Antiques

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 serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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 LiveAuctioneers.com. 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 info@quinnfarmer.com.

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

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 www.LiveAuctioneers.com. For information on any lot in the sale, call 703-532-5632 or e-mail monika.schiavo@quinnsauction.com. Visit Waverly Rare Books online at www.quinnsauction.com.

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

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 LiveAuctioneers.com. The entire auction catalog may be viewed online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com. Tel. 720-890-7700 or 720-502-5289. Email antiquitiessaleroom@gmail.com. Web: www.antiquities-saleroom.com.

Morphy’s June 1 auction a high-quality mix of antique advertising, coin-op machines and occupational shaving mugs from private collections

May 31st, 2013 by

Rover 1-cent Puss ‘N’ Boots fortune teller could reach $25,000-$30,000

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s is like a second home to antique advertising collectors, who regard the central Pennsylvania company’s auctions as a premier source of fresh-to-market pieces from long-held collections. On June 1st, Morphy’s will conduct a 537-lot specialty sale comprised exclusively of antique advertising, coin-op and penny arcade machines; and rare occupational shaving mugs. In keeping with their new, across-the-board policy, the auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern Time.

Buffalo Pepsin Gum 1-cent vending machine with brass marquee. Est. $5,000-$8,000. Morphy Auctions image.

 

The session will open with an exceptional single-owner collection of 150+ shaving mugs that includes several exciting rarities. Lot 29 depicts two men bowling and has an estimate of $1,500-$2,500; while Lot 122 features the image of an early airplane whose pilot wears duster-type goggles, est. $2,500-$3,000. An elusive stock market-related mug entered as Lot 89 is emblazoned with the image of a commodities broker writing numbers on a chalkboard. Although estimated at $2,500-$4,000, it “could go considerably higher,” according to Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “Veteran collectors who’ve looked at it say it’s one of the best they’ve ever seen,” Morphy noted.

 

More than 150 gambling, vending and penny arcade machines lead the lineup of coin-operated amusements. Lot 189, a Buffalo Pepsin Gum vendor is expected to make $5,000-$8,000; while Lot 223, a Caille Centaur upright slot machine in beautiful condition could reach $25,000-$30,000. Lot 240, an original Mills 5-cent Frank Polk figural cowboy slot machine, is entered with a $20,000-$25,000 estimate. Polk produced only 70 original “cowboys,” the one in Morphy’s June 1 auction being one of them.

 

Other high-end machines include Lot 260, a Bally Reliance 5-cent dice machine, est. $8,000-$12,000; and Lot 295, a Rover 1-cent Puss ‘N’ Boots fortune teller machine, complete with 100 fortune cards, est. $25,000-$30,000. A highly desirable musical novelty of yesteryear, Lot 326 is a Wurlitzer Model 850 “Peacock” jukebox. Extremely rare and widely regarded as one of Wurlitzer’s most exquisite and colorful productions, it is estimated at $15,000-$18,000.

 

Next up will be 150+ lots of antique advertising. Lot 484, a circa-1910 to 1920 Phoenix Pure Paint curved porcelain corner sign, features the image of a Native-American boy. It is extremely scarce, as reflected in its presale estimate of $10,000-$15,000. Lot 500, a self-framed tin sign advertising Frazer Axle Grease, features a remarkable image of two horse-drawn wagons whose drivers are engaged in a discussion about a wheel problem. Estimate $4,000-$6,000.

 

The ever-popular Mr. Peanut will make an appearance in Lot 512, in the form of a life-size (75-inch-tall) papier-mache statue. The circa-1920s three-dimensional figure came from a Canadian collection and could bring $8,000-$12,000 on auction day.

 

Mills 5-cent Dewey musical upright slot machine, working order with excellent repertoire of tunes. Est. $15,000-$18,000. Morphy Auctions image.

More than 100 tip trays, most in near-mint-plus condition, have come to Morphy’s from a single-owner collection. Standouts include Lot 346, a tip tray for J. Hupfel Brewing Co., est. $400-$800; and Lot 350, an example that advertises Rienzi Beer in bottles, est. $300-$600.

 

A fine selection of railroad-themed photos includes Lot 518, a litho print dated 1858 that depicts Boston Railroad Locomotive Works builders. The 29 x 42in print is estimated at $5,000-$8,000. Another highlight is Lot 522, a ruby ambrotype photo of a locomotive, est. $800-$1,200.

