Art from ancient civilizations join natural history treasures in Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction

June 6th, 2013 by

Highlight: Extraordinarily rare King Tut royal seal mold from early Cairo collection

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – Two premier collections of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations combine to form the core of Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction, which also includes an outstanding selection of natural history and mineral specimens. Many of the 400 lots entered in the absentee, phone and Internet auction come from the meticulously documented, investment-grade collections of two Hollywood insiders – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers. Part I of both these collections anchored Antiquities Saleroom’s extremely successful Feb. 1 auction.

Roman Marble head of Eros, Antonine Period, est. $15,000-$20,000. Antiquities Saleroom image.

“This is our largest auction ever and contains some of the finest classical antiquities we’ve ever had the pleasure of offering,” said Antiquities Saleroom co-owner and acquisitions director Bob Dodge. “Every category contains pieces that collectors dream of owning but never see at auction or anywhere else.”

The session will open with gems and minerals, led by a beautiful pallasite meteorite, 4.5 billion years old, which quite literally is the remnant of an early planet in our solar system. The iron-based meteorite is infused with amber-hued olivine gem crystals and was discovered in Russia in 1967. The consignor is a well-known dealer who has conducted business with Antiquities Saleroom for many years. The specimen is estimated at $1,000-$2,000 – a very affordable price range, Dodge noted. “In all of our sales we make an effort to include nice pieces for every level of collector. In our June auction there are things that will sell for well under a thousand dollars, and for the advanced collector, there are highly important pieces valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

The sale will then move into human cultures, with the highlight being a fantastic Egyptian rarity – a pottery seal mold from “The Boy King,” Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC). The pottery mold from Tut’s royal workshop is deeply impressed with four elements: ra (sun), kheper (beetle), men (upward rake) and neb (bowl).

These four symbols and their specific arrangement uniquely represent Tutankhamum, Bob Dodge explained. “Pottery molds were used to create scarabs, seals or anything with the pharaoh’s cartouche or name on it. This particular mold probably would have been used to create faience amulets that were passed out as souvenirs to commemorate the reign of a pharaoh, in this case King Tut. In the 25 years I’ve been in this business, this is the first time I’ve seen a genuine King Tut artifact come to auction. It’s from the most important period in terms of Egyptian art, and it’s insanely rare,” Dodge said.

The mold comes directly from the family of the late Philip Mitry, who was an antiquities dealer in Cairo during the 1950s. At that time, the sale of Egyptian antiquities was legal and, in fact, state sponsored. When Mitry moved to the United States in the 1950s, he brought his massive collection with him. The King Tut mold, which became part of Mitry’s collection in 1953, will be auctioned with documentation from Mitry’s family and a lifetime certificate of authenticity from Antiquities Saleroom. The estimate on the piece is $10,000-$20,000, but as Dodge explained, “We think of this as being priceless. It could go far in excess of expectations.”

Another Egyptian rarity is a large scarab impressed with the very clear cartouche of Thutmose III – who, like Tut, was an 18th Dynasty pharaoh. It retains a narrow band of gold on its exterior, and at the bottom is a scene of a monkey in adoration of a horse, symbolizing Thutmose’s much-admired military prowess. A book example, it is expected to make $3,000-$5,000.

Important Mayan polychrome cylinder, est. $5,000-$10,000. Antiquities Saleroom image.

The Greek section contains two impressive battle helmets, each exhibiting a different style. One is a Corinthian helmet with a distinctive long nose bridge, 6th to 5th century BC. “It would have been worn by a Hoplite soldier. They would walk in unison in a group of 20 to 100 men, each carrying a 16-foot-long spear. Then they would hunker down and, at the right moment, attack. In their day they were invincible,” Dodge said. The helmet’s estimate is $30,000-$50,000.

The second helmet is Illyrian and made during the same time period as the Corinthian helmet, but of bronze. It features a squared-off style with interior leather padding. Its estimate is $20,000-$30,000. Another helmet of note is French, of hand-hammered steel with handmade rivets and a retractable visor. Although a much later production that the other two helmets, dating to the 14th-15th century, it is a rarity, as few French or British helmets of that period have survived. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000.

Approximately nine rare and desirable pieces of Greek pottery will be auctioned, including three Athenian (Attic) vessels. One is a slender jar known as a lekythos, which was designed to hold precious oils. Considering how Attic art can run into the millions of dollars, it presents a rare buying opportunity with a presale estimate of $9,000-$14,000. A particularly fine kylix wine cup, 4th-6th century BC, features black images on red, against a black ground. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. The third example is an oinochoe, from which wine was poured at the dinner table. Its estimate is $11,000-$16,000.

The Roman category contains one of the most exciting museum-quality artifacts ever to cross the auction block at Antiquities Saleroom. From the 1st century BC, Lot 89 consists of a pair of large, highly detailed bronze fittings that would have adorned either side of a chariot’s hub. The decorative fittings depict the mighty Pericles (Hercules). “The Greeks were superb with pottery,” Dodge said, “but the Romans may have outdone them with bronze work. This pair of fittings is truly gorgeous. It came from a New York City dealer who obtained them from a private collection on the East Coast.” The estimate for the pair is $40,000-$60,000.

The auction also includes three Roman marbles. A 2nd century marble head of Eros is estimated at $14,000-$20,000, while a smaller marble head of Jupiter from the same century is expected to make $5,000-$7,500. A double-faced marble head of the god Janus could easily surpass its estimate of $3,600-$5,400.

The next portion of the sale is devoted to selections from the “Hollywood” Pre-Columbian art collections mentioned above, with additional choice consignments. Virtually every Pre-Columbian culture is represented, in silver, copper, gold, stone, pottery, textiles and wood. There are 3000 BC artworks of the Valdivian (Ecuador) culture and Peruvian artwork and pottery dating from 1200-1500 BC. A wonderful collection of Pre-Columbian gold includes earrings, a crown, and an exceptional 3-dimensional bird inside a gold ring, with dangling objects beneath it. Dodge believes it may have been an earring or perhaps a temple ornament. The beautifully detailed bird appears in the book Oro del Antiguo Peru and is estimated at $15,000-$30,000.

Of the Mayan pieces in the sale, Dodge is most enamored of a set of four circa 500 BC carved stone monkeys from Mezcala, Mexico. “They’re incredibly well detailed, with very thin tails and openwork. Even modern carvers with sophisticated tools would have difficulty creating pieces like this. To think that carvers with such rudimentary tools did this work is remarkable,” Dodge said. The lot is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

A prominent politician’s collection of West Mexico pottery is also featured in the sale. The collection includes Colima figural dogs and a rare, 14-inch-long standing duck vessel with a spout in its mouth for pouring fermented beverages. “I’ve seen small ducks and double or triple ducks, but this large duck standing on legs is very unusual. I could see it blowing through its $5,000-$7,000 estimate,” Dodge said. Another important pottery work, a seated shaman is entered with hopes of reaching $6,000-$9,000.

Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time on both days. Bids may be placed absentee (including absentee online), by phone or live via the Internet on auction day through LiveAuctioneers.com. The entire auction catalog may be viewed online at www.LiveAuctioneers.com. Tel. 720-890-7700 or 720-502-5289. Email antiquitiessaleroom@gmail.com. Web: www.antiquities-saleroom.com.

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Morphy’s June 1 auction a high-quality mix of antique advertising, coin-op machines and occupational shaving mugs from private collections

May 31st, 2013 by

Rover 1-cent Puss ‘N’ Boots fortune teller could reach $25,000-$30,000

DENVER, Pa. – Morphy’s is like a second home to antique advertising collectors, who regard the central Pennsylvania company’s auctions as a premier source of fresh-to-market pieces from long-held collections. On June 1st, Morphy’s will conduct a 537-lot specialty sale comprised exclusively of antique advertising, coin-op and penny arcade machines; and rare occupational shaving mugs. In keeping with their new, across-the-board policy, the auction will begin at 9 a.m. Eastern Time.

Buffalo Pepsin Gum 1-cent vending machine with brass marquee. Est. $5,000-$8,000. Morphy Auctions image.

 

The session will open with an exceptional single-owner collection of 150+ shaving mugs that includes several exciting rarities. Lot 29 depicts two men bowling and has an estimate of $1,500-$2,500; while Lot 122 features the image of an early airplane whose pilot wears duster-type goggles, est. $2,500-$3,000. An elusive stock market-related mug entered as Lot 89 is emblazoned with the image of a commodities broker writing numbers on a chalkboard. Although estimated at $2,500-$4,000, it “could go considerably higher,” according to Morphy Auctions CEO Dan Morphy. “Veteran collectors who’ve looked at it say it’s one of the best they’ve ever seen,” Morphy noted.

 

More than 150 gambling, vending and penny arcade machines lead the lineup of coin-operated amusements. Lot 189, a Buffalo Pepsin Gum vendor is expected to make $5,000-$8,000; while Lot 223, a Caille Centaur upright slot machine in beautiful condition could reach $25,000-$30,000. Lot 240, an original Mills 5-cent Frank Polk figural cowboy slot machine, is entered with a $20,000-$25,000 estimate. Polk produced only 70 original “cowboys,” the one in Morphy’s June 1 auction being one of them.

 

Other high-end machines include Lot 260, a Bally Reliance 5-cent dice machine, est. $8,000-$12,000; and Lot 295, a Rover 1-cent Puss ‘N’ Boots fortune teller machine, complete with 100 fortune cards, est. $25,000-$30,000. A highly desirable musical novelty of yesteryear, Lot 326 is a Wurlitzer Model 850 “Peacock” jukebox. Extremely rare and widely regarded as one of Wurlitzer’s most exquisite and colorful productions, it is estimated at $15,000-$18,000.

 

Next up will be 150+ lots of antique advertising. Lot 484, a circa-1910 to 1920 Phoenix Pure Paint curved porcelain corner sign, features the image of a Native-American boy. It is extremely scarce, as reflected in its presale estimate of $10,000-$15,000. Lot 500, a self-framed tin sign advertising Frazer Axle Grease, features a remarkable image of two horse-drawn wagons whose drivers are engaged in a discussion about a wheel problem. Estimate $4,000-$6,000.

 

The ever-popular Mr. Peanut will make an appearance in Lot 512, in the form of a life-size (75-inch-tall) papier-mache statue. The circa-1920s three-dimensional figure came from a Canadian collection and could bring $8,000-$12,000 on auction day.

 

Mills 5-cent Dewey musical upright slot machine, working order with excellent repertoire of tunes. Est. $15,000-$18,000. Morphy Auctions image.

More than 100 tip trays, most in near-mint-plus condition, have come to Morphy’s from a single-owner collection. Standouts include Lot 346, a tip tray for J. Hupfel Brewing Co., est. $400-$800; and Lot 350, an example that advertises Rienzi Beer in bottles, est. $300-$600.

 

A fine selection of railroad-themed photos includes Lot 518, a litho print dated 1858 that depicts Boston Railroad Locomotive Works builders. The 29 x 42in print is estimated at $5,000-$8,000. Another highlight is Lot 522, a ruby ambrotype photo of a locomotive, est. $800-$1,200.

 

“Our advertising sales are always enjoyable,” said Dan Morphy. “Collectors appreciate the fact that we’re very particular about the condition and quality of pieces accepted for consignment, and those who cannot bid in person never have to worry about our descriptions and condition reports. They know they can trust them one hundred percent.”

 

Morphy’s Saturday, June 1 auction of antique advertising, coin-op machines and occupational shaving mugs will commence at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Artfact.com.

 

Morphy Auctions is located at 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517. For additional information, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail serena@morphyauctions.com. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com or www.artfact.com.

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Stephenson’s May 31 Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction features 800 lots of jewelry, silver, furniture and clocks

May 22nd, 2013 by

Selection includes quality pieces from Philadelphia-area estates, private collections

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. – Laden with heavy silver, fine timepieces and a regal array of jewelry, Stephenson’s May 31st auction blends a 35-year single-owner collection with additional estate and individual consignments of exceptional quality. The 800-lot Spring Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction also incorporates primitives, art, furniture and clocks. With that much to sell in one day, Stephenson’s usual auction start time has been adjusted to an earlier 10 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Tiffany & Co. brass-cased clock. Stephenson’s image.

The Friday sale opens with a fine selection of smalls. Several collections are featured, with the contents including many fine porcelain Boehm figurines and birds; Royal Worcester productions and desirable, larger-size Lladros and Swarovskis.

The centerpiece of the day is the single-owner jewelry collection, which incorporates designs from the turn of the 20th century through modern day. Many of the pieces in the collection are Native American and exhibit a level of skillful hand detailing that only highly accomplished artisans could execute.

A large and heavy circa-1920 sterling silver squash blossom necklace is unusual in its styling, said Stephenson’s fine jewelry expert, Theresa Zaengle, because it does not contain turquoise, coral or other stones, as would be typical of most squash blossom necklaces. “It is all handmade and quintessentially Native American in its appearance, but it is a simpler design with all handmade fluted silver beads, squash blossoms and a central Naja pendant. It’s a heavy piece. The silver content is very high,” Zaengle said. The necklace retains its original patina and has not been cleaned. It is expected to sell in the vicinity of $800.

Many artist-signed Native-American jewelry items will cross the auction block at Stephenson’s, including sand-cast pieces from the 1920s. “These designs stand out because they’re very weighty, and you can almost see where each piece was molded in the sand,” Zaengle said. All of the stones are natural, as opposed to having been dyed or treated.

From a different consignor comes a mini collection of superior-quality Mexican silver jewelry. A highlight is a desirable Hector Aguilar bracelet that has a presciently modern look. A similar example is shown in a leading Mexican jewelry reference book.

