Claremont Museum of Art discontinues operations at Packing House

CLAREMONT, Calif. – On Dec. 21, the Claremont Museum of Art Board of Directors voted to discontinue operation of the museum in The Packing House and place the permanent collection in a secure storage facility. The board will continue working to rejuvenate the Claremont Museum of Art in the next few years as the economy improves.

The Claremont Museum of Art nearly closed its doors in October, but thanks to funding from the City of Claremont, the institution remained open through 2009. For the past six weeks, a working group of board members and volunteers has been meeting regularly to create a business plan for 2010. The group determined that it would cost $213,000 to operate the museum for one year on a modest budget with one employee and a large group of dedicated volunteers.

The museum has received over $5,000 in donations from the initial letter sent to supporters. A fund-raising project is underway to sell 15 ceramic Torso sculptures cast from Harrison McIntosh’s original 1940s mold for $5,000 each. So far, there have been four orders for the sculptures, and the first castings will be completed soon after the first of the year.

An art book signing raised $3,500; and a phone campaign resulted in pledges totaling $26,255. This would be enough to continue operations for only about six weeks, so the decision was made to discontinue operations at The Packing House.

The working group has already begun looking at ways to remain a functioning entity and to begin to restructure and rebuild. Founding President Marguerite McIntosh said artworks will still be able to view, but on the Internet. “With a group of dedicated leaders, we shall continue as a museum without walls,” she said. “We shall offer the public the best talent that Claremont has and continues to produce as a reputed center of art.”

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Christmas museum owner Jim Morrison – convincing beyond a fault as Santa Claus – examines a toy during Bertoia’s preview, while holiday antiques collector Grace Olson admires ornaments on one of several Christmas trees that adorned the gallery. Bertoia Auctions image.

Toys, treats and jolly old St. Nick brightened Bertoia’s Nov. 13-15 sale

Christmas museum owner Jim Morrison – convincing beyond a fault as Santa Claus – examines a toy during Bertoia’s preview, while holiday antiques collector Grace Olson admires ornaments on one of several Christmas trees that adorned the gallery. Bertoia Auctions image.

Christmas museum owner Jim Morrison – convincing beyond a fault as Santa Claus – examines a toy during Bertoia’s preview, while holiday antiques collector Grace Olson admires ornaments on one of several Christmas trees that adorned the gallery. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – To many, the holiday season officially launches on Thanksgiving Day with the legion of colorful parades held in major American cities. But ask antique toy collectors where and when the party started this season and they’re likely to say Nov. 13-15 at Bertoia’s auction gallery in southern New Jersey. Over that weekend, Bertoia’s held its $1.5 million Holiday Toy Trimmings sale, which featured, alongside several other showcased collections, the final installment of Christmas antiques from both the Fred Cannon and Mary Lou Holt collections. Bidders worldwide took part online through LiveAuctioneers.com.

“We were inspired by the two holiday collections to create an atmosphere reflecting an old-fashioned Christmas,” said Bertoia Auctions’ owner, Jeanne Bertoia. “We knew many members of the Golden Glow of Christmas Past collector club would be attending, so we put up a 10-foot-tall tree decorated with antique ornaments, played Christmas music and served cookies, eggnog, hot apple cider and coffee. Jim Morrison, a Golden Glow member who operates a Christmas museum in Pennsylvania, came dressed as Father Christmas, and with his own long beard, was very convincing. Even Tim Luke, one of our two auctioneers, showed his Christmas spirit by wearing a Santa hat at the podium. Everyone had a good time.”

Toys go hand-in-hand with Christmas, and the three-day auction featured a bountiful array that included the Dick Ford Airflow toy auto collection and part II of the Dick Sheppard still bank collection.

Cast iron was first out of the gate, with one the auction’s top 10 entries – an impressive 27-inch-long Pratt & Letchworth 4-seat brake with driver and six passengers – rolling past its estimate to settle at $23,000. In pristine condition with beautiful paint, it sold to a collector from the Midwest. Another Pratt & Letchworth production, a 14-inch-long hose reel wagon drawn by a “galloping” white horse and commandeered by a firefighter figure, came to a halt at $7,475, more than twice its high estimate. “There was a lot of interest in the piece,” said Bertoia Auctions associate Michael Bertoia. “It was relatively small compared to the 4-seat brake but was finely cast and very appealing. It went to a New Jersey collector.”

Automotive cast iron followed a predictable leader – a Hubley “TrukMixer” replicating a Mack cab with revolving cement drum body. Well detailed and sporting an unusual red-and-green color scheme, the truck’s balloon-style white rubber wheels helped it speed to a $9,200 finish against a presale estimate of $4,000-$5,000.

