Archive for June, 2013

Bidders spend $610,000 at Morphy’s well-attended June 1 Antique Advertising Auction

June 17th, 2013 by

Puss in Boots Fortune-Teller fulfills its prophecy of success, sells for $21,000

DENVER, Pa. – A storybook cat with a talent for prognostication leaped to the top of prices realized at Morphy’s June 1st auction of antique advertising and coin-op machines. Made by Roover Brothers sometime between 1897 and 1904, Puss in Boots the Fortune-Teller was encased in a glass, wood and metal penny arcade machine and offered complete with 100 fortune cards. The psychic feline garnered a winning bid of $21,000 and led the day’s lineup of 537 lots, which grossed $610,000. All prices quoted are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.

Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal, $7,200. Morphy Auctions image.

Although one of Morphy’s smaller events, the specialty auction drew “a packed house,” said company CEO Dan Morphy. “Advertising signs attracted the lion’s share of bidding,” he added.

There was strong interest in a scarce circa-1910 to 1920 Phoenix Pure Paint curved porcelain corner sign with the image of a Native-American boy holding a hand mirror and applying paint to his face. The colorful sign exceeded its presale estimate and closed at $15,600.

An 8-piece Coca-Cola prototype window display depicting Rip Van Winkle and the Jolly Elves “pausing for refreshment” was bid to $7,800 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000. In the breweriana section, a 1900-1910 framed poster advertising Lorelei Beer of Helena, Montana, with an image of the fetching mermaid-like maiden of nautical lore, achieved an above-estimate $3,900.

Other signs that finished well in the money included an appealing Eveready Flashlights/Batteries/Mazda Lamps figural flange sign, which doubled its high estimate in realizing $6,000; and a self-framed tin sign advertising Frazer Axle Grease, with a wonderfully detailed image of two horse-drawn wagon drivers discussing a wheel mishap, $4,800. Another standout was a Boston Locomotive Works 4-color chromolithographed builder’s print, dated 1858, with the image of a steam-powered passenger engine. It sold for $4,200.

More than 150 gambling, vending and other coin-operated machines were offered. A Pace’s “Kitty” slot machine in vibrant primary colors on metal reached $7,200; while a beautiful Wurlitzer Model 71 countertop jukebox made the midpoint of its estimate range at $5,400. Manufactured around 1940-1941, the Model 71 in Morphy’s sale played selections correctly and, according to Dan Morphy, “had a great sound.”

Morphy’s next auction featuring antique advertising will be held on August 6th. A General Antiques auction is slated for August 20th, and a major Toys & Sports Memorabilia sale will follow on September 7th. For additional information, contact Morphy Auctions by calling 717-335-3435 or e-mailing Visit Morphy’s online at

Musical equipment from estate of Dave Matthews Band founding member in Quinn & Farmer June 15 auction

June 14th, 2013 by

Art highlight: Tom Wesselmann’s steel drawing ‘Monica Sitting Undressing’

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – On Saturday, June 15, 2013 Quinn & Farmer Auctioneers will host their monthly gallery auction, with Internet live bidding through A featured highlight of the 380-lot auction is a selection of items from the estate of saxophonist LeRoi Moore, who was a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band. The sale also includes items from the luxurious Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, Va.; a collection of US Presidential memorabilia, Inuit sculpture and an exceptional Tom Wesselmann steel drawing titled “Monica Sitting Undressed.”

The LeRoi Moore articles include speakers, subwoofers, instruments, and other musical production equipment of the highest quality, as well as custom furniture by Jaeger & Ernst. A stellar lot is a pair of model 802 Diamond Bowers and Wilkins speakers that feature free-mounted diamond dome tweeters, Nautilus™ tube tweeter loadings, Quad magnet tweeter motors, Kevlar® brand fibre-cone FST™ mid-ranges, Sphere/tube midrange enclosures, Rohacell® cone basses, Dual magnet bass driver motors, and Matrix™ cabinets. The speakers have been estimated at $5,000-$15,000 the pair.