Jewelry buyers will have an abundance of choice in this sale. An impressive sapphire and diamond necklace is valued at approximately $1,800; while a “very modern and understated” Italian mesh necklace of white and yellow gold with diamonds is entered with an estimate of $1,000.

A 1920s platinum and diamond bracelet estimated at $2,500 is delicately detailed, which would suggest it is from the period bridging the Edwardian and Art Deco eras. “Some very pretty jewelry was produced during this time of transition. The linear look had not yet come into its own,” Zaengle noted.

Those who enjoy classic timepieces will find an abundance of quality in this auction. A top lot is an 18K gold-cased Vacheron & Constantin man’s wristwatch estimated at $1,500.

Stephenson’s is well established in the Philadelphia area as an estates specialist. Without exception, each of their sales includes at least one exciting discovery, like the Tiffany clock in the May 31 offering that came from a residence in the Philadelphia-area borough of Jenkintown. Standing 43 inches high, the ornate, baroque-style brass clock has an enameled face and dates to the last decade of the 19th century. Its works are marked “Tiffany & Co.”

Platinum and diamond bracelet. Stephenson’s image.

Stephenson’s owner, Cindy Stephenson, described the beautiful timekeeper as “the largest, most ornate table clock I’ve ever seen.” Among the visuals incorporated in its motif are dolphins, a woman riding Pegasus, and caryatids as the supports. Its finial is a three-dimensional figure of Father Time, seated on a sphere and holding a scythe.

“The woman who owned it is in her 90s and had childhood memories of watching her father wind the clock, but in our research we have not been able to find a comparable example. We’ve estimated it at $3,000 to $5,000, but collectors could prove us wrong and bid well above that range,” said Stephenson.

Three fine English oil-on-canvas portraits were consigned from the same Jenkintown home that produced the clock. The paintings – one of which is dated 1776 – are unsigned, English-school artworks with an interesting backstory.

“The consignor had seen a picture of a small antique shop in a magazine and was attracted to a portrait appearing in the shop’s window. She actually traveled all the way to England to try to find the shop, but knew only the name of the village where it was located,” Stephenson said. “She had to ask many people before she finally bumped into a couple in a tavern who actually knew the shop. Not only did they take her there, where she bought the three portraits in our sale, but she also became lifelong friends with the couple.”

As a further testament to the consignor’s refined taste in antiques, Stephenson’s will offer an 8ft wide breakfront from the Jenkintown home. It was custom made in the 1940s of Georgian-style flame mahogany and would add elegance to any traditional home.

Other furniture in the sale includes mid-century modern designs, such as the Peter Hvidt & O. Molgaard-Nielsen for John Stuart teakwood armchair with loose cushion and cane back. It is entered with a $1,000 estimate.

The selection of stoneware is led by a pair of cobalt-decorated chicken feeders, decorated with a botanical motif and clearly incised with the name “Thos. Haig” and the address “975 N. 2nd St. Phila.” The estimate for the pair is $2,000.

Stephenson’s Friday, May 31 Antiques & Decorative Arts Auction will begin at the earlier-than-usual time of 10 a.m. Eastern. The company’s gallery is located at 1005 Industrial Blvd., Southampton, PA 18966. Inspection is on Thursday, May 30, from 1-6 p.m., and on auction day from 9-10 a.m.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com. View the fully illustrated online catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.liveauctioneers.com.

For additional information on any auction lot, call Cindy Stephenson at 215-322-6182 or e-mail info@stephensonsauction.com. Online: www.stephensonsauction.com.

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Morphy’s May 25 Fine Art & General Antiques Auction features broad selection of pottery, art glass, antiques, coins

May 20th, 2013 by

750-lot sale opens with early Amphora and Midwestern American pottery

DENVER, Pa. – There’s nothing like a long-held, well-seasoned collection to jump-start a collecting niche that has gone quiet. Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions, said he saw the positive effect for himself at two previous Morphy sales that included rare pieces of Amphora pottery from the renowned Les Cohen collection. He expects similar interest and continued strong results at his May 25, 2013 event. The Amphora selection set to open the company’s 750-lot Fine Art & General Antiques sale could very well make it a lucrative trifecta for consignors, Morphy said.

Amphora ceramic dragon vase

Amphora ceramic dragon vase, mint condition, impressed Amphora oval mark and Austria mark. An example is illustrated on Page 105 of The House of Amphora, by Richard Scott. Estimate $7,000-$9,000. Morphy Auctions image.

More than 150 pieces of Amphora – including several prized examples from the Cohen collection – lead the May 25 proceedings. Animal forms include a vase with opalescent frits and four cats’ heads in relief, est. $5,000-$8,000, and a dragon vase with realistic reptilian scaling on its convoluted tale, $7,000-$9,000.

A monumental Amphora Gres-Bijou vase in mint condition, its underside impressed with an Imperial crown and Amphora Austria mark, is very similar to an example illustrated on Page 251 of Monsters and Maidens, Collectors Edition by Byron Vreeland. It could reach $8,000-$10,000 in the May 25 sale.

Markings are especially important to Amphora collectors, Dan Morphy said. Amphora pottery was produced by the Amphora Porcelain Works from 1910 to 1945 in the Turn-Teplitz region of Bohemia, now Trnovany in the Czech Republic. Because Bohemia was part of Austro-Hungary prior to World War I, examples produced there were marked “Austria.” Pieces made after the war are identified with a “Czechoslovakia” mark.

The Amphora selection will be followed by Zeck, Rookwood and Roseville pottery. Highlights include a Rookwood umbrella stand, Roseville Futura jardinière and pedestal, and Roseville 10in Sunflower vase. All three items carry individual estimates of $1,000-$1,500. Among the 85 lots of Breininger Pennsylvania pottery are a dog with basket, $400-$800; handled pitcher, $800-$1,200; and a Santa in sleigh pulled by reindeer, $400-$800.

Art glass lighting to be auctioned includes a Tiffany Studios 16in Daffodil lamp, $18,000-$25,000; a Handel with floral-design shade, $3,000-$4,000; and a Pairpoint lamp with reverse-on-glass shade and butterfly motif, $1,200-$1,500.

Many beautiful designs are seen in the 50-piece selection of art glass. A circa-1902 Loetz metallic red Phanomen Gre glass vase, signed “Loetz Austria” in the polished pontil, is the same form that appears on Page 1267 of the “Neue Gallerie” book. It is entered with an estimate of $3,500-$4,500. Other Loetz highlights include a 14in vase, $2,000-$3,000; and a 12in green glass vase, $2,000-$2,500. A art glass vase overlaid with silver is cataloged with a $3,000-$4,000 estimate, while a Daum Nancy “pillow” vase is expected to make $1,800-$2,500.

