Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pa. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barnes Foundation lawyers say no grounds for new hearing

Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pa. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pa. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Barnes Foundation is telling a judge that there are no grounds to reopen hearings in the contentious case.

The multibillion-dollar art collection is scheduled to relocate near the Philadelphia Museum of Art next year from its longtime home in suburban Merion.

Opponents of the move are asking a Montgomery County judge to hold new hearings. They say the judge didn’t have all the evidence when he approved the Barnes’ move in 2006.

The Barnes Foundation says the opponents have no legal standing in the case, and the judge already rejected all of their arguments five years ago.

Now the people who want to keep the Barnes in Merion have a few weeks to file a response before the judge makes his decision on whether to hold new hearings.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pa. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Barnes Foundation building in Merion, Pa. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Gretzky’s NHL rookie card auctioned for $94,163

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) – The Great One is still setting records.

Wayne Gretzky’s NHL rookie card earned $94,163 at an online sports memorabilia auction Sunday. SCP Auctions says that’s the highest price ever paid for a hockey card.

While a Gretzky rookie card is easy enough to find on eBay, it is rare to find one free of small flaws or imperfections. The card sold Sunday was graded 10, or mint condition, by Professional Sports Authenticator.

SCP calls it “arguably the most valuable modern trading card in existence.”

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-02-11 1510GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Wayne Gretzky rookie card auctioned by SCP Auctions, Inc. for $94,163. Image courtesy of SCP Auctions, Inc.

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait of Col. Isaac Barre. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Colonial Williamsburg showcases early maps and prints

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait of Col. Isaac Barre. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait of Col. Isaac Barre. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation says the exhibition called “More Than Meets the Eye: Maps and Prints of Early America” will be on display at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum through next April. The exhibition showcases two important new acquisitions to the foundation’s collections.

Among the most important pieces is British portrait of Col. Isaac Barre, who served as major and adjutant general at the 1759 Battle of Quebec during the French and Indian War. He also served in Parliament where he earned a reputation for his opposition to British taxation of the American colonies. Barre also coined the description of the American patriots as “Sons of Liberty.”

The portrait is the foundation’s first by Sir Joshua Reynolds, one of the founding members of the Royal Academy, an institution established in 1768 by act of King George III and the first to provide professional training for artists in Britain.

Barre’s portrait also features a map in which the colony of Virginia outlined in red. When the foundation received the painting, curators identified the map in the painting. The map was published in London in 1755. A map book containing an imprint of the map was also recently acquired and is on display with the portrait.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates and maintains the preserved 18th century site as an educational and tourist venue.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait of Col. Isaac Barre. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Sir Joshua Reynolds painted this portrait of Col. Isaac Barre. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Colonial Williamsburg exhibit includes this map of North America, which was published in London in 1755. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Colonial Williamsburg exhibit includes this map of North America, which was published in London in 1755. Image courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992), untitled color lithograph, edition 11/94, signed lower right, 22 x 20 inches. To be auctioned by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on May 16, 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Painter Joan Mitchell finally gets her due

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992), untitled color lithograph, edition 11/94, signed lower right, 22 x 20 inches. To be auctioned by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on May 16, 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

Joan Mitchell (American, 1925-1992), untitled color lithograph, edition 11/94, signed lower right, 22 x 20 inches. To be auctioned by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers on May 16, 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com and Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

NEW YORK – From the book Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life (Alfred A. Knopf), by Patricia Albers: At age 12, Joan Mitchell decided to be a painter. She had shown a flair for writing and for painting, but her father made her choose between the two, warning against being a dilettante.

He needn’t have worried – Joan turned out to be as driven as he was. When Mitchell died in 1992 at age 67, her paintings sold for millions and belonged to major art museums. But her fame came at a terrible price.

A lifelong alcoholic, Mitchell was a nasty drunk, brawling with lovers until she was black and blue. Reckless, promiscuous and self-destructive, she wanted children yet had several abortions because she believed motherhood was incompatible with a career.

Art historian Patricia Albers, who spent eight years on this densely packed, excellent biography, offers a largely sympathetic portrait of Mitchell, uncovering ample evidence of her warmth and generosity and tracing her outrageous behavior to a variety of unresolved psychological issues.

Born in Chicago, Mitchell grew up in a wealthy family. A championship figure skater as a teen, she went on to study at Smith College and the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was a star pupil.

In 1949, she moved to New York with her former husband, Barney Rosset Jr., who later founded the legendary Grove Press, at Joan’s suggestion. They arrived just when a group of downtown artists, later called the New York School, was about to set the world on fire. Mitchell fell under the spell of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, whose bold, large-scale abstractions liberated her from her academic training.

