, Timpo, Metayer, Authenticast.

Nobody really knows how many collectors there are in the United States. We don’t even know how many important collectors there are, because, for so many years, there was closet collecting. You were considered a bit odd if you were still ‘playing with kids’ toys’ when you were in your twenties.” However, Peter J. Blum has apparently opened some closet doors. He owns The Soldier Shop, the flourishing New York City enterprise that has a mailing list of some 25,000 in the East, between Boston and Washington. He estimated that there are between 80,000 and 130,000 collectors in the nation.

The ultimate proof of the growth of this hobby has been the steady development of specialists within the field. Some collect certain brands, such as Britains, Heyde, Mignot. Others concentrate on specific units, such as colonial troops of the British Army. Still others are involved as converters, who artfully change – by welding, painting, substituting weapons – the era of a model. For instance, one patient and finicky hobbyist turned a World War II German storm trooper into a Napoleonic grenadier. Other specialists include the aesthetes, who narrow their choice to figures they consider particularly beautiful: without being pressed they will suggest that someday these may be regarded as works of art, albeit tiny ones.

Among the ranks of collectors are such aficionados as Malcolm Forbes, the publisher; Andrew Wyeth, the artist and others. Winston Churchill also collected toy soldiers; so did Charlotte and Emily Bronte. One factor common to them seems to be a basic pride combined with a wry admission of addiction. Many collectors of toy soldiers confess that they have trouble stopping once started. One is quoted as saying “I am the nuttiest of the toy soldier nuts. I started collecting troops at platoon level, and now I’m up to battalions and regiments.”

There are a huge number of different types of Toy Soldiers and many collectors seem to prefer one type over another. For example, in our research, we have encountered mounted Algerians with flying capes, Mexicans with sombreros, kilted Greek evzones, Prussians with backpacks, Chinese of the Boxer Rebellion.

The surest way to tell the collector from the dabbler is that the collector differentiates between true “toy soldiers” and miniatures. The vast majority of collectors have concentrated on the toys, which were mass-produced and originally intended as playthings. They were usually about two and a quarter inches high. The so-called “Big Three” of this field are Britains, Heyde and Mignot. Heyde, which was located in Dresden, Germany, was wiped out during the bombings of World War II, a fact that gives its products extra collecting value. Mignot is a French firm that goes back to 1825; it was from Mignot that Napoleon III ordered a small lead army for his son. Britains, which made mechanical toys in the mid-nineteenth century, decided to take a fling at toy soldiers to help celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It introduced hollowed soldiers, rather than the traditional solid type, a technique which led the manufacturer to a preeminent position in this small world. In contrast, Germany has long been the source of a special flat metallic soldier about half the size of the standard toy and, as the name suggests, two-dimensional.

Miniatures, as distinct from toys, are made as individuals. They tend to be larger, up to ten inches tall, and they are extremely exact in terms of military detail. Miniatures are intended for adult collectors; not unexpectedly, they tend to cost more than toy soldiers. Addicts of miniatures, though they may have grown up on the garden-variety soldier, search most avidly for the more exact and historically accurate “non-toys.” These are sometimes called Collector Figures, with such brand names as Stadden, Metayer, Desfon- taines, Berdou, Courtenay and, more recently, Imrie/Risley or Historex.

The collecting dichotomy is not rigid; some collectors have both toys and miniatures, and even the price differential can be uncertain. Toy soldiers were often destroyed, mangled and abandoned by their young owners. Given this fearful casualty toll, toys from as recently as the early twentieth century have gained “antique” status simply by having survived the child wars. Reflecting this situation, for example, pre-1914 soldiers by Britains are called “Ancient Britains.” Also, rarity increased the price of many toys to above the level of the miniatures. These overlaps have led to the use of the term “model soldiers,” encompassing both types.

As with any aging objects, there is the problem of maintaining models in good condition. Lead is a soft metal; the little figures can lose arms, legs, banners, guns and spears. Their paint can be chipped. Any repairs or repainting lowers the value, but honest dealers and collectors make no effort to palm off repaired merchandise under false pretenses; on any piece that has been fixed or repainted, they paste a bit of paper with the letter R.