Of the cast-iron mechanical banks offered, an 1887-patent Shepard Hardware Mason bank proved its perennial popularity by knocking down a winning bid of $13,800 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000. The top seller amongst the still banks was an example of the very rare Old South Church, which realized $6,900.

Bertoia’s has long led the auction market for cast-iron doorstops. It is a category the company has cultivated for many years primarily because of Jeanne Bertoia’s expertise and high profile within the specialty-collecting field. “Prices in our November sale were as strong as the market has seen in many years,” said Jeanne. “There was a lot of bidding activity. The phones stayed busy throughout the doorstop segment.”

The highest doorstop price – $6,900 – was paid for a 12½-inch-tall Hubley Giraffe. A recent find, the appealingly hand-painted creature was only the second such example ever offered by Bertoia’s. With competitors on all phone lines, the lot sold to a collector of cast-iron banks and doorstops.

Many collectors were excited over the prospect of bidding on toys from the prestigious Dick Ford Airflow toy auto collection. “One man e-mailed us and said he had always admired Dick’s collection and had been waiting 20 years to have a chance to buy some of the toys,” Jeanne said.

Although Dick Ford’s toys would make many bidders happy at the auction, the lot that stole the show was his own 1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow CV in all-original condition with only 35,000 original miles. Its classic Art Deco styling, gangster whitewalls and straight-8, 323.54-cubic-inch engine spoke volumes, but its pedigree didn’t stop there. The car held 72 official records and was once confirmed to be the fastest closed stock car. A phone bidder from Chicago claimed the automotive prize for $43,700.

The second session featured an extensive array of European tin toys, with a top highlight being a 12-inch tinplate Gordon Bennet racer with clockwork chain drive, the largest size ever produced by Gunthermann. Estimated at $12,000-$15,000, it crossed the finish line at $25,300.

A pleased consignor was actually in the room watching as bidders vied for his superb 1875 Rock & Graner Furst Bismarck steam-driven toy ship. The vessel had been found 15 years ago in South America and is the very one depicted in R.T. Claus’ reference The Allure of Toy Ships. As it turned out, an Internet bidder from Germany would win the lot for $23,000.

Among the other European toys that chalked up five-figure prices was a boxed circa-1880s Britains mechanical Velocipede. Possibly the only extant example, the toy comprised of a painted hollow-lead figure in cloth attire came with its original box marked “Remers German Toy Warehouse.” A New York bidder purchased the clockwork rarity for $23,000.

A French clockwork bicycle race game with four bisque-head figures on high-wheel bikes had been estimated at $8,000-$10,000 but sold to the floor for $16,000. “The American buyers had seen it in a collection before and were thrilled to have it for their own collection,” said Bertoia Auctions associate Rich Bertoia.

Yet another early European toy with a cycling theme was the Punch riding a 10½-inch-long, hand-painted three-wheeler. With a composition head, the Punch character was dressed in an ornate, lace-trimmed suit and hat. It sold above its estimate range for $23,650.

The phone bank once again lit up when a circa-1905 Vielmetter clockwork Clown Artist toy with five cams (templates) was introduced. With a clown figure capable of drawing pictures at the easel, the ingenious toy is a crowd-pleaser anytime it appears at auction. The example in Bertoia’s sale attracted a winning bid of $5,462.50 against an estimate of $1,200-$1,500.

The third session of the sale attracted Bertoia’s largest crowd ever for a Christmas offering. While the Christmas lots were not as “high ticket” as the toys, there was plenty of bidding activity, especially on the Dresden ornaments. A three-dimensional Dresden bat with 4-inch wingspan was painted gold with red highlights and featured protruding, lifelike veins on its wings. It flew to $2,588 against an estimate of $250-$300.

Other premier Christmas lots included a 32-inch-tall German Santa store display figure that realized $4,600 (est. $900-$1,000); and a 29-inch German clockwork Santa nodder with a woven basket at his waist, fir sprig in his hand and original wind-up key. Described in Bertoia’s catalog as “a real showstopper,” the latter entry lived up to its description by selling well above estimate for $4,887.

Jeanne Bertoia said she was gratified to hear that the Sunday session was the talk of Renninger’s Antique Market the following weekend. “Some people were saying it was the most fun they had ever had at an auction. We loved hearing that because it’s something we think distinguishes Bertoia’s sales from others. We want to continue to bring back the fun that collectors remember from years ago.”

On April 16-17, 2010, Bertoia Auctions will present part III of the legendary Donald Kaufman antique toy collection, containing a featured selection of the late Mr. Kaufman’s comic character toys. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide the Internet live bidding.

For additional information, contact Bertoia’s by calling 856-692-1881 or e-mailing toys@bertoiaauctions.com. Visit them online at www.bertoiaauctions.com.