Sometimes called a second-generation abstract expressionist, Mitchell defies such labeling. Although she borrowed their gestures and techniques, her paintings capture remembered landscapes and emotions, not the artist’s inner world. Nor did she emulate the random effects of an artist like Jackson Pollock; every brushstroke was intentional.

Although Mitchell never created a movement, she stands out for her striking use of color. Like one of her idols, Wassily Kandinsky, she was a synesthete, perceiving color in other sensory perceptions. People, weather, landscapes, memories _ all throbbed with the intensity of the palette of another hero, Vincent van Gogh.

Fiercely competitive from an early age, Mitchell waged a lifelong battle against sexism. Even her father – who badly wanted a John, not a Joan – told her she’d never amount to much because of her gender. Thus her ironic references to herself as “lady painter,” a sly put-down she used knowing full well that her art deserved to hang alongside that of her more celebrated male contemporaries.

Click here to purchase the book Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life through Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Joan-Mitchell-Painter-Patricia-Albers/dp/0375414371


Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Book cover for Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life by Patricia Albers, now available to purchase through Amazon.

Book cover for Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life by Patricia Albers, now available to purchase through Amazon.

Arkansas state flag, in use during the Confederacy period of 1861-1865.

Arkansas Civil War exhibit shows Union, Confederate items

Arkansas state flag, in use during the Confederacy period of 1861-1865.

Arkansas state flag, in use during the Confederacy period of 1861-1865.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – A new exhibit at the Old State House Museum examines the reunions of Confederate and Union soldiers after the Civil War.

The Little Rock museum will hold an exhibition this weekend on the state’s connections to the war between the states.

The display will show photographs, medals, memorabilia and uniforms.

The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-30-11 1103GMT

Treasures unearthed in man’s back yard include royal bling

VIENNA (AP) – A trove of medieval jewelry and other precious objects found by a man working in his backyard includes pieces made for a royal court and may be worth as much as 100,000 euros ($150,000) government experts said Monday.

The officials from Austria’s department of national antiquities and the Academy of Sciences said they were only at the beginning of their investigation into the provenance and other details of the find.

“We have in front of us high-end products (made) for the highest consumer class of Central Europe” of the Middle Ages, academy member Thomas Kuehtreiber told reporters as security guards lifted a black velvet cloth from a glass case to reveal some of the rarer pieces.

The Federal Office for Memorials said the trove consists of more than 200 rings, brooches, ornate belt buckles, gold-plated silver plates and other pieces or fragments, many encrusted with pearls, fossilized coral and other ornaments. It says the objects are about 650 years old and weigh about 6.6 pounds (3 kilograms).

Some of the more stunning objects on display Monday included a delicately formed brooch adorned with pearls and coral and a ring inlaid with an amethyst-like semiprecious stone.

A media statement said the find was tentatively valued at tens of thousands of euros. Employees with the memorials office told The Associated Press they could be worth as much as 100,000 euros or nearly $150,000. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The memorials office said the man, who did not want to be identified, came across the objects in 2007 while digging in his back yard in the town of Wiener Neustadt, south of Vienna to expand a small pond. But he did not report it to authorities until after rediscovering the dirt-encrusted objects in a basement box while packing up after selling his house two years ago.

Officials presenting the pieces did not say when the finder first came to them with the ancient trove. They said that investigations into the find had only begun and could last up to four years.

They speculated that the objects could have been plunder from a conflict or owned by a trader who had buried it for safety ahead of approaching potential customers to make a deal.

The location of the find lies on an important medieval trading route that ran between Poland and Italy, they said.

“We will probably never find an answer” to the treasure’s origins, said Nikolaus Hofer of the memorial office.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-02-11 1359GMT

 

High chest of drawers, made for Matthias Slough, Lancaster, Lancaster County, 1770–85. Heritage Center of Lancaster County. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Pa. furniture in full bloom at Winterthur exhibition

High chest of drawers, made for Matthias Slough, Lancaster, Lancaster County, 1770–85. Heritage Center of Lancaster County. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

High chest of drawers, made for Matthias Slough, Lancaster, Lancaster County, 1770–85. Heritage Center of Lancaster County. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

WINTERTHUR, Del. – Each year when Winterthur reopens after its February hiatus, there’s something special planned for visitors. It’s always worth waiting for.

This year, we’re treated to a landmark exhibition – six years in the making – of the diverse furniture of our region, along with the people who made, owned, inherited and collected it. “Paint, Pattern & People: Furniture of Southeastern Pennsylvania, 1725-1850” opened April 2.

