Archive for November, 2010

The Art of Picking – Episode 8 HD

November 8th, 2010 by

Reyne heads to Antique Week in Round Top, Texas and spends some time with dealers at the Marburger Farms Antiques Show. Tile expert, Colleen Martin (, answers some questions about antique floor tiles and the process in which they were made. Reyne also stops by dealer Jodie Roberts booth to hear about her finds of the week and the elusive “one that got away”.

International Demand for Asian Art Finds Ally in Online Bidding

November 4th, 2010 by


Date of Release:  Nov. 3, 2010

International demand for Asian art finds ally in online bidding

Chinese yellow jade rhyton, 10 inches tall, relief carved with spiraling design, sold through for $17,360. Image courtesy Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

NEW YORK – It may have taken centuries for China’s art treasures to make their way to the Western World, but it is taking less than a minute for many of them to repatriate to Asian ownership via the Internet.

“Buyers from China, Hong Kong and other Asian nations have become very comfortable about bidding in overseas auctions online,” said Julian Ellison, CEO of “In many instances they’ve become repeat buyers and have formed ongoing, mutually beneficial business relationships with auction houses in America and Europe.”

Boston-based Skinner Inc. was one of the first auction houses to cultivate a bond of trust with Asian buyers. Their June 25-26 auction of Asian Works of Art, with Internet live bidding through, brought in an impressive $4.8 million – around $260,000 of it from online participants. The company’s director of Asian Works of Art described the sale as “an all-out bidding frenzy.”

Late October saw a continuation of the now-familiar trend. In Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ Oct. 26 Asian Works of Art auction, the blue-chip Chicago firm sold 142 lots (29% of the  total lots offered) online through LiveAuctioneers. The lots also represented 25% of the sale by value.

White jade vase with cover, 10 inches tall, ovoid with lion-form finial, sold through for $22,320. Image courtesy Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

White jade, for which demand far outweighs supply, was hotly pursued online. A LiveAuctioneers bidder paid an above-estimate $22,320 for a 10-inch white jade ovoid vase with cover with lion-shape finial. A Chinese yellow jade drinking vessel based on an ancient Greek object known as a “rhyton,” with relief carving and a spiraling design, also sold above its estimate to an Internet bidder, for $17,360.

But it wasn’t just jade that the 414 online participants were chasing in Hindman’s sale. A Chinese Ming Dynasty landscape painting on silk, 66 inches by 16¾ inches and dated 1535, paid no heed to its $1,500-$2,000 estimate, selling to an Internet bidder for $21,080. Also, a Wang Hing & Co. Chinese silver export serving tray with pierce-carved dragon motif, weighing in at 145.87 ozt., sailed past its $5,000-$7,000 estimate to settle at $17,360 online.

Chinese silver export tray, Wang Hing & Co., pierce carved dragon design, 145.87 ozt., sold through for $17,360. Image courtesy Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Postsale statistics indicated there was keen interest prior to the auction. There were 5,540 electronic-catalog page views, with 616 absentee bids placed online through LiveAuctioneers.

Jackson’s International of Cedar Falls, Iowa, had its own Internet success with a selection of outstanding Asian pieces included in an Oct. 27 offering of antiques and fine art. The sell-through numbers showed that 33.5% of the lots sold via LiveAuctioneers, representing 24% of the sale’s total value. There were 735 online participants, and more than 8,600 people viewed the catalog through LiveAuctioneers, placing 1,115 absentee bids.

Chinese carved jade mortar, 10¼ inches tall, late 19th/early 20th century, spinach-colored jade, motif features scrolling dragons, clouds, waves, sold through for $14,760. Image courtesy Jackson’s International.