To view the fully illustrated Nov. 13-15 auction catalog with prices realized, click here.

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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Pratt & Letchworth cast-iron 4-seat brake with passengers, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Pratt & Letchworth cast-iron 4-seat brake with passengers, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.


Gunthermann tinplate, chain-driven clockwork racer, 12 inches long, $25,300. Bertoia Auctions image.

Gunthermann tinplate, chain-driven clockwork racer, 12 inches long, $25,300. Bertoia Auctions image.


Rock & Graner Furst Bismarck steam-driven tin ship, 33½ inches in overall length, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Rock & Graner Furst Bismarck steam-driven tin ship, 33½ inches in overall length, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.


Shepard Hardware Co. Mason mechanical bank patented 1887, $13,800. Bertoia Auctions image.

Shepard Hardware Co. Mason mechanical bank patented 1887, $13,800. Bertoia Auctions image.


1962 tinplate friction Chrysler Imperial with original box, Ashi Toys (Japan), $10,350. Bertoia Auctions image.

1962 tinplate friction Chrysler Imperial with original box, Ashi Toys (Japan), $10,350. Bertoia Auctions image.


Joan and Dick Ford, Bertoia Auctions owner Jeanne Bertoia and her son, Bertoia Auctions associate Michael Bertoia pose with Dick’s immaculate 1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow CV automobile, which sold for $43,700. Bertoia Auctions image.

Joan and Dick Ford, Bertoia Auctions owner Jeanne Bertoia and her son, Bertoia Auctions associate Michael Bertoia pose with Dick’s immaculate 1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow CV automobile, which sold for $43,700. Bertoia Auctions image.


Circa-1880s Britains boxed clockwork velocipede, hand-painted lead with cloth attire, possibly only known example, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.

Circa-1880s Britains boxed clockwork velocipede, hand-painted lead with cloth attire, possibly only known example, $23,000. Bertoia Auctions image.


29-inch-tall Santa clockwork nodder in cloth outfit with woven basket at waist, $4,888. Bertoia Auctions image.

29-inch-tall Santa clockwork nodder in cloth outfit with woven basket at waist, $4,888. Bertoia Auctions image.


Rare Hubley 12½-inch-tall painted cast-iron Giraffe doorstop, $6,900. Bertoia Auctions image.

Rare Hubley 12½-inch-tall painted cast-iron Giraffe doorstop, $6,900. Bertoia Auctions image.


Hubley cast-iron TrukMixer with revolving-drum body and white rubber tires, 7½ inches long, $9,200. Bertoia Auctions image.

Hubley cast-iron TrukMixer with revolving-drum body and white rubber tires, 7½ inches long, $9,200. Bertoia Auctions image.

An example of an affordable, practical furnishing, this 19th-century mahogany Sheraton gaming table sold for $330 in Cowan’s Feb. 7, 2009 Fine and Decorative Art Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Cowan’s Corner: It’s a buyer’s market except at the top

An example of an affordable, practical furnishing, this 19th-century mahogany Sheraton gaming table sold for $330 in Cowan’s Feb. 7, 2009 Fine and Decorative Art Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

An example of an affordable, practical furnishing, this 19th-century mahogany Sheraton gaming table sold for $330 in Cowan’s Feb. 7, 2009 Fine and Decorative Art Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

After enduring a dismal year, the antiques trade is due for a rebound in 2010. Or is it?

The recession of the last 18 months has severely affected the market for antiques. Most auction houses sales are down about 25 percent to 30 percent, and many longtime dealers have cut back on their purchases. The complaint: No one is buying.

This mantra belies that fact that top quality antiques of all sorts changed hands at record prices last year. The real trouble lies in the middle to lower part of the market. Dealers and auction houses found few buyers willing to spend anything more than nominal sums for average antiques. In part this is a direct reflection of the economy. For most of us antique collecting is a luxury; we don’t have to buy that Sheraton table.

There are other factors involved, however, that have worked to drive down the prices of the “middle market” antique. Perhaps the most important is eBay. Since its inception a mere decade ago, this online auction juggernaut has brought to the market hundreds of thousands if not millions of antiques. The law of supply and demand dictates as a commodity becomes more plentiful, its desirability – and price – will fall.

Demographics continue to play another major role in the diminishing value of many antiques. If you’re a collector who visits shows and auctions, you already know that the average age of most antique collectors continues to climb. There simply aren’t enough young folks in the market.

This triple play of economic woes, eBay, and demographics has lead to lowering prices and diminishing interest. I’m not, however, about to predict the fall of the antiques business. In fact, I’m bullish on the business and even more excited about the new year.