In addition to furniture this exhibit of over 200 objects includes related paintings, watercolors, fraktur and needlework. Designed to delight scholars, private collectors and those of us curious about the rich cultural heritage of southeastern Pennsylvania, it highlights the creative expression of local artisans. Focusing on the diversity of furniture made and owned by both English and German-speaking people, specific emphasis is placed on the distinctive local expressions of form and ornament.

Despite the extensive research that informs the exhibit, this is not merely a collection of stuffy brown furniture and priceless antiques, according to senior curator Wendy A. Cooper and assistant curator Lisa Minardi.

The “Paint and Pattern” aspects of the exhibit encompass both brightly painted, eye-catching chests, candle boxes, spice boxes and desks, while pieces made of rich native walnut and inlaid with light wood and sulfur also enliven the exhibit. And everyone can relate to the various tables and chairs on display.

The exhibit’s focus is not on priceless, high-style Philadelphia furniture, but rather on locally made furniture often influenced by urban sophistication. To convey this point, the first two pieces that greet visitors are imposing high chests of drawers from Philadelphia and Lancaster. These pieces present a rare opportunity to compare and contrast the details of their carved decoration.

The Philadelphia high chest is among the finest examples of rococo style, made of highly figured imported mahogany, with pierced brasses tinted to resemble gold, heavily carved foliate-and-shell designs, and a commanding original cartouche. The Lancaster high chest may appear to the casual observer to be remarkably similar. But, guided by the curators, exhibit visitors will learn about and appreciate the differences.

For example, decoration on the Lancaster piece shows foliage and shells similar to the Philadelphia chest, but is more profusely carved and covers the entire skirt and tympanum (the topmost board). Closer examination reveals that the ornament on the Lancaster high chest was carved from the solid wood of the piece, rather than separately made and applied, as done in the Philadelphia chest.

Debunking Myths

As the last part of the title “Paint, Pattern & People” reflects, people are also an important focus of this study of regional furniture. The careful analysis of so many well-documented pieces in the exhibit prompted curators to explore new ground in understanding the makers and owners who created the many localisms seen in southeastern Pennsylvania furniture. With this extensive collection, it was possible to identify specific places where pieces were produced.

By looking at who made and owned various pieces of furniture, the curators were able to debunk a number of myths. A few examples:

  • While Quakers adhere to values of simplicity, it’s clear from their furniture that they had a great appreciation for highly decorated pieces. The exhibit traces ornate furniture bought and passed down through their families.
  • Painted chests were not owned exclusively by women. Owners’ names carved into these chests give evidence that men owned them as well.
  • Decorations painted on furniture are not conclusive evidence of the owners’ gender. Chests with lions and unicorns, masculine-appearing designs, were owned by women.
  • Schranks – wooden wardrobes thought to be newlyweds’ furniture – have been found to be commissioned by well-established married couples who could afford the substantial costs.

For anyone who has admired the wealth of regional furniture in area antique shops, antique shows, museums or private homes, this landmark exhibit will provide unique insights into the furniture and people of southeastern Pennsylvania.

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


High chest of drawers, made for Matthias Slough, Lancaster, Lancaster County, 1770–85. Heritage Center of Lancaster County. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

High chest of drawers, made for Matthias Slough, Lancaster, Lancaster County, 1770–85. Heritage Center of Lancaster County. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

High chest of drawers, owned by Michael and Miriam Gratz, Philadelphia, 1760–75. Winterthur Museum, gift of Henry Francis du Pont. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

High chest of drawers, owned by Michael and Miriam Gratz, Philadelphia, 1760–75. Winterthur Museum, gift of Henry Francis du Pont. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Slide-lid box, possibly Lancaster County; 1800–1840. White pine; paint; H. 6, W. 9, D. 12 inches. Collection of Jane and Gerald Katcher. Photo, Gavin Ashworth, New York City.

Slide-lid box, possibly Lancaster County; 1800–1840. White pine; paint; H. 6, W. 9, D. 12 inches. Collection of Jane and Gerald Katcher. Photo, Gavin Ashworth, New York City.

Chest attributed to the Compass Artist, Lancaster County; 1785–1820. White pine, tulip-poplar, oak; paint; iron; H. 22., W. 49., D. 21 1/8 inches. Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Donald M. Herr. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Chest attributed to the Compass Artist, Lancaster County; 1785–1820. White pine, tulip-poplar, oak; paint; iron; H. 22., W. 49., D. 21 1/8 inches. Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Donald M. Herr. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Desk, probably Jacob Maser (1812–95) Mahantongo Valley, Northumberland County; 1834. Tulip-poplar, white pine, maple; paint; brass; H. 49 1/8, W. 39, D. 19 inches. Winterthur Museum, gift of Henry Francis du Pont 1964. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Desk, probably Jacob Maser (1812–95) Mahantongo Valley, Northumberland County; 1834. Tulip-poplar, white pine, maple; paint; brass; H. 49 1/8, W. 39, D. 19 inches. Winterthur Museum, gift of Henry Francis du Pont 1964. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Cover of the exhibition book. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Cover of the exhibition book. Image courtesy of Winterthur.