 

“Our advertising sales are always enjoyable,” said Dan Morphy. “Collectors appreciate the fact that we’re very particular about the condition and quality of pieces accepted for consignment, and those who cannot bid in person never have to worry about our descriptions and condition reports. They know they can trust them one hundred percent.”

 

Morphy’s Saturday, June 1 auction of antique advertising, coin-op machines and occupational shaving mugs will commence at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Artfact.com.

 

Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517. For additional information, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail serena@morphyauctions.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com or www.artfact.com.

Stephenson’s May 31 Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction features 800 lots of jewelry, silver, furniture and clocks

May 22nd, 2013 by

Selection includes quality pieces from Philadelphia-area estates, private collections

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Laden with heavy silver, fine timepieces and a regal array of jewelry, Stephenson’s May 31st auction blends a 35-year single-owner collection with additional estate and individual consignments of exceptional quality. The 800-lot Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction also incorporates primitives, art, furniture and clocks. With that much to sell in one day, Stephenson’s usual auction start time has been adjusted to an earlier 10 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Tiffany & Co. brass-cased clock. Stephenson’s image.

The Friday sale opens with a fine selection of smalls. Several collections are featured, with the contents including many fine porcelain Boehm figurines and birds; Royal Worcester productions and desirable, larger-size Lladros and Swarovskis.

The centerpiece of the day is the single-owner jewelry collection, which incorporates designs from the turn of the 20th century through modern day. Many of the pieces in the collection are Native American and exhibit a level of skillful hand detailing that only highly accomplished artisans could execute.

A large and heavy circa-1920 sterling silver squash blossom necklace is unusual in its styling, said Stephenson’s fine jewelry expert, Theresa Zaengle, because it does not contain turquoise, coral or other stones, as would be typical of most squash blossom necklaces. “It is all handmade and quintessentially Native American in its appearance, but it is a simpler design with all handmade fluted silver beads, squash blossoms and a central Naja pendant. It’s a heavy piece. The silver content is very high,” Zaengle said. The necklace retains its original patina and has not been cleaned. It is expected to sell in the vicinity of $800.

Many artist-signed Native-American jewelry items will cross the auction block at Stephenson’s, including sand-cast pieces from the 1920s. “These designs stand out because they’re very weighty, and you can almost see where each piece was molded in the sand,” Zaengle said. All of the stones are natural, as opposed to having been dyed or treated.

From a different consignor comes a mini collection of superior-quality Mexican silver jewelry. A highlight is a desirable Hector Aguilar bracelet that has a presciently modern look. A similar example is shown in a leading Mexican jewelry reference book.

Jewelry buyers will have an abundance of choice in this sale. An impressive sapphire and diamond necklace is valued at approximately $1,800; while a “very modern and understated” Italian mesh necklace of white and yellow gold with diamonds is entered with an estimate of $1,000.

A 1920s platinum and diamond bracelet estimated at $2,500 is delicately detailed, which would suggest it is from the period bridging the Edwardian and Art Deco eras. “Some very pretty jewelry was produced during this time of transition. The linear look had not yet come into its own,” Zaengle noted.

Those who enjoy classic timepieces will find an abundance of quality in this auction. A top lot is an 18K gold-cased Vacheron & Constantin man’s wristwatch estimated at $1,500.

Stephenson’s is well established in the Philadelphia area as an estates specialist. Without exception, each of their sales includes at least one exciting discovery, like the Tiffany clock in the May 31 offering that came from a residence in the Philadelphia-area borough of Jenkintown. Standing 43 inches high, the ornate, baroque-style brass clock has an enameled face and dates to the last decade of the 19th century. Its works are marked “Tiffany & Co.”

Platinum and diamond bracelet. Stephenson’s image.

Stephenson’s owner, Cindy Stephenson, described the beautiful timekeeper as “the largest, most ornate table clock I’ve ever seen.” Among the visuals incorporated in its motif are dolphins, a woman riding Pegasus, and caryatids as the supports. Its finial is a three-dimensional figure of Father Time, seated on a sphere and holding a scythe.

“The woman who owned it is in her 90s and had childhood memories of watching her father wind the clock, but in our research we have not been able to find a comparable example. We’ve estimated it at $3,000 to $5,000, but collectors could prove us wrong and bid well above that range,” said Stephenson.