An array of fine prints, engravings, and paintings of portraiture and hunting scenes comes to auction from the Boar’s Head Inn. These highly sought-after pieces were displayed at the famous resort, which is owned by the local University of Virginia and has hosted many dignitaries and celebrities alike. Featured items include a hand-colored engraving by H. Alkin, Clark & Debourg; numerous hunt scenes, architectural accents and a large oil-on-canvas portrait of James Butler, 2nd Duke of Ormonde. The portrait stands nearly 4ft tall and over 3ft wide, and its regal subject is dressed in fine 18th-century period attire.

Quinn & Farmer Auctions image.

Pop art will be well represented by Lot 271, Tom Wesselmann’s steel drawing titled “Monica Sitting Undressing.” The piece is number 5 of 25 steel cuttings created in 1986. The alkyd oil on cut-out steel drawing depicts the simple nude image of his wife Monica, one of his most prominent muses. Wesselmann’s signature “Tom Wesselmann 1986/98 Steel Drawing Edition/ Monica Sitting Undressing 5/25” appears on verso. Also included are photocopied directions that Tom Wesselmann hand-wrote regarding the piece’s preferred installation.

Quinn & Farmer’s June 15th gallery auction will begin at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. To contact the auction house for additional information, call 434-293-2904 or email

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

Waverly Rare Books to auction Author’s Edition of Muybridge’s 1887 Animal Locomotion on June 20

June 7th, 2013 by

363-lot book auction also includes early maps of Mid-Atlantic states, Texas, Calif., Oregon

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – On June 20th, Waverly Rare Books will auction an extraordinary photographic rarity – an Author’s Edition folio version of Eadweard Muybridge’s (British, 1830-1904) Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements.

The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 23 vols., 1900-1901 with 1902 biography by George E. Woodbury. Est. $1,500-$2,500. Waverly Rare Books image.

Initially published in 1887 as an 11-volume set, Animal Locomotion contained a total of 781 plates. Thirty-seven sets were produced and subsequently purchased by major art institutions, museums and libraries in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

The Public Edition of Animal Locomotion contained 100 plates and was issued by subscription for $100. “The subscriber would examine one of the complete sets in a public institution, then chose his or her favorites,” explained Waverly Rare Books’ director, Monika Schiavo.

The Author’s Edition, which is the centerpiece of Waverly’s June 20 catalog auction, originally consisted of 21 plates selected by the author or editor from Muybridge’s complete series of animal locomotion plates. Of those 21 plates, one plate (Plate 465) is missing, leaving 20 plates.

“Generally, a single lost plate can reduce a book’s value considerably, but in cases where the book is highly valuable, as is the case with this one, the loss in value is nowhere near as great, as buyers would have few – if any – alternatives,” said Schiavo.

Citing auction comparables of the past, Schiavo noted that an Author’s Edition with 21 plates, personally inscribed by Muybridge, sold at Swann Galleries in March 2010 for $48,000. A copy of a Public Edition with 54 collotype plates sold for $14,900 at Sotheby’s in November 2008. Its condition was a question mark but “likely to be very poor, given the catalog description that said ‘Fragment only – Disbound,’” Schiavo said.

In 2007 an album with 100 plates in faux morocco wraps with some dampstaining, minor handling wear, chipping to edges, and library markings sold for $45,000 – triple its high estimate – at Skinner, while a collection of 50 plates sold at Bloomsbury’s in 2012 for 38,000 pounds (approx. $58,200). Other auction records indicate that some individual plates have sold for as much as $5,000.

Described by the Washington Post’s Frank Van Riper as “The Odd Genius Who Froze Motion,” Eadweard Muybridge was one of the most influential and eccentric photographers of all time. His instantly recognizable work merged the art and science of photography in a series of stop-action film sequences that paved the way for the modern motion picture industry. Muybridge’s prescient images have been collected and exhibited by the Tate Gallery, The Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, will offer the Eadweard Muybridge Author’s Edition of Animal Locomotion: An Electro-Photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements on June 20, with no reserve and a $12,000-$15,000 estimate. The 363-lot auction also includes a Patrick Henry land grant (Lot 339, est. $600-$900), four original, signed James Thurber drawings that appeared in the March 25, 1939 issue of The New Yorker (Lot 338, est. $4,000-$6,000), and a 23-volume set of The Complete Writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Lot 12, est. $1,500-$2,500).