Monumental Amphora Gres-Bijou vase

Monumental Amphora Gres-Bijou vase, mint condition, underside impressed Imperial crown and Amphora Austria mark. An example is illustrated on Page 251 of Monsters and Maidens, Collectors Edition, by Byron Vreeland. Estimate $8,000-$10,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The auction will then move into a more general offering of fine art, clocks, Americana and even several desirable violins. The top-estimated painting, at $5,000-$10,000, is Guy Wiggins’ signed oil on board titled Midtown Winter; while the upper end of the clock section is dominated by a Black Forest Eagle clock, $5,000-$10,000 and an American tall-case clock with moon dial, $5,000-$10,000.

The sale will conclude with 125 lots of coins representing the second consignment to come to Morphy’s from the Pennsylvania Treasury’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property. A lot comprised of 23 gold coins is estimated at $9,000-$11,000. Other coins expected to find favor with collectors are a Lincoln cent 1909-1940 set that includes key dates, $1,500-$2,000; a Lincoln cent 1941-1976 set with a 1955 double die, $1,500-$2,000; and a Walking Liberty half dollar set, $1,500-$2,500. Also part of the Treasury consignment are many rolls of silver dimes, half dollars and dollars.

The Saturday, May 25 auction will commence at 9 a.m. Eastern Time. Morphy Auctions’ gallery is located at 2000 N. Reading Rd., Denver, PA 17517. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Artfact. View the fully illustrated catalog online at www.morphyauctions.com or www.artfact.com.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, to order a catalog or to organize a phone line, call 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com. Visit Morphy Auctions online at www.morphyauctions.com.

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Five collections converge to add variety and quality to Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction

May 8th, 2013 by

700-lot sale features Coca-Cola, rare petroliana and ‘book-example’ vending machines

FREDERICK, Md. – Elements of five outstanding but very different collections add diversity and fun to the 700-lot lineup in Mosby & Co.’s June 8 Toy & Advertising Auction. The event will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and those who cannot attend are encouraged to leave an absentee bid, sign up for a phone line, or bid live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers or Proxibid.

Embossed and chromolithographed 1901 Coca-Cola calendar featuring model Hilda Clark. Mosby & Co. image

“Collectors like a good mix. It heightens the curiosity factor and often leads to the discovery of great cross-over items,” said Mosby & Co.’s owner, Keith Spurgeon. “This is probably one of the most widely varied auctions we’ve produced to date. There are lots of toys and a tremendous selection of antique advertising, from early Coca-Cola to seven very desirable Stan Lee comic book signs made to display at Comic Con.”

The auction will open with country store and advertising, led by a fine collection of approximately 30 early Coca-Cola items. Among the Coke highlights are a beautiful 1903 serving tray, a 1901 calendar, and two rarities from the 1930s: a double-sided porcelain fountain service sign and a new/old stock embossed tin sign with in its original Coca-Cola shipping crate.

Two very rare promotional items issued by the Pure Oil Company (USA) date to the 1930s. “One is a figural radio shaped like an English cottage, which is what the Pure Oil gas stations looked like during that period. The other item is a figural cottage-shape birdhouse, wood with an enameled tin roof,” Spurgeon said.

Next up will be five Buddy Lee advertising dolls, which the manufacturer customized with advertising for the companies that commissioned them. The dolls are all original and complete. The rarest dolls in the group are the one advertising Coca-Cola and the doll dressed in Lee coveralls with a railroad conductor’s cap, made for Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railroad.

Several European tin and porcelain signs are among the fascinating items in a steamship collection to be offered by Mosby & Co. Also included in the grouping are two circa-1900 reverse-on-glass promotional items for North German Lloyd steamship line – a thermometer and a barometer.

One of the finest signs in the sale is a colorful and profusely detailed tin sign advertising Thomas’ Inks and Mucilage. Its busy embossed image depicts a cat tipping over a jar of red ink. “These signs, for some reason, usually have extensive flaking, and most that I’ve seen were in very poor condition,” said Spurgeon. “This is the nicest one I’ve come across personally.”

A lineup of early gumball machines includes a number of book examples from Bill Enes’ respected reference titled “Silent Salesmen Too.” Among the rarities are a very nice Rex machine and a Digesto vendor. The same collection was the source for a Watling Twin Jackpot penny slot machine, which is entered in the sale, as well.

Rare Digesto Gum vendor, book example Bill Enes’ reference book ‘Silent Salesmen Too.’ Mosby & Co. image.

A wealth of desirable advertising smalls will be offered within the country store section of the sale. There are numerous peanut butter tins, cooking range-related items and several toys and other pieces pertaining to C.D. Kenny grocery store chain.

Toy buyers can bid to their hearts’ content in this auction, as the choices will be varied and plentiful. The headliner is a single-owner collection of 12 gas-powered tether or rail cars from California, including several types very seldom encountered at auction. The cars are from the acknowledged “golden age” of the 1930s-1950s, by manufacturers such as Dooling, McCoy, C&R and others. Some measure 17-20 inches long, and their estimates are generally in the $1,000-$4,000 range.

Several pressed steel automotive toys will be offered, as will a rare 1934 Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel Golfer. Ex Dick Keats/Buddy ‘L’ Archive collection, it is the only known Golfer that retains its original box.

The toy parade continues with celluloid toys, scores of tin wind-ups including a mint-boxed Eberl Topsy Turvy Tom toy, and an appealing TootsieToy Speedway set. Additional toy highlights include a Converse private-label horse-drawn wagon produced for a dairy in the Charlottesville, Va., area; 5-6 rocking horses, and a Eureka Bugatti tourist model pedal car with fenders and opening door and trunk.

A mixed selection of bisque- and china-head dolls is joined by children’s crockery and ABC plates. Also featured in the nursery section are four lithographed-tin high chair trays, American and dating to the 1870s. Each tray is decorated with a charming scene typical of its period of production. One of the trays depicts elegantly gowned young girls dancing around a maypole. Another has a vibrant scene of children playing animatedly, with steamships and ocean liners on the water in the background.

“Within the scene, children are firing off a toy cannon and cap gun, and a boy has slipped firecrackers under a gentleman’s formal jacket as a prank. The artwork includes an American Flag and quite likely represents a holiday, perhaps the Fourth of July. This is an item that firecracker and holiday collectors might really like,” said Spurgeon.

The auction also includes part two of a ceramic bank collection, plus a few cast-iron mechanical banks. The top lot amongst the mechanicals is a superb short-sleeve version of the “Dinah” bank.

Pop culture fans will immediately appreciate the desirability of a set of seven different 5-by-3ft foam core signs made specifically to display at Comic Con 2010. The main sign, which includes Stan Lee’s face within the artwork, is flat, while the other six were created in relief. All promote “Stan Lee’s Super Seven” comic book, which never saw the light of day. “The comic book project was shelved because of a copyright issue. The idea may be revived at some point in time, but if it is, it will be released under the title ‘Mighty Seven’ and not ‘Super Seven,’” Spurgeon explained.

