Discovery- June 18th, 10am
Great Estates- June 19th, 12pm
Preview- June 12th – 17th, 12 – 5pm, Doors open June 18th 8am & June 19th 9am
Catalog now online
Auction June 17th, 2010
Maps & Atlases, Books with Plates, Ephemera, Literature, Art and Illustrated Books, Decorative Graphics
First of all, I wanted to thank everyone for reading my column and commenting on things. Your input is not only appreciated by me, but by other collectors who are reading. Your suggestions have been great, timely and informative!
In last week’s column, Marko asked me a question that inspired this column. He asked: “What was my favorite find and why?”
I briefly elaborated but I thought I’d go into a bit more detail here for those who catch my reply last week.
I used to run ads in the Antique Trader. For those of you who have been in the antiques world for a long time, most dealers and collectors used to consider The Antique Trader the bible. It came out on Monday every week and we all anxiously waited for the mailman to deliver it in our mailbox.
You’d rush home, and flip to the classified section in the back to see who was selling what. This was pre eBay, pre online antique malls, digital photos, etc. (And keep the comments to yourself, I’m not that old!)
You read listings in black and white text and had to envision what people were describing, or even if what they were describing was real. Anything that sounded good, you picked up the phone and called on. Time and again I’d call on things and they were already spoken for. DRATS!
I met many pickers through this publication which was great. They went out picking all week long and would call me when they found something on my “want list”. Some could describe things to a “T” and knew exactly what I was looking for. I’d buy it just from their descriptions and rarely if ever was disappointed.
I decided I’d place a display ad in the WANTED TO BUY section of the paper. “Buying Tiffany lamps, glass, bronze and other art glass items.”
One day I was heading out to lunch and I received a phone call. I almost didn’t answer it because I was running late. I grabbed the phone and it was an elderly man on the other line saying he saw my ad in the Trader. This always got me excited. You never knew what those kinds of calls might bring.
He began describing an all too familiar piece of Steuben glass; a console bowl in amber with threading and controlled bubble decoration. It was worth about $250 and was not very exciting to me. I told him I’d call him later in the week as he was about 40 miles out of town and he wanted me to come by and see it.
I almost forgot to call him, but when I finally did I arranged to go take a look. There were a few small antique shops I hadn’t visited in some time along the way and I thought I’d make a day trip out of it.
I got to the gentleman’s house and low and behold, it was exactly the bowl I envisioned it to be. YAWN.
I decided I’d buy it as I had already driven all the way out there. Boy was I glad I did. Once I made the purchase he asked me if I bought other art glass and he pulled out a decorated tendril Loetz vase which is on the cover of one of the Loetz books. I was shocked. I asked if he was a collector, to which he said no. Of course my next question was “Did you inherit these items?” to which again he replied no. He then pointed and said “I found them in the barn in the back.”
You just never know what you might find in the barns of a country home!
I’d love to hear more about your favorite finds. Comment here with your stories!
Fine European and American Furniture and Decorative Arts
Featuring property from the Brimsmade Estate, Houston
Plus, a special evening session offering the Ed Hardy Collection
June 14th 2010
Our June 16th auction of Important 20th Century Design represents a tightly curated chronological survey of American and European design from the turn of the century through the present date.
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – On June 3, former Sotheby’s senior vice president Leila Dunbar will give a presentation titled “Stories In Hand – Baseball History Told Through its Memorabilia” at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York as part of its annual symposium on baseball and American culture. The 2010 Symposium runs June 2-4, featuring lectures and panels of more than 60 baseball academics and presenters discussing baseball’s effect on American culture.
Dunbar’s talk will focus on the stories behind selected rare pieces from her $36 million of Sotheby’s sports memorabilia sales, Antiques Roadshow televised sports memorabilia segments and her current appraisal business. Items include heretofore unseen Babe Ruth signed WWI Jewish Relief campaign game tickets, the only known baseball signed by Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; Woodrow Wilson’s own 1915 Federal League baseball pass, a 1956 signed photo of Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella on Robinson’s last trip as a Dodger before retiring, a group of 1937 telegrams from teams to Tommy Henrich after he was declared a free agent by Commissioner Kenesaw Landis, and a collection of 1936 Olympics baseball memorabilia from the estate of Paul Amen, who later went on to a baseball and football coaching career at West Point and Wake Forest.
From 1999 to 2008, Dunbar served as director of Sotheby’s Collectibles department – sales highlights include the bat that Babe Ruth used to hit the first home run at Yankee Stadium on Grand Opening Day, 1923, for $1.25 million; the 1919 agreement selling Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees for $996,000; the Boston Garden parquet floor center court Leprechaun logo for $332,000; and the Heisman Trophy original mold for $248,000. Since its inception in 1996, Dunbar has been a participating appraiser on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow, with more than 45 filmed segments and more than 2,000 verbal appraisals.
In 2008, Dunbar founded her own business, Leila Dunbar LLC, preparing insurance, estate tax and donation appraisals. Clients include the United States Golf Association (USGA), the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, Floyd Mayweather Jr., the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Tammy Wynette Estate, Sotheby’s, Bank of America and Lloyd’s of London, as well as numerous private clients. Dunbar recently was a featured speaker at the 2010 International Society of Appraisers Conference held in Toronto, giving a presentation the “Wild and Wacky World of Appraising Sports and Entertainment Memorabilia.” The talk will also be featured as a Webinar later this year. She also recently contributed articles on historic Olympic memorabilia and “Odd Celebrity Memorabilia” to the Antiques Roadshow Insider.
Registration is $165 for participants in the Hall of Fame’s Membership Program and $175 for all others. For more information and a schedule of registration fees, contact Hall of Fame Librarian Jim Gates at 607-547-0311.
I own an antique lamp that has brought me some annoyance over the course of my life and is not especially beautiful to look at. I have to take special care with it when I move, and I must make décor decisions with it always in mind. It may have value, but I never intend to sell it. This is a classic case of an antique lamp owning me, rather than me owning it. Is the stress we endure for an object ever worth more than the object’s value? In my case, yes. The lamp was given to my grandmother by a woman whose life she saved during the Second World War. It’s one of the best and strangest stories of my grandmothers life, and by extension, of mine. And so it’s a reminder to me– a reminder that even in this age of disposability, we still have certain things we can’t get rid of, not without losing a part of ourselves.