Close-up of signature from Nov. 19, 1785 land grant signed by Patrick Henry as governor of Virginia. Est. $600-$900. Waverly Rare Books image.

A selection of important early maps is highlighted by Lot 317, a 1639-1675 engraved map with outstanding early images of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia; estimate: $600-$900. Another fascinating entry is Lot 311, a colorful 1846 folding pocket map of Texas, Oregon and California. Its accompanying text booklet is unflattering in its observations of Texas settlers of that time, describing “the female portion of the community [as] ignorant, degraded and the slaves of their husbands.” It also notes that the women are “very fond of dress and will make any sacrifice to gratify it.” As for the men, the writer says they “have no trades and depend for every thing upon the converted Indians, some of whom are quite ingenious, both as carpenters and blacksmiths. The whites…look upon all manual labor as degrading…” The map is in superb condition and is expected to make $4,000-$7,000.

Waverly Rare Books’ June 20 auction will begin at 5 p.m. Eastern time. The preview begins on June 15 and continues through and including auction day (see website for hours). The gallery is closed on Sundays.

All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee or live via the Internet through For information on any lot in the sale, call 703-532-5632 or e-mail Visit Waverly Rare Books online at

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

Art from ancient civilizations join natural history treasures in Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction

June 6th, 2013 by

Highlight: Extraordinarily rare King Tut royal seal mold from early Cairo collection

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – Two premier collections of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations combine to form the core of Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction, which also includes an outstanding selection of natural history and mineral specimens. Many of the 400 lots entered in the absentee, phone and Internet auction come from the meticulously documented, investment-grade collections of two Hollywood insiders – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers. Part I of both these collections anchored Antiquities Saleroom’s extremely successful Feb. 1 auction.

Roman Marble head of Eros, Antonine Period, est. $15,000-$20,000. Antiquities Saleroom image.

“This is our largest auction ever and contains some of the finest classical antiquities we’ve ever had the pleasure of offering,” said Antiquities Saleroom co-owner and acquisitions director Bob Dodge. “Every category contains pieces that collectors dream of owning but never see at auction or anywhere else.”

The session will open with gems and minerals, led by a beautiful pallasite meteorite, 4.5 billion years old, which quite literally is the remnant of an early planet in our solar system. The iron-based meteorite is infused with amber-hued olivine gem crystals and was discovered in Russia in 1967. The consignor is a well-known dealer who has conducted business with Antiquities Saleroom for many years. The specimen is estimated at $1,000-$2,000 – a very affordable price range, Dodge noted. “In all of our sales we make an effort to include nice pieces for every level of collector. In our June auction there are things that will sell for well under a thousand dollars, and for the advanced collector, there are highly important pieces valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

The sale will then move into human cultures, with the highlight being a fantastic Egyptian rarity – a pottery seal mold from “The Boy King,” Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC). The pottery mold from Tut’s royal workshop is deeply impressed with four elements: ra (sun), kheper (beetle), men (upward rake) and neb (bowl).

These four symbols and their specific arrangement uniquely represent Tutankhamum, Bob Dodge explained. “Pottery molds were used to create scarabs, seals or anything with the pharaoh’s cartouche or name on it. This particular mold probably would have been used to create faience amulets that were passed out as souvenirs to commemorate the reign of a pharaoh, in this case King Tut. In the 25 years I’ve been in this business, this is the first time I’ve seen a genuine King Tut artifact come to auction. It’s from the most important period in terms of Egyptian art, and it’s insanely rare,” Dodge said.

The mold comes directly from the family of the late Philip Mitry, who was an antiquities dealer in Cairo during the 1950s. At that time, the sale of Egyptian antiquities was legal and, in fact, state sponsored. When Mitry moved to the United States in the 1950s, he brought his massive collection with him. The King Tut mold, which became part of Mitry’s collection in 1953, will be auctioned with documentation from Mitry’s family and a lifetime certificate of authenticity from Antiquities Saleroom. The estimate on the piece is $10,000-$20,000, but as Dodge explained, “We think of this as being priceless. It could go far in excess of expectations.”