Rocking horse composed from circa-1900 carrousel horse in all-original condition, featured in the book The Rocking Horse by Patricia Mullins, est. $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Noel Barrett Auctions offers ‘Something for Everyone,’ May 21

Rocking horse composed from circa-1900 carrousel horse in all-original condition, featured in the book The Rocking Horse by Patricia Mullins, est. $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Rocking horse composed from circa-1900 carrousel horse in all-original condition, featured in the book The Rocking Horse by Patricia Mullins, est. $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

NEW HOPE, Pa. – As its title promises, Noel Barrett’s May 21 auction has “something for everyone” within its 714-lots, from fresh-to-market holiday items and antique games to coveted clockwork toys and salesmen’s samples. The Saturday event commencing at 10 a.m. at the Eagle Fire Hall in New Hope, Pa., will feature items from the collections of Philip and Ann Henderson, and Rex Horchem.

The eclectic array of treasures opens with a small selection of Christmas Dresdens and diecuts; Thanksgiving candy containers and decorations; and an extremely rare clockwork Halloween veggie man with moving eyes.

Auction company owner Noel Barrett commented that the early 20th-century papier-mache veggie man, which stands an impressive 16 inches tall, was quite likely used as a store window display piece, a k a sales stimulator. “This is only the second such vegetable man to have surfaced in recent memory,” said Barrett. “The other example had significant repair, including the fabrication of the missing left hand. This example has the complete, fully fingered hand, which needs only minor restoration.” The whimsically wide-eyed mechanical veggie man is estimated at $10,000-$15,000.

A colorful grouping of valentines to be offered at the auction runs the gamut of materials and styles, with a timeline from the late 18th century to the 1940s. There are early woodcuts, fold-downs with “honeycombs,” celluloids, lace-edged greetings, and dimensional cars, ships and architectural structures, among many other types. The 90-lot offering also includes some highly desirable crossovers, such as the circa-1861 Civil War valentine of heavy embossed paper with a hand-colored engraving of a soldier returning home to his wife and child. It is estimated at $250-$350. An additional ephemera highlight is a 1904 “Our Sailor Boy” mechanical calendar depicting a youngster in naval attire, with British and American flags in the background and a cannon in the foreground. The “smoke” emitted from the cannon is embossed with calendar pages from all 12 months and is retractable to fit back into the cannon. Estimate: $100-$200.

A broad mix of early games and puzzles – both German and American made – will keep bidders amused as they work their way through the many themes that were popular at the turn of the 20th century, such as transportation, military, sports and animals. An unusual entry that reflects how safety standards in toys have changed is the 1924 Zulu Blowing Game consisting of blow darts, targets and an instructions sheet extolling the game’s health benefits. “Develop the Children’s Lungs,” the paperwork encourages. Estimate: $300-$400.

Some very nice dollhouses, room boxes and shops will be auctioned, including two Gottschalk productions: an apothecary and grocery store; two German stables with figures, a confectionary shop and a kitchen plentifully outfitted with metal utensils, vessels, plates and other miniatures. Worth of special note is a Parisian perfumery stocked with various fragrances in glass bottles, as well as powders, soaps and pomades, all arranged on mirror-topped counters and on vanity shelves. The deluxe tableau is accompanied by a well-dressed bisque-head doll and is expected to make $2,000-$3,000.

Paper-litho on wood toys include seven boats by Reed and Bliss; two European toy theaters and four castle fortresses. A collection of Brownie toys comes from a consignor whose uncle originally amassed the items over a long period of time. A sales receipt found with the collection revealed that a set of antique McLoughlin Brownie Nine Pins had been purchased in 1954 for $17. At Barrett’s sale, the set is more likely to sell for $2,000-$3,000.

An exceptional 19th-century Lambert bisque-head “Bal Masque” dancer automaton is dressed in a lace-covered dress and stockings, and sits atop a fabric box that encases a 2-tune music box. When activated, the dancer kicks her crossed leg forward, lifts her black mask with one hand and shakes a tambourine with her other hand. In excellent, all-original condition, the automaton carries a $4,000-$6,000 estimate.