Three fine English oil-on-canvas portraits were consigned from the same Jenkintown home that produced the clock. The paintings – one of which is dated 1776 – are unsigned, English-school artworks with an interesting backstory.

“The consignor had seen a picture of a small antique shop in a magazine and was attracted to a portrait appearing in the shop’s window. She actually traveled all the way to England to try to find the shop, but knew only the name of the village where it was located,” Stephenson said. “She had to ask many people before she finally bumped into a couple in a tavern who actually knew the shop. Not only did they take her there, where she bought the three portraits in our sale, but she also became lifelong friends with the couple.”

As a further testament to the consignor’s refined taste in antiques, Stephenson’s will offer an 8ft wide breakfront from the Jenkintown home. It was custom made in the 1940s of Georgian-style flame mahogany and would add elegance to any traditional home.

Other furniture in the sale includes mid-century modern designs, such as the Peter Hvidt & O. Molgaard-Nielsen for John Stuart teakwood armchair with loose cushion and cane back. It is entered with a $1,000 estimate.

The selection of stoneware is led by a pair of cobalt-decorated chicken feeders, decorated with a botanical motif and clearly incised with the name “Thos. Haig” and the address “975 N. 2nd St. Phila.” The estimate for the pair is $2,000.

Stephenson’s Friday, May 31 Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at the earlier-than-usual time of 10 a.m. Eastern. The company’s gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. Inspection is on Thursday, May 30, from 1-6 p.m., and on auction day from 9-10 a.m.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.liveauctioneers.com.

For additional information on any auction lot, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail info@stephensonsauction.com. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.

Five collections converge to add variety and quality to Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction

May 8th, 2013 by

700-lot sale features Coca-Cola, rare petroliana and ‘book-example’ vending machines

FREDERICK, Md. – Elements of five outstanding but very different collections add diversity and fun to the 700-lot lineup in Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction. The event will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and those who cannot attend are encouraged to leave an absentee bid, sign up for a phone line, or bid live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers or Proxibid.

Embossed and chromolithographed 1901 Coca-Cola calendar featuring model Hilda Clark. Mosby & Co. image

“Collectors like a good mix. It heightens the curiosity factor and often leads to the discovery of great cross-over items,” said Mosby & Co.’s owner, Keith Spurgeon. “This is probably one of the most widely varied auctions we’ve produced to date. There are lots of toys and a tremendous selection of antique advertising, from early Coca-Cola to seven very desirable Stan Lee comic book signs made to display at Comic Con.”

The auction will open with country store and advertising, led by a fine collection of approximately 30 early Coca-Cola items. Among the Coke highlights are a beautiful 1903 serving tray, a 1901 calendar, and two rarities from the 1930s: a double-sided porcelain fountain service sign and a new/old stock embossed tin sign with in its original Coca-Cola shipping crate.

Two very rare promotional items issued by the Pure Oil Company (USA) date to the 1930s. “One is a figural radio shaped like an English cottage, which is what the Pure Oil gas stations looked like during that period. The other item is a figural cottage-shape birdhouse, wood with an enameled tin roof,” Spurgeon said.

Next up will be five Buddy Lee advertising dolls, which the manufacturer customized with advertising for the companies that commissioned them. The dolls are all original and complete. The rarest dolls in the group are the one advertising Coca-Cola and the doll dressed in Lee coveralls with a railroad conductor’s cap, made for Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad.

Several European tin and porcelain signs are among the fascinating items in a steamship collection to be offered by Mosby & Co. Also included in the grouping are two circa-1900 reverse-on-glass promotional items for North German Lloyd steamship line – a thermometer and a barometer.

One of the finest signs in the sale is a colorful and profusely detailed tin sign advertising Thomas’ Inks and Mucilage. Its busy embossed image depicts a cat tipping over a jar of red ink. “These signs, for some reason, usually have extensive flaking, and most that I’ve seen were in very poor condition,” said Spurgeon. “This is the nicest one I’ve come across personally.”

A lineup of early gumball machines includes a number of book examples from Bill Enes’ respected reference titled “Silent Salesmen Too.” Among the rarities are a very nice Rex machine and a Digesto vendor. The same collection was the source for a Watling Twin Jackpot penny slot machine, which is entered in the sale, as well.