Mosby & Co.’s Saturday, June 8, 2013 Toy & Advertising auction will commence at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are 4-7 p.m. on Friday, June 7; 8-10 a.m. on auction day, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available.

All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Proxibid.com. Printed catalogs are $24 to US addresses; $35 outside the USA. For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or e-mail keith@mosbyauctions.com. Visit Mosby & Co. online at www.mosbyauctions.com.

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RSL’s June 1 auction features architectural banks in rare colors with prestigious provenance

May 2nd, 2013 by

Several choice banks boast Markey, Feld, Garthhoeffner pedigrees

TIMONIUM, Md. – Collectors will be gathering in suburban Baltimore on June 1st to inspect the real estate in an upscale “neighborhood” of early mechanical and still banks with an architectural theme. High-end cast-iron banks replicating various types of buildings – some generic and some immediately identifiable as famous structures – are the featured highlight of RSL Auction’s 500-lot sale to be held at Richard Opfer’s gallery in Timonium. The event will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

Numerous rare examples will make an appearance in the auction, including at least 12 banks that were formerly in the collection of the late Donal Markey, an influential dealer and collector of antique toys, banks and folk art who passed away in March 2010. Several J&E Stevens painted Cupola banks are among those in the Markey group. All are in beautiful condition and some are finished in unusual colors. Their estimates range from $1,400 to $1,800.

“As any experienced bank collector will tell you, Don Markey was a stickler for condition and had a fantastic eye for original paint,” said Ray Haradin, partner in RSL Auction Co.

Another bank with provenance from the Markey collection is a George Brown early American tin production replicating the Bunker Hill Monument. Manufactured around 1876, it boasts pristine-plus original paint and says “Bunker Hill” under the base. It is expected to reach $3,000 to $4,000. Also boasting a Markey-collection pedigree is a near-mint Home bank by Judd Company. It is an extremely rare multicolor version painted in yellow and red. Bidding could reach $2,500-$3,500 on auction day.

JEP (French) Torpedo Rocket open car, tin, original box, est. $3,000-$4,000. RSL Auction Co. image.

Approximately 130 architectural still banks were consigned to the sale from a single-owner collection. A highly appealing group, it includes all three versions (small, medium and large) of a House with Bay Windows, a form that is one of the most sought after of all Stevens still banks.

“Most collectors don’t even have one of these particular banks, including myself,” said Haradin. “To have the opportunity to bid on one of each size in the same auction is unheard of.” The largest of the three is expected to fetch $3,000-$4,000.

Another gem is the circa-1892 cast-iron Masonic Temple bank made in Chicago. Haradin noted that it is only the second bank of its type that he has ever seen for sale, either privately or at a public venue. He has no doubt it will realize $3,000-$4,500 at auction.

An automotive shape that could bring top money is an Arcade flat-top Limo bank in a green with white motif. It is a fine example of what actual Pittsburgh taxicabs looked like in the 1920s and is emblazoned with a Grant Street address and 4-digit telephone number. This particular bank has been chosen to open RSL’s June 1st sale and could knock down $5,000-$7,000.

Still banks will be followed by a beautiful lineup of mechanical banks with excellent provenance. A classic Boy Scout Camp mechanical, ex Larry Feld collection, is one of the finest known examples of its type. It has a presale estimate of $20,000-$30,000. Also, one of only three known Dog on Turntable mechanical banks in red, white and blue paint, ex Markey collection, is in pristine condition and estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

J&E Stevens Panorama cast-iron bank in green and red finish, ex Rich Garthhoeffner collection, est. $20,000-$30,000. RSL Auction Co. image.

From the prestigious Bob Brady collection comes a circa-1882 brass pattern for a Stevens Two Frogs bank. “All patterns are very rare, but this is one I’ve never seen before, and to my knowledge, it’s the only one known that is complete,” said Haradin. Estimate: $8,000-$12,000.

Two examples of Stevens’ desirable architectural bank known as “Panorama” will be offered. One variation is white with blue and red trim, while the other, green with red trim, has provenance from the revered Rich Garthhoeffner collection. Bright and in near-mint condition, the latter bank is entered in the sale with a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.

In addition to banks, there will be an excellent selection of antique toys from which to choose. Cast-iron horse-drawn and automotive toys; and early American tin clockwork productions are in the mix. Additionally, 60 European toys will be up for bid, from manufacturers such as Lehmann, Martin, Ingap, Distler and Eberl. A sporty French JEP Torpedo Rocket open car with original box is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.

“The toys in this sale came from a number of small collections, but when brought together as one grouping, they are very impressive. I think toy buyers will be pleasantly surprised,” Haradin said.

All forms of bidding will be available for RSL’s Saturday, June 1, 2013 auction, including live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com. The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time. A complimentary lunch will be provided to all attendees.

For additional information on any item in the sale, call Ray Haradin at 412-343-8733, Leon Weiss at 917-991-7352, or Steven Weiss at 212-729-0011. Email raytoys@aol.com or geminitoys@earthlink.net. Visit RSL Auction Co. online at www.rslauctions.com.

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Emeralds, gold coins reign at Government Auction, April 28

April 26th, 2013 by

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – Government Auction’s auction on Sunday, April 28, will feature emerald jewelry, antique gold coins, designer handbags and Rolex watches worthy of an ancient Egyptian ruler or modern-day trendsetter. The auction will begin at 5:45 a.m. Pacific time (8:45 a.m. Eastern time) and Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

12-carat emerald and diamond ring. Government Auction image.

Cleopatra was perhaps the first “celebrity” associated with the enigmatic emerald. The Egyptian queen had a fascination bordering on obsession with the brilliant green stone and even owned an emerald mine. To those in ancient Egypt, the stone represented wealth and power, and was the symbol of fertility. Cleopatra’s hoard of gemstones has never been found, but her association with the rare gemstone endures. A highlight in the April 28 auction that the last pharaoh surely would have coveted is the 14.97-carat emerald with 10.25-carat diamond necklace.

A stunning piece composed of 14K yellow gold, the necklace has a drape motif that suits even the most elegant of evening wear. The 18-inch necklace features 20 graduating emerald and diamond bezel pendants supported by an emerald and diamond lattice with numerous prong- and bead-set round brilliant-cut diamonds. The piece is topped off with matching yellow gold links and a concealed box clasp with twin safeties.

Another piece Cleopatra would have been proud to add to her collection is a 12-carat emerald and diamond ring. The ring is composed of 14K white gold, with the featured large emerald set within a diamond lattice gallery supported by diamond set shoulders and completed with a 2 1/2-millimeter wide band. There are approximately 28 prong- and bead-set diamonds in the ring weighing 1.70 carats.

In keeping with our theme of powerful and sophisticated women, a Louis Stewart designer bag reported to have been owned by Chris Jenner of “Keeping with the Kardashians” is also featured in this auction. The Louis Stewart line is fast becoming the latest trend and is popular with the celebrity set due to the company’s product quality and style. Stewart is a designer who worked for Louis Vuitton before launching his own brand. This brand has not made it to the stores yet, but is receiving high visibility from celebs such as Rhianna and Nicki Minaj. The Louis Stewart handbag featured on April 28 is black patent leather with a small crystal bling lock, and the Louis Stewart logo is displayed on a front silver badge.