Because it was not exclusively an Asian art sale, not all of the lots sold online were of that particular genre, but here are a few of the many examples that were – an 11¼-inch white jade vase with cover, late 19th or early 20th century, with a mountainous garden scene in relief and a Qianlong seal, realized $24,600 against an estimate of $10,000-$15,000; while a baluster-form white jade vase with cover featuring pierced and scrolled foliate openwork streaked past its $8,000-$12,000 estimate to achieve $18,450. Another Internet highlight was the 10¼-inch carved mortar of spinach-colored jade, late 19th or early 20th century with a design of dragons, clouds and waves, that made $14,760 against an estimate of $5,000-$7,500.

“I think we’re going to see much more of the same in the fall and winter sales featuring Asian art,” said Ellison. “On November 21st, Austin Auction Gallery in Austin, Texas, is going to be selling a single-owner collection of jade originally brought to the United States around 40 years ago by an American Army colonel who was stationed in Asia in the post-World War II period. From what I’ve been told, one of the jade pieces – a carving of two crickets on a cabbage – is highly important, and experts who’ve examined it say it is a premier artwork. It’s just this sort of discovery that keeps the auction business exciting.”

All prices quoted in this article are inclusive of buyer’s premium:

Skinner Inc. – 18.5% to $200,000; 10% above that amount

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers – 22%

Jackson’s International – 18%

Reyne Gauge: One Man’s Dream…Profile of Dale Chihuly

November 4th, 2010 by

Becoming one of America’s most recognized artists is the dream of many, but most often remains merely a dream – rarely does it become a reality.

Dale Chihuly made it to the top, but the journey getting there was not always an easy one.

Chihuly was a student of interior design and architecture in the early 1960s.  By 1965, he had become captivated by the art of blowing glass.  He enrolled in the hot glass program offered by the University of Wisconsin.  The program was founded by Harvey Littleton; the father of the Contemporary Studio Movement in America.

In 1968, Chihuly was awarded a Fulbright grant to study glassblowing in Murano, Venice.  It is often said his inspiration for his glass designs came from his experiences there.  After Venice, he traveled to see the Libenskys in Czechoslovakia. Their workshop was known for their heavy cast glass sculptures. From there he went to Germany to visit one of his favorite glass artists, Erwin Eisch.

Chihuly received a degree in sculpture, and then entered the ceramics program at the Rhode Island School of Design.  It was there Chihuly founded the schools glass program which has produced numerous recognized artists.

Chihuly didn’t stop there.  He co-founded the Pilchuck School in Washington in 1971.  The Pilchuck School has brought together artists worldwide into the program.  It has also helped place the area on the map as a mecca for contemporary artists.

In the fall of 1975, Chihuly was scheduled to lecture at a University in Ireland when tragedy struck.  He was in an automobile accident that took one of his eyes.  This could have been the end of a career for most artists; but not Chihuly.  With the struggles of losing his depth perception, came new collaborations.  He now was less tied to the actual blowing of the glass, and could spend more of his efforts drawing and photographing his latest creations.

In 1978, Chihuly was offered a solo show at Renwick Gallery (part of The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.)  This was a huge career move for Chihuly.

Since that time, Chihuly’s works have traveled to museums all over the world.  Documentaries about his life and his works air regularly on PBS.  His dream of blowing glass had made the move from the Rhode Island School of Design, to Chihuly Inc, a multi-million dollar a year company creating glass for corporation, museums, and collectors worldwide.

If you’ve not had a “Chihuly” experience yet, you can find his works currently on display at:

City Center – Las Vegas NV now through December 2010

Frist Center of Visual Arts – Nashville, TN –  Now through January 2, 2011

For a list of permanent exhibits visit their website:

Photos Couresty of: The collection of Howard Shatsky!/pages/Gallery-Of-Glass/115447121842870

Photo 1:  Rufous Piccolo Venetian with Yellow Prunts, circa 1994

Photo 2: Chihuly Cylinder with Glass Shard Drawing, circa 1978

Sotheby’s – Magnificent Books, Manuscripts and Drawings from the Collection of Frederick, 2nd Lord Hesketh

November 4th, 2010 by

Auction Dec. 7th, 2010


The selection of books manuscripts and drawings being offered on December 7th represent the cream of this distinguished collection, built up by successive generations of the Fermor-Hesketh family. The items the best of every aspect of the bibliophile’s endeavor: typography, illustration, illumination, literary and historical importance, and fine binding.

Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers – American Furniture & Decorative Arts

November 4th, 2010 by

Auction Nov. 7th, 2010  11am

Skinner’s next auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts will be held on Sunday, November 7th in Skinner’s Boston Gallery. Skinner is among the world’s foremost authorities on American furniture and decorative arts, and our Americana auctions offer American formal and country furniture and decorative arts, including folk art, naive portraiture, marine arts, pottery, fine clocks, Shaker artifacts, American textiles and needlework, American silver, Chinese export items, trade signs, and early glass.

Great Gatsby’s – Auction of American and European Fine Art & Furnishings

November 4th, 2010 by

Auction Nov. 6th, 2010  11am

Auction of American and European fine art, decorative arts, and fine antique furnishings.

Phillips de Pury – “Fornasetti: The Complete Universe” Book Signing

November 3rd, 2010 by

“Fornasetti: The Complete Universe”
edited by Barnaba Fornasetti,
text by Mariuccia Casadio,
published by Rizzoli, 2010

Nov. 6th, 2010  4 – 6pm

Collecting With Jeff – October News Letter – by Jeff Figler

November 3rd, 2010 by

The Hunt for Sonny Randle

On my list of favorite football athletes are several players from St. Louis and San Diego, cities in which I have lived for many years. Of course there is Dan Fouts, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Sonny Randle, and a few others on that list. That’s right, Sonny Randle.

After browsing through some recent clippings about Randle, I attempted to get some old cards of his. Well, after contacting a half dozen or so dealers, I finally ran across Touchdown Treasures, owned and operated by Michael Hattley. My Sonny Randle card hunt was over, at least temporarily. Hattley sent me an inventory list of the St. Louis Cardinals (football) items he has. It looked like a small town telephone directory. And that was only of one team.
Talk about someone with passion about what he does. Hattley, a former financial guy, was an avid collector himself, and decided to make his avocation a vocation, by starting Touchdown Treasures some twenty-four years ago. The company specializes only in football memorabilia. Through the years, merchandise of the Packers, Giants, and Steelers have been requested the most. Although Touchdown Treasures is based in Greenwich, Connecticut, Hattley’s favorite team is the Miami Dolphins. Why?

Mike said that the most unusual piece he has ever sold was a 1977 Topps NFL Mexican set. There were only twenty sets sold. Wow! Makes you wonder if Chad Ochocinco has a set. The cards were all in Spanish. I would have a tough time with that one.

Michael Hattley is an optimist, even in this economy. Yes, the market is down, but vintage or unique items will hold their own.

If you have a football item “wish list”, you might want to contact Hattley. After all, he has an inventory of 39,531 football related items. That was the total a few days ago, maybe it is more by now. I bet he even has some Sonny Randle items. On second thought, I hope not. He is supposed to be selling all those to me.

Hattley can be reached at (203) 532-9214, or at Touchdown Treasures conducts both auctions and sales.

In Collectibles Market, Manning is no Brady

Recently on one of my radio broadcasts, I got into a lively discussion about which one NFL player I would start a team with. It is my humble opinion that I would start with a quarterback, while others in the discussion chose other positions. Names of players were thrown out, including Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and even Ed Reed. Yes, that’s right, Ed Reed. He is a terrific player, but I don’t think you can pick a defensive player to be your cornerstone man. I can see picking a running back, but I still think a quarterback comes first.

So who would I pick? If I was doing the honors today, it would be Peyton Manning. If you ask me next year I might say Peterson or even Philip Rivers, the incredible quarterback of the Chargers. You watch, Rivers has what it takes, and if he can win a Super Bowl or two, and San Diego is capable of doing so, Rivers will be at the head of the quarterback class.