Another example of fine French artistry, a 24-inch-long articulated pull toy consisting of a team of four dappled composition horses and a bisque-head lady rider served as the inspiration for a painting by Jacques Millet. The actual 1976 painting of the antique toy is included in the lot, which is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

The Americana and folk art section offers a charming Victorian child’s sleigh, salesmen’s samples and several rocking horses, including one that was crafted around a beautiful circa-1900 German carrousel horse. The elegant nursery steed is pictured in Patricia Mullins’s book The Rocking Horse, a copy of which is included in the lot estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

The folk-art lineup continues with a featured collection of more than 60 smoking stands to be apportioned into 34 lots. The varied figural shapes replicate butlers, maids, bellhops, black cats, an Indian chief, and comic characters such as Popeye, Mickey Mouse and Jiggs & Maggie.

Another handmade item that’s expected to set off alarm bells is a Seagrave Co. salesmen’s sample fire ladder wagon. “The quality of construction and accuracy of detail in this piece is a sight to behold,” said Barrett. “It is outfitted with an array of ladders, fire axes, extinguishers, lanterns, fire buckets and more. It’s one of the most amazing salemen’s samples we have seen.” Measuring 50 inches long, the piece had resided in a Bucks County, Pa., house, its whereabouts well known to Barrett for 15 years prior to its consignment. It is estimated at $7,000-$10,000. Also vying for the spotlight is a highly detailed, spirit-fired 21-inch-long, 32 lb. fire pumper model that appears to have all the necessary mechanical components required to be fully functional. A masterful creation, it is expected to fetch $6,000-$7,000.

Serious collectors of antique advertising would know the self-framed Marathon Tires sign depicting two couples in a red open tourer, navigating a narrow, craggy ledge. Printed by the famed tin sign maker Kaufmann & Strauss, it measures 22¾ inches by 19¾ inches. Estimate: $8,000-$10,000.

Barrett remarked that there has been “a lot of excitement and interest” over a promotional model of a Junkers F.13 promotional airplane model. “The real-life 1919 plane that inspired the model was the first all-metal transport plane. When I took the piece, I didn’t realize it was a promotional piece made for Junkers. Some German collectors who came to gallery were able to identify what it was.”

Several lots of highly desirable American painted-tin toys are consigned to the May 21 auction. Two of the best were attic finds. Discovered in California, a Fallows 1886 (patented) Buffalo Hunter on wheeled base is estimated at $2,000-$3,000. As the toy is pulled along, a design feature enables the pair of buffalo to rock back and forth, as though running. The top toy in the group is a George Brown horse-drawn omnibus stenciled “Broadway & Central Park.” In a white with maroon color scheme and fresh from a Long Island home, the toy will make its auction debut with an $8,000-$12,000 estimate.

The last of the toys from the celebrated Ward Kimball collection will be auctioned. A Hull & Stafford “America” clockwork tin and wood locomotive is estimated at $3,000-$4,000; while a George Brown “Niagara” clockwork locomotive, also of tin and wood, could earn $800-$1,000.

Certain to finish near the top of prices realized, a Marklin Central-Bahnhof train station #2651 is hand painted and has a fully outfitted, candlelit interior that includes a table, chairs and benches. Its details are superb: etched and stained-glass windows, doorway arches, canopy and ticket-queue rail. “An advanced collector who looked at this station said it is the best example he has ever seen,” Barrett commented. Its estimate is $10,000-$15,000. An American-profile Carette gauge 1 #2350 steam loco and tender may roll across the auction block in the $12,000-$15,000 range.

For information on any lot in the sale, call 215-297-5109 or e-mail toys@noelbarrett.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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View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Halloween clockwork vegetable man, painted papier-mache, 16 inches tall, est. $10,000-$15,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Halloween clockwork vegetable man, painted papier-mache, 16 inches tall, est. $10,000-$15,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Examples of antique valentines to be auctioned, including (center) one that dates to the Civil War period. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Examples of antique valentines to be auctioned, including (center) one that dates to the Civil War period. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Parisian perfumery room box stocked with various fragrances, powders, soaps and pomades; tended by a well-dressed bisque-head doll, est. $2,000-$3,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Parisian perfumery room box stocked with various fragrances, powders, soaps and pomades; tended by a well-dressed bisque-head doll, est. $2,000-$3,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

McLoughlin’s Go Bang and The Game of Yankee Doodle, from a large selection of antique games. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