Also offered for auction in the coin category is a highly sought-after piece—an 1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty Head gold coin. The Double Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted from 1850 during the height of the California gold rush until 1907. Of all the U.S. gold coins minted before 1907, the Double Eagle had the highest gold content, almost one full ounce of pure gold. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin weighs 33.43 grams and is composed of 90 percent gold

1894-S $20 U.S. Liberty gold coin. Government Auction image.

and 10 percent copper.

Another collectible coin for auction is the 1925-D $2.5 U.S Indian Head type gold coin. The Indian Quarter Eagle, as the coin is also known, was minted in Denver. Designed by Bela Lyon Pratt the coin features an incuse, or sunken, design of an American Indian with full feather war headdress on the obverse and the American eagle on the reverse. The piece is 18mm in diameter, weighs 4.18 grams, and is comprised of .900 fine gold and .100 copper.

An exceptional Rolex Oyster Perpetual wristwatch is an auction highlight in the elite timepiece category. This man’s watch is crafted in stainless steel with silver sunray finish dial and steel hour posts and band.

Additional auction highlights include a 5.00-carat princess-cut diamond, Chanel sunglasses, Louis Vuitton leather bag, Formula 1 Hublot Watch and much more.

For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Debbie at 661-823-1543 or email info@governmentauction.com.

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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NYC art gallery to host Coney Island ‘Sideshow’ exhibit May 2-25

April 22nd, 2013 by

Featured collection focuses on carnival ‘freaks,’ folk art, arcade relics, bizarre novelties

NEW YORK – The heart-stopping whoosh of a roller coaster on its downward trajectory, the sugary smell of cotton candy and salt water taffy, the sideshow barker’s incessant chant to “step right up and see the strangest sights on earth.” All played their roles in creating indelible memories for the millions of people who visited Coney Island over the last century.

Edward J. Kelty (American, 1888–1967) panoramic photo of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey ‘Congress of Freaks.’ Ross Art Group image.

While the golden era of New York’s most beloved amusement park has come and gone, relics of Coney Island’s colorful history and photos of its amazing cast of performers move back into the spotlight in “Sideshow,” an exhibition running May 2-25 at The Ross Art Group’s Manhattan gallery. Sideshow’s featured collection belongs to Dr. Robert M. Lerch, a New York City physician and longtime collector of the bizarre and unusual. The exhibition chronicles roughly the first 50 years of Coney Island – whose first enclosed amusement park area opened in 1895 – with additional pieces from other early 20th-century carnivals and circuses.

The “backbone” of the show, said Ross Art Group’s owner, Mickey Ross, is the collection of 28 original architectural drawings and blueprints that conceptualized Coney Island carnival rides and structures.

“The drawings were created by amusement park ride inventor and manufacturer William F. Mangels (German/American, 1867-1958) and depict such classic rides as the ‘Whip,’ Loop roller coaster, and carousel horses with a mechanical function,” Ross said. Like all other items in the exhibition, the architectural designs will be available for purchase.

One of the most remarkable inclusions in the collection is the assemblage of circus photos by itinerant photographer Edward J. Kelty (American, 1888–1967). The grouping includes a number of Kelty’s inimitable 11 by 20in panoramic shots of performers known collectively as “the Congress of Freaks.”

“Kelty had a fascination for human oddities and spent 20 years following and photographing circus troupes. Once a year, the entire Ringling Brothers ‘Freak Show’ cast would gather for a group shot. It was a big event,” said Ross. “The pictures include every imaginable type of performer – sword swallowers, snake charmers, bearded ladies, fire eaters, and ‘giants and midgets,’ plus aerialists and clowns.” Kelty’s Congress of Freaks photos, which originally were sold to the performers themselves as mementos, are highly sought after by today’s collectors.

Other iconic photos featured in Sideshow were taken prior to the end of World War I by Arthur S. Mole & John D. Thomas. Their technique consisted of mustering thousands of people to form aerial views of iconic symbols, such as The Statue of Liberty or Uncle Sam. Most of the photos’ participants were army troops who took part with the US Government’s permission.

Robert Lerch’s fascination for Coney Island memorabilia, arcade machines and quirky figural folk art dates back to his 1960s childhood in New York City, when he was introduced to the vast archive of pioneer collector, author and historian Frederick Fried.

Mole & Thomas ‘Human Statue of Liberty’ photograph formed by 18,000 officers and enlisted men at Camp Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa. Ross Art Group image.

“I spent most of my youth living with my grandparents on West End Avenue. A kid I used to play with who lived two stories above us was Frederick Fried’s son. I spent endless time in that apartment, which was so full of stuff it was barely navigable. I remember it like it was yesterday,” Lerch recalled. “Being around so many fascinating curiosities – from carnival objects to cigar store figures – had a profound effect on me.”

In fact, the Fried collection not only inspired Lerch to set off on a 40-year quest for the offbeat, it also eventually ended up, in part, in his own personal collection. “When Mr. Fried died, his daughter inherited his collection. I later acquired a portion of his Coney Island archive, which was considered the ultimate of its type, through a person who knew his daughter,” Lerch explained.

Selected highlights from the 75-piece Sideshow exhibition include:

  • Coin-op machines, including “Witch,” a rare 1st-quarter 20th century 3-wheel slot
  • Cast-iron amusement park jester head and four clown shooting gallery targets
  • Three antique carved-wood contortionist figures on pedestals
  • Circa-1920 coin-op baseball trade stimulator, one of perhaps three known
  • Pair of 21in tall cast-iron Coke bottles, 1923, from Atlanta bottling plant’s fence
  • Game that creates figure of pig with successive rolls of dice
  • Rare French carnival knock-down figures
  • Circa-1920 electric trade stimulator of chirping, moving birds in formal wedding attire
  • 17 x 6in salesman’s sample of metal-trimmed glass coffin
  • Circus and other posters, including an original for the Belgian release of the

1932 film “Freaks”

  • Polychrome-painted convex carnival mirror
  • Carousel memorabilia and figures including carved camel
  • Unconventional vending machine that delivers a piece of pre-sealed cake
  • Anatomical aluminum model of pig with hinged opening for view of internal organs

Sideshow – Exhibition and Sale featuring the collection of Dr. Robert M. Lerch (email manmoon6@aol.com) with other select additions will be held May 2-25 at the Ross Art Group’s gallery, 532 Madison Ave., 4th Floor (entry on 54th Street), New York, NY 10022.