Another Egyptian rarity is a large scarab impressed with the very clear cartouche of Thutmose III – who, like Tut, was an 18th Dynasty pharaoh. It retains a narrow band of gold on its exterior, and at the bottom is a scene of a monkey in adoration of a horse, symbolizing Thutmose’s much-admired military prowess. A book example, it is expected to make $3,000-$5,000.

Important Mayan polychrome cylinder, est. $5,000-$10,000. Antiquities Saleroom image.

The Greek section contains two impressive battle helmets, each exhibiting a different style. One is a Corinthian helmet with a distinctive long nose bridge, 6th to 5th century BC. “It would have been worn by a Hoplite soldier. They would walk in unison in a group of 20 to 100 men, each carrying a 16-foot-long spear. Then they would hunker down and, at the right moment, attack. In their day they were invincible,” Dodge said. The helmet’s estimate is $30,000-$50,000.

The second helmet is Illyrian and made during the same time period as the Corinthian helmet, but of bronze. It features a squared-off style with interior leather padding. Its estimate is $20,000-$30,000. Another helmet of note is French, of hand-hammered steel with handmade rivets and a retractable visor. Although a much later production that the other two helmets, dating to the 14th-15th century, it is a rarity, as few French or British helmets of that period have survived. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000.

Approximately nine rare and desirable pieces of Greek pottery will be auctioned, including three Athenian (Attic) vessels. One is a slender jar known as a lekythos, which was designed to hold precious oils. Considering how Attic art can run into the millions of dollars, it presents a rare buying opportunity with a presale estimate of $9,000-$14,000. A particularly fine kylix wine cup, 4th-6th century BC, features black images on red, against a black ground. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. The third example is an oinochoe, from which wine was poured at the dinner table. Its estimate is $11,000-$16,000.

The Roman category contains one of the most exciting museum-quality artifacts ever to cross the auction block at Antiquities Saleroom. From the 1st century BC, Lot 89 consists of a pair of large, highly detailed bronze fittings that would have adorned either side of a chariot’s hub. The decorative fittings depict the mighty Pericles (Hercules). “The Greeks were superb with pottery,” Dodge said, “but the Romans may have outdone them with bronze work. This pair of fittings is truly gorgeous. It came from a New York City dealer who obtained them from a private collection on the East Coast.” The estimate for the pair is $40,000-$60,000.

The auction also includes three Roman marbles. A 2nd century marble head of Eros is estimated at $14,000-$20,000, while a smaller marble head of Jupiter from the same century is expected to make $5,000-$7,500. A double-faced marble head of the god Janus could easily surpass its estimate of $3,600-$5,400.

The next portion of the sale is devoted to selections from the “Hollywood” Pre-Columbian art collections mentioned above, with additional choice consignments. Virtually every Pre-Columbian culture is represented, in silver, copper, gold, stone, pottery, textiles and wood. There are 3000 BC artworks of the Valdivian (Ecuador) culture and Peruvian artwork and pottery dating from 1200-1500 BC. A wonderful collection of Pre-Columbian gold includes earrings, a crown, and an exceptional 3-dimensional bird inside a gold ring, with dangling objects beneath it. Dodge believes it may have been an earring or perhaps a temple ornament. The beautifully detailed bird appears in the book Oro del Antiguo Peru and is estimated at $15,000-$30,000.

Of the Mayan pieces in the sale, Dodge is most enamored of a set of four circa 500 BC carved stone monkeys from Mezcala, Mexico. “They’re incredibly well detailed, with very thin tails and openwork. Even modern carvers with sophisticated tools would have difficulty creating pieces like this. To think that carvers with such rudimentary tools did this work is remarkable,” Dodge said. The lot is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

A prominent politician’s collection of West Mexico pottery is also featured in the sale. The collection includes Colima figural dogs and a rare, 14-inch-long standing duck vessel with a spout in its mouth for pouring fermented beverages. “I’ve seen small ducks and double or triple ducks, but this large duck standing on legs is very unusual. I could see it blowing through its $5,000-$7,000 estimate,” Dodge said. Another important pottery work, a seated shaman is entered with hopes of reaching $6,000-$9,000.

Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time on both days. Bids may be placed absentee (including absentee online), by phone or live via the Internet on auction day through The entire auction catalog may be viewed online at Tel. 720-890-7700 or 720-502-5289. Email Web: