Antiques

Bidders take their pick from Pennsylvania Treasury’s ‘unclaimed’ vault in Morphy’s million-dollar Feb. 8-9 auction

February 22nd, 2013 by

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy Auctions’ Feb. 8-9 collaboration with the Pennsylvania Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property resulted in an exciting weekend of transactions that tallied over one million dollars (inclusive of basic 20% buyer’s premium). Of that total, 26% was attributable to prices realized by 200 lots of fine jewelry, watches, coins and other valuables from the Treasury’s vaults in Harrisburg, Pa. The greater portion of the 1,146-lot sale included consignments of paintings, mechanical music, a collection of vintage violins and a broad selection of decorative art, including Part II of a highly refined Amphora pottery collection.

“There was a lot of interest from the media in the run-up to this sale, especially because of the Treasury Department items,” said Dan Morphy. “It was the first time in 10 years that the Treasury had sanctioned a live auction of unclaimed goods from safe deposit boxes. The quality was there, all the way.”

There were 2,179 registered bidders for the sale, and more than 100 people attended the event in person, including representatives from the Pennsylvania Treasury. The phone bank was active throughout the auction, and Internet bidders made their presence known in a big way, with online purchases representing 62% of the gross over the two-day period.

Of the Treasury consignment, the earliest representation of Pennsylvania’s history was a Spence-authenticated,

1787 land deed signed by Benjamin Franklin

Spence-authenticated 1787 land deed signed by Benjamin Franklin, $13,200. Morphy Auctions image.

handwritten 1787 property deed signed by Benjamin Franklin. Estimated at $7,000-$10,000, it was bid to $13,200.

Bidders dipped into the Treasury’s jewelry box with glee, taking away many exquisite gold, diamond and platinum pieces just in time for Valentine’s Day. A heart-shape diamond-encrusted pendant set in 14K gold featured a 1.25ct pear-shape center diamond surrounded by smaller rough-cut pave diamonds. Its sparkle and heft encouraged bidders to ignore the $7,000-$10,000 estimate, and ultimately it checked out at $18,600.

A stunning platinum engagement ring with a 4.25ct European-cut diamond and two flanking baguettes, each weighing .30 carats, came very close to achieving its high estimate at $19,800. The ring would have made quite a spectacular statement if paired with another retro-chic design that finished high amongst prices realized: a platinum, diamond and ruby bracelet with an Art Deco feel. It featured an eye-filling medley of round, Asscher- and emerald-cut gems, and drew a winning bid of $15,600.

14K gold heart-shape pendant

14K gold heart-shape pendant set with 1.25ct pear-shape center diamond, smaller rough-cut pave diamonds, $18,600. Morphy Auctions image.

Timepiece highlights included an impressive 18K diamond-face Rolex Presidential watch, $10,800; and a sporty Swiss-made Breitling Chronograph with cobalt blue and gold face, $5,700.

Patrick Orbe made his debut as Morphy’s fine art consultant with the selection of paintings he curated for the Feb. 8-9 sale. The auction’s top fine-art lot was a Ferdinand Richardt (Danish, 1819-1895) oil on canvas titled “View of Niagara Falls.” The signed 33 x 43in painting presented in a custom-made gold leaf frame realized $37,200.

Bidders competed aggressively over rare pieces of Amphora from the Les Cohen collection, especially the monumental 18½in “Daughter of the Rhine” vase with applied jewels and enameled flowers. Well exceeding estimate hopes, it rose to $18,000. Another crowd-pleaser was the 22½in Amphora Saurian & Crab vase. Estimated at $7,000-$9,000, it was chased to $13,800.

Other decorative-art categories also held up very well. Desirable Loetz glass was led by a circa-1903 pink luster vase with a blue pattern reminiscent of peacock feathers, $4,800. The top Rookwood lot was an initialed and dated 1927 monumental vellum vase in a hibiscus motif, created by Elizabeth Lincoln. The vessel garnered $6,000.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased with the way bidders responded to the fine jewelry and other articles from the Pennsylvania Treasury,” said Dan Morphy. “Even though all of their items were offered without reserve, nearly every piece met or exceeded expectations, with sales totaling $260,000. We’re very much looking forward to presenting the next Treasury selection, which we anticipate will be sometime in the fall.”

To contact Morphy Auctions, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy’s online at www.morphyauctions.com

Antiquities-Saleroom.com Plans Dino-Size Auction March 1

February 21st, 2013 by

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – For their March 1 auction titled “Antiquities, Ancient and Ethnographic Art,” Antiquities-Saleroom.com decided to think big – as in dinosaur big. Coming on the heels of their highly successful Feb. 1 auction, Antiquities Saleroom’s latest auction offers the biggest piece ever offered by this Colorado antiquities company.  Lot #3 is a nearly complete dinosaur fossil skeleton of a Psittacosaurus measuring over a full meter in length and half a meter in height. Far from the only prize piece in this 260-plus lot auction, this 140-million-year-old fossil, estimated to fetch a dino-sized $10,000, is just the beginning of what’s in store.

According to Teresa Dodge, managing director and co-founder of Antiquities-Saleroom.com, the March 1 auction includes more than 260 authentic examples from ancient cultures all over the world, as well as several interesting fossil and mineral specimens.

“We’re really excited about this latest auction.  Unlike our February auction that featured Pre-Columbian antiquities exclusively, this sale literally has something for everyone,” said Dodge. S he pointed out that the March auction showcases almost two dozen ancient examples from Egypt, more than 30 pieces from ancient Greece, including a fine Attic / Athens-made pottery wine jug (lot #32) estimated to hit $8,000 to $10,000, and a large number of Roman artifacts, including examples in stone, bronze, pottery and glass. There are also many fine examples from Asia-Minor, including the largest and most complete cuneiform tablet Antiquities-Saleroom has ever seen or offered and many more exceptional examples of ancient and near-ancient Chinese / Far East antiquities, as well as more than 65 lots of Pre-Columbian artifacts.

Bob Dodge, Teresa’s husband and also a co-founder in the company, stresses that all items offered by Antiquities Saleroom have been legally acquired, are legal to resell and are unconditionally guaranteed to be authentic and as described in the catalog.  “We do not sell replicas or anything ‘in the style of’ any ancient culture. What’s more, no sale is ever final. We want satisfied customers who are happy with what they buy – so they will come back and buy more.” Dodge said.

Antiquities, Ancient and Ethnographic Art Auction will start at 10 a.m. MST, noon Eastern, on Friday, March 1.  Bids may be placed through a variety of methods – absentee (including absentee online), by phone (by prior arrangement) or live on auction day through LiveAuctioneers.com.

For additional information about the auction or about upcoming auctions, call Teresa Dodge directly at 720-502-5289, send her an email at antiquitiessaleroom@gmail.com, or visit the company’s website www.Antiquities-Saleroom.com.

MARBURGER FARM ANTIQUE SHOW APRIL 2-6 – FIRST BLUSH OR RETURN BLISS

February 15th, 2013 by

2.1.13  ROUND TOP, TEXAS – Remember your first antique show? Was it an experience? Did you find a treasure that you look upon daily?

On April 2-6, 2013, you’ll have a chance to visit Marburger Farm Antique Show in tiny Round Top, Texas, for a first visit or for a never-missed twice-yearly swoon. “Wow!” is how photographer April Pizana sums up her first visit to the 43 acre Marburger Farm. “You come expecting knick-knacks and you have no idea of the amazing things and displays that you will see. Once you get past the initial ‘Wow!’—it’s pure giddiness and glee.”

What does Pizana suggest for first-time visitors? “Bring a list, dimensions, a sturdy tote, a checkbook, cash or an ATM card. Bring a friend.  And wear comfy shoes, but also cute. People dress really fun for Marburger Farm.” See April’s photos of Marburger at www.aprilpizana.com

On a recent Marburger Farm Facebook post, Katrina Lounsbury of California recalls that “On my first visit many years ago, I loved the French enamel-ware, the jewelry and the antique and vintage Santas. I have a treasure or two from every show since.”

“What I loved most about my first visit to the Marburger Farm Antique Show,” says shopper Terri Henderson on Facebook, “was the quality of the merchandise, the number of awesome dealers and the creative displays.”

For some, it will be their first trip to Round Top, while those who have been a part of the adventure since the beginning, will see for the 32nd  time that over 350 top exhibitors from coast to coast will encamp on the central Texas cow pasture with antique furniture, vintage  accessories, jewelry, art, lighting, folk art and more. Styles range from industrial to French, from Swedish to mid-century modern to the original creations of the Marburger artisan dealers. Spilling out of ten giant tents and twelve historic buildings, the antiques and re-purposed objects find eager new owners among the thousands of shoppers who visit Marburger Farm.

If it’s the first time for you or a return engagement, be sure to visit French exhibitor Pascal Jones of Desiree Antiques. Jones recalls that her own first impression of Marburger Farm was “the different styles of antiques— everything is at Marburger Farm.” For the spring 2013 show, Jones will offer her own mix of classic 18th c. French and European antiques alongside 1980s brass, Lucite, art, industrial end tables made from French engraving plates and early wooden type-face letters made into furniture surfaces.  “I love the mix of styles,” says Jones. “It’s nice to have different centuries and styles in a home. It makes it unique.”

Originally from Italy, Philadelphia exhibitor Marco Astrologo noted that on his first visit to Marburger, he found the other dealers to be “extremely good and extremely happy. They are the cream de la cream. And the customers love to buy.” Astrologo continues with the admission that “Before I went to Marburger, I expected Texans to be strange, you know? But you quickly realize that the people who come to Marburger Farm are very knowledgeable. They come from all over the world. They breathe the past 24 hours a day and they enjoy it.” Astrologo will offer antique and vintage trunks and luggage from makers such as Louis Vuitton and Goyard. His is the largest collection of antique Louis Vuitton trunks in the country.

Texas exhibitor Melissa Whitely Vasquez creates a booth with her mother and sister, jammed with American cottage furniture, early toys, doll furnishings, advertising signs and garden antiques. “What do I remember about my very first Marburger Farm Show? There was only one tent and one Porta-Potty.”

Things have changed. Not only are there air-conditioned restrooms now, but Marburger Farm has grown to become what Newsweek magazine calls “one of the country’s best venues.”

North Carolina dealer Susan Curran-Wright carries antique Italian and American linens, sterling and jewelry. “On my very first time at Marburger,” says Curran-Wright, “I knew Marburger Farm was going to explode. The energy was there, the wonderful property was there, the potential was there. Everyone there was so infused with enthusiasm that I knew that Marburger Farm was going to become a great antique show.”

So whether it’s your first time or a rendezvous  you never miss, come to Marburger Farm to be infused with the energy and wonder of the very best antiques displayed by the most creative dealers anywhere.

In addition to the antique and artisans exhibitors, the April 2-6 show will also feature benefit booths for Dwell with Dignity of Dallas and for the Brookwood Community near Houston.  The Brookwood exhibit will offer plants grown by and specialty décor, garden and kitchen items made by the special needs adults who are served by residential community. See www.brookwoodcommunity.org

Founded by interior designers, Dwell with Dignity transforms donated furnishings into dignified interiors for families escaping poverty and homelessness. Their booth at Marburger, located near the Food Pavilion, will bring to life such a sample interior. At the end of each Marburger Farm week, the show’s dealers donate antiques and vintage objects that will go back to Dallas to be used in dwellings or to be sold in the Dwell with Dignity Thrift Studio sale April 18 – May 18 in the Dallas Design District. See www.dwellwithdignity.org

The Marburger Farm Antique Show opens on Tuesday April 2 with Early Buying from 10 am through 2 pm for $25 for adults, free for children 15 and under. Regular $10 admission begins April 2 at 2 pm. One admission is good all week, with the show running on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and on Saturday, April 6, from 9 am to 4 pm.  Advance tickets and group tickets are available.

Parking is free. Marburger hosts a Man-Cave in the Blacksmith Shop. A full-service food pavilion and Blacksmith Bar will keep you energized and happy. Dogs on a leash are always welcome.

And, if it is your first time, cute shoes count, but are not required.

See information on travel, maps, vendors, special events, the Marburger Farm blog and mobile app, lodging, on-site shipping and the Marburger Cafe at www.roundtop-marburger.com or call Ashley Ferguson at 800-947-5799.   Follow show news on Facebook or on the show blog at www.marburgerfarmshow.blogspot.com

ANTIQUES & APPRAISAL SCHOOL RELEASES LATEST “TRENDING” DATA FOR 2013

February 13th, 2013 by

Florida – After conducting a similar survey last year, the Asheford Institute of Antiques (a distinct learning program on antiques and appraising), has released its latest trending data on the antiques marketplace for 2013. The survey, which is aimed at compiling the purchase trends of customers buying antiques over a twelve month period, was brought back this year after an overwhelming response on the school’s website from readers requesting more information, said Charles Green, Director of the Institute. Green went on to say that he was struck by how the results seemed to resonate with readers, and that pollsters at the Institute decided to run the survey again, with a few tweaks (including doubling the number of participants to over a thousand), to see if there was any measurable change from the previous year. “It just seemed to make sense, since so many of our students and those visiting our website were requesting it,” said Green.

School publications Director, Tony Drew echoed the sentiment and stated that the primary focus of this year’s survey was to again gauge interest in current trends of antiques and collectibles, based on sales and requests for particular items. He stressed that while no stringent scientific formulas were employed, and the survey was informal in nature, the results were still quite interesting when viewed in their entirety. “What we’re seeing is still a basic reflection of last year’s poll…” said Drew, “but on an even more magnified level – younger buyers are definitely becoming the norm, and there seems no doubt that all the television shows out there about antiques and collectibles are having some influence on this demographic.”  Drew went on to say that some areas of “collecting” had moved up or down a notch in the survey, but that one noticeable trend was the move towards smaller collectibles from the 50’s and even 60’s. “Again…” said Drew, “it’s the younger buyers leading the way.”

If you’d like to see the full results from the survey conducted by the Asheford Institute, you can visit their Poll/Survey page at(http://www.asheford.com/2013-survey-results.html) or on the schools web site at, www.asheford.com for a complete listing of surveyed trends for 2013.

For readers seeking more information about the schools antiques and appraisal course, you can contact them at: (877) 444-4508. Or write to them at; the Asheford Institute of Antiques 981 Harbor Blvd., Suite 3, Dept. 275GSV21 Destin, FL 32541-2525, or at their Canadian office at; 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Dept. 124 Toronto, ON M5S 1R8.

Fine art collection of Dixie Cup mastermind is centerpiece of Myers’ Feb. 10 auction

February 7th, 2013 by

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It was an elegantly simple but universally embraced paper container – the cone-shape Dixie Cup – that enabled millionaire inventor and philanthropist Cesare Barbieri to amass the spectacular collection of European paintings, bronzes, Asian art and Oriental rugs featured in Myers Fine Art’s Feb. 10 auction.

Portrait of Gabrielle de Bourbon

‘Portrait of Gabrielle de Bourbon,’ depicting the daughter (b. 1460 of Louis I, Count of Montpensier, a direct descendant of Saint Louis (1214-1270), framed size 35¼ x 24 5/8 in., est. $4,000-$6,000. Myers Fine Art image.

The Italian-born Barbieri (1878-1956) held more than 100 patents, including one issued in 1926 for conical Dixie Cups and the machinery that manufactured them. He also possessed a finely tuned eye for classical art and design.

“He bought the best of everything for his multiple residences, but he was also very generous toward others,” said Myers co-owner Mary Dowd. “His will provided for the establishment of a Dixie employee pension fund, and his Dixie Cup royalties funded an endowment for Italian cultural studies at Trinity College that continues to this day. He also helped to finance the post-World War II reconstruction effort in his hometown of Bologna, Italy.”

Barbieri’s largesse extended to those who cared for him in his declining years, in particular his nurse and companion Anita De Paulis. Barbieri bequeathed to De Paulis the entire contents of both his lavish Manhattan apartment and Villa Barbieri, his estate in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. De Paulis retired to a town near Sarasota, Fla., and after her death in 2011, Myers acquired the Barbieri collection directly from the De Paulis Estate.

Myers has a policy of only conducting a European & Asian Art auction when a collection of exceptional quality is available to headline such a sale. The 480-lot Feb. 10 event is the first of its type to be scheduled in two years and consists of fresh goods acquired almost exclusively from estates.

The featured Barbieri collection includes magnificent paintings, bronzes, antique clocks, Oriental rugs, furniture and carved ivories. Among the top pieces is a graceful marble nude titled “The Flower of the Alps,” by Attilio Piccirilli (Italian, 1886-1945). A similar Piccirilli sold a few years ago at Sotheby’s for $19,000. Myers Fine Art has placed an estimate of $10,000-$15,000 on the signed Piccirilli in their sale. A signed Giuseppe Gambogi (Italian, 1891-1965) statue of Shakespeare’s “Ophelia” carries an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.

An extraordinary artwork from Villa Barbieri, “Portrait of Gabrielle de Bourbon,” depicts the 26-year-old daughter of Louis I, Count of Montpensier, a direct descendant of Saint Louis (1214-1270). The richly detailed portrait, created possibly as early as the 15th century, exhibits an extremely high standard of artistry, evident by the level of detail in the sitter’s ornately embroidered silk dress and ermine-trimmed robe. A gold figural pendant adorns her pearl-trimmed bodice, and pearls embellish her Renaissance cap. The 17 by 12½-inch painting is presented in an elaborate gilt tabernacle frame from the late-18th or early 19th century. It is expected to make $4,000-$6,000.

Other Continental artworks in the sale include an 18th/19th-century French portrait of a lady holding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a Charles Cousin (French, 1904-1972) Venetian canal scene, and a J. Eisenhut oil painting of a Venetian doge. Additional enticements include an Italian pietra dura specimen table and micromosaic pieces; French cameo glass, majolica, silver, Louis XV bronze candelabra, and Austrian ivory and wood figures. There will also be fine European porcelain, an inlaid Italian marquetry chest and antique Italian walnut cupboard; and a pair of French Empire bronze table lamps. A Continental relief-carved ivory plaque depicts a frenzied battle scene of warriors on horseback. Dating to the mid-19th century and possibly from Dieppe, France, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Another standout is a signed Tommaso Gentile (Italian, 1853-?) bronze mirror adorned by two nude women. It bears the Kunst-Erzgieserei Vienna foundry mark and is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Timepieces include European mantel clocks, a miniature tall-case clock with chinoiserie artwork, and a highly desirable tall-case clock with Joshua Wilson (London) 17th/18th-century movement in a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut case. The musical moon phase clock stands 95 inches tall and, although missing some of its mechanical parts, is likely to achieve $4,000-$6,000.

An interesting estate collection contains antique Japanese samurai swords of various lengths. The edged weapons are in good company with the auction’s grouping of early Persian armor and trio of 18th-century Japanese Edo Period matchlock rifles.

The sale’s extensive Asian section covers all imaginable forms and media. Ceramics include Japanese Imari, antique Chinese hand-painted plates and a pleasing selection of Chinese export porcelain. Among the carved figural pieces are a 77-inch oxblood Buddha, an ivory Siddhartha bust, jade and hardstone objects, and numerous Chinese and Japanese ivories. Other highlights include a Japanese inlaid and carved screen, a set of four Chinese Qing silk paintings, 19th-century Chinese reverse paintings, a pair of yoke-back armchairs, an early 19th-century Kano school 4-panel screen painting, and an array of Asian bronze and mixed-metal vessels and other items.

Not to be missed if one is considering the renovation of a special room is the lot containing more than 25 rolls of Zuber et Cie. (French) panoramic wallpaper in the “Views of North America” pattern. The rolls were printed from Zuber’s original 19th-century woodblocks.

“In the 1970s, Jacqueline Kennedy chose the very same wallpaper for the White House [Diplomatic] Reception Room,” said Mary Dowd. “It depicts American scenes such as Boston Harbor, Niagara Falls, and Natural Bridge in Virginia. The rolls we are auctioning are in perfect condition. They were ordered from Zuber in the 1970s but were never installed.”

The garden and architectural category is led by a 19th-century marble bench side support depicting a winged mythological creature, and an impressive pair of 19th-century marble Bacchanalian garden herms topped by carved busts of a satyr and nude maiden. Each herm stands 62 inches tall, and together they tip the scales at 1,000+ lbs. Formerly ensconced at a Southampton, N.Y., estate, the pair is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.

Other items of note include a John Wallace (1841-1905) landscape of a hilltop castle, a carved R.J. Horner partner’s desk with carved griffin legs ($3,000-$5,000), 18th-century ecclesiastical vestments, and a chic F.V. Manti (Italian) 18K yellow gold openwork bracelet adorned with women’s faces ($2,000-$4,000). Last but certainly not least, the sale includes a sporty red 2007 Ferrari F430 with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer – a stylish vehicle in which to transport one’s purchases home on auction day.

Myers Fine Art’s Sunday, Feb. 10 auction of European & Asian Antiques & Fine Art featuring the Cesare Barbieri collection will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time. A preview will be held from 10-6 on Saturday, Feb. 9, and from 10 a.m. till noon on auction day. The gallery is located at 1600 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, FL 33704. All forms of bidding will be available including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. For additional information, call 727-823-3249 or e-mail auctions@myersfineart.com. Online: www.myersfineart.com.

No free rides on pricey Marklin carousel in Noel Barrett’s $1.3M Winter Auction

February 1st, 2013 by
Marklin Toy Carousel

Exquisitely detailed circa-1910 Marklin carousel, crank or steam driven, top lot of the sale, $218,500. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

NEW HOPE, Pa. – It took more than a brass ring to claim ownership of an exquisite Marklin carousel that topped prices realized at Noel Barrett’s $1.3 million Winter Auction. The circa-1910 German-made toy commanded $218,500 at Barrett’s Nov. 16-17 event, selling to a US buyer against stiff competition from collectors on both sides of the Atlantic. All prices quoted in this report include a basic 15% buyer’s premium; additional for Internet.

A toy fit for royalty, the carousel had surfaced during the disposition of an estate in Phoenix, and to Barrett’s great surprise, was in “astoundingly original condition.” Lavishly festooned with colored glass balls, mirrors, pennants, cartouches and metal embellishments, the cloth-canopied carousel could be operated either as a crank or steam-driven toy. It featured eight girl and four boy riders on diminutive hide-covered horses and in vis-à-vis chariots. Entered as the star lot of the sale, it carried a pre-auction estimate of $75,000-$100,000.

A rare and most impressive toy, the carousel will be in good company alongside a folk-art “Amor L Jones” loco and tender that was offered together with a photo of a young girl for whom the train may have been created. Selling price: $907.50. “The same person bid successfully on both the carousel and the Amor Jones train. He likes to buy the best of every category, and although the train was not one of the more expensive toys in the sale, it was definitely the best train in the folk art category. To me, this approach to buying proves the buyer has an eye, not just a pocketbook,” said Barrett.

Several train-related lots landed in the top 10, including a circa-1909 to 1919 Marklin PLM coupe-vent passenger set with pictorial box, which sold for $46,000. It had been shipped to Barrett’s gallery from Buenos Aires by the nephew of the original owner, who received the train as a young girl around 1920. “Apparently she preferred playing with dolls, so the train was packed up and stored away. It spent the next 90 years virtually untouched. It was in near-mint condition when it arrived to us,” said Barrett.

Althof Bermann Santa in Sleigh

Althof Bermann hand-painted tin Santa in Sleigh, one of only two known examples considered 100% original, $97,700. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Other train highlights included a lithographed tin Grand Central Station made for the American market, $28,750; and a fully functional 89-inch-long live-steam model of the Empire State Express, whose detailed construction was covered in the May 1976 issue of Live Steam Magazine. It was bid to $27,600. A Carette 2350 gauge 1 live-steam loco and tender that appeared in the manufacturer’s 1911 catalog with the description “Latest design (an original scale model)” changed hands for $16,100; while a Marklin Washington Pullman observation car more than tripled its high estimate at $13,800.

One of the most popular toys in the 932-lot sale was a wonderful Althof-Bergmann Santa Sleigh drawn by two goats wearing royal blue and gold saddles with matching pairs of bells. For years the only known examples of this particular toy were those belonging to pioneer collector Bernard Barenholtz and another trailblazer of the toy hobby, Leon Perelman, founder of the Perelman Antique Toy Museum in Philadelphia. A third Althof-Bergmann Santa Sleigh with goat team was later confirmed in the collection of the Margaret Strong Museum. The sleigh in Barrett’s sale became the fourth, and quite likely will be the last, Santa Sleigh to emerge, Barrett said, noting that only the Barenholtz sleigh and the one in his sale are considered totally original. An iconic toy with immense charm, the sleigh sold for $97,750.

The auction included a fine array of high-end European and American toys, bolstered by selections from the renowned

Gerald Wingrove 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 (top) 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg.

Gerald Wingrove hand-made scale models of a 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 (top) and a 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg. Auctioned for $16,100 each. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Athelstan and Kathy Spilhaus antique toy collection and the Rick Ralston collection of trains and trolleys. The two anchor collections were complemented by numerous attic discoveries and choice single pieces from several consignors.

A cloth-dressed clockwork Tambourine Player from a series of four African-American clockwork toys produced in the last quarter of the 20th century by Jerome Secor easily surpassed its estimate to ring up $17,200. Another American beauty, The Pittsburgh House was an extravagantly detailed circa-1890 architectural model formerly in the collection of the Toy Museum of Atlanta. It achieved $18,400 against a $6,000-$10,000 estimate.

Cast-iron mechanical banks made their mark in Barrett’s sale, as well. An excellent to near-mint J. & E. Stevens Clown on Globe made $18,400 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000; and an exceptional example of a Stevens Cat & Mouse bank streaked past its $3,000-$5,000 estimate to settle at $9,775.

Other highlights of Noel Barrett’s Winter Auction included Gerald Wingrove hand-made scale models of a 1924 Hispano-Suiza No. 3 and a 1933 Derham Tourster Duesenberg. Each was estimated at $7,000-$9,000 and each realized $16,100.

After the sale, Barrett commented that it had been “quite the international event. We shipped toys to sixteen countries. A brand new customer from the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe bought twelve items, and two pieces from the top ten were purchased by collectors who knew me but who never laid eyes on the toys they bid on. They felt confident that our descriptions were accurate and thorough.”

Phone bidders were responsible for 40% of the gross, Internet bidders 24%, and absentee bidders just under 10%. The remaining 25% of the $1.3 million total was attributable to bidders in the room.

To contact Noel Barrett Auctions, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail toys@noelbarrett.com. Visit Noel Barrett’s website at www.noelbarrett.com.

Fine Art Collection of Dixie Cup Mastermind is Centerpiece of Myers’ Feb. 10 Auction

January 31st, 2013 by

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – It was an elegantly simple but universally embraced paper container – the cone-shape Dixie Cup – that enabled millionaire inventor and philanthropist Cesare Barbieri to amass the spectacular collection of European paintings, bronzes, Asian art and Oriental rugs featured in Myers Fine Art’s Feb. 10 auction.