If you’ve ever thought about collecting antiques, or using them to furnish your home, now is the time to buy. Most dealers are anxious to make a sale, and I’m continually astounded at the great bargains that can be had at auction. If you’re a savvy buyer, 2010 will be a terrific year to add to your collection or purchase an antique.

You’re unlikely to find many bargains at the top, however. Prices for the best will continue to climb, and while we may not read as much news about multimillion dollar pieces of art trading hands as in the past, world records will fall for art by Modern and Impressionist art, and Old Master paintings.

If you’re looking for great buys of Arts and Crafts furniture, Rookwood pottery, and 20th-century design, 2010 is likely to be a great year to buy. Each of these classes has experienced a slowdown in the last few years. Middle market historical photographs of the Civil War and the American West are also becoming more affordable. If you’re a china and glass collector, spectacular buys abound.

altWes Cowan is founder and owner of Cowan’s Auctions, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. An internationally recognized expert in historic Americana, Wes stars in the PBS television series History Detectives and is a featured appraiser on Antiques Roadshow. Wes holds a B.A. and M.A. in anthropology from the University of Kentucky, and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan. He is a frequently requested speaker at antiques events around the country. He can be reached via email at info@cowans.com. Research by Graydon Sikes.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


A compelling CDV portrait of an unidentified Civil War officer brought $235 in Cowan’s June 24, 2009 American History Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

A 19th-century Japanese Imari dish and a Rose Medallion platter sold for an affordable $106 in Cowan’s Oct. 2, 2009 Fine and Decorative Art Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

A 19th-century Japanese Imari dish and a Rose Medallion platter sold for an affordable $106 in Cowan’s Oct. 2, 2009 Fine and Decorative Art Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.


Truly exceptional objects continue to realize outstanding prices. This Winchester Model 1886 Takedown Rifle made for John F. Dodge set a record for the most expensive firearms sold in Ohio when it brought $450,000 in Cowan’s April 29, 2009 Historic Firearms and Early Militaria Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Truly exceptional objects continue to realize outstanding prices. This Winchester Model 1886 Takedown Rifle made for John F. Dodge set a record for the most expensive firearms sold in Ohio when it brought $450,000 in Cowan’s April 29, 2009 Historic Firearms and Early Militaria Auction. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

New facade of First Parish Church in Beverly, Mass., is part of an ongoing renovation project. Image appears by permission of the photographer, James L. Mitchell III.

Massachusetts church selling silver to save building

New facade of First Parish Church in Beverly, Mass., is part of an ongoing renovation project. Image appears by permission of the photographer, James L. Mitchell III.

New facade of First Parish Church in Beverly, Mass., is part of an ongoing renovation project. Image appears by permission of the photographer, James L. Mitchell III.

BEVERLY, Mass. (AP) – A Beverly church is selling its collection of silver drinking vessels and other items that are more than a century old to finance an ongoing restoration project.

The 11 tankards, dishes, mugs and urns belonging to the First Parish Church worth an estimated $500,000 are scheduled to be auctioned at Christie’s in New York on Jan. 21.

One piece was made by Paul Revere. Another is nearly 200 years old.

Church officials tell The Salem News the decision to sell the silver was the subject of some emotional debate among parishioners. Church historian Charles Wainwright says it came down to the fact that people would rather have a church with no silver, than silver and no church.

The church was founded in 1667, and the current building that dates to 1770 is in dire need of modernization.

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Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-12-26-09 1250EST

Fire destroys much of historical collection in Indiana

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) – The Bartholomew County Historical Society estimates it lost as many as 75,000 items in a fire that destroyed the United Way building in Columbus.

Historical society director Julie Hughes called the fire a “devastating blow” as the group might have lost up to 80 percent of its collection in Dec. 24 blaze.

The feared losses include memorabilia from local companies such as Arvin Industries and several quilts and other items that dated to the county’s pioneer families. Hughes says all the society’s photographs and most of its correspondence survived as they were stored at its downtown museum.

Investigators haven’t yet determined the fire’s cause, although city Fire Department spokesman Matt Noblitt says foul play is not suspected.

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Information from: The Republic, http://www.therepublic.com/

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-12-28-09 1007EST

 

Two halves of Lincoln document reunited

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Researchers have reunited two halves of a document signed by Abraham Lincoln that had been separated for more than 150 years.

The document is from an 1846 appeal of an Edgar County case which Lincoln lost.

The bottom half – with the future president’s signature – is housed at the St. Lawrence University Library in Canton, N.Y. The upper half is in the Illinois State Archives.

David Gerleman is an assistant editor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois. He was in Canton last year and examined the bottom half. Researchers later linked the two halves.

