Archive for October, 2011

Phillips de Pury – Contemporary Art Exhibitions On View Now

October 31st, 2011 by

Guggenheim Benefit Auction
7 November 2011

Contemporary Art Part I
7 November 2011

Contemporary Art Part II
8 November 2011

Swann Galleries – Autographs

October 28th, 2011 by

SIGNED BY HUSBAND AND WIFE EINSTEIN, ALBERT AND ELSA. Photograph Signed, by both (“Albert Einstein” and “Elsa Einstein”), and dated by Albert, full-length portrait, showing both standing side-by-side on a stone patio. Signed in the image, at lower edge. 4×3 inches; closed tear at lower left corner affecting Elsa’s signature repaired verso with cello tape, minor scattered dings. Np,

Sotheby’s – Finest and Rarest Wines

October 28th, 2011 by

This sale features a pristine case of Château Pétrus 1982 from the private collection of a Continental connoisseur that also includes some top Classed Growth Claret.  There is a fabulous array of Château Cheval Blanc and its ‘baby brother’, Le Petit Cheval, in young vintages and a variety of formats.  Great Sauternes, White and Red Burgundy, Rhône, California and historic German wines direct from members of the Prüm family vie for attention.  Extra ‘glitz’ can be found in a Methuselah of Louis Roederer Cristal 2000, 1990 vintage and a bottle of Cognac Hennessy Timeless in a Baccarat crystal decanter.

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

October 28th, 2011 by

Gods and Ancestors : this perfectly encapsulates what the magnificent sculptures in this December auction convey. Crafted by talented artists from Africa and Oceania, with a masterful hand and each using their own formal criteria, these pieces express the timeless beauty of the spirits that they embody.

Three exquisite masks in the auction – the Boa mask (lot 68), the black Punu mask (lot 56) and the Kwele mask (lot 55)) were never meant to be exposed to the public gaze; their beauty and strength were only devoted to the spirits and ancestors.  These majestic representations of the male and female form, created by anonymous artists, are joined by a small sculpture of a head by the famed ‘Buli Master’ (lot 62), and by two shrine (couple) sculptures, extraordinary in their artistry and rarity, from a supremely talented Yoruba Nago artist (lots 35 and 36)). Both sculptures are devoted to Shango, the deified fourth king of Oyo-Ile, the city that was the centre of the Oyo Empire in the second half of the 18th century.

From Oceania, comes a rare Rarotonga Staff God, Cook Islands (lot 85). One of only sixteen complete Staff Gods documented in museum or private collections, this sculpture pays tribute to Tangaroa, the creator God.

Phillips de Pury – Important Nordic Design

October 28th, 2011 by

London – Phillips de Pury & Company is pleased to announce Important Nordic Design, an academic exploration into 20th century and contemporary Nordic design and culture curated by acclaimed architect Lee F. Mindel, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and whose firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates is the winner of the 2011 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award for Interior Design

Sotheby’s – An Important Private Collection of Works by Alexander Benois

October 28th, 2011 by

We are delighted to announce the forthcoming sale in London of a superb private collection of watercolours by Alexander Benois on 29 November 2011. The collection includes set and costume designs from productions such as Petrushka, The Nightingale and Sleeping Beauty, charming family portraits, rare views of St. Petersburg, Versailles and Venice, which will be offered alongside Benois’ letters and sketchbooks. The artist’s extensive annotations provide an extraordinary insight into the life of one of Russia’s most famous watercolourists and the appearance of this extraordinary collection on the market is an important addition to scholarship on the artist.

Sotheby’s New York – Fine Books & Manuscripts

October 28th, 2011 by

Literature is high-lighted in December with significant Raymond Chandler association material including his own copies of all his novels, The Big Sleep inscribed to his wife Cissy and screenplays from his work with Billy Wilder and Alfred Hitchcock.  A private collection of artist’s letters with examples from Manet, Renoir and Van Gogh complements modern artist’s work: three of Andy Warhol’s scarce self-published books will be offered including a vibrantly colored example of the rare and fragile Cats. A strong selection of printed broadsides, Washington letters and a lovely Popple Map of North America with original color are only a few of the highlights of the Printed and Manuscript Americana section of the sale.

