Millea Bros. Ltd is a boutiques New Jersey auction company specializing in fresh to the market estate property culle4d from the New York metropolitan area. The Millea Brothers and their staff conduct two major auction events a year.
Auction May 21st, 22nd & 23rd, 2010 10:00am
Preview May 20th 11am – 8pm and one hour before the start of each auction
Even a volcanic eruption couldn’t dampen interest – or prices – at Bertoia’s April 16-17 Kaufman III sessionsMay 18th, 2010 by admin
Comic character buyers helped boost total to $2.38M
VINELAND, N.J. – Auctioneers have learned to cope with a myriad of meteorological challenges year round, from bone-chilling blizzards to terrifying tornados, but the last thing Jeanne Bertoia and her team expected to deal with over the weekend of April 16-17 was a volcanic eruption.
A cloud of ash drifting from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, which had erupted twice in less than a month, enshrouded much of Europe in the 48 hours prior to Bertoia’s sale of the Donald Kaufman collection, part III. The volcanic ash forced the cancellation of many flights and disrupted air traffic across northern Europe, stranding thousands of passengers. Among them were toy collectors with plans to attend the 3,700-lot sale at Bertoia’s Vineland, N.J., gallery.
“Most of the Euros made it out just before the cancellations, although David Pressland was one of the travelers stranded in London,” said Jeanne Bertoia. “Fortunately, we were able to move quickly to accommodate anyone who requested a last-minute phone line. Many others bid live via the Internet, so no one was left out.” The auction went on to gross $2.38 million; all prices quoted in this report include 15% buyer’s premium.
This was the first Kaufman auction to feature comic character toys, a category that has been somewhat soft in recent years. Buyers reacted to the introduction of fresh, top-quality comic character toys from a long-held collection with unbridled enthusiasm. Europeans bidding remotely on German examples from the collection gave new impetus to the comic toys, especially those made by Distler, Gunthermann, Eberl and Tippco, the latter being the company that produced a circa-1932 Mickey and Minnie Mouse motorcycle that sold for $65,550. “That’s almost as much as the one that sold with a box!” a voice in the audience piped up after the hammer fell on the lot.
A collector favorite, a circa-1932 Distler Mickey Mouse organ grinder with a miniature Minnie that “dances” atop the barrel organ was presented with its original, profusely illustrated box. Estimated at $10,000-$12,000, it easily scampered to $19,550 and into the hands of a bidder in the room.
Early automotive toys continued the winning streak evident in previous Kaufman sales. A rare circa-1920 clockwork fire pumper made by Germany’s premier toymaker, Marklin, sped past its estimate to settle at $48,587.50; while a boxed 1896 Faivre (French) rendition of a Panhard Levassor, nearly doubled its high estimate at $26,450. An exceptional example of a four-seat tourer, a Bing tinplate double phaeton, 13 inches long with composition chauffeur, rolled serenely to $25,300.
A circa-1900, 12-inch French tourer with robin’s-egg-blue racer-style body, two bisque-head figures and original box fetched $27,600; but the top lot of the early European tin category was another Marklin production – a circa-1903 hand-painted four-seat tourer with white body and mango-colored, faux-tufted seats. Against a high estimate of $35,000, it earned its bragging rights at $55,200.
A circa-1924 American National Packard coupe pedal car with wicker-style door panels and a fancy eagle hood ornament was the subject of considerable interest at the preview. It ended up selling over the phone for $38,000. A 1920s American National pedal fire truck with full rack of original ladders garnered an above-estimate price of $32,200.
Choice examples of figural biscuit tins from the Kaufman collection included a very rare Gray Dunn blue motorcycle with red sidecar. Against an estimate of $8,000-$10,000, it soared to $18,400.
There is no underestimating the role this auction series has played in reigniting camaraderie within the international toy community. In the cafe adjacent to the main gallery, collectors engaged in animated conversations over sandwiches and soft drinks. Ray Cassatta, a former concert promoter from Chicago who now manufactures replacement headlights for toy autos, commented: “It’s a good hobby to be in. I love that you can make new friends at auctions like this one. It beats babysitting rock stars.”
Sally Kaufman, wife of the late Donald Kaufman (co-founder of K-B Toys, who passed away on Oct. 12, 2009), attended the sale together with members of her family, and graciously chatted with bidders. After the auction, she was guest of honor at the fete Bertoia’s hosted to pay tribute to Donald Kaufman. “There was a hospitality bar, wonderful food, and a special video about Don, plus everyone had a chance to share toy-collecting memories of him. We wanted it to be a celebration of Don’s life, and everyone must have thoroughly enjoyed it, because it ran quite late,” said Jeanne Bertoia.