Rare Digesto Gum vendor, book example Bill Enes’ reference book ‘Silent Salesmen Too.’ Mosby & Co. image.

A wealth of desirable advertising smalls will be offered within the country store section of the sale. There are numerous peanut butter tins, cooking range-related items and several toys and other pieces pertaining to C.D. Kenny grocery store chain.

Toy buyers can bid to their hearts’ content in this auction, as the choices will be varied and plentiful. The headliner is a single-owner collection of 12 gas-powered tether or rail cars from California, including several types very seldom encountered at auction. The cars are from the acknowledged “golden age” of the 1930s-1950s, by manufacturers such as Dooling, McCoy, C&R and others. Some measure 17-20 inches long, and their estimates are generally in the $1,000-$4,000 range.

Several pressed steel automotive toys will be offered, as will a rare 1934 Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel Golfer. Ex Dick Keats/Buddy ‘L’ Archive collection, it is the only known Golfer that retains its original box.

The toy parade continues with celluloid toys, scores of tin wind-ups including a mint-boxed Eberl Topsy Turvy Tom toy, and an appealing TootsieToy Speedway set. Additional toy highlights include a Converse private-label horse-drawn wagon produced for a dairy in the Charlottesville, Va., area; 5-6 rocking horses, and a Eureka Bugatti tourist model pedal car with fenders and opening door and trunk.

A mixed selection of bisque- and china-head dolls is joined by children’s crockery and ABC plates. Also featured in the nursery section are four lithographed-tin high chair trays, American and dating to the 1870s. Each tray is decorated with a charming scene typical of its period of production. One of the trays depicts elegantly gowned young girls dancing around a maypole. Another has a vibrant scene of children playing animatedly, with steamships and ocean liners on the water in the background.

“Within the scene, children are firing off a toy cannon and cap gun, and a boy has slipped firecrackers under a gentleman’s formal jacket as a prank. The artwork includes an American Flag and quite likely represents a holiday, perhaps the Fourth of July. This is an item that firecracker and holiday collectors might really like,” said Spurgeon.

The auction also includes part two of a ceramic bank collection, plus a few cast-iron mechanical banks. The top lot amongst the mechanicals is a superb short-sleeve version of the “Dinah” bank.

Pop culture fans will immediately appreciate the desirability of a set of seven different 5-by-3ft foam core signs made specifically to display at Comic Con 2010. The main sign, which includes Stan Lee’s face within the artwork, is flat, while the other six were created in relief. All promote “Stan Lee’s Super Seven” comic book, which never saw the light of day. “The comic book project was shelved because of a copyright issue. The idea may be revived at some point in time, but if it is, it will be released under the title ‘Mighty Seven’ and not ‘Super Seven,’” Spurgeon explained.

Mosby & Co.’s Saturday, June 8, 2013 Toy & Advertising auction will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 7; 8-10 a.m. on auction day, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Proxibid.com. Printed catalogs are $24 to US addresses; $35 outside the USA. For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or e-mail keith@mosbyauctions.com. Visit Mosby & Co. online at www.mosbyauctions.com.

RSL’s June 1 auction features architectural banks in rare colors with prestigious provenance

May 2nd, 2013 by

Several choice banks boast Markey, Feld, Garthhoeffner pedigrees

TIMONIUM, Md. – Collectors will be gathering in suburban Baltimore on June 1st to inspect the real estate in an upscale “neighborhood” of early mechanical and still banks with an architectural theme. High-end cast-iron banks replicating various types of buildings – some generic and some immediately identifiable as famous structures – are the featured highlight of RSL Auction’s 500-lot sale to be held at Richard Opfer’s gallery in Timonium. The event will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

Numerous rare examples will make an appearance in the auction, including at least 12 banks that were formerly in the collection of the late Donal Markey, an influential dealer and collector of antique toys, banks and folk art who passed away in March 2010. Several J&E Stevens painted Cupola banks are among those in the Markey group. All are in beautiful condition and some are finished in unusual colors. Their estimates range from $1,400 to $1,800.

“As any experienced bank collector will tell you, Don Markey was a stickler for condition and had a fantastic eye for original paint,” said Ray Haradin, partner in RSL Auction Co.