McLoughlin’s Go Bang and The Game of Yankee Doodle, from a large selection of antique games. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Lambert ‘Bal Masque’ dancer automaton with tambourine, 17½ inches tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Lambert ‘Bal Masque’ dancer automaton with tambourine, 17½ inches tall, est. $4,000-$6,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Fire pumper model, spirit fired and believed fully functional, 21 inches long, weighs 32 lbs., est. $6,000-$7,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Fire pumper model, spirit fired and believed fully functional, 21 inches long, weighs 32 lbs., est. $6,000-$7,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Several examples from a large and diverse collection of figural ashtray stands known as “smoking butlers.” Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Several examples from a large and diverse collection of figural ashtray stands known as “smoking butlers.” Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Marklin Central-Bahnhof train station #2651, hand painted with candlelit interior and furnishings, est. $10,000-$15,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

Marklin Central-Bahnhof train station #2651, hand painted with candlelit interior and furnishings, est. $10,000-$15,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

CIJ Alfa Romeo race car, enameled tin with knobby “Michelin” rubber tires, 21 inches long, est. $2,500-$3,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

CIJ Alfa Romeo race car, enameled tin with knobby “Michelin” rubber tires, 21 inches long, est. $2,500-$3,000. Noel Barrett Auctions image.

In Memoriam: Sir Henry Cooper, legendary British boxer, 76

OXTED, England – British boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper died at his son’s home on Sunday, May 1, 2011. He was 76.

The London-born heavyweight was known for a particularly effective left hook known as “Enery’s ‘Ammer” and his knockdown of the young Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay.

Cooper held the British and European heavyweight boxing titles, and, following his retirement from the sport, continued his career as a television and radio personality. In later years, he retired from commentary on boxing as he became “disillusioned with boxing,” wanting “straight, hard and fast boxing that he was used to from his times.”

Cooper received an OBE in 1969 and a knighthood in 2000. Enormously popular in Britain, he was the first (and is today one of only three people) to win the public vote twice for BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award.

As a youth during the Second World War, Cooper tried his hand at many jobs, including delivering newspapers and recycling golf balls at a local golf course. He started his boxing career in 1949 as an amateur with the Eltham Amateur Boxing Club, and won 73 of 84 contests. At the age of 17, he won the first of two ABA light-heavyweight titles, and before serving in the Army for his two years’ National Service, represented Britain in the 1952 Olympics.

Henry and his twin brother, George (boxing under the name Jim Cooper), turned professional together under the caring management of Jim Wicks, who was one of boxing’s great characters. Wicks, nicknamed “The Bishop” because of his benign nature, would never allow one of his boxers into the ring if he felt the contender was undermatched. When promoters were trying to match Henry with Sonny Liston, Wicks famously said: “I would not allow ‘Enery into the same room as him, let alone the same ring.”

Henry was at one time the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight champion. His early title challenges were unsuccessful, losing to Joe Bygraves for the Commonwealth belt (KO 9), Ingemar Johansson for the European belt (KO 5) and Joe Erskine (PTS 15) for the British and Commonwealth. He then won on points over highly rated contender Zora Folley, and took the British and Commonwealth belts from new champion Brian London in a 15-round decision in January 1959. The winner of the fight was penciled in to get a shot at Floyd Patterson’s heavyweight title, but Cooper turned down the chance. Instead, London fought against Patterson in May 1959 and lost.

Cooper continued to defend his British and Commonwealth belts against all comers, including Dick Richardson (KO 5), Joe Erskine (TKO 5 and TKO 12), Johnny Prescott (TKO 10), and Brian London again (PTS 15), although he suffered a setback when losing a rematch with Folley by a second round KO.

Cooper twice fought Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), firstly in a non-title fight in 1963 at Wembley Stadium. Cooper did not have a trainer at this time, and his self-styled regimen led to his losing weight. Cooper later claimed that lead was inserted in his boots for the weigh-in, and estimates he actually weighed 12 stone 12 lbs. (180 lbs.), making him 27 pounds lighter than Clay. Commentator Harry Carpenter remarked during the introductions on the difference in size between the boxers.

Clay’s defensive skills made him a frustrating opponent; some of Cooper’s work during the contest has been described as “very near the knuckle,” and Clay later complained about being repeatedly hit on the break. In the waning seconds of the fourth round, Cooper felled Clay with an upward angled version of his trademark left hook, “Enry’s ‘Ammer.” As luck would have it, his opponent’s armpit caught in the ropes going down, which prevented his head from striking the canvas covered boards which made up the floor of the ring (something that easily could have knocked Clay unconscious).

Clay stood up and started slowly toward his cornerman Angelo Dundee, who – in violation of the rules – guided the boxed into his corner. A still-dazed Clay got up off the stool after several seconds, but Dundee sat him back down and used smelling salts to help Clay recover (a serious violation of the rules). Dundee has since claimed that there was a small tear in one of Clay’s gloves and that he told the referee his fighter needed a new pair of gloves, thus delaying the start of the 5th round.