The Italian-born Barbieri (1878-1956) held more than 100 patents, including one issued in 1926 for conical Dixie Cups and the machinery that manufactured them. He also possessed a finely tuned eye for classical art and design.

“He bought the best of everything for his multiple residences, but he was also very generous toward others,” said Myers co-owner Mary Dowd. “His will provided for the establishment of a Dixie employee pension fund, and his Dixie Cup royalties funded an endowment for Italian cultural studies at Trinity College that continues to this day. He also helped to finance the post-World War II reconstruction effort in his hometown of Bologna, Italy.”

Barbieri’s largesse extended to those who cared for him in his declining years, in particular his nurse and companion Anita De Paulis. Barbieri bequeathed to De Paulis the entire contents of both his lavish Manhattan apartment and Villa Barbieri, his estate in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. De Paulis retired to a town near Sarasota, Fla., and after her death in 2011, Myers acquired the Barbieri collection directly from the De Paulis Estate.

Myers has a policy of only conducting a European & Asian Art auction when a collection of exceptional quality is available to headline such a sale. The 480-lot Feb. 10 event is the first of its type to be scheduled in two years and consists of fresh goods acquired almost exclusively from estates.

The featured Barbieri collection includes magnificent paintings, bronzes, antique clocks, Oriental rugs, furniture and carved ivories. Among the top pieces is a graceful marble nude titled “The Flower of the Alps,” by Attilio Piccirilli (Italian, 1886-1945). A similar Piccirilli sold a few years ago at Sotheby’s for $19,000. Myers Fine Art has placed an estimate of $10,000-$15,000 on the signed Piccirilli in their sale. A signed Giuseppe Gambogi (Italian, 1891-1965) statue of Shakespeare’s “Ophelia” carries an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.

An extraordinary artwork from Villa Barbieri, “Portrait of Gabrielle de Bourbon,” depicts the 26-year-old daughter of Louis I, Count of Montpensier, a direct descendant of Saint Louis (1214-1270). The richly detailed portrait, created possibly as early as the 15th century, exhibits an extremely high standard of artistry, evident by the level of detail in the sitter’s ornately embroidered silk dress and ermine-trimmed robe. A gold figural pendant adorns her pearl-trimmed bodice, and pearls embellish her Renaissance cap. The 17 by 12½-inch painting is presented in an elaborate gilt tabernacle frame from the late-18th or early 19th century. It is expected to make $4,000-$6,000.

Other Continental artworks in the sale include an 18th/19th-century French portrait of a lady holding a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, a Charles Cousin (French, 1904-1972) Venetian canal scene, and a J. Eisenhut oil painting of a Venetian doge. Additional enticements include an Italian pietra dura specimen table and micromosaic pieces; French cameo glass, majolica, silver, Louis XV bronze candelabra, and Austrian ivory and wood figures. There will also be fine European porcelain, an inlaid Italian marquetry chest and antique Italian walnut cupboard; and a pair of French Empire bronze table lamps. A Continental relief-carved ivory plaque depicts a frenzied battle scene of warriors on horseback. Dating to the mid-19th century and possibly from Dieppe, France, it is estimated at $3,000-$5,000. Another standout is a signed Tommaso Gentile (Italian, 1853-?) bronze mirror adorned by two nude women. It bears the Kunst-Erzgieserei Vienna foundry mark and is estimated at $6,000-$8,000.

Timepieces include European mantel clocks, a miniature tall-case clock with chinoiserie artwork, and a highly desirable tall-case clock with Joshua Wilson (London) 17th/18th-century movement in a Philadelphia Chippendale walnut case. The musical moon phase clock stands 95 inches tall and, although missing some of its mechanical parts, is likely to achieve $4,000-$6,000.

An interesting estate collection contains antique Japanese samurai swords of various lengths. The edged weapons are in good company with the auction’s grouping of early Persian armor and trio of 18th-century Japanese Edo Period matchlock rifles.

The sale’s extensive Asian section covers all imaginable forms and media. Ceramics include Japanese Imari, antique Chinese hand-painted plates and a pleasing selection of Chinese export porcelain. Among the carved figural pieces are a 77-inch oxblood Buddha, an ivory Siddhartha bust, jade and hardstone objects, and numerous Chinese and Japanese ivories. Other highlights include a Japanese inlaid and carved screen, a set of four Chinese Qing silk paintings, 19th-century Chinese reverse paintings, a pair of yoke-back armchairs, an early 19th-century Kano school 4-panel screen painting, and an array of Asian bronze and mixed-metal vessels and other items.

 

Not to be missed if one is considering the renovation of a special room is the lot containing more than 25 rolls of Zuber et Cie. (French) panoramic wallpaper in the “Views of North America” pattern. The rolls were printed from Zuber’s original 19th-century woodblocks.

“In the 1970s, Jacqueline Kennedy chose the very same wallpaper for the White House [Diplomatic] Reception Room,” said Mary Dowd. “It depicts American scenes such as Boston Harbor, Niagara Falls, and Natural Bridge in Virginia. The rolls we are auctioning are in perfect condition. They were ordered from Zuber in the 1970s but were never installed.”

The garden and architectural category is led by a 19th-century marble bench side support depicting a winged mythological creature, and an impressive pair of 19th-century marble Bacchanalian garden herms topped by carved busts of a satyr and nude maiden. Each herm stands 62 inches tall, and together they tip the scales at 1,000+ lbs. Formerly ensconced at a Southampton, N.Y., estate, the pair is estimated at $6,000-$9,000.