Mosby & Co. revisits Civil War era with Nov. 11-12 auction of important 60-year collection

October 28th, 2011 by

Left to right: Civil War Union Army jacket, Indian Wars officers frock coat, United Confederate Veterans frock coat. Mosby & Co. image.

FREDERICK, Md. – America’s enduring fascination with the War Between the States is never more evident than in our nation’s auction rooms. Authentic Civil War clothing, artifacts and memorabilia of the type to be offered at Mosby & Co.’s Nov. 11-12 sale is consistently in demand with collectors, said the firm’s owner, Keith Spurgeon.


“In particular, buyers are seeking out items that come from long-established collections with deep provenance. That’s exactly what we’ll be auctioning in November – a collection from Texas that was started when the consignor, who is now in his seventies, was only nine years old,” said Spurgeon. All Civil War auction items were vetted and cataloged by Brian Akins, a renowned specialist dealer who produces Civil War collector shows.


Examples from a selection of more than 40 swords. Mosby & Co. image.

In all, more than 920 lots will be presented over the auction weekend, with approximately 400 Civil War lots comprising the entire Friday session. Roughly 99% of the militaria comes from the Texas consignment, with pieces representing both Confederate and Union armies. Basic categories include uniforms, hats, weapons, swords, flags, corps badges and saddles. Additionally, there are relics recovered from battlefields, buttons and soldiers’ miscellaneous personal effects.


In terms of volume, the strongest part of the sale is the swords, with more than 40 fine-quality examples entered. Highlights include several eagle-head swords from both the Union Army and pre-Civil War eras.


Civil War 24th Louisiana Crescent Regiment battle shirt. Mosby & Co. image.

Several rare and desirable Union jackets will be auctioned, with examples dating to periods before, during and after the Civil War. Other top clothing lots include a United Confederate Veterans general’s frock coat and a Confederate battle shirt from the 24th Louisiana Crescent Regiment. The latter item comes with provenance from the collection of the late artist, author and historian Randy Steffan. Another special inclusion is a complete 1860s lady’s lace over silk mourning outfit described in the auction catalog as being in “spectacular” condition.


More than 20 lots of corps badges will be offered, including two with period engraving that directly links them to specific soldiers. “It’s tough to find identified corps badges, so those two, in particular, should do very well,” said Spurgeon.


Flags include a Confederate ceremonial flag from a major, and a 34-star Civil War Union flag in superb condition. It measures an impressive 10 ft. by 6 ft.


Union and Confederate Civil War weapons, hat, miscellaneous items. Mosby & Co. image.

Among the other notable lots are four saddles, including a Grimsley and a McLellan-design of the Civil War period; and an 1861 cavalry recruiting broadside illustrated with a man on a rearing horse. The firearms section is led by an original Spiller & Burr Confederate frame, serial #10 – one of probably three known surviving examples. Also to be auctioned are an 1844 Waters pistol with a Fayetteville conversion, in outstanding condition; and a battlefield pick-up of a bullet-struck gun. Other battlefield relics include numerous gun barrels, bridle bits, buttons, knives, a cannon barrel and soldiers’ personal articles.


Rare 1934-35 Tippco Nazi plane with lithographed Mickey Mouse on both sides of nosecone. Mosby & Co. image.

The Saturday session will be brimming with colorful antique toys, country story and advertising pieces; Americana, black memorabilia, and an array of posters that includes circus and sideshow types.


Seldom-seen toys await bidders at Mosby’s, including a circa-1870 Ives Carrie clockwork rowboat and oarsman figure with exceptional original paint. Another true rarity is the 1934-35 Tippco airplane with swastikas on the tail and Mickey Mouse lithographed on both sides of the nosecone. “This is only the second one of its type that I’ve seen in 25 years as a toy dealer and collector,” Spurgeon said.