Cooper always insisted that this delay lasted anywhere from 3–5 minutes, thus denying him the chance to try to knock out Clay while he was still dazed. In tapes of the fight it seems Clay only received an extra six seconds (although there are still doubters who think a longer delay was edited out), and the gloves were not replaced.

When the 5th round started, Clay ferociously attacked Cooper’s cuts, leaving him streaming with blood. Referee Tommy Little was forced to stop the fight in Clay’s favor, even though Cooper was ahead on the scorecards.

After this fight, a spare pair of gloves was always required at ringside. What is certain however, is that Dundee held smelling salts under Clay’s nose in an effort to revive his man, which was illegal.

Clay was obviously impressed by the knockdown, and on the 40th anniversary of the bout, he telephoned Cooper to reminisce. Clay, who in 1964 had changed his name to Muhammad Ali, said on British television that Cooper had “hit [him] so hard that [his] ancestors in Africa felt it.”

In 1966 Cooper fought Ali, now world heavyweight champion, for a second time. However Ali was now alert to the danger posed by Cooper’s left and more cautious than he had been in the previous contest. Ali won by a TKO.

Alongside figures such as Frank Bruno, Joe Bugner, Tommy Farr and Lennox Lewis, Cooper is regarded as one of the all-time best British heavyweights. He was the only British boxer to win three Lonsdale Belts outright and the first boxer ever to be knighted.

In 1980, he wrote a book called The Great Heavyweights, in which he spoke of the men whom he considered the finest of all time. They are: Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano and Muhammad Ali.

Cooper lived in Hildenborough, Kent, where he was chairman of Nizels Golf Club until his death.

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Auction Central News gratefully acknowledges wikipedia.org for historical and biographical information used in the preparation of this article.

 

 

The use of linseed oil, both raw and boiled, as a wood finish has declined because it dries slowly and darkens over time. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and BK Super Auction Event.

Furniture Specific: Garbage in – garbage out

The use of linseed oil, both raw and boiled, as a wood finish has declined because it dries slowly and darkens over time.  Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and BK Super Auction Event.

The use of linseed oil, both raw and boiled, as a wood finish has declined because it dries slowly and darkens over time. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and BK Super Auction Event.

I am lucky enough to be able to spend a fair amount of time on my computer learning about things that interest me. Google is a wonderful device. If I need to find some information on a piece of art I saw at an auction there are lots of sites online that will tell me something about the artist, the period or the genre – or maybe all of the above including information about the specific work. The same holds true for an unusual piece of orange FitzHugh porcelain that sold recently for a lot of money. I can learn about Chinese export porcelain from a number of sources. But then I go looking for information on a subject that I know a little bit about – furniture – and sometimes I am appalled at the amount of incomplete, misleading, inaccurate or just plain dead wrong information I come across. It makes me want to re-evaluate my research on subjects about which I am less well informed. Do these other subjects contain as much garbage online as the subject of antique furniture does?

Following are several examples of inaccurate or simply uninformed statements, suggestions, advice and products for the care and “feeding” of your antique wooden furniture. All of the sites I found will remain anonymous and they are not quoted directly but if you do your own searches I am sure you will have little difficulty locating them.

One product in particular caught my eye. It seems to feature many of the attributes of snake oil sold from the back of a wagon in the late 19th century in that it is a cure-all for whatever ails your furniture. One of the opening statements on the site notes that the finish on used furniture is in such poor condition that it requires refinishing but refinishing is expensive and the old finish is much more valuable than a new one. If you spend the money to refinish a piece you will actually reduce the value. Please note that this is stated as a fact without qualification. Apparently there is no difference between a true American antique and a 1930s Colonial Revival reproduction. I agree that in many cases the refinishing of a piece of furniture can lower its value but that is not always the case. It depends on what you start with. In some cases refinishing actually enhances the value.

So much for the credibility of the hype. What about the product? One of the examples shown is how to repair a flaking varnish finish. By simply applying the product, waiting a few minutes and wiping it clean the original finish is claimed to be reattached and strengthened. That process is sometimes called “amalgamation” and is a common technique used by restoration artists. But it is almost always used in connection with a shellac or lacquer finish. Why? Because shellac and lacquer are “evaporative” finishes in which the original solvent, denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner, evaporates and the solids of the mixture combine into a film. This film can always be redissolved by the addition of the original solvent and the film will reform when the solvent evaporates again. However, varnish is a different animal. Varnish is a “reactive” finish. When the vehicle, the mineral spirits, evaporates the solids react with oxygen and form a solid film that cannot be redissolved by the original solvent. This is basic finish chemistry that apparently is unknown to the maker of the product. The product may have sealed over the flaking varnish but it did not reattach it to the wood. By the way, the product will also get rid of “alligatoring” and “crazing” in old varnish finishes, according to the claims.