Exhibition hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. May 2nd opening-night hours are 5-8 p.m., and as a

Animated, electric-powered store window display of birds in bridal attire. Ross Art Group image.

special added attraction, several performers from Coney Island USA’s Sideshows by the Seashore will be there at the gallery to entertain, pose for pictures and help raise awareness that Coney Island is back in business following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Dr. Robert Lerch has pledged to donate the sale proceeds from one of his rare Coney Island photographs to the nonprofit Coney Island Museum.

For additional information call 212-223-1525 or email sales@rossartgroup.com. Online: www.rossartgroup.com.

About The Ross Art Group:

The Ross Art Group was founded 18 years ago by veteran textiles businessman Mickey Ross. His background in the design and creation of printed fabrics inspired Ross to collect vintage posters while traveling throughout Europe. What began as a hobby evolved over time into a thriving retail art gallery. The Ross Art Group’s current inventory of 2,500+ posters may be viewed in its entirety by visiting its full-service gallery at 532 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y. (private appointments also available), or via a searchable, fully illustrated online database at www.rossartgroup.com.

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Superb saber-tooth tiger skeleton, massive gold nugget lead ancient fossils, minerals and gems in I.M. Chait Important Natural History Auction, May 4

April 17th, 2013 by

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – The finest known example of a saber-tooth tiger skeleton and a hefty Australian gold nugget are expected to reign over an imposing lineup of ancient fossils, meteorites and mineral specimens in I.M. Chait’s May 4 Important Natural History Auction in Beverly Hills.

Finest and most-complete extant example of a saber-tooth tiger skeleton, 67 inches long, origin White River Badlands, South Dakota. Estimate $250,000-$300,000. I.M. Chait image.

The 67-inch-long tiger skeleton (Lot 326) represents a fearsome predator that once menaced the animal kingdom of South Dakota’s White River Badlands. It heads the zoological portion of the sale with a $250,000-$300,000 estimate.

“The saber-tooth tiger’s reputation precedes him,” said Jake Chait, director of I.M. Chait’s Natural History department. “With one swipe, he could sever the arteries or windpipe of another animal, making it easy prey.”

The tiger skeleton is superbly preserved and 70-80% complete, rendering it in a class of its own. “There isn’t a more complete specimen of this type, either in a museum or private collection, anywhere in the world,” said Chait. “Not only does this skeleton present an extremely rare opportunity for scientific research, it is aesthetically second to none, with incredible 4-inch-long sabers and a beautiful patination that only comes as a result of the natural ageing process.”

An outstanding skeleton from a massive woolly rhinoceros (Lot 325) dates to the Pleistocene Epoch of the Quaternary Period. It is believed that giant woolly rhinos roamed the wilds of Siberia during the last Ice Age and developed their thick coats as a defense against the brutal climate. The impressive skeleton in Chait’s sale measures 177 inches long and 72 inches high, and is, in the truest sense of the word a “museum-class” specimen, having previously been part of the Kashiwagi Museum Collection in Japan. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $90,000-$120,000.

Another exciting auction highlight is the skull of an extremely rare giant dire wolf (Lot 324) from the Rancho La Brea Formation, ex George Lee Collection. Scientifically classified as Canis dirus, the now-extinct dire wolf once inhabited Kern County, California, where tar pits similar to those at the La Brea site in Los Angeles proved a fatal attraction to indigenous beasts. “The tar pits were covered in water and would trap unsuspecting animals who mistook them for benign ponds,” said Chait. “Skeletons of mastodons, mammoths, horses and bison have been found at California’s tar pits, but a dire wolf is an especially rare and desirable find.” The skull offered in the May 4 sale represents the largest end of the spectrum, size wise, for a dire wolf. It measures 12 inches long by 7 inches wide by 5¼ inches high, and is estimated at $60,000-$80,000.

Posed as though navigating the waters near its native Morocco, the skeleton of a marine reptile known as a Mosasaur (Lot 295), Late Cretaceous Period, exhibits an elongated, streamlined body and broad, flexible tail. Considered the closest ancient relative to today’s snakes, it grew to lengths of 10 to 60 feet. The skeleton is a first-class example that measures 59 inches long by 43 inches high. Estimate: $50,000-$60,000.

Lot 296 is a toothy tableau consisting of a Mosasaurus skull with a vividly colored 13¼-inch ammonite positioned in its jaws. The gaping mouth, with its array of spiky upper and lower teeth, provides a stark reminder of why the Mosasaurus species was so widely feared 65 million years ago. The 32-inch-long skull of a reptilian creature many times the size of a modern-day great white shark was “wired for intimidation,” Chait said. The double-fossil display of skull with ammonite could make $30,000-$38,000 at auction.

Other fascinating animal fossils include the rare skull of an ancient South American penguin (Lot 281), est. $2,500-$3,500; a baby Triceratops skull (Lot 311), est. $25,000-$35,000; and the large, powerful-looking tail of a Hadrosaur (Lot 303) in whip-like pose, est. $20,000-$25,000. An extraordinary fossilized Rhamphorhynchus muensteri, or pterodactyl (Lot 312), documents one of the first vertebrates to make the transformation to flight. Wings are clearly present on the form of its hollow-boned, lightweight body captured within a limestone slab. Estimate: $70,000-$80,000.

Many collectors jump at the chance to acquire distinctive parts from prehistoric animals. Several outstanding entries in the upcoming sale would fit the bill nicely, starting with the brow horn of a Triceratops horridus (Lot 306) from the Hell Creek Formation in South Dakota. An immense 33 inches in length on an ebonized metal display stand, it is expected to attract a top bid of $10,000-$12,000. A well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex tooth (Lot 307) is estimated at $10,000-$12,000; while a nicely delineated Raptor claw (Lot 310), 65-68 million years old, could scratch up $2,000-$2,500.

Gold nugget with natural quartz containing 3100g (99.67 ozt) of gold, origin central Victoria, Australia. Estimate $275,000-325,000. I.M. Chait image.

The precious gems section could not have a more regal centerpiece than the exquisite marine-life chess set (Lot 97) designed by gemologist and jewelry designer Sylvia Quispe, Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Truly the crème de la crème of chess sets, its 32 playing pieces replicate sea creatures crafted from rich purple Tanzanian rubies and royal blue Afghan lapis with solid 18K gold. The ruby pieces are mounted on Peruvian pink opal seashell and starfish bases, while those of lapis are raised on quartz. The playing board is, itself, a work of art, with alternating squares of quartz and black obsidian. The set is housed in a handsome mahogany box. Fit for a king – or modern-day kingmaker – this masterpiece of uncompromising quality is estimated at $150,000-$170,000.

Mineral specimens are led by a sensational gold nugget with natural quartz (Lot 23) that was discovered in the Australian state of Victoria. The intense yellow color of the metal denotes an exceptionally high carat content, and its gold content, alone, weighs in at a robust 3100g (99.67 ozt). Exceptional by any standards, it could realize an auction price of $275,000-$325,000.