Superior-condition Ives ‘Carrie’ circa-1870 clockwork rowboat. Mosby & Co. image.

Everyone’s favorite cartoon sailor will make his presence known in the form of a Popeye Rowboat and a Popeye eccentric airplane with original flag – the latter being the example depicted in Robert Lesser’s 1975 book A Celebration of Comic Art and Memorabilia. Both Popeye toys retain their correct original boxes. Other standouts within the panoramic toy section include a mint/boxed “Santee Claus” and a 1914 tinplate clockwork ambulance sweets tin.


The country store lineup is anchored by a fine late-19th century chestnut counter, 85 inches long with original finish. Several country store showcases – both floor and countertop styles – serve as appropriate auction companions, as do a J.P. Priwley Gum cabinet and National No. 313 brass candy-store-size cash register.


Rare 1918 floor model phonograph lamp by the Electric Phonograph Co. Mosby & Co. image.

An excellent assortment of advertising incorporates signs and figural displays of tin, porcelain and paper. A 1930s plaster Santa, counter-size panda figure touting What-A-Pop lollipops and several advertising clocks are among the featured lots.


The roster of Black and American historical memorabilia starts with slave-related articles, such as shackles, manillas (bronze bracelets used in the slave trade), slave documents including bills of sale, and freedmen’s passes. KKK articles to be auctioned include a Klansman’s uniform.


A stand-alone auction highlight is the very rare 1918 floor-model phonograph lamp manufactured by Electric Phonograph Co. “When these phonographs turn up, they’re almost always tabletop models,” Spurgeon said. “I have not been able to locate a floor model like the one in our sale in any antiques book. It is 100 percent correct and comes from a 50-year collection in California.”


Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus sideshow poster. Mosby & Co. image.

Mosby & Co. is known for its expertise in the field of circus and sideshow posters. Spurgeon noted that sideshow posters, in particular, are very difficult to locate but said he was able to secure several very desirable examples for his sale: Ubangi Savages, Giraffe-Neck Women from Burma, a German-printed Museum of Oddities poster with “Tiger-Skin Women,” and others.


1912 inscribed presentation photo from magician Harry Houdini. Mosby & Co. image.

The widely varied poster selection spans the period from 1900 through the 1970s and documents many forms of entertainment, from minstrel shows and vaudeville to magic shows. An additional magic highlight is an inscribed1912 presentation photo of Harry Houdini, and a signed Houdini letter on Society of American Magicians letterhead from the period during which the legendary illusionist was its president.


Other poster highlights include a beautiful 1906 “Montana Frank” poster in Wild West Show style, a 1926 window card for the Lillian Gish silent film The Scarlet Letter, and a poster for the cowboy silent film King of the Saddle, with Bill Cody.


Window card from the silent film ‘The Scarlet Letter,’ with depiction of its star, Lillian Gish. Mosby & Co. image.

Mosby & Co.’s fall auction will be held on Friday, Nov. 11 commencing at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, and Saturday, Nov. 12 starting at 10 a.m., at the company’s new gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are noon-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 e-mail Visit Mosby & Co. online at

Sotheby’s Paris – Livres et Manuscrits

October 28th, 2011 by

Opening with a collection of 70 books on the history of sciences and ideas, this sale features works from Descartes to Pvlov, including the Napoleon Civil Code printed on vellum paper and a manuscript on early photography signed by Niépce. Each outlines a new contribution in the field of knowledge and expression.

An important selection of 20th century decorative arts books will also be offered. This includes L’Histoire de l’adolescente sucre d’amour, in a wonderful binding by Schmied with Dunand embedded lacquer, and a rare version of the History of the Princesse Boudour printed on Japanese paper, which was formerly part of the Abdy collection.

These are joined by some manuscripts and memorabilia of Serge Gainsbourg, including the autograph songs Sorry Angel  and Love on the Beat, one of the singer’s shirts, and a 500 Franc note, torn up by Gainsbourg and mailed to his friend Fulbert.