To further reinforce the fact that the product is probably simply thinned out varnish is another use for it touted on the site. It states that if the finish is completely worn off two applications of the product will seal and smooth the surface. Sounds like a recoating product to me. Like most things that sound too good to be true, this probably is.

But by far the greatest area of opportunity for a variety of opinions and “facts” can be found on the subject of regular furniture care.

There are still products out there that claim they “feed” the wood. I previously covered this little myth fairly well in this space but the feeding frenzy continues. One product claims to be unique because it has blended beeswax, lemon oil and specially designed mineral oil to provide a combination polish and wood conditioner that is fed into the wood during application, providing a true wood feeder. That particular combination of ingredients has been in service for many years and I still have my doubts about whether it truly penetrates an intact film surface such as lacquer and shellac to provide anything at all to the wood, not that it actually needs anything.

Then there is the cleaner/polish/wax black hole that seems to spiral out of control on a daily basis. One site talks about a great general purpose cleaner/conditioner that you can make yourself. Essentially it is one part turpentine to three parts boiled linseed oil. Directions include rubbing the mixture briskly until the surface is dry and the oil soaks into the wood. The problem here is that the mixture will not “soak” into the wood. It can’t get through an intact finish. The turpentine evaporates and the linseed oil dries to produce a skin. Linseed oil is a “drying” oil that will form a hard skin over an original finish without actually bonding to the surface. That skin will then turn dark with age and at some point will have to be chemically or physically removed to restore the piece. Further instructions on the page suggest that new furniture should receive this treatment once a month for three or four months and then twice a year after that. To see what the American Institute for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works has to say about boiled linseed oil and furniture care in general check out this site:

http://www.conservation-us.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.ViewPage&PageID=629

One famous maker of furniture care products shows some of the products and has a short description beside each one. One tells us that lemon oil and other natural oils in the product give furniture a high luster shine and it replaces the natural oils in the wood, keeping the furniture moisturized while leaving no oily residue. How does it work without leaving a residue since it obviously hasn’t been absorbed by the wood? The next product contains beeswax to protect from scratches and stains and lemon oil to replenish the natural oils in the wood. Sound familiar both in recipe and in function?

One maker of an emulsified polish states that it is best used on glossy finishes. It is made from all natural ingredients and contains lanolin to moisturize a lackluster finish. Do you know what lanolin is? It is also known as “wool fat” or “wool grease.” It is a greasy yellow substance from wool bearing animals such as sheep. It is a mixture of cholesterol, esters and fatty acids found in the hair follicles of the animals. Commercially it is used as waterproofing and as a lubricant and I personally do not choose to put sheep fat on my furniture. Would bacon fat or butter work just as well?

A couple of final words of wisdom from the “net.” One site says never to use a damp cloth to clean your furniture because it will harm the wax finish. I thought wax was commonly used as a dressing, not as a finish. Then another site says that wax should never be used because regular use produces a wax build up that attracts dirt and smoke and some waxes may contain abrasives that will scratch the furniture. What to do instead? The site recommends polishes that contain detergents, emulsifiers and oils because the detergents clean the finish, the emulsifiers give it the body to work and the oils are left behind as a barrier to dirt and moisture. Is oil a barrier to dirt or is it an attracter of dirt? Use your own experience for the answer.

In the long run you can’t believe everything you read online. Most of the examples I have cited are from people or companies that want you to buy something and a few are from people who probably are sincere in their advice but are just uninformed. Your best bet is to accumulate the tidbits of information offered online and get someone who is knowledgeable in the business of the care and restoration of antique furniture to help you sort it out. Especially someone who is not trying to sell you something.

Send comments, questions and pictures to Fred Taylor at P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423 or info@furnituredetetcive.com. Visit Fred’s website at www.furnituredetective.com. His book How To Be a Furniture Detective is available for $18.95 plus $3 shipping. Send check or money order for $21.95 to Fred Taylor, P.O. Box 215, Crystal River, FL 34423. Fred and Gail Taylor’s DVD, Identification of Older & Antique Furniture ($17 + $3 S&H) is also available at the same address. For more information call (800) 387-6377, fax 352-563-2916, or info@furnituredetective.com. All items are also available directly from his website.

 

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The use of linseed oil, both raw and boiled, as a wood finish has declined because it dries slowly and darkens over time.  Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and BK Super Auction Event.

The use of linseed oil, both raw and boiled, as a wood finish has declined because it dries slowly and darkens over time. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and BK Super Auction Event.