Mosby & Co. to auction fine and decorative art, Chinese soapstone collection, hundreds of early posters on April 28

April 3rd, 2012 by


Cased circa-1870 faro set, includes engraved Moore’s patent Derringer. Mosby & Co. image.

FREDERICK, Md. – Ask any regular who attends auctions conducted by Mosby & Co., and they’ll tell you what the Maryland-based company is best known for: everything. Owner Keith Spurgeon makes a point of personally selecting only the most interesting, best-quality pieces from dozens of collecting categories for his well-attended sales.


Spurgeon’s April 28 Spring Antiques Auction, which will be held at the Mosby & Co. gallery in the Washington suburb of Frederick, Md., features 550 lots that range from sculptures, clocks and an old collection of Chinese soapstone to toys, historic Americana and a spectacular assortment of 19th- and early 20th-century posters.


The approximately 100 pieces of soapstone, to be apportioned into 30 lots, are from a single-owner collection that was started 60 years

‘Two Old Timers,’ Western bronze by Frank Polk, one of eight bronzes in the sale. Mosby & Co. image.

ago. “It’s a completely unpicked collection. It hasn’t been touched in 30 years,” said Spurgeon, who regards the contents as a buying opportunity for dealers or those who may be seeking a way to get into the Asian art market.


Sculptures from multiple consignors represent both European and American artists. Among them are three Frank Polk Western bronzes, including one of a cowboy and horse titled “Two Old Timers.” A bronze depicting a male archer is signed “Schwatenberg, Germany,” likely referring to Spiro Schwatenberg (1898-1922). Another noteworthy sculpture was created from wood by the Lithuanian artist Romas Kvintas.


Eighteenth-century Continental painting, possibly Dutch. Mosby & Co. image.

The auction features several paintings and prints by listed artists, including a late 18th-century French religious genre painting of the Holy Family and John the Baptist; and a Dutch oil on canvas depicting a man praying before a meal. A small collection of mantel and wall clocks, mostly American in origin, are entered in the sale, as are a dozen pieces of fine porcelain, including a large Rosenthal nude with horse.


Around 110 lots are reserved for toys. The lineup includes Easter Parade toys (new/old stock), a turn of the 20th-century Buster Brown and Tige cast-iron pull toy by Watrous, a near-mint/boxed Popeye Express with circling airplane, and an Effanbee Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll that is part of a small collection of McCarthy toys, including automotive types. Also in the mix are a Lionel 2271 train set with GG1 locomotive, and a collection of Punch and Judy toys, books, inkwells and cap guns, including an American-made figural example by Ives. A collection of toys simulating insects includes examples from as early as the 1890s.

Cast-iron Buster Brown and Tige pull toy by Watrous (American). Mosby & Co. image.

A full set of 12 carved wood folk art figures, probably from the 1970s, portrays the cast of characters from the Popeye cartoons. They include some of the more offbeat characters, such as Sea Hag, Alice the Goon, and The Three Birds, with the largest figure standing 89 inches tall.


More than 50 original animation cels will be offered. Most originated at Warner Bros. Studios, and some date to the 1940s.


1899 original Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca, untouched condition. Mosby & Co. image.

The highlight section of the sale is the posters. Among the top lots is an untouched 1899 Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca. The consignor, a Hollywood producer, purchased the poster in Paris in the 1950s and has owned it ever since.


A complete set of Richard Avedon Beatles posters published in 1967 by the German magazine Stern will be offered as one lot. Each of the now-famous, vibrantly hued psychedelic posters measures 19 x 27 inches.


A tremendous variety of posters will be auctioned: circa-1890 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show promos from the showman’s French tour, a circa-1895 La Marque Georges Richard poster with artwork by “PAL” of both a bicycle and early auto, and many others with a circus, magic or transportation theme. An 1896 two-sheet panoramic published by Strobridge for Barnum & Bailey is a scrupulously detailed and colorful depiction advertising a traveling Indian village whose home life and occupations are “revealed to Christian eyes in living groups of strange and curious people.”


Among the best of the magic posters is an 1870s three-sheet that came from a Florida collection. The woodblock print advertising Samri S. Baldwin, a k a “The White Mahatma,” measures 81 x 42 inches.


Circa-1910 linen mounted poster of skeleton holding ‘Wheel of Death’ velodrome with three riders on early motorbikes, printed by Adolph Friedlander for English market, 37½ x 28 inches. Mosby & Co. image.

Lithographed by Friedlander, a 1910 Wheel of Death motorbike-racing poster presents a bizarre scene of a skeleton holding a wood-slatted velodrome with three riders going full throttle around its inner sides.

The sale also includes a large selection of black Americana, including slave collars and shackles; a 19th-century faro gambling set, complete with a Moore’s patented Derringer; and a Virginia Confederate ballot for the election of Jefferson Davis. An Indy 500 “Pacemaker” medallion awarded to driver Paul Russo will be auctioned, as well. These medallions are presented exclusively to drivers who have led laps at the famous car race, and it is known that Russo qualified for the award both in 1956 and ’57.


Mosby & Co.’s Spring Antiques Auction will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 commencing at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are noon till 5 p.m. on Friday, 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available during both auction sessions.


All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through either or For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or

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Sotheby’s London – Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

April 3rd, 2012 by

To view results from this sale visit

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Sotheby’s Paris – Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie

April 3rd, 2012 by

The forthcoming auction of Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie will take place in Paris on 12 June, 2012.

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Swann Galleries – Alfred Hitchcock Posters from a Filmmaker’s Collection

April 3rd, 2012 by

Film producer and director Gary Winick died last year at the age of 49 and left behind collections of photographs, fine art prints, move posters, books, and personal memorabilia.

Highlights from the collection include:

Photographs by William Eggleston, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans and others, including Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Swan lake, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, silver print, 1954, printed 1980s, shown top left.

Prints and drawings, including Shoe Design for Redbook Magazine by Andy Warhol, gouache, circa 1955.

Movie posters, over 20 posters for Hitchcock films like Vertigo and other classics.

The afternoon session of 19th & 20th Century Photographs & Photobooks features vintage photographs by Edward S. Curtis (Chief of the Desert, Navajo Orotone, 1904, shown left,) Stieglitz, Wilson A. Bentley and others.

Among the photobooks, Robert Frank’s The Americans, first American edition, New York, 1959.

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Sotheby’s New York – Magnificent Jewels

April 3rd, 2012 by

This spring the New York sale of Magnificent Jewels is distinguished by the many beautiful, fresh-to-the-market signed jewels from prominent Estate collections. From Dallas philanthropist Nancy B. Hamon to Valerie Pascal Delacorte, benefactor of the Norton Museum of Art, the collections offered in the April sale reflect the style and taste of accomplished women who loved to wear their jewelry.  Leading the Estates are the jewels of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, a former model, whose interests ranged from exquisite antique and Art Deco pieces to the bold designs of David Webb. Collectors of period jewels will find a remarkable group of Jewels from a New York Estate representing two centuries of jewelry history including pieces from Mauboussin, Boucheron and Sterlé.

This sale also provides an in-depth look at many of the best jewelry designers of the 20th century.  The cover lot, an extraordinary brooch conceived by Cartier in 1920, features a beautiful Mughal carved emerald elegantly framed by calibré-cut sapphires and emeralds. This jewel exemplifies Cartier’s unsurpassed talent for merging  Eastern exoticism with avante garde design during the Art Deco period. The signature styles of Suzanne Belperron, Flato and Verdura are also well represented in the sale, as are the bold, architectural jewels of the Art Moderne movement.

For the gemstone connoisseur, the sale offers a superb selection of important diamonds, gem-quality colored stones and natural pearls.  Highlights include a 20-carat sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire ring mounted by Cartier, a Fancy Blue diamond ring in a turn-of-the-century Tiffany & Co. setting, and a 13-carat Cartier Colombian emerald ring, as well as an impressive 23-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring. The core of the sale is formed by an extensive selection of white diamonds, from charming antique cuts to more contemporary shapes in sizes of up to 30 carats.

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Bertoia’s May 12 auction features Dick Claus Nautical Toy & Boat collection, Part I

April 3rd, 2012 by

Marklin ‘Blenheim’ clockwork riverboat, Germany, 1909, 13 in. long, est. $8,000-$9,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – If all the nautical toys in the world were lined up in a single fleet, their captain would surely be Dick Claus, whose magnificent 30-year collection of antique boats is being offered in two parts this year by Bertoia Auctions of Vineland, New Jersey. Part I of the Claus collection, a 220-lot array of ships and related toys, will be auctioned on Saturday, May 12. Part II will be sold in November.


Led by some of the finest known examples of Marklin ships, the May 12 auction roster will bring to life the colorful images seen in Claus’s 2005 reference book The Allure of Toy Ships: American & European Nautical Toys from the 19th and 20th Centuries.


“I’ve read Dick’s book cover to cover probably 50 times, but the privilege of handling and cataloging the toys in his collection taught me double what I thought I knew. There’s nothing like seeing and examining items of this quality firsthand. This is a collection that merits the attention of all ship collectors,” said Bertoia Auctions specialist Rich Bertoia.


Marklin ‘Kaiserin Augusta Victoria’ steam-powered ocean liner, German, 46 in. long, est. $90,000-$100,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

The collection’s flagship is the large and impressive Marklin Chicago paddlewheeler featured on the dust jacket cover of Claus’s book. It sits at the very top of the list of select favorites that Claus retained in his private collection after publication of his book.


Claus always liked Marklins because most are named after and depict actual seagoing vessels of their time, such as the Maine, the Brooklyn, and the Olympia. He regards them as “toys with history.”


The collection’s massive, steam-engined Marklin Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, which replicates the Hamburg America ship launched in 1905, was a prized acquisition – in Claus’s words: “a wonderful example of an ocean liner that measures 46 inches long and weighs a hefty 30 pounds.” Purchased at an auction in upstate New York, it came from a doctor’s estate. Further investigation revealed that it had been kept for many years in a dry barn and probably had never been played with.