The sale also includes literary masterpieces such as an original edition of Du côté de chez Swann, posted by Proust to his editor Bernard Grasset; some love letters from Marie Dorval to Alfred de Vigny; a group of letters by Verlaine to Edmond Lepelletier; and an exceptional copy of La Prose du Transsibérien and La petite Jehanne de France, stenciled by Sonia Delaunay on Japanese paper with mailing to Abel Gance.

Monsters, Hollywood ‘bad girls’ and a bounteous array of toys are on the menu at Old Town’s Nov. 18-20 Thanksgiving auction

October 28th, 2011 by

An example of original artwork from the Bill George collection, featuring scream queens and monsters. Old Town Auctions image.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. – Matt Protos has amassed a sterling lineup of toys and 20th-century pop culture items for Old Town Auctions’ Nov. 18-20 auction titled “Monsters, Wheels and Girls on Film.”


“This is the best lineup of collections we’ve ever offered, and a lot of the material is rare and exotic. It’s unlike anything you’re likely to see at other auctions,” said Protos.


Approximately 200-250 lots are from the collection of Bill George, the original editor of Femme Fatales magazine whose now-closed private museum in Baltimore was devoted to horror film and B-movie “scream queens.” The collection contains numerous monster-theme Aurora model kits, movie posters, collectibles from Universal monster films, and original artwork from the genre. Additionally, there are many B-movie starlets’ autographs and related items of ephemera; sci-fi and horror toys and collectibles – including some fairly rare Marx productions – action figures, and an extensive selection of promotional items that were available only to industry insiders.


A special inclusion in the Bill George consignment is the collection of original sculptures and paintings by Daniel Horne, known for his fantastic cover art on the magazines Dungeon and Dragon, and other projects. Among the subjects depicted are Frankenstein, Wolfman and Space Monster. Resin monster figures by other artists will be sold, as well. Many were produced in limited editions of 200 or less, and some are artist’s proofs.

From the Jay Kaufman collection, three of more than 80 pressed-steel trucks and vehicles. Old Town Auctions image.


Another featured collection in the Nov. 18-20 auction consists of pressed-steel automotive toys amassed over many

years by Jay Kaufman of Scottsdale, Arizona.


“Jay is a well-known collector of fine classic and vintage cars. His mindset has always been attuned to perfection, so just like his full-size cars, many of his toys are beautifully restored – he thinks like a car guy,” said Protos. While most of the toys to be auctioned have benefited from top-quality restoration, many others are in all-original condition.


A sampling of the many scarce Buddy L toys, boats and trains, plus (upper right) a rare 37-inch Orkin battleship. Old Town Auctions image.

The Kaufman collection includes all of the big names – American National, Buddy ‘L,’ Keystone, Structo, etc. Highlights include a coveted Buddy ‘L’ Tugboat and a complete Buddy ‘L’ Outdoor Garden Railway.


Nautical toys also found a welcome place to dock in the Kaufman collection. There are many large-scale, highly detailed boats and ship, including a 37-inch Orkin battleship, a few boats by Fleischmann and some large wooden clockwork dreadnoughts.


More than 100 cap guns and 100+ BB guns will fire away, including a large selection by Daisy. Old Town Auctions image.

An immense variety of other toys appealed to Kaufman, including airplanes and aviation items, tin wind-ups of all kinds,

boxed battery ops, Western toys and a toy gun collection that includes BB, space-theme and cap guns. Watching over the collection was an eye-catching life-size Popeye store mannequin made of heavy composition, with movable arms and head, and dressed in a cloth sailor suit and hat.


The auction will feature a choice collection of die-cast vehicles, including early mint/boxed Matchbox, Dinky, Hot Wheels and Corgi toys. Slot cars and sets, and an estate collection of 120+ plastic promotional cars will cross the auction block, as well. “These sorts of promotional cars were given out at automobile dealerships,” Protos explained. “This collection contains some really good ones that you don’t see every day.”


More than 100 Erector sets and factory displays will be auctioned, including the rare Zeppelin set (lower right), robot and amusement park sets. The overhead monorail display has more than 80 feet of track. Old Town Auctions image.