But for now, give me Peyton Manning. This 2009 season may very well be his best, especially if you consider the fact that he is without his main man, Marvin Harrison. Joseph Addai should not be mistaken for Edgerin James either. The Colts simply replace parts as necessary. Do I think that Manning will lead the Colts to another Super Bowl victory this season? Hardly. I don’t think the Colts will even make it out of the AFC Championship game. That’s right. And now I’ll probably be flooded with emails about how my thinking is distorted.

Funny thing about Manning and the 1998 draft. The two top college quarterbacks in that draft were Manning of Tennessee, and Ryan Leaf of Washington State. Both the Colts and Chargers desperately needed quarterbacks, and Indianapolis had the first selection, and the Chargers the third. San Diego gave up the kitchen sink to Arizona to move up one spot. The rest is history. The course of the NFL was changed. Manning became, well, Manning, and Ryan Leaf became, uh, let’ just say, one of the biggest busts in NFL history.

However, let it be remembered that in Manning’s first season the Indianapolis Colts were a dismal 3-13.

Despite Peyton Manning’s achievements on and off the gridiron, his collectibles have not gone spectacular. Why he hasn’t been as big of a box office star with collectibles as, for example, a Tom Brady, or a Joe Montana, is likely due to the fact that for a long time he did not have any Super Bowl rings. Now he has one, as the Manning-led Colts defeated the Chicago Bears a few years ago. The fact, too, that he plays in a relatively small Midwestern market does not help. Put him in a New York or a Chicago and the scenario would undoubtedly be different.

For the record, in a 2008 auction, his 2000 game-used helmet went for just shy of $5000. His 2004 game-worn signed shoes fetched slightly over $4000 in a 2007 auction. His jerseys usually bring in upwards of a few thousand dollars, depending, of course, if they are signed.

The Colts have flourished with Peyton Manning at the helm. At age 33, opposing defenses are going to have to put up with him and his gyrations at the line of scrimmage for at least a handful of more years.

Picking with Reyne Vol. 24 – Another amazing find…

November 2nd, 2010 by

I never get tired of telling a good story, and this one certainly makes that list.

Two of my favorite pickers – let’s just call them Frick and Frack, tend to find some amazing stuff.  I have bought things from them purely for aesthetic reasons over the years, and have never been disappointed.

They have a great eye.  It’s so important when being a picker because you may not know what you are buying, but if you can tell it’s “Something” you’re a step ahead of most of the pack.  And these guys have had some pretty amazing scores just buying on a hunch.

This week’s story is just one of the many….

Apparently several years ago they were at an estate sale buying a few things when a pair of what looked like cameo’s caught their eye.

They noticed the items had a Sotheby’s auction tag on the back.  This would generally indicate they are somewhat special. The tags dated all the way back to 1903!

Once they got them home, they contacted Sotheby’s.   Unfortunately they were not much help. They told them they were 18th century and that was all they knew.  Hrmph!

The guys thought they were made of marble, but after asking around were told they were porcelain and numismatic related (huh?)

They placed them on eBay with the little information they had, and needless to say, not much happened. (Imagine that, a low period on eBay)

Come to find out, these pieces were from the very well documented John Gormley Murdoch coin and medal collection.  The auction was 8 sessions – running from March 31, 1903 to December 13, 1904 at Sotheby’s & Co., London.

The back of each framed piece is notated with the identity of the subject, which happens to be Edward II and Edward III; along with their date of birth, coronation and death.

Now comes the fun part of the story.  It just happens that while these didn’t sell, the guys hung them in the restroom for decoration.  Recently a friend came by, asked to use the restroom, and noticed the items hanging on the wall.  The friend just happened to recognize the work as that of James Tassie (1735-1799).  They are made from enamel/glass and not porcelain.  You can read more about Tassie by visiting this website:

But you may already be somewhat familiar with his work if you have visited the V&A Museum.

So how does the story end?  Will Frick and Frack keep them or will they head off to a big auction and sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars?  You’ll just have to tune in here to see….

Happy Hunting!