My Antique Lamp

May 25th, 2010 by

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.

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Charlton Hall presents their 80th Anniversary Auction on Artfact Live!

May 24th, 2010 by

(Boston MA) Artfact wishes to express “Congratulations” to Charlton Hall on their 80th Anniversary!
We are pleased to announce that the 80th Anniversary Auction on June 5 and 6 is available for online bidding exclusively through Artfact Live! The 2 day auction offers over 1,000 lots including: fine art, jewelry, furniture, carpets, silver, timepieces, ceramics and much more. If you can’t join the live auction action in West Columbia, South Carolina, visit , or its sister site in the UK,, to login or register free to bid live online at this exceptional auction. If you’re not ready to bid, simply watch the activity live from the auction floor using the Artfact Live! console.

Highlights of the sale include:

The top lot of the sale is Lot 58, a beachscape by the French painter Eugene Louis Boudin (1824-1898). The oil on panel depicts a ship beached near the community of St Pierre, it is framed, signed & dated: lower right, ”E. Boudin, 93.” Bidding will begin at $24,000 for this work.
Lot 97 is a Tiffany & Co diamond engagement ring. The center is occupied by a 2.35ct emerald-cut diamond (color F-G, clarity VS1), flanked by fourteen round-cut side diamonds (0.39ctw, color H-I, clarity VS1) all mounted in platinum. The ring is signed Tiffany & Co and fits ring size 6. Bidding will open at $8,500.

The top lot of day 2 is a painting by native South Carolinian Elizabeth O’Neill Verner, Lot 663. The piece shows the city of Charleston across a marshy “Bay View.” It is executed in pastel on silk and measures 23 by 29 inches. Minimum bid for this work is $10,000.
Also of note in the Sunday session is Lot 600, a rare southern stoneware slave-made face jug. Created in Bath, South Carolina circa 1860, it features a tooled spout above a pulled and applied handle continuing down to applied and sculpted facial features. The face has a ghoulish appearance with prominent ears, eyebrow ridges and kaolin highlighted eyes and teeth. Bidding will commence at $7,500.

To research any category of items available at auction, view over 50 million auction price results and over 500,000 artist pages, visit http:/ and search the industry’s leading auction database. For instance Eugene Boudin’s artist page features over 1300 past auction prices, a biography, works currently at auction, descriptions of the genres in which he worked and links to similar artists.

Since the departure of eBay Live Auctions, Artfact Live! has taken the lead in the live auction arena by partnering exclusively with the world’s most prestigious auction houses to host their online auctions. As it continues to build the world’s most affluent and knowledgeable bidding community, Artfact offers free registration, offering unlimited access to Artfact Live! partner auctions and free searching of the past 12 months of price results in its auction records database. Artfact’s Advanced Search allows users to narrow searches by entering keywords, price range, auction date range, or auction house name.

About Artfact
Founded in 1989, Artfact is the largest global marketplace of fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles, and estate auctions. On January 1, 2009, Artfact launched Artfact Live! and Invaluable Live!, its proprietary live auction bidding platforms, enabling users to bid in real-time on auctions being held around the world by its prestigious auction house partners. Currently, over 1,000 fine auctioneers actively list their catalogues with and its U.K. sister site, reaching the Artfact community of more than 10 million knowledgeable collectors and dealers worldwide. Artfact’s industry leading database includes more than 57 million complete auction results totaling more than $204 billion in value, including information on more than 500,000 international artists. In 2006, Artfact acquired RFC Systems, the leading provider of enterprise software developed specifically for the fine art and antique auction house industry. RFC helps prestigious auction houses around the world manage their businesses by automating their day-to-day operations.

Editor’s Notes
- Additional background information available.
- Interviews with Doug Ellinger, VP Marketing,, (617) 746-9882
- Complimentary media subscriptions to the Artfact database available.

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Picking with Reyne – Shopping Abroad – By: Reyne Haines

May 24th, 2010 by

I think one of the exciting things about the hunt for treasures is going to new places.  The anticipation of what we will find, or not find, from one area to the next.

A lot of it depends on the area and the people that populate it.  Were there any major department stores in the area; was the area a place where immigrants came to live;  was the town peppered with well to do residents?

These factors don’t always equate to great picking region, but they certainly help.

