MERIDEN, Conn. – The Brechlins are home for the holidays and will celebrate as the Connecticut family’s Nest Egg Auctions presents its annual Gala Holiday New Year’s Auction on Saturday, Jan. 7. The sale will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern time, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com.
Those attending the 209-lot auction will be offered festive hospitality, with complimentary food and drink; and live music.
“Everyone comes to our New Year’s auction,” said auctioneer Ryan Brechlin. “Hey, free shrimp!”
Along with the food and entertainment, guests will be able to enjoy previewing an outstanding lineup of antiques and collectibles on display prior to the auction.
Ryan Brechlin will oversee the event together with his sister Jennifer Brechlin and their mother Mary Ellen Brechlin. All three family members work full time for the second-generation auction house. Present in spirit will be the family patriarch, Carl Brechlin, who died in 2008.
The Jan. 7 auction will be Nest Egg’s first sale of 2012. What better way to ring in the New Year than with a late-19th-century Tiffany & Co. grandfather clock that stands an impressive 100 inches tall and has all the bells and whistles expected of a fine Tiffany timepiece.
“It has a good German movement [Winterhalder & Hofmeier] and a beautifully carved mahogany case,” said Ryan Brechlin. “It’s enormous. People who want a Tiffany clock like them big.”
With a sun and moon dial, eight bells and Westminster chimes – all in running condition – the clock is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.
Another large mechanical marvel in the sale is a Model 92 National cash register, which was custom made for a New York department store, Barton & Hoysradt, around 1902. The register is fully functional and includes all keys and its original instruction book. The entire piece – register and attached cabinet – measures approximately 19 1/2 inches by 26 inches by 36 inches and has a $1,000-$2,000 estimate.
“It’s a cool piece, one of the biggest registers National made. The drawers all integrated to the different departments in the store,” said Brechlin.
Another choice mechanical device in the auction is a Mills Novelty Co. American War Eagle nickel slot machine from the mid-1930s. From an Old Saybrook, Conn., estate, the classic one-arm bandit in working order is expected to make $1,000-$2,000.
The auction’s high point may come with the introduction of a Guy Carleton Wiggins (American, 1883-1962) oil-on-board painting of the New York Library in a winter storm. The artwork executed in quintessential Wiggins style carries a $5,000-$10,000 estimate.
“It has everything you want in a Guy Wiggins painting – New York in winter, snow and American Flags,” said Brechlin. “This one has two flags.”
Brechlin noted that the 12-inch by 16-inch Wiggins painting is from the Alfred Cheney Johnston Collection. Johnston was a famed New York City-based photographer known for his portraits of Ziegfeld Follies showgirls as well as of 1920s/1930s actresses. The final 65 lots of the auction consist exclusively of Johnston photos of this type.
“This will be the last of the Alfred Cheney Johnston estate photographs, which we’ve spread over three auctions during the past year. Because they’re the last offering, I’m hoping people will go a little crazy for them,” said Bechlin.
Some of Johnston’s beautiful subjects were noted silent film stars. These particular images will be sold individually. Many other lots include multiple images. Estimates range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
While the subject matter was risqué for its time, Johnston’s work was technically and artistically superb, and is highly collectible today. The enlargements, many 10 inches by 13 inches, are in excellent condition.
An especially desirable collector’s item in the sale is an Art Deco porcelain figure of a woman made by Lenci of Torino, Italy. The sultry blonde, wearing a short dress and carrying a basket of flowers, stands 9½ inches high. With minor damage, it has a $500-$1,000 estimate.
“Lenci was a small Italian pottery and their best pieces are highly sought after,” said Brechlin. “We sold a Lenci piece earlier in the year for around $13,000.”
A line from the popular 1934 hit Winter Wonderland – “Gone away is the bluebird” – comes to mind when considering a taxidermied passenger pigeon displayed in a period display case. The trophy, an example of a wild species that was hunted to extinction by 1914, is the size of a typical pigeon. The custom-crafted glass and wood case measures approximately 12 inches by 13 inches by 19 inches.
“We’ve done well with some taxidermy,” says Bechlin, who hopes to make $3,000-$5,000 with this former museum piece.
Three scarce Arts & Crafts Movement books on papermaking by Dard Hunter, a one-time associate of Elbert Hubbard, will be sold. One, published in 1927 and dealing with primitive papermaking, is number 83 of an edition limited to 200 copies. It has a $1,000-$2,000 estimate.
The Literature of Papermaking 1390-1800 by Dard Hunter, published in 1925, is numbered 76 of 160 and signed by the author. The illustrated volume is hand printed in type of Hunter’s own design on handmade paper. It carries a $500-$1,000 estimate.
Hunter’s Papermaking in Indo-China, a limited edition published in 1947, exhibits similar handcraftsmanship and also has a $500-$1,000 estimate.
For additional information on Nest Egg Auctions’ Gala Holiday New Year’s Auction, call 203-630-1400 or toll-free 800-448-0692; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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