Another bank with provenance from the Markey collection is a George Brown early American tin production replicating the Bunker Hill Monument. Manufactured around 1876, it boasts pristine-plus original paint and says “Bunker Hill” under the base. It is expected to reach $3,000 to $4,000. Also boasting a Markey-collection pedigree is a near-mint Home bank by Judd Company. It is an extremely rare multicolor version painted in yellow and red. Bidding could reach $2,500-$3,500 on auction day.

JEP (French) Torpedo Rocket open car, tin, original box, est. $3,000-$4,000. RSL Auction Co. image.

Approximately 130 architectural still banks were consigned to the sale from a single-owner collection. A highly appealing group, it includes all three versions (small, medium and large) of a House with Bay Windows, a form that is one of the most sought after of all Stevens still banks.

“Most collectors don’t even have one of these particular banks, including myself,” said Haradin. “To have the opportunity to bid on one of each size in the same auction is unheard of.” The largest of the three is expected to fetch $3,000-$4,000.

Another gem is the circa-1892 cast-iron Masonic Temple bank made in Chicago. Haradin noted that it is only the second bank of its type that he has ever seen for sale, either privately or at a public venue. He has no doubt it will realize $3,000-$4,500 at auction.

An automotive shape that could bring top money is an Arcade flat-top Limo bank in a green with white motif. It is a fine example of what actual Pittsburgh taxicabs looked like in the 1920s and is emblazoned with a Grant Street address and 4-digit telephone number. This particular bank has been chosen to open RSL’s June 1st sale and could knock down $5,000-$7,000.

Still banks will be followed by a beautiful lineup of mechanical banks with excellent provenance. A classic Boy Scout Camp mechanical, ex Larry Feld collection, is one of the finest known examples of its type. It has a presale estimate of $20,000-$30,000. Also, one of only three known Dog on Turntable mechanical banks in red, white and blue paint, ex Markey collection, is in pristine condition and estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

J&E Stevens Panorama cast-iron bank in green and red finish, ex Rich Garthhoeffner collection, est. $20,000-$30,000. RSL Auction Co. image.

From the prestigious Bob Brady collection comes a circa-1882 brass pattern for a Stevens Two Frogs bank. “All patterns are very rare, but this is one I’ve never seen before, and to my knowledge, it’s the only one known that is complete,” said Haradin. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000.

Two examples of Stevens’ desirable architectural bank known as “Panorama” will be offered. One variation is white with blue and red trim, while the other, green with red trim, has provenance from the revered Rich Garthhoeffner collection. Bright and in near-mint condition, the latter bank is entered in the sale with a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

In addition to banks, there will be an excellent selection of antique toys from which to choose. Cast-iron horse-drawn and automotive toys; and early American tin clockwork productions are in the mix. Additionally, 60 European toys will be up for bid, from manufacturers such as Lehmann, Martin, Ingap, Distler and Eberl. A sporty French JEP Torpedo Rocket open car with original box is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.

“The toys in this sale came from a number of small collections, but when brought together as one grouping, they are very impressive. I think toy buyers will be pleasantly surprised,” Haradin said.

All forms of bidding will be available for RSL’s Saturday, June 1, 2013 auction, including live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time. A complimentary lunch will be provided to all attendees.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call Ray Haradin at 412-343-8733, Leon Weiss at 917-991-7352, or Steven Weiss at 212-729-0011. Email raytoys@aol.com or geminitoys@earthlink.net. Visit RSL Auction Co. online at www.rslauctions.com.

Emeralds, gold coins reign at Government Auction, April 28

April 26th, 2013 by

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – Government Auction’s auction on Sunday, April 28, will feature emerald jewelry, antique gold coins, designer handbags and Rolex watches worthy of an ancient Egyptian ruler or modern-day trendsetter. The auction will begin at 5:45 a.m. Pacific time (8:45 a.m. Eastern time) and Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

12-carat emerald and diamond ring. Government Auction image.

Cleopatra was perhaps the first “celebrity” associated with the enigmatic emerald. The Egyptian queen had a fascination bordering on obsession with the brilliant green stone and even owned an emerald mine. To those in ancient Egypt, the stone represented wealth and power, and was the symbol of fertility. Cleopatra’s hoard of gemstones has never been found, but her association with the rare gemstone endures. A highlight in the April 28 auction that the last pharaoh surely would have coveted is the 14.97-carat emerald with 10.25-carat diamond necklace.