It’s safe to say, I’ve been around the antiquing block in the US, but I’ve only checked out a few places abroad.  I had a great experience many years ago in Berlin; London is completely yummy and Paris, well – they have great things but with the exchange rate I bought very little.

One of our frequent bloggers on is Marko – an antique enthusiast from Finland.  He seems to like my picking blog so I thought I’d ask him to tell us a little more about picking in his country.

RH: Where are some of your favorites haunts to buy antiques?  Is it shops, private homes, flea markets or??

I can say that I have always open “radar”. I’m looking and looking, and I can find and enjoy.
As you know Reyne, I love flea markets and antique shops. I am an old goods “junkie” :-)
A few years ago I did the best finds at flea markets. Today, the best hunting arena is private people. They have a genuine and good stuff, no junk stuff. People know prices are so cheap it is difficult to get. My favorite flea market is a “Bazaar” flea market. There have nice staff and these people are smiling. Smile is an important trading tool for me.

RH: I agree that a smile goes a long way, especially if you are about to ask for a better price!  Where are the best bargains found?

Places where I can find cheapest…..TOP 10

1- A private person who needs money quickly
2- People’s private yard sales
3- Traditional flea market halls
4- Summer market
5- Internet
6- Newspaper sales announcements
7- Auctions
8- Buying and selling stores
9- Antique shops
10- My home :-)

RH: Do people go knocking on doors of people’s homes they don’t know in Finland searching for antiques?

Not anymore.  Sometimes years ago were traveling dealers. They went
to the house and asked whether they had antiques or old stuff.
Sometimes they gave the booze so that they would be easier to buy.

RH:  I had to giggle at the booze reply, but then I started to think about how often opening night at an antique show offers wine or a full bar.  Maybe they are on to something!

What was your best find ever?

Marko:  I’ve found several good bargains. This one story comes to my mind.
I bought stamps from an old man. There were 30 folders. I paid 100e ($120).

I sell them off on the same day 1500€ ($1850). Good profit, but this comes rarely.

Not the best but the funny purchase was horse carts. I paid them 20€ ($25)
Now they have my yard ornament. Peoples are smiling when they go over my yard.

Marko, thanks for being a good sport and answering all of my questions. I loved the images too!

Bookmark this site – the next installment of Picking with Reyne will be uploaded next week!

Happy Hunting!



The mane attraction, Steiff style

May 23rd, 2010 by

Steiffgal’s not lion when she says she’s roaring to answer this reader’s question about a wonderful thrift store find. Liz from Michigan City, Indiana writes:


So glad to have found you! My sister found this Steiff lion at a thrift store and snatched it up it was so cute. We have had Steiff animals for years. We were wondering if you could give us some information and value on him.

He is 10 1/2″ from nose to hind end and 6″ standing.  He has amber glass eyes, and a stitched dark pink nose; all his claw and mouth stitching is in good condition.

His head and his four legs are jointed. He feels like there may have been a speaker box in his torso. He can stand on his own and in very good condition. He has his whiskers and part of a frayed tag, but no ear button.

Sorry the pictures don’t do him justice but that’s what I could get. Thank you very much.



Liz, what you have here is one of the “mane events” in Steiff’s early post war production! This is Loewen-Papa or Papa Lion.  As you mentioned, he is five ways jointed and made from tan mohair.  He has an elaborate brown-tipped mane, which skinnies downward to his belly into a thin strip.  He has this same tipped mohair on the tip of his tail.  His eyes are brown with a black pupil and he has an almost red colored hand embroidered nose which is outlined in black.  His mouth is outlined in black embroidery, and he has a white mohair chin.  And yes, he did come with a squeaker. Papa Lion was produced in 14 and 22 cm from 1949 thorough 1961.

There are a few things about this design that make it very interesting from the collector’s perspective.

First of course is his “US Zone tag” sewn into the seam of his leg. This tag was included on every Steiff item that was produced in the Giengen factory from 1947 through 1953.  Given your lion has this tag, we can pinpoint his production somewhere in the 1949 through 1953 time frame.

The second is his legacy. Papa Lion very closely resembles a Steiff lion that was produced pre-war from 1910 through 1943.  This turn of last century lion was produced in 22 cm, was five ways jointed, and had a very similar face, mane, tail tuft, and body appearance.  It is extremely likely that Papa Lion is the direct descendant of this classic and historic Steiff design.