Officials say it’s likely someone long ago tore the bottom half off for Lincoln’s signature. Such scavenging of Lincoln memorabilia was not unusual in the 19th century.

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On the Web: www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-12-25-09 0401EST

 

An old label on the reverse of this unsigned oil on canvas attributed to noted Luminist painter John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) gives the title as ‘Recollections of a storm from the … .’ Brunk Auctions placed a $200,000-$300,000 estimate on the 15 1/8- by 22 1/2-inch painting. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

Brunk’s New Year’s auction has Southern, Continental flavors

An old label on the reverse of this unsigned oil on canvas attributed to noted Luminist painter John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) gives the title as ‘Recollections of a storm from the … .’  Brunk Auctions placed a $200,000-$300,000 estimate on the 15 1/8- by 22 1/2-inch painting. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

An old label on the reverse of this unsigned oil on canvas attributed to noted Luminist painter John Frederick Kensett (1816-1872) gives the title as ‘Recollections of a storm from the … .’ Brunk Auctions placed a $200,000-$300,000 estimate on the 15 1/8- by 22 1/2-inch painting. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The first detailed map of the entire state of Georgia ever to be published will be a star attraction at the Jan. 2-3 sale at Brunk Auctions. LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

Daniel Sturges, Georgia’s surveyor general from 1797 to 1809, spent 20 years gathering data for the map. Published in 1818, it is said to have been the map that guided the Marquis De Lafayette on his 1825 tour of the state. Oddly, Sturges’ name does not appear on the map. Because of financial difficulties, he sold it to his brother-in-law, Eleazer Early, prior to publication. Early had the map published and added his name to the title. The map is separated into 50 panels, each 5 3/4 inches by 9 inches. Shown in great detail are the state’s 39 counties as well as Indian territories that are today portions of South Carolina, Alabama and Florida. Georgia’s Bourbon County became the state of Mississippi in 1788. The map, which last sold in 1967 at Parke-Bernet Galleries in New York, is expected to bring $15,000-$25,000.

There are more Georgia lots to entice dealers and collectors from across the border. An 1800-1820 walnut corner cupboard from Marietta, a poplar and birch hunt board, a pie safe with Masonic symbols and pottery from the Meaders family pottery are also on the block.

Charleston, S.C., is also represented in the sale with an important Federal inlaid china press, circa 1800. Standing 108 inches tall, it includes a fitted butler’s desk with what are believed to be the original brasses. An arched cornice with a large conch shell ornament stands over two glazed doors. Interior shelves in the upper case are fixed. The estimate for the mahogany press is $30,000-$50,000.

North Carolina pottery, a walnut sugar chest, and paintings are included in the sale, but two samplers are attracting much attention.

Latostia Young lived in Columbus County, N.C., until her death in 1914. In 1842, she stitched a four-line verse, six lines of letters and numerals, and a tree, sheep, stag and vines in silk onto a 16- by 16 3/4-inch piece of linen. The tall narrow trees and long-tailed sheep may indicate that a teacher from Charleston, S.C., guided Young in her sewing lessons. Young’s sampler is expected to sell for 2,000-$4,000. Margaret Henderson’s early- to mid-19th-century 11-line sampler was from Lincoln County, N.C. She used silk and cotton thread on a cotton cloth to craft her 14 3/4- by 11 3/4-inch sampler. Henderson’s sampler is valued at $500-$1,000.

In the middle of a collection of 76 paintings for sale Jan. 2 is Recollections of a Storm from the … , an unsigned oil on canvas attributed to John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816-1872). The painting is included in the upcoming catalogue raisonné for Kensett compiled by Babcock Galleries, New York. The estimate on the Kensett is $200,000-$300,000.

Along with Sanford Robinson Gifford, Fitz Hugh Lane, Jasper Francis Cropsey and Martin Johnson Heade, Kensett is considered part of the second generation of Hudson River School artists. The group also became known as the Luminists for their detailed treatment of outdoor light. That trait can be clearly seen in Recollections, a painting of rain and swirling storm clouds in New York’s Catskill Mountains.

The sale’s second day is dominated by Continental furniture, portraits, watercolors, porcelain, bronzes and English silver. Two silver lots are especially noteworthy.

In 1765, innovative Birmingham industrialist Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) created one of England’s largest and best-equipped metalwork factories. Some of his earliest products were household wares in silver plate and Sheffield plate or silver-plated copper. Boulton and his business partner James Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, were central figures in England’s Industrial Revolution. In Brunks’ January sale are two examples of Old Sheffield plate from the early 19th century with clear marks for Boulton: a silver epergne and a pair of candelabra.

Cut glass bowls sit atop the four arms of the epergne with a large matching bowl on the rounded center stand. Brunk Auctions expects the Boulton epergne, which measures 13 by 20 3/4 by 18 1/4 inches, to bring between $8,000 and $15,000. A 26-inch candelabra pair, each with three scroll arms, four urn-form sockets, reeded columns, gadrooned borders and acanthus decoration, is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

The January sale at Brunk Auctions begins at 9 a.m. both days.

Brunk Auctions is located at 117 Tunnel Road in Asheville. For details, visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.

To view the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet during the sale at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Click here to view Brunk Auctions’ complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


An important circa 1800 Charleston Federal inlaid china press is expected to bring $30,000-$50,000. Note the large conch shell on the removable arched cornice. The lower case contains a fitted butler’s desk. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

An important circa 1800 Charleston Federal inlaid china press is expected to bring $30,000-$50,000. Note the large conch shell on the removable arched cornice. The lower case contains a fitted butler’s desk. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.


The verse included on Letsy Ann Young’s 1842 sampler was from a hymn titled ‘Morality’ published in 1835. Variations of the tall trees and long-tailed sheep may connect Young’s sampler to the Charleston, S.C., area. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

The verse included on Letsy Ann Young’s 1842 sampler was from a hymn titled ‘Morality’ published in 1835. Variations of the tall trees and long-tailed sheep may connect Young’s sampler to the Charleston, S.C., area. Estimate: $2,000-$4,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.


Two pages in the catalog are devoted to the 1818 Georgia map ‘prepared from actual surveys and other documents for Eleazer Early.’ Daniel Sturges did the research, Samuel Harrison the engraving on the map. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

Two pages in the catalog are devoted to the 1818 Georgia map ‘prepared from actual surveys and other documents for Eleazer Early.’ Daniel Sturges did the research, Samuel Harrison the engraving on the map. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.


Marks for Matthew Boulton, 1817 and Birmingham were impressed on this George III silver epergne with golt finish. The epergne is expected to bring $8,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

Marks for Matthew Boulton, 1817 and Birmingham were impressed on this George III silver epergne with golt finish. The epergne is expected to bring $8,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Brunk Auctions.

Trenton City Museum schedules appraisal day Feb. 7

TRENTON, N.J. – Visit the Trenton City Museum in Cadwalader Park on Sunday, Feb. 7 from 2 to 4 p.m. and bring one to two antique items for review and discussion. You may be surprised by what you learn about Grandma’s dusty old stuff in the attic. Bring items with a personal story, or artifacts that illuminate details of life in the past. Many items will have monetary value while most will be simply irreplaceable to you.

This one-day event is an occasion to learn about the old things of importance to you and an opportunity to contribute to the Trenton Museum Society, an organization dedicated to promoting art and preserving history. There is a $10 fee for each item reviewed with a maximum of two items per person. The money generated by the event will be used by the Trenton Museum Society to fund ongoing exhibit openings, music series events and educational programs.

Our panel of antique experts includes Robert Cunningham, Chris Casarona, Tom and Donna Rago, and Eugene Pascucci. This group of collectors, antique dealers and authors represents many years of experience and knowledge. American antiques and items from Trenton are of particular interest, but members of this panel are equally passionate about all antique genres and will be happy to share their insights. Antiques from every category and nation are welcome. Firearms are excluded, however, and will not be permitted on the premises.

For details call the Trenton City Museum at (609) 989-1191.

The Trenton City Museum is located at the Ellarslie Mansion in Cadwalader Park. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 4:00 p.m. The Museum is closed on Mondays and Municipal Holidays. Visit www.ellarslie.org for more information and directions.

 

 

'The Night Cafe' by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Yale: Suit over Van Gogh work imperils other art

'The Night Cafe' by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

‘The Night Cafe’ by Vincent Van Gogh. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) – The ownership of tens of billions of dollars of art and other goods could be thrown into doubt if a lawsuit seeking the return of a famous Vincent Van Gogh painting is successful, according to a court filing by Yale University.

The university sued in federal court in March to assert its ownership rights over The Night Cafe and to block a descendant of the original owner from claiming it. Pierre Konowaloff is the purported great-grandson of industrialist and aristocrat Ivan Morozov, who bought the painting in 1908.

Russia nationalized Morozov’s property after the Communists seized power. The painting, which the Soviet government later sold, has been hanging in the Yale University Art Gallery for almost 50 years.

“Invalidating title to the painting would set U.S. courts at odds with the Russian government and cloud title to what Konowaloff concedes is at least $20 billion of art in global commerce,” Yale’s attorneys wrote in court papers filed Wednesday.

It also would “imply the invalidity of title to countless billions of dollars more of other sorts of property expropriated and sold” by Russian authorities, Yale’s attorney wrote.