“Sally was delighted to see a 14-year-old toy collector bidding from the front row,” Jeanne continued. The boy’s father had taken him to the first Kaufman sessions in spring 2009, purely as an observer. There he was able to speak personally with Don Kaufman, which inspired him to return as a buyer. “It was bittersweet that he had written a letter to Don, which he was going to present to him at this sale. He didn’t realize that Don had died. He did have his picture taken with Sally and even bought a lot containing two Hubley toys. He was the youngest collector at the sale, and Sally was intrigued by him,” Jeanne said with a smile.
After the auction, Jeanne turned her attention to helping the Europeans who had attended the event but now found themselves unable to secure a return flight home. Among them were Swiss airline pilots Markus and Uta Staub; and a trio of friends who had attended all three Kaufman sales: Paul Lang and Peter Stierli, both from Switzerland; and their German friend Georg Kaul.
“They didn’t care where in Europe they got a flight to because they knew they could get a rental car or train home from just about anywhere on the Continent,” Jeanne said. “I invited them all to my house to use my computer, my speakerphone and anything else they needed to try to book a flight and extend their car rentals.’
“We also kept them entertained by taking them out to dinner and an antique show in Philadelphia,” Jeanne continued. “On Monday we had an impromptu birthday celebration for Georg, who had missed his own party that was supposed to take place in Germany.”
Fortunately, everyone was eventually able to secure a flight home. Lang, Stierli and Kaul were able to book seats on a plane out of JFK a few days after the auction. No doubt they had plenty to tell their families and fellow collectors in the days that followed.
“We had estimated the sale would do $2 million, which it well exceeded, and even though it wasn’t a $4 million sale like the Kaufman debut, line by line and item by item, it was the best sale we’ve ever had,” Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia summarized. “Sometimes in an auction there are high and low fluctuations from one lot to the next. This was a very smooth, steady sale with interest in every single item. The auctioneers didn’t have to work to get the opening bids they wanted. One very advanced cast iron collector came up to me and said, ‘Can I leave some bids for you to execute?’ I said to him, ‘Why would you want to leave now?’ and he replied, ‘I can’t buy a thing.’”
On the other hand, Rich said there were several absentee bidders who left what they felt were very competitive bids, but who also asked him to reserve a phone line for them, “just in case.” In the end, Rich said, it was the in-house bidders who claimed the majority of the auction’s contents. “After the sale, the showcases were bare,” he remarked.
As statistics go, the auction earned its place in the record books. Combined with the gross figures from Kaufman I and II, the April 2010 sessions pushed the cumulative total for the Kaufman series so far to $9.3 million – easily the highest amount ever achieved at auction by a single-owner antique toy collection. And there’s still more to come.
Bertoia Auctions will present the fourth sessions featuring the Donald Kaufman collection on Sept. 24-25, 2010. Additional details will be available soon at www.bertoiaauctions.com. Tel. 856-692-1881 or email email@example.com.
Buyers and Sellers Enjoy Spring Blockbuster in Texas
4.21.2010 Round Top, TX – Was it the aroma of wildflowers? The full moon in the Texas sky? The perfect weather? Or was it the mountain of antiques that set off a shopping frenzy at the March 30-April 3 Marburger Farm Antique Show in Round Top?
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said first-time exhibitor Jeff Littrell of Atlanta, “except perhaps the ‘running of the brides’ at a Filene’s Basement sale. It was the most fun I’ve had in 30 years in the business.”
In a Texas cow pasture that blooms with antiques twice a year, customers arrived by SUV, by pick-up truck, by bus-loads of moms clubs, school clubs, groups of realtors and re-unions. Some customers even arrived by helicopter— not the first time that the 350+ dealer blockbuster show has used its helicopter parking zone.
“It’s been a long winter for America,” said show co-owner Rick McConn. “People were ready for some fun. We had the most out-of-state buyers ever, international buyers, stores buying containers of inventory and lots of kids, strollers, families, sometimes three generations together. It was a record Marburger Farm attendance. We ran out of tickets at the gate.”
“I wrote so many receipts that I had writer’s cramp in my hand,” complained a happy Larry Arnold of Colorado. “On opening Tuesday we had lots of first-time Marburger shoppers and lots of people at their first antique show ever. But on Wednesday morning early, when things were quieter, a woman from Austin stepped into my booth and bought 49 pieces of silver. She had never been here before.”
Long-time Marburger exhibitor Lowell Dunn of Canterbury Court Antiques also noted the change. Selling English furniture, Imari and Staffordshire, Dunn reported that “We always do well at Marburger, but this time we sold to lots of new customers. People are wanting value for what they are spending. They found it at Marburger Farm.”