And finally is his jointing. Besides Teddy bears, five ways jointed Steiff animals are actually quite rare.  It is not unusual for an animal to be head jointed, or even head and arm jointed.  Very few five ways jointed animals are made even today as jointing is a very labor intensive – and therefore costly – endeavor.  It is interesting to note that shortly after Papa Lion was retired from the line, a new standing lion design was introduced in 1964.  He was produced in 10, 17, and 28 cm through 1975.  He had many of the same general characteristics of Papa Lion, minus his jointing.

As for value, as always, Steiffgal is not a formal appraiser and believes something is worth what someone else will pay for it. This is a wonderful item from an aesthetic as well as a collector’s perspective, and its US Zone tag and five ways jointing help make him a kingly find.  Except for missing his button, he appears to be in very good condition.  Assuming that he doesn’t have any smells, rot, rips, or other issues, Steiffgal has seen similar items sell recently in the $75 to $150 range; Steiffgal has a very similar Papa Lion and paid about $125 for it.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion about Liz’s lucky find has encouraged you to add a lion or two to your growing Steiff den.

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.

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Swann Auction Galleries – American Art/Contemperary Art

May 21st, 2010 by

Auction June 8th  10:30am – 2:30pm

New York

Includes works by: Will Barnet, Andy Warhol, Duane Hanson, Tom Wesselman

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Bonhams – The Owston Collection

May 21st, 2010 by

The Owsten Collection

Auction June 25th & 26th

Sydney, Australia

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Bohnams – Snuff Bottles Auction

May 20th, 2010 by

Snuff bottles from the Mary and George Bloch Collection, Part I

May 28th, 2010

JW Marriott Hong Kong

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Bonhams – Fine Jewelry Auction

May 20th, 2010 by

Auction June 16th, 2010

New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles

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Auction Atrium – Fine Jewellery & Watches: Bid Live Now

May 20th, 2010 by

Gallery veiwing at our Kensinton, London showroom

Bidding continues through May 26th

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One Man’s Love of Toys Goes Beyond His Day Job – by Reyne Haines

May 20th, 2010 by

Wouldn’t it be great if you were surrounded by toys every day when you arrived at work?  Toys bring out the kid in everyone.   We can walk through an antique shop and see a toy from our childhood and immediately we respond to it.

Donald Kaufman was certainly a kid at heart.  His passion for toys could be seen in his business, K-B Toys.  Not only did Kaufman love new toys, but he had a soft spot for vintage toys as well.  Unfortunately, Kaufman passed away in October 2009.  His personal collection of vintage toys has been consigned to Bertoia Auctions.  There were so many, they have been broken down into 4 sessions.

The first three sales exceeded their pre-sale estimates and achieved a cumulative total of $9.3 million dollars.

How serious are toy collectors?  Well, let’s just say that ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland couldn’t keep collectors from bidding.  It certainly posed a problem for those hoping to attend the sale, but it didn’t snub their excitement about the items up for bid.  Bertoia’s accepts Internet bidding and also accommodated phone bidders.  With that said the 3,700 lot sale brought strong prices and closed with $2.38 million in total sales.

Many of the toys in the sale were produced by Distler, Gunthermann, Eberl and Tippco.  These names might not hit home with you, but their toys certainly should.

Tippco produced the circa 1932 Mickey & Minnie Mouse motorcycle that was the highlight of the sale.  This single toy managed to bring $65,550 (including buyer’s premium).  That’s more than the cost of a new Harley!

Another great Mickey & Minnie Mouse piece in the sale was an organ grinder from 1932 made by Distler.  It was estimated to sell for $10-12,000 but the hammer fell at $19,550.

I’m sure you remember pedal cars right?!  This sale offered a 1924 American National Packard version that sold over the phone $38,000.

If you missed this sale, don’t fret!  There is one more sale from this great collection coming this fall.  Get on the mailing list at Bertoia’s to be notified when the next catalog is available.

Bertoia’s –

On a final note, not only do toys bring out the kid in you, they apparently attract young collectors too.  The youngest collector on the floor was a 14 year old boy, who dug deep in his pockets to purchase one lot from the sale which contained two Hubley toys.   You’re never too young to start collecting!

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