Another tightly focused collection consists of more than 100 high-quality, complete Erector and construction sets. Among them are robot sets, a boxed Zeppelin, and early truck, carnival and circus sets, plus some Erector store displays.


Also of interest to the scientifically minded bidder is the collection of early Apple computers and other primitive computer items. “Computers from Apple’s early days have become extremely collectible. There’s no shortage of people looking for them, and prices for rare models are increasing rapidly,” Protos said. Along the same lines, the auction will feature a computer-driven Heath Kit robot, complete and never assembled.


A huge selection of antique and vintage tin wind-ups will be offered, including Lehmann and Marx toys; plus smaller-scale automotive toys, aviation toys including a Blue Angels display with airplanes still affixed; Occupied Japan figural pieces, a grouping of Marx playsets and a collection of James Bond 007 and other spy toys from the 1960s.


A collection of miniature working engines includes hit-and-miss style engines, and engines for a Harley-Davidson "Knucklehead" and Chevy small block V8. Old Town Auctions image.

The auction action will start revving up when a collection of miniature gas-powered engines is introduced. The mini engines, which include Chevrolet V8, Harley-Davidson and racing motors, are in full working order. Some are farm-style hit-and-miss engines.


An absolutely unique piece is the 1967 all-metal electric-powered monorail made for display at Expo ’67 in Montreal. The actual monorail car is 6 feet long and runs along 100 feet of track. It is complete and comes with custom-fitted storage cases. “We’ll have this set assembled and operating at the auction,” said Protos.


One of the most intriguing items in Old Town’s June sale was the funky folk robot from creator Steve Heller’s range of “techno art.” This time around, Old Town will offer Heller’s rendition of a robot girlfriend named “Marilyn” for the previously auctioned robot, plus a rocket ship – for a robot honeymoon, perhaps?


French poster and Lucy/Desi figures rom an important and extensive collection of ‘I Love Lucy’ posters and collectibles. Old Town Auctions image.

This year marks what would have been TV legend Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday. For his November sale, Protos secured a voluminous collection of Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy memorabilia and ephemera, plus other movie-related posters. The Lucy archive includes posters and lobby cards, a TV Guide No. 1 featuring Ms. Ball on the cover, the manuscript for a book written about the iconic actress, and many other fascinating career items pertaining to America’s favorite redhead.


An amazing mini collection of six musical instruments easily qualifies as American folk art. The instruments and their cases are skillfully hand-painted – some with automotive themes – and are branded “Kollege Kids.” The collection – whose origin is a mystery – includes a violin, banjo, drum and other instruments.


Among the many other categories represented in the Nov. 18-20 event are: exonumia and medallic art – some with a transportation theme and one designed by Norman Bel Geddes – several coin-op machines including a Wurlitzer 1015 jukebox and speakers, a few figural animated store displays (e.g., giraffe, seal), a small selection of black Americana, and American Indian sterling silver souvenir spoons.

Among the many great toys in the auction, a rare Giant Sonic Robot with its original box. Old Town Auctions image.


The discoveries will be plentiful both before and after each sale session, as uncataloged and late-entry lots are offered to in-house bidders only. “This has become a very popular feature, and it’s one of the reasons why some people will travel long distances to attend our sales. They know we cater to the live-auction crowd. We’re going to keep on giving the people what they want,” said Protos.


Old Town’s Monsters, Wheels and Girls on Film auction will be held at the Grand Venice Hotel in Hagerstown, Md., and will start at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18; 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19; and 12 noon on Sunday, Nov. 20. A preview will be held two hours prior to each auction session.


In addition to on-site bidding, Old Town accepts phone bids (call in advance to reserve a line) and both traditional and Internet-assisted absentee bids (online cut-off time 24 hours prior to sale). There will be no Internet live bidding during any of the sessions.


For additional information on any item in the sale call Matt Protos at 301-416-2854 or email To view the fully illustrated auction catalog or leave absentee bids online, log on to or