An overall change in the entire manufacturing field occurred in 1962 when England ruled that toy soldiers made of lead were dangerous to children and should not be produced. This spurred the already growing production of plastic soldiers, and, naturally, increased the value of pre-1962 English models. Coincidentally, the ruling gave birth to a number of companies that sidestepped the legislation by specifying that their product was not intended for children.
There have been little soldiers, plastic or pewter, as long as there have been their life-size counterparts. In a book-lined office at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dr. Helmut Nickel, curator of arms and armor, has evidence that the history of the breed goes back to antiquity. He has a photograph of a clay Greek Hoplites, the original of which was found in an ancient Greek tomb of a child dating ca 800 BC, around Homer’s time. “Much later, we can see knight-like toys from between 1360 and 1370, now in the Cluny Museum in Paris. They are about two-and-three-eighths inches high and is made of pewter.” Around 1500, there were small brass jousting figures, about five inches high.

In the eighteenth century, little armies of figurines were turned out, generally in larger quantities and all in the same mold, like tiny robots. Though mainly for museums, some were made for rather special little boys: a toy army is said to have been made for young Louis XIV.
In the nineteenth century, the largest producer of metal soldiers was Heinrichsen, in Nuremberg, Germany. These were of pewter and, as was typical of Germany, flat. In a museum in Kulmbach, Germany, specializing in metal figurines, there are 350 dioramas of such little soldiers; one battle scene uses nearly 10,000 figurines. Similar representations of battles – the American Revolution’s Battle of Harlem Heights and the 1476 Battle of Grandson in Switzerland – are in the Metropolitan’s Hall of Arms and Armor.

In fact, it is this kind of “view down the corridors of the past” that motivates many present-day collectors. Most Toy Soldier collectors are inquirers; they usually are interested in history. Although, amassing a collection is fun and exciting, especially if one can find pieces before others do. Everyone is always looking for the great treasure. Even collectors with less zeal have their moments. This is evident at gatherings of collectors, say at flea markets; it is easy to spot excited bargain hunters haggle away towards their next addition to their collection of toy soldiers.
Interestingly, many collectible toy soldiers tend to be on parade. For example, most are in the formation best calculated to show off their dress uniforms. Because of this, some of the most coveted items are noncombatants, such as military bands. Moreover, many models are only peripherally warlike, for example Hannibal’s elephant or Lord Nelson with Lady Hamilton. Others are frankly pacifistic: a brewer’s wagon with shire horses and barrels; a deep-sea diver, an archbishop.
In fact, many collectors believe that Toy Soldier design and manufacturing is an Art form. Although “Aesthetics” may be a heavy word, these figures were not made as altar pieces for a cathedral. Personally, I think the correct word is charm. They have charm, and they isolate little pieces of the past.

Estate antiques, art, garden statuary form a luxurious lineup for Auctions Neapolitan’s Feb. 26 Collectors’ Delight sale

February 22nd, 2011 by

NAPLES, Fla. – A carefully hand-picked selection of estate antiques, fine and decorative art, garden statuary and furniture is waiting in the wings for Auctions Neapolitan’s Feb. 26 Collectors’ Delight sale. The 425-lot auction offers a quality array of fresh to the market items from some of Naples’ most tastefully appointed residences.

Pair of rare, latter 19th-century Venetian parcel gilt and polychrome painted wood putti, each 57 inches tall and holding a reticulated carved wood cache pot with original tole liners. Estimate for pair $7,000-$9,000. Auctions Neapolitan image.

Auctions Neapolitan’s owner, Kathleen Pica, describes the auction’s contents as being “a wide mix with reasonable estimates,” adding, “I think bidders are going to be surprised and very pleased at the abundance of particularly nice items we’ve chosen for this sale. It was actually quite difficult to narrow down the choices for this sale, which we wanted to keep to around 400 lots. So many beautiful pieces have come in to the gallery lately, we’ve found it pleasantly challenging to create the ideal auction inventory.”

The garden art portion of the Saturday afternoon event is led by a rare pair of latter-19th-century Venetian parcel gilt and polychrome painted wood putti on stands. Masterfully carved and detailed, each of the cherubs supports on its “cushioned” head a reticulated, carved-wood cachepot with original tole liner. The figures stand 57 inches tall and came from a Naples residence. They will be auctioned as a pair with an estimate of $7,000-$9,000.

A quartet of life-size Italian marble cherubs in various endearing poses is a figural representation of the four seasons. Each 36-inch-tall cherub holds, or is draped with, a seasonal form of vegetation, such as a cherries and apples; grapes, pinecones, or a floral garland. The charming garden foursome is expected to fetch $4,000-$6,000.

Another garden entry in the sale – a mustard-yellow painted metal, bamboo and leather dining set – serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose, and retains its four sturdy matching chairs with leather details. Estimate: $400-$600.