Other items of note include a John Wallace (1841-1905) landscape of a hilltop castle, a carved R.J. Horner partner’s desk with carved griffin legs ($3,000-$5,000), 18th-century ecclesiastical vestments, and a chic F.V. Manti (Italian) 18K yellow gold openwork bracelet adorned with women’s faces ($2,000-$4,000). Last but certainly not least, the sale includes a sporty red 2007 Ferrari F430 with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer – a stylish vehicle in which to transport one’s purchases home on auction day.

Myers Fine Art’s Sunday, Feb. 10 auction of European & Asian Antiques & Fine Art featuring the Cesare Barbieri collection will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time. A preview will be held from 10-6 on Saturday, Feb. 9, and from 10 a.m. till noon on auction day. The gallery is located at 1600 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, FL 33704. All forms of bidding will be available including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. For additional information, call 727-823-3249 or e-mail auctions@myersfineart.com. Online: www.myersfineart.com.

Baby Doe Tabor Bedroom Set

January 25th, 2013 by

Baby Doe TaborKnown as the “Baby Doe Tabor suite”, this set was purchased by U. S. Senator Horace “Silver Dollar” Tabor. Owning incredible silver mines in Colorado, he was also one of the wealthiest men in the world.  Known as the “Silver King”, he created quite the scandal when, while still married, he fell in love with Elizabeth McCourt, also known as Baby Doe, a beautiful woman many years his junior.  As the story goes, the Senator bought the suite during their Honeymoon in Philadelphia for his bride. It was brought back to Colorado (where Tabor lived) and installed in their house where family history had it that President Ulysses S. Grant slept in it.

Tabor was heavily leveraged and in 1890 when the Sherman Silver purchase act was passed, silver prices dropped and Tabor unfortunately lost all of his money. There are actually stories of him becoming a miner in his own mine in order to survive. Despite being broke, Horace and Baby Doe stayed together and were still very much in love in 1899 when Horace died. Numerous books, an Opera, as well as a MGM movie were done on her life as she was one of the most fascinating personages of her day.

The suite’s exceptional history did not stop with the Tabors. After Horace’s death, Baby Doe sold the set to the famed William Randolph Hearst. He kept it until approximately 1930 when he gave it to his publisher Dr. Barham for his Santa Ynez, New Mexico ranch, which he shared with Hearst.

The suite is primarily made of finally carved and burled walnut and was almost certainly crafted by the great Philadelphia cabinetmaker Daniel Pabst. It is one of two great sets he made, the other exhibited at the 1876 Philadelphia “World’s Fair” and now at Saganore Hill Museum, President Theodore Roosevelt’s Oyster Bay home. The bed, which will perfectly hold a modern queen size mattress, has upon its cornice nocturnal animals such as owls and bats. Its footboard holds hidden compartments and overall it is a stunning example of aesthetic art. It stands 104” high. The dresser, which is equally as impressive, displays hummingbirds and other daytime animals in its cornice. It also has drawers for jewelry as well as a unique pull out shelf to lay out the day’s accessories. It stands an impressive 115” high.

In all of our experience, we have never seen another suite equal to this one. It is not only extraordinary; but it also has one of the most interesting provenances of any object we have ever offered. I would love for you consider this masterpiece. Our toll free number is 1-800-544-9440. Can we tempt you?

Dresser: 62 3/4″ wide x 27″ deep x 107″ high
Bed: 65 3/8″ wide x 92 1/2″ deep x 104″ high

Sincerely,

Susan

Pennsylvania ‘dwarf’ clock whistles while it works the crowd at Stephenson’s New Year’s auction

January 23rd, 2013 by

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Good things came in small packages at Stephenson’s Jan. 1 auction in suburban Philadelphia. An early 19th-century Henry Bower “dwarf” clock standing only 50 inches tall rang in the New Year in fine style, leading prices realized with a buoyant selling price of $31,625. All prices quoted include 15% buyer’s premium.

The diminutive walnut clock sourced from an estate in Pennsylvania’s Poconos region gave indications early on that it might be a sizzler on auction day.

“You can tell a lot by what goes on during the preview,” said Cindy Stephenson, owner of Stephenson’s Auctioneers. “All of the top clock people were here looking at it. One expert spent half an hour inspecting it. Another customer pulled out an old clock book that explained the meaning of ‘Feste Swome,’ which was written on the clock. Feste Swome is Pennsylvania German for ‘Falkner Swamp’ and refers to the location in Douglass Township, Pennsylvania, where Henry Bower manufactured his clocks.”

The winning bidder, an antique dealer and clock collector, called Cindy Stephenson a few days after the auction and told her he was having a gear made for the clock to ensure it would be in perfect running order going forward.

“He was very happy with the clock. He told me he had sold a few other dwarf clocks over the years, but never one by that particular maker,” Stephenson said.

 

The clock had passed by descent to the estate from which it came, but no other information was known about its ownership history. Its desirability was validated on auction day, however, when 11 phone lines were required to accommodate all phone bidders. “Every phone line in the house was occupied, including all of our personal cell phones,” said Stephenson.

The other big story of the day was an old and well-provenanced collection of ivory and jade that had come to Stephenson’s from a Montgomery County residence. Its contents attracted many bidders in the gallery, online and on the phones.

A pair of circa-1890-1920 Chinese carved ivory figural urns decorated with relief village scenes and foo dogs had formerly been in the collection of Oliver Smalley of Epsom, England. Estimated at $2,000-$4,000, the matched duo sold online for $6,490.