Marklin submarine, Germany, circa 1930s, 22 in. long, est. $4,000-$4,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

“Being stored in a barn is probably what saved it. There are far fewer pristine boats than there are toys,” Claus said. “This is because so many boats were placed in water for play and never dried off afterward.”


Among the many important, large-scale Marklins in the collection is a Providence paddlewheeler, a line-for-line production based on a majestic steamer that was launched in 1866. But boats need not be oversized in order to be beautiful and collectible. The auction includes toys that are only a few inches long but still immensely appealing.


For example, Claus has always appreciated the charm of Issmayer toys, especially a 3-inch-long tin wind-up sailboat with a painted bisque figure of a sailor boy that rides along as the craft tacks side to side.


Gunthermann clockwork eight-man scull, German, lithographed tin, 29 in. long, est. $10,000-$12,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

“I really like this particular toy, which might even date to as early as the mid-19th century. We would not even have known it was an Issmayer if it hadn’t been written on the toy’s box, which luckily was retained,” said Claus.


In addition to ships and boats of every description, the auction includes a great variety of sailor figures, ranging from early German-made Heydes to 1930s Barclays figures. Also, there are U-boat submariner’s badges, a few navy recruitment posters, and what Claus calls “oddballs,” like a German beer mug from a 1909 torpedo boat squadron.


Marklin clockwork zeppelin, German, tin with celluloid rear propellers, 17 in. long, est. $7,000-$9,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

The Claus auction also includes a number of toy zeppelins, a category that attracted him because of their historical significance and his own fascination with the Hindenberg. While a young boy, Claus saw the giant airship from a distance as it was moored at Lakehurst, N.J. One year later, the Hindenberg tragically went down in flames.


“At one time, zeppelins were thought of as the future of aviation. People were intrigued by them, but of course that all ended when the Hindenburg blew up,” Claus said.


The best piece in Claus’ airship collection – a small Graf Zeppelin – was made in 1929 by Heyde. It comes in a box with numerous accessories – pilot, co-pilot and entire landing crew, plus gas cans, ropes and other small accessories. Claus describes the set as “marvelous, and the only one I’ve ever seen.”


Bing clockwork double-decker trolley, Germany, lithographed tin, 9¼ in. long, est. $3,500-$4,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

Approximately 20 European trolleys have been included in the May 12 auction, as well. An ingeniously designed Issmayer O gauge lithographed clockwork trolley departs a small station, climbs a 4-ft. track to the top, then reverses, switches tracks and returns to the station, triumphantly ringing its bell upon arrival. “That’s pretty neat engineering for around 1910,” Claus observed.


Those who are fortunate enough to acquire a toy from the Dick Claus collection will have the assurance of knowing they own a piece that has come from one of the most discriminating collectors of the last two generations.


Heyde circa-1905 Sea Battle ‘Panzer Flotte’ set, Germany, est. $6,000-$7,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

“Dick has always gone for the best. His collection has more top of the line Marklins than I’ve ever seen in any one collection – even Malcolm Forbes didn’t have as many,” said Rich Bertoia. “There are going to be a lot of very happy collectors at the May 12th auction. Dick has already done all of the globetrotting and tracking down of rare pieces. Now they’ll all be available at once.”


The May 12 auction of the Dick Claus collection will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Preview weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on auction day. All forms of bidding available, including live via the Internet through


Tel. 856-692-1881, e-mail Online:

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Sotheby’s New York – American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture – Exhibition Reminder

March 30th, 2012 by

Exhibition in New York:

Sat, 31 Mar 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Sun, 01 Apr 12 | 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Mon, 02 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Tue, 03 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Wed, 04 Apr 12 | 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM


We are pleased to present our sale of American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture, which takes place on April 5th and features a wide selection of works from the late 19th through the 20th century.

A few highlights include a small group of watercolors by early modernists Arthur Dove, Burgoyne Diller and Oscar Bluemner from the estates of M. Michael Eisenberg and M. Michael Eisenberg and Barbara Yetka-Eisenberg.  Later modernist works are John Graham’s bold oil, Untitled (Adolfo and Ann Saporetti) and a charcoal study of the same subject.  A group of works from the Art Institute of Chicago includes a large brass sculpture by Sidney Gordin and two major paintings by Jack Levine, Adam and Eve and The Old and the New.  19th Century focal points include Still Life with Apples in a Hat by Levi Wells Prentice, our colorful cover lot and Edward Darley Boit’s picturesque view of Monte Carlo from 1886.  American Impressionist highlights are three lovely works by William James Glackens, Central Park Idyll, Still Life with Japan Box and Terraces, South of France and Theodore Earl Butler’s, Flowers in a Garden.  A stunning portrait by Robert Henri, Segovia Girl should also be noted.  Finally, a remarkable tour de force in egg tempera by illustrator Ayers Houghtelling presents the entire story of Alice in Wonderland.


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Leslie Hindman – Fine Books and Manuscripts

March 30th, 2012 by

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Phillips de Pury – Photographs

March 30th, 2012 by




LOCATION: Phillips de Pury & Company, 450 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10022









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Bookman’s Alley Autographs at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

March 27th, 2012 by

There is no doubt about it – Chicago is going to miss Bookman’s Alley.

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