The new shoppers reflect the show’s outreach through the internet and high-end consumer publications. The magazine Cowboys & Indians came to see what the ruckus was all about. The Maine Antique Digest sent their “Young Collectors” team, Andrew Richmond and Hollie Davis, to report on the show. Washington state bloggers Linda Albers and Dixie DeRocher came to blog the show for the first time. “We’re updating Facebook as we go through the Marburger Tents,” said Albers. “People are going nuts for Marburger Farm.” As CactusCreekDaily.com put it, “Marburger Farm—the best of the best.”
The Special Events Tent at the show featured Jo Packham, founder and editor of the magazine Where Women Create. Packham greeted shoppers in a fictional woman’s workshop created entirely out of antiques from Marburger Farm by nationally-known designer Gina Galvin. Galvin’s own workshop was featured on the Spring cover of the magazine. “There are more younger people here than I have ever seen at an antique show,” she said.
“I love those young women,” said Bushnell, FL dealer Buffy Charboneau, who sold an extensive collection of gold-filled Victorian bangles, many engraved with old-fashioned names. She also sold retro 1950s silver necklace and earring sets, as well as copper hand-hammered Arts and Crafts era lighting and accessories. “It was really surprising to see the younger generation interested in older things. We should have started doing this show years ago!”
Dealers reporting excellent sales included Richard Auber of Stonington, CT who sold an American chest of drawers, a French armoire, a Black Forest carving and a triptych oil painting by New York artist Frank Vincent DuMond. Karol and Tom Streling of Kawadin, Michigan, sold primitives, Americana and an agricultural potato processing machine to be re-purposed as a table.
John Sauls, co-founder of the Marburger Farm Antique Show, had his best-ever Marburger opening day, selling quilts, quilts and more quilts. Another long-time Marburger dealer, Georgia Morel of New Roads, LA, also reported strong opening day sales of lighting, garden artifacts and industrial antiques. “I needed that shot in the arm,” she said. “We all did.”
“My favorite story from the show, however, was not opening day,” reported Morel. “At the fall show a woman had fallen hard for a railroad cart in my booth. She kept coming back to look at it to use as a coffee table, each time saying it was too expensive. After the show, her husband called and asked if he could pay over time and have me bring it to the spring show as a surprise birthday present for his wife.” Every month, Morel said, the man sent a check with the reminder that it was a surprise and to bring it with a red ribbon. At the show, the cart stood for three days in Morel’s booth with a card and red ribbon. All the dealers in the tent knew of the plan. On the third day of the show, the woman came to look at it again and saw the card with her name. She started crying, and all the nearby dealers rejoiced with her. “I was crying too,” said Morel. “It was such a gesture of love.”
Atlanta exhibitor Brian Kelley says that Marburger Farm brings out the best in both customers and dealers. “We all save our best merchandise for Marburger Farm because we know that Texans appreciate quality antiques.” Kelley sold a seven foot tall 18th c. Italian mirror and every Italian crystal chandelier that he brought. “Marburger Farm,” he said, “is one of the few shows in the country that has lots of energy every day. We sell every day, right up to the end. But one of the reasons that Marburger continues to draw huge crowds on opening day is simply this: the show is strict on security and no one gets in before the opening day. Customers know that the show is full of the best merchandise that we can find.”
After selling more than her share of French fautiels on the farm, Jeanne Tardif, also of Atlanta, summed up the week by saying that “Marburger Farm Antique Show is the best show out there.”
Come see for yourself. The Fall 2010 Marburger Farm Antique Show runs Tuesday September 28 through Saturday October 2, 2010. You can be there! For information on vendors, travel, maps, lodging, shipping and special events, see www.roundtop-marburger.com or call Rick McConn at 800-999-2148 or Ashley Ferguson at 800-947-5799.
The Reidel Collection
Auktion: 12. Juni 2010
Auction: June 12th 2010
München: 27. – 30. Mai 2010
JokersArtRoom, Clemensstraße 75 (eine Auswahl)
Heilbronn: 7. – 12. Juni 2010
Munich: May 27th – May 30th 2010
JokersArtRoom, Clemensstraße 75
(a selection of glass and works)
Heilbronn: June 7th – June 12th 2010 Trappenseeschlösschen
Fon: ++49 7131-15 55 7-0 / Fax: ++49 7131-15 55 7-20
firstname.lastname@example.org / www.auctions-fischer.de
Auktionshaus Dr. Fischer
Trappenseeschlösschen, 74074 Heilbronn, Germany