A stunning piece composed of 14K yellow gold, the necklace has a drape motif that suits even the most elegant of evening wear. The 18-inch necklace features 20 graduating emerald and diamond bezel pendants supported by an emerald and diamond lattice with numerous prong- and bead-set round brilliant-cut diamonds. The piece is topped off with matching yellow gold links and a concealed box clasp with twin safeties.

Another piece Cleopatra would have been proud to add to her collection is a 12-carat emerald and diamond ring. The ring is composed of 14K white gold, with the featured large emerald set within a diamond lattice gallery supported by diamond set shoulders and completed with a 2 1/2-millimeter wide band. There are approximately 28 prong- and bead-set diamonds in the ring weighing 1.70 carats.

In keeping with our theme of powerful and sophisticated women, a Louis Stewart designer bag reported to have been owned by Chris Jenner of “Keeping with the Kardashians” is also featured in this auction. The Louis Stewart line is fast becoming the latest trend and is popular with the celebrity set due to the company’s product quality and style. Stewart is a designer who worked for Louis Vuitton before launching his own brand. This brand has not made it to the stores yet, but is receiving high visibility from celebs such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj. The Louis Stewart handbag featured on April 28 is black patent leather with a small crystal bling lock, and the Louis Stewart logo is displayed on a front silver badge.

Also offered for auction in the coin category is a highly sought-after piece—an 1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty Head gold coin. The Double Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted from 1850 during the height of the California gold rush until 1907. Of all the U.S. gold coins minted before 1907, the Double Eagle had the highest gold content, almost one full ounce of pure gold. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin weighs 33.43 grams and is composed of 90 percent gold

1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty gold coin. Government Auction image.

and 10 percent copper.

Another collectible coin for auction is the 1925-D $2.5 U.S Indian Head type gold coin. The Indian Quarter Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted in Denver. Designed by Bela Lyon Pratt the coin features an incuse, or sunken, design of an American Indian with full feather war headdress on the obverse and the American eagle on the reverse. The piece is 18mm in diameter, weighs 4.18 grams, and is comprised of .900 fine gold and .100 copper.

An exceptional Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch is an auction highlight in the elite timepiece category. This man’s watch is crafted in stainless steel with silver sunray finish dial and steel hour posts and band.

Additional auction highlights include a 5.00-carat princess-cut diamond, Chanel sunglasses, Louis Vuitton leather bag, Formula 1 Hublot Watch and much more.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Debbie at 661-823-1543 or email info@governmentauction.com.

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

NYC art gallery to host Coney Island ‘Sideshow’ exhibit May 2-25

April 22nd, 2013 by

Featured collection focuses on carnival ‘freaks,’ folk art, arcade relics, bizarre novelties

NEW YORK – The heart-stopping whoosh of a roller coaster on its downward trajectory, the sugary smell of cotton candy and salt water taffy, the sideshow barker’s incessant chant to “step right up and see the strangest sights on earth.” All played their roles in creating indelible memories for the millions of people who visited Coney Island over the last century.

Edward J. Kelty (American, 1888–1967) panoramic photo of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey ‘Congress of Freaks.’ Ross Art Group image.

While the golden era of New York’s most beloved amusement park has come and gone, relics of Coney Island’s colorful history and photos of its amazing cast of performers move back into the spotlight in “Sideshow,” an exhibition running May 2-25 at The Ross Art Group’s Manhattan gallery. Sideshow’s featured collection belongs to Dr. Robert M. Lerch, a New York City physician and longtime collector of the bizarre and unusual. The exhibition chronicles roughly the first 50 years of Coney Island – whose first enclosed amusement park area opened in 1895 – with additional pieces from other early 20th-century carnivals and circuses.

The “backbone” of the show, said Ross Art Group’s owner, Mickey Ross, is the collection of 28 original architectural drawings and blueprints that conceptualized Coney Island carnival rides and structures.

“The drawings were created by amusement park ride inventor and manufacturer William F. Mangels (German/American, 1867-1958) and depict such classic rides as the ‘Whip,’ Loop roller coaster, and carousel horses with a mechanical function,” Ross said. Like all other items in the exhibition, the architectural designs will be available for purchase.

One of the most remarkable inclusions in the collection is the assemblage of circus photos by itinerant photographer Edward J. Kelty (American, 1888–1967). The grouping includes a number of Kelty’s inimitable 11 by 20in panoramic shots of performers known collectively as “the Congress of Freaks.”