Any federal court invalidation of Russian nationalization decrees from the early 20th century would create “significant tensions” between the United States and the Russian Federation, Yale argues. Russia continues to possess, display and defend its title to many artworks that were nationalized, including against Konowaloff’s litigation and threats of litigation in France and Britain, Yale says.

Yale says the court does not have the authority to evaluate the legality of a Russian nationalization. The university says former owners have challenged titles to artwork and other property seized from them in Russia, but their claims were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court and state, federal and foreign courts.

Konowaloff’s attorney, Allan Gerson, said in an e-mail that the argument was “ridiculous” and that the lawsuit was not against Russia. He has argued that the court does not have to determine the lawfulness of the Russian confiscation of the painting, saying Yale cannot establish that it has good title.

Yale received the painting through a bequest from Yale alumnus Stephen Carlton Clark. The school says Clark bought the painting, which shows the inside of a nearly empty cafe, with a few customers seated at tables along the walls, from a gallery in New York City in 1933 or 1934.

Konowaloff has filed court papers calling Yale’s acquisition of the painting “art laundering.” He argues that Russian authorities unlawfully confiscated the painting and that the United States deemed the theft a violation of international law.

Konowaloff alleges Clark knew of the painting’s ownership history and that “Yale engaged in a policy of willful ignorance” when it accepted the piece in 1961. Konowaloff wants the immediate return of the painting as well as damages.

Yale says the Russian nationalization of property, while sharply at odds with American values, did not violate international law. The university also says Konowaloff’s claims should be dismissed because they are time-barred by a statute of limitations.

Konowaloff said he became the official heir of the Morozov collection after his father died in 2002, and he began to try to document the inventory. He said his grandfather did not try to do so “for reasons of personal security and due to the lack of any available judicial remedies at the time.”

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP-CS-12-26-09 1456EST

This original 1972 Blythe doll, 11 1/2 inches tall, sold in an online auction for $920. She has a tagged dress and eyes that change to four different colors, but her face is slightly damaged and her hairdo is incorrect.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Dec. 28, 2009

This original 1972 Blythe doll, 11 1/2 inches tall, sold in an online auction for $920. She has a tagged dress and eyes that change to four different colors, but her face is slightly damaged and her hairdo is incorrect.

This original 1972 Blythe doll, 11 1/2 inches tall, sold in an online auction for $920. She has a tagged dress and eyes that change to four different colors, but her face is slightly damaged and her hairdo is incorrect.

Quirky fads or unexpected favorites sometimes appear in the world of collecting. Prices go up based on supply and demand, but what creates the demand can be a mystery. Lunchboxes, plastic purses, plastic radios and Beanie Babies are all recent examples. Tulip bulbs in 17th-century Holland are the most famous. A single bulb was selling for more than a house as prices for rare bulbs rose, then prices fell and created chaos. Today’s newest amazing prices are for Blythe dolls, first made in Hong Kong by Kenner in 1972. There were four versions of the doll. Each had a big head and large eyes that changed color. They sold only for a year in the United States. Some slightly different dolls were also made and sold in Japan. There were Blythe wigs and clothing accessories, too. The dolls were soon forgotten by most people, but in 1997 a TV producer in New York began to carry and photograph her Blythe doll. In 2002 she had her photos published in a book, which led to new popularity for the doll. In 2001 Hasbro, which by then owned the Kenner trademark, had given Takara and Cross World Connections (CWC), Japanese companies, a license to make a new “neo” Blythe doll that became so popular it even appeared as a character in some Japanese ads. Toys ‘R’ Us has sole rights to sell CWC’s annual limited-edition Blythe doll every Christmas. The new doll’s success led Ashton-Drake Galleries to make a Blythe doll to sell to adults. These sell today for less than $100 apiece. All of this interest has led to amazing prices for the first dolls. Originally $25, today a 1972 doll in great (but not perfect) condition can sell for $2,000. In an original package, doll clothes can be worth $300 to $400. Doll collectors are very concerned about a Blythe doll’s skin color, hairdo, original accessories and original clothes with original labels. Although there were originally blondes, redheads and black-haired dolls, the highest prices are for dolls with original black hair.

Q: I just bought a mysterious silver spoon that’s 15 inches long. It has a small deep bowl and a long twisted handle with 3-D grape leaves and bunches of grapes at the top. The grapes made me think it was used for wine. It’s marked with the letters “G” and “X” and the word “sterling.”

A: You have a brandy ladle. It was used to scoop up some brandy, light it, then pour it on a flaming dessert like cherries jubilee. The G is the mark of Gorham Manufacturing Co. of Providence, R.I. The X is a date symbol for 1886. Because it’s a one-purpose serving utensil, it usually sells near meltdown price, perhaps $100. But a wine collector or a gourmet cook would pay much more.