19th-century Russian icon The Kazan Mother of God and The Christ Child delivering a blessing, 8 inches by 9 inches. Estimate $1,200-$1,800. Auctions Neapolitan image.

Several 19th-century Russian icons are to be auctioned, including a depiction of The Kazan Mother of God and The Christ Child receiving a blessing; and a second example that depicts Christ Pantocrator, measuring 14 inches by 12 inches. Each of the icons is estimated at $1,200-$1,800.

An elegant and profusely detailed Russian enameled-silver cigarette case is hallmarked and displays the number “84” and initials “NC” in an oval. The enamelwork, which is executed in an appealing palette of turquoise, cobalt blue, burgundy and white, is entirely intact. The case is estimated at $1,200-$1,500.

A Russian abstract floral still life signed “Babur” measures 61 inches by 48 inches, framed. It carries a presale estimate of $1,400-$1,800.

In the Asian art category, bidders will have the opportunity to pursue a painted-leather three-panel Chinese screen decorated with a landscape scene featuring figures, cranes and temple and other images. Each panel measures 16½ inches by 68 inches, with a signature and “chop” at lower left. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000.

Russian enameled-silver cigarette case, hallmarked with '84' and 'NC' in oval. Auctions Neapolitan image. Estimate $1,200-$1,500. Auctions Neapolitan image.

Published around 1934 by The Limited Editions Club, New York, a complete set of six signed Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) etchings – Aristophanes, Lysistrata – includes: Serment des Femmes, Deux Veillards et Voilier, Cinesias et Myrrhine, Couple et Enfant, Le Festin and Accord entre les Guerriers de Sparte et d’Athenes. In addition to bearing the artist’s pencil signature, each of the six etchings in the volume measures 13 inches by 10½ inches, is numbered 150/48 and has been double-matted under glass and framed. The lot estimate is $14,000-$18,000.

The decorative arts section of the sale includes a pair of late-19th-century Famille Rose bronze ormolu urns mounted as lamps, $400-$900; an Art Nouveau life-size marble sculpture of a nude female, dated 1922 and signed L. Guarrini, $1,500-$2,000; and a pair of fine circa-1900 Art Nouveau bronze vases signed Abel. The latter duo will be auctioned with an estimate of $1,800-$2,600.

German silver folding muffin warmer, gold-washed interior with pierced guards, stamped '800' with a crown. Estimate $700-$900. Auctions Neapolitan image.

The soft shine of old sterling silver is seen in both the Dominick & Haff (for Tilden Thurber & Co.) 8-inch chased repousse pitcher and the German muffin warmer with gold-washed interior and a weight of 49 troy ounces. Each is estimated at $700-$900.

Kathleen Pica said she expects a very good turnout for the auction since so many buyers are already going to be in town over the same weekend for the first-ever Naples International Art & Antique Fair (opens Feb. 24, runs through March 1). “Being able to attend a quality auction adds another dimension to the buying opportunities over the weekend,” Pica said. “We look forward to welcoming antique show visitors to our auction event and introducing them to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.”

The Feb.26 auction will begin at 12 noon Eastern Time. For questions on any item in the auction, call Kathleen Pica at Auctions Neapolitan at 239-262-7333 or e-mail <> . Visit the company’s website at

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at <> .

Swann Galleries – Master Drawings at Swann

February 18th, 2011 by

Includes Marino Marini’s Marino from Shakespeare I, color aquatint, 1977. There are 2 catalogues for this sale. Part 2 consists of lots 177-717. Selecting the Online Catalogue will give you both parts 1 and 2 from lot 1-717.

Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper – Tuesday Express Auction

February 18th, 2011 by

Featuring Mid Century Modern Design

Offering a large consignment of Mid Century Furniture and Ceramics

Sotheby’s – What Is Modern: The Collection of Mark McDonald

February 18th, 2011 by

One of America’s most influential dealers of 20th century design, Mark McDonald has played a key role in building the international market for midcentury furniture, ceramics and glass. What Modern Is will offer iconic, museum quality yet affordable masterworks of American, Scandinavian and Italian Design, with many of the works carrying estimates in the range of $5000-$30,000.

Fellows – Secondhand Jewellery & Watches

February 14th, 2011 by

Auction of Secondhand Jewellery & Watches on Feb 17th 2011, 10:00 am

Fellows is also looking for consignments for their upcoming sales

Swann Galleries – 19th & 20th Century Prints & Drawings

February 14th, 2011 by

Catalog now available online for Swann’s March 3rd sale of Prints and Drawings.