A premier example of a Canadian iridescent ammonite (Lot 271) from the Bearpaw Formation, Southern Alberta, Canada is a biogenic gemstone that would top many a collector’s wish list, this 17in ammonite gleams with electrifying colors and could fetch $38,000-$45,000 at auction. Another mineral highlight is a large, complete meteorite (Lot 220) from the famous fall at Campo del Cielo, Argentina. Weighing approximately 78.4kg, it is estimated at $18,000-$22,000.

Among the more curious items on offer are an ancient mummified foot from Middle Egypt (Lot 200), est. $5,000-$7,000; and a collection of naturally colored and fossilized dung (Lot 300) from the Wilkes Formation in Washington state. Consisting of five excellent dung specimens ranging in color from gray and woody brown to burnt umber, deep purple and red, the group lot is entered with expectations of making $2,500-$3,500.

From big cats to woolly rhinos, I.M. Chait’s 326-lot May 4 auction has the prehistoric category amply covered with an expertly cataloged selection of fossilized skeletons and skulls. With the addition of pulse-quickening minerals, gems and several natural oddities for good measure, it’s shaping up to be an event that will fascinate connoisseurs and evolving collectors, alike.

I.M. Chait’s Important Natural History Auction will take place at the Chait gallery on Saturday, May 4, commencing at 1 p.m. Pacific Time. The gallery is located at 9330 Civic Center Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through LiveAuctioneers.com and Artfact.com.

For additional information, call 1-800-775-5020 or 310-285-0182; or e-mail joey@chait.com. Visit the company online at www.chait.com.

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1930s collection of large-scale trains joins Sterling Associates’ April 24 auction lineup of antiques, Asian and other fine & decorative art

April 15th, 2013 by

CLOSTER, N.J. – Since the beginning of commercial American railroading, trains have had a significant presence in New Jersey. Since the 1830s, hundreds of now-defunct companies operated on rail lines within the Garden State, although their landmark terminals are now long gone or, in some fortunate cases, protected as historic places. However, few in New Jersey knew of the existence of one bustling railway hub located in the city of Maywood in the 1930s and ’40s. It operated behind closed doors in the home of the late Ray Hoelz, whose “railway yard” was built to accommodate a superb collection of oversize scale-model trains.

GE model train locomotive and tender manufactured by Icken. Ray Hoelz estate collection. Sterling Associates image.

On Wednesday, April 24, Ray Hoelz’s remarkable assemblage of antique and pre-World War II trains, which he began collecting in 1936, will make its public debut as the headliner in Sterling Associates’ Spring Auction.

“This is an exceptional estate collection, unlike anything we’ve seen before,” said Sterling Associates’ owner, Steven D’Atri. “Although Ray Hoelz was an accountant and auditor by profession, he came from a family with close ties to the railroad. His father worked for the Erie Railroad, so that early exposure to trains undoubtedly inspired his interest in collecting toy versions of them. His emphasis seems to have been on acquiring very large, extremely well-detailed trains, which is what collectors love.” All pieces from the collection will be auctioned individually.

The collection consists of more than 60 “third rail” train engines and cars that were either commissioned, purchased, or hand-built by Ray Hoelz. All are extremely realistic, with even greater detail than one would see on expensive antique trains, D’Atri said.

“These are big trains. The Pullman cars are almost two feet long, and some have wooden floors. Even the seats and people in the cars are minutely detailed. The freight cars have the same sort of writing and brand logos you’d see on real trains,” D’Atri continued.

Most of the manufactured or custom-made trains were produced in the 1930s by such firms as Icken, Lobaugh, Westbrook and Miniature Locomotive Company. The majority are of metal, while a few were crafted of wood. The engines, chemical cars and many of the components were expertly machined from brass and steel.

Fine, decorative and Asian art, as well as estate jewelry and other antiques comprise the greater portion of the 500-lot auction. The 50-lot jewelry section is led by a sparkling 2-3/4 carat GIA-certified diamond and platinum engagement ring with matching wedding band. It is followed by various other jewelry designs and forms, mostly gold.

A wonderful array of bronzes includes 19th-century through contemporary works. Highlighting the group are a silvered Russian bronze after Lanceray titled “Don Cossacks Crossing the Balkans,” and a large hunting dog bronze by Auguste-Nicolas Cain (French, 1821-1894). The names of the dogs – Caron and Pompier – are branded in the ground. Also on offer is a well-executed life-size bronze torso by Greg Wyatt.

Among the paintings chosen for the sale are a George Morland (British, 1762-1804) oil-on-canvas winter landscape with horses, and an Italian masterpiece depicting the interior of a church with people. Both artworks are of “exceptional quality,” D’Atri said.

Sterling Associates is known for its ability to source fresh-to-market Asian art and antiques. The April 24 auction includes a varied selection of fresh works from an Asian collector in New Jersey who trusted his well-cultivated eye and always bought wisely. The consignment includes porcelains, including a pair of circa-1750 Chinese Qianlong famille rose vases, and a Chinese painting of a foggy mountain scape with calligraphy and seals on woven paper laid to silk.

An eclectic grouping of 19th- and 20th-century lighting and accessories will cross the auction block, as will a nicely blended offering of furniture from multiple sources. A top furniture piece is an American Renaissance Revival walnut cabinet attributed to Herter.

After Evgeny Alexandrovich Lanceray, Russian (1848-1886), ‘Don Cossacks Crossing The Balkans,’ silver over bronze. Sterling Associates image.

Diversity is evident in the assortment of items Stephen D’Atri has selected for his Spring Auction. At the fine-art end of the collecting spectrum there is an 1870s connoisseur’s book, French, with exquisitely engraved images and titled “Le Tresor Artistique de la Musee National de Louvre et Galerie d’Apollon,” Volume I. “A few years ago, Sotheby’s sold a similar book for $7,000-$8,000,” said D’Atri. “What makes this book especially unusual is its size – it’s two feet by 18 inches and probably 4 inches thick.”

On the vintage collectibles side, there are two Wurlitzer 1050 “bubbler” jukeboxes, and for the scientifically inclined, there’s an 1850s daguerreotype lens made by C.C. Harrison. It has a large brass cylinder encasing the lens and is marked with a serial number and the manufacturer’s name. “Photographic antiques are hot at the moment, and we already have multiple absentee bids on it. I think this lens is going to fly,” D’Atri said.

Sterling Associates’ Spring Auction will be held on Wednesday, April 24, 2013, starting at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. It is structured as a hybrid auction in which previewing is available at the physical gallery, but all bidding is exclusively absentee, by phone or live via the Internet through Artfact or LiveAuctioneers. The sale will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.

Gallery preview times are 10-5 on April 19 and 20; 10-7 on April 23, and 10-3 on auction day. The gallery is located at 70 Herbert Ave., Closter, NJ 07624. Inquiries: call 201-768-1140 or e-mail sterlingauction@optonline.net. Visit Sterling Associates online at www.antiquenj.com. View the fully illustrated catalog at www.LiveAuctioneers.com or www.Artfact.com.

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