“Kelty had a fascination for human oddities and spent 20 years following and photographing circus troupes. Once a year, the entire Ringling Brothers ‘Freak Show’ cast would gather for a group shot. It was a big event,” said Ross. “The pictures include every imaginable type of performer – sword swallowers, snake charmers, bearded ladies, fire eaters, and ‘giants and midgets,’ plus aerialists and clowns.” Kelty’s Congress of Freaks photos, which originally were sold to the performers themselves as mementos, are highly sought after by today’s collectors.

Other iconic photos featured in Sideshow were taken prior to the end of World War I by Arthur S. Mole & John D. Thomas. Their technique consisted of mustering thousands of people to form aerial views of iconic symbols, such as The Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam. Most of the photos’ participants were army troops who took part with the US Government’s permission.

Robert Lerch’s fascination for Coney Island memorabilia, arcade machines and quirky figural folk art dates back to his 1960s childhood in New York City, when he was introduced to the vast archive of pioneer collector, author and historian Frederick Fried.

Mole & Thomas ‘Human Statue of Liberty’ photograph formed by 18,000 officers and enlisted men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa. Ross Art Group image.

“I spent most of my youth living with my grandparents on West End Avenue. A kid I used to play with who lived two stories above us was Frederick Fried’s son. I spent endless time in that apartment, which was so full of stuff it was barely navigable. I remember it like it was yesterday,” Lerch recalled. “Being around so many fascinating curiosities – from carnival objects to cigar store figures – had a profound effect on me.”

In fact, the Fried collection not only inspired Lerch to set off on a 40-year quest for the offbeat, it also eventually ended up, in part, in his own personal collection. “When Mr. Fried died, his daughter inherited his collection. I later acquired a portion of his Coney Island archive, which was considered the ultimate of its type, through a person who knew his daughter,” Lerch explained.

Selected highlights from the 75-piece Sideshow exhibition include:

  • Coin-op machines, including “Witch,” a rare 1st-quarter 20th century 3-wheel slot
  • Cast-iron amusement park jester head and four clown shooting gallery targets
  • Three antique carved-wood contortionist figures on pedestals
  • Circa-1920 coin-op baseball trade stimulator, one of perhaps three known
  • Pair of 21in tall cast-iron Coke bottles, 1923, from Atlanta bottling plant’s fence
  • Game that creates figure of pig with successive rolls of dice
  • Rare French carnival knock-down figures
  • Circa-1920 electric trade stimulator of chirping, moving birds in formal wedding attire
  • 17 x 6in salesman’s sample of metal-trimmed glass coffin
  • Circus and other posters, including an original for the Belgian release of the

1932 film “Freaks”

  • Polychrome-painted convex carnival mirror
  • Carousel memorabilia and figures including carved camel
  • Unconventional vending machine that delivers a piece of pre-sealed cake
  • Anatomical aluminum model of pig with hinged opening for view of internal organs

Sideshow – Exhibition and Sale featuring the collection of Dr. Robert M. Lerch (email manmoon6@aol.com) with other select additions will be held May 2-25 at the Ross Art Group’s gallery, 532 Madison Ave., 4th Floor (entry on 54th Street), New York, NY 10022.

Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. May 2nd opening-night hours are 5-8 p.m., and as a

Animated, electric-powered store window display of birds in bridal attire. Ross Art Group image.

special added attraction, several performers from Coney Island USA’s Sideshows by the Seashore will be there at the gallery to entertain, pose for pictures and help raise awareness that Coney Island is back in business following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Dr. Robert Lerch has pledged to donate the sale proceeds from one of his rare Coney Island photographs to the nonprofit Coney Island Museum.

For additional information call 212-223-1525 or email sales@rossartgroup.com. Online: www.rossartgroup.com.

About The Ross Art Group:

The Ross Art Group was founded 18 years ago by veteran textiles businessman Mickey Ross. His background in the design and creation of printed fabrics inspired Ross to collect vintage posters while traveling throughout Europe. What began as a hobby evolved over time into a thriving retail art gallery. The Ross Art Group’s current inventory of 2,500+ posters may be viewed in its entirety by visiting its full-service gallery at 532 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. (private appointments also available), or via a searchable, fully illustrated online database at www.rossartgroup.com.