Q: What can you tell me about a Mission settee that has been in my family for more than 65 years? It’s oak with no upholstery. The back has vertical slats and the seat lifts up on hinges to reveal a storage area. The printed label on the bottom says, “R.S. Nicholson Co., Jax., Fla.” and “Warsaw Furn. Mfg. Co., Warsaw, Ky.”

A: Warsaw Furniture Manufacturing Co. was in business from around the turn of the 20th century until at least the 1930s. The company is listed in a 1937 Grand Rapids, Mich., furniture show magazine. R.S. Nicholson was probably the retail store where the settee was originally purchased. The Mission style (also called “Arts and Crafts”) was at its peak of popularity during the first two decades of the 20th century, so that’s probably when your settee was made. Settees with storage under the seat were meant to be kept in a front hall. You could sit on the settee to remove your boots, then store them with your hat and gloves under the seat. Mission settees by famous makers like Gustav Stickley sell for thousands. Yours, by a relatively unknown maker, is worth a few hundred dollars.

Q: I have a small collection of calendar plates from the early 1900s. I’ve just come across some calendar towels and wonder if you know anything about their history.

A: Stevens Linen Associates of Dudley, Mass., which was founded in 1846, claims to have made the first calendar towels in 1954. The company is still at it and wholesales to various online and on-land stores across the country. Each towel has a picture and a full 12-month calendar. Colorful calendar towels from the 1950s through the ’70s sell for about $30 each.

Q: My old vase has a circular mark on the bottom with the words “National Brotherhood of Operative Potteries, Union Label, Affiliated AFL.” Beneath that, it’s marked “Goldra, E. Palestine, O.” This vase was around when I was growing up and now I’m 80 years old. It must have been a gift from my great-grandparents, who lived in Youngstown, Ohio. I would appreciate information about it.

A: Goldia and Ray Fitzpatrick began making pottery in East Palestine, Ohio, in 1939. Novelties and artware were made under the name “Goldra,” a combination of their first names, from 1941 to 1947. The National Brotherhood of Operative Potters was founded in 1890 by pottery workers in and around East Liverpool, Ohio. The name of the union was changed to the International Brotherhood Operative Potters in 1951, and in 1969 it became the International Brotherhood of Pottery and Allied Workers. Your vase is worth $10 to $20.

Tip: To avoid break-ins, be sure the hinges on your exterior doors are on the inside of the door.

Terry Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or e-mail addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

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CURRENT PRICES

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Art Deco silver-plated coffee spoons, black leatherette case with gold tooling, engraved “C.P. Walker Co. Ltd. EPNS,” circa 1920, set of six, $75.
  • Pet Milk carton bank, wax-coated cardboard, Palmer Cox-style Brownies, circus animals, teddy bears and clowns, Pet Dairy Products Co., 1955, 2 7/8 x 3 1/2 inches, $80.
  • Depression glass candy dish, Honeycomb pattern, iridescent marigold, ruffled, 1900s, 6 3/4 inches, $100.
  • Little Orphan Annie Ovaltine Shake-Up mug, image of Annie and Sandy dancing, blue Beetleware mug, red lid, 1938, 2 3/4 inches, $170.
  • Roseville Pine Cone ashtray, green ground with pinecones in corner, marked “Roseville USA,” 1935, 4 3/4 x 4 inches, $180.
  • Panama California Exposition banner, “Grand Opening,” Jan. 1, 1915, San Diego, white letters on black felt, black tassels, Art Nouveau woman wearing tiara with word “California,” 35 1/2 inches, $200.
  • Georgian English writing desk, mahogany, hidden drawer, brown leather writing surface with gold tooling, sloping top, 20 x 9 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches, $495.
  • Rita Hayworth as Carmen doll, composition, socket head, blue eyes, ruby lips, auburn wig, five-piece body, red nylon taffeta gown, Uneeda, 1948, 15 inches, $650.
  • Legras cameo glass biscuit jar, enameled winter scene, snow-covered village, satin finish, church, woman trudging in snow, pewter cover and handle, France, 7 1/2 inches, $725.
  • Salesman-sample potbellied stove, black cast iron, floral pattern on three sides, nickel finial on top, four isinglass panels, patented March 12, 1888, 20 x 8 1/2 inches, $4,600.

Keep up with changes in the collectibles world. Send for a FREE sample issue of our 12-page, full-color newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, filled with prices, news, information and photos, plus major news about the world of collecting. To subscribe at a bargain $27 for 12 issues, write Kovels, PO Box 420347, Palm Coast, FL 32142; call 800-571-1555; or subscribe online at Kovels.com.

© 2009 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.