 A beautiful 19th-century Japanese ivory and shibayama table screen encrusted with mother of pearl and decorated with tinted-ivory relief figures of people running in the rain and huddling in a shelter was bid to an above-estimate price of $7,475. Other Asian highlights included a carved white jade Buddha, $5,605 to an online bidder; and a celadon jade figure of an official with a scepter, $5,750.

“Our buyers were very pleased with the Asian selection we offered. The pieces were just fabulous. And the consignor was so pleased with the results, he’s also going to consign his furniture. We’re certainly looking forward to that,” said Stephenson.

Of the antique silver offered in the sale, a circa-1814 George III inkstand with winged paw feet, hallmarked for Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard, London, more than doubled expectations at $1,725. It sold to a buyer in the gallery.

The top jewelry lot was a man’s hand-made 18K gold ring with a bezel-set center diamond weighing approximately 2.0 carats, surrounded by 58 round champagne and white diamonds. It surpassed presale expectations, selling via the Internet for $5,015.

An Alexander John Drysdale (American/New Orleans, 1875-1934) Louisiana bayou landscape artwork has returned to familiar surroundings after selling to a Louisiana phone bidder for a within-estimate price of $2,300. “The buyer was very pleased, and so were we. It’s always nice to see regional art returning to its place of origin,” said Stephenson.

Stephenson’s has a full slate of auctions planned for the first quarter of 2013. For additional information, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail info@stephensonsauction.com. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.

CAPTIONS:

Lot 410 – Pennsylvania walnut miniature tall case clock, Hy (Henry) Bower, F. (Feste) Swome, early 19th century. Top lot of the sale: $31,625. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 105 – Pair of Chinese carved ivory figural covered urns decorated with figural village scenes, foo dogs, circa 1890-1920, ex collection of Oliver Smalley, Epsom, England; $6,490. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 109 – Ivory and shibayama table screen encrusted with mother of pearl and tinted ivory, figurines in rain and shelter, signed on one panel, Japan, 19th century, $7,475. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 160 – George III glass and silver inkstand, winged paw feet, engraved on back ‘Dame SJ Paston-Cooper,’ circa 1814, hallmarked for Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard, London, $1,725. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Lot 235 – Man’s handmade 18K gold and diamond ring; center bezel-set stone approx. 2.0 carats; additional 58 round champagne and white diamonds, weight 40.4 grams/26.0 dwt, $5,015. Stephenson’s Auctioneers image.

Jacobean Furniture

December 5th, 2012 by

Jacobean furniture dates all the way back to the year 1600. The revival of this style lasted for almost a century. The period represents the growth of foreign influence and the passing of the oak styles. The Jacobean style was made popular during the reign of James the first and was also popular under his son Charles the second.

The earliest Jacobean furniture was influenced mainly by Elizabethan (1603 -1688) styled furniture. During this time the furniture took on different styles. Early Jacobean furniture was somewhat inward looking, not fully embracing exotic influences that were more ornate. Colonial Americans copied the early styles of the furniture as best as they could since they did not have skilled furniture makers.

Commonwealth Style (1649-1660) marks the middle of the Jacobean Period, when the furniture was of simpler design and undecorated. The late Jacobean Period is that of the Carolean period, named for King Charles II. Charles the first was more cultured than his father and took much care and interest in the furnishings of his palaces and mansions and especially in the collection of great art and paintings. During Charles’s reign over England, he paid more attention to domestic comfort with much more use of padded upholstery, carpets instead of rush mats, and finer embroidery. The Latin name for James is Jacobus. The English style in vogue beginning with James I’s reign is referred to as “Jacobean”. The Jacobean, or Jacobethan, era was another phase of English Renaissance architecture, theatre, and decoration and formed a continuation, begun in the Elizabethan age, of the Renaissance’s penetration into England. In America, Jacobean style furniture is synonymous with Pilgrim style because the early English settlements in America took place during the Jacobean era.  Very little American furniture of the earlier part of the Jacobean period is still surviving; but later pieces, from about 1670, are more numerous. Most of the American primitive furniture was produced during this period by colonists to make do, because there were few skilled cabinetmakers in the colonies.

There were many different features in the Jacobean furniture style. Oak was the chief wood and Ash and maple were used for turning and whittling. Using pine wood was also a popular method. There were also a few different types of Jacobean furniture.  This included turned chairs, highly carved mirror frames, footstools, and gateleg tables. Upholstery was used to improve chairs. Upholstery is the work of providing furniture, especially seats, with padding, springs, webbing, and fabric covers. Materials such as silk, tapestries, crewelwork, linen, velvet, and even leather were used on various types of chairs. There were four different chair styles in the Jacobean era that included three-legged, carver, and Brewster. Almost all flat surfaces on chairs, chests, etc. are carved in low relief. Jacobean furniture was very sturdy, massive in size, notoriously uncomfortable, and made to last. The furniture pieces that were produced consisted mainly of chests, cupboards, trestle tables, wainscot chairs, and gate legged circular tables. Some veneering and inlay were used, and many pieces were painted. Spiral turning was also very popular. Tables were rectangular in shape, with small melon ball turning on the legs. As a rule, Jacobean furniture construction was simple. It was assembled with mortise and tendon joints, held together with pegs.

Jacobean period furniture can mainly be found in the auction houses of England. Being built to last, many pieces have not only survived, but are still in good condition. Understandably expensive, most “Jacobean antiques” available for sale are actually 19th century reproductions. Lines of furniture today have the same styles and will reference the Jacobean era.