Print of iconic Einstein photo sells for $74K

Albert Einstein, photo taken by UPI photographer Arthur Sasse. Image courtesy RRAuction.com.
Albert Einstein, photo taken by UPI photographer Arthur Sasse. Image courtesy RRAuction.com.
Albert Einstein, photo taken by UPI photographer Arthur Sasse. Image courtesy RRAuction.com.

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – One of the original signed prints of Albert Einstein sticking his tongue out at photographers has been sold by a New Hampshire auction house for $74,324.

“Every kid has it in their dorm room on the wall,” Bobby Livingston of RRAuction.com in Amherst said Saturday. “It’s such an iconic display of freedom of speech.”

The picture was taken in 1951 by UPI photographer Arthur Sasse after a 72nd birthday celebration for the physicist. As Sasse tried to coax a smile for the camera, Einstein stuck out his tongue.

Two years later, at the height of the McCarthy anti-Communist hearings, Einstein signed the photo and gave it to broadcaster Howard K. Smith as a gesture of his admiration of Smith’s work.

Translated from German, the inscription says: “This gesture you will like, because it is aimed at all of humanity. A civilian can afford to do what no diplomat would dare. Your loyal and grateful listener, A. Einstein ’53.”

By 1953, Einstein had begun speaking out against McCarthyism.

“Einstein, escaping Nazi Germany, fully understood what was happening in this country and was commenting on it,” Livingston said. “That’s what makes it so special, he wrote on it and explained his intentions.”

David Waxman of Great Neck, N.Y., is the new owner. He is a specialist in important scientific books and autographs.

Waxman said the image probably is the best-known picture of Einstein, appearing on T-shirts and even currently on a New York City billboard.

He said Einstein’s inscription makes it even more valuable.

“It’s one of a kind, highly important, speaks to the culture, speaks to anybody who looks at it and thinks about it a bit,” Waxman said. “It’s a message of intelligent nonconformity.”

Waxman intends to put the photo up for sale, perhaps with other photos of famous scientists.
____

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-ES-06-20-09 1511EDT

Mass. furniture store purchases Enchanted Village display at auction

Scene from Enchanted Village, auctioned on June 18, 2009. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com.Scene from Enchanted Village, auctioned on June 18, 2009. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com.
Scene from Enchanted Village, auctioned on June 18, 2009. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com.

BOSTON (AP) – The Enchanted Village has a new home and will continue to enchant Boston-area shoppers during the Chrismas holidays.

Jordan’s Furniture purchased the iconic holiday display from the City of Boston for $140,000 at a public auction on Thursday, June 18. Jordan’s president Eliot Tatelman – who topped six other bidders – said he fondly recalled strolling through the Enchanted Village as a child.

Tatelman plans to set up the display at Jordan’s store in the Boston suburb of Avon.

The 8,000-square-foot attraction includes dozens of mechanized people and animals in a traditional New England holiday scene.

It was originally set up at the old downtown Jordan Marsh department store – no connection to Jordan’s Furniture – to attract holiday shoppers.

The Enchanted Village was most recently housed at the Hynes Convention Center, but hasn’t been open to the public since 2006.

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

AP-ES-06-18-09 2152EDT

Kenzo auction in Paris nets $2.63 million

Burmese sculpture of Buddha, sold for $88,575 in Aguttes' Paris sale of the Kenzo Takada collection. Image courtesy Aguttes.
Burmese sculpture of Buddha, sold for $88,575 in Aguttes' Paris sale of the Kenzo Takada collection. Image courtesy Aguttes.
Burmese sculpture of Buddha, sold for $88,575 in Aguttes’ Paris sale of the Kenzo Takada collection. Image courtesy Aguttes.

PARIS (AP) – A Paris auction of art belonging to Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada has netted $2.63 million.

Auctioneer Claude Aguttes said Wednesday that 75 percent of the sale’s 1,100 items were sold.

Kenzo decided to part with the collection, acquired over the past two decades, when he sold his Paris mansion to move into a smaller Left Bank apartment.

The collection included a rich variety of Eastern and Western art, from bronze Buddhas to Hopi Kachina dolls from the American southwest. An 8th-century Buddha sculpture from Burma sold for $88,575, while the Kachinas fetched $14,115.

Some of the auction’s lots didn’t sell, however, including a set of 16th-century red lacquerwear from a Japanese monastery.

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

AP-CS-06-17-09 1544EDT

$19,550 English silver salts spice up Kaminski’s May auction

Pair of rare 19th-century English silver salt cellars, $19,550. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Kaminski Auctions.
Pair of rare 19th-century English silver salt cellars, $19,550. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Kaminski Auctions.
Pair of rare 19th-century English silver salt cellars, $19,550. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers Archive/Kaminski Auctions.

BEVERLY, Mass. – Kaminski Auctions’ May sale, which took place May 30-31, 2009, attracted bidders both locally in Massachusetts and internationally via phone and through the Internet via LiveAuctioneers.com. Day one of this two-day sale featured general fine art, antiques and collectibles, while day two highlighted a diverse selection of maritime antiques and memorabilia. Consignments hailed from estates spanning Massachusetts to Kaminski’s second location in California. All prices quoted include a 15% buyer’s premium.

A pair of rare 19th-century English silver salt cellars stole the show. Each boasts a figural design with shell, butterfly and salamander accents. The salt cellars are marked Edward and James Barnard, and two accompanying spoons are marked George Angell. Estimated $10,000-$15,000, the duo realized $19,550 after a volley of more than 20 bids.
Continue reading

1870s Lincoln stamp: stolen, found, auctioned for $431,250

Obverse view of the Ice House Cover bearing a Lincoln stamp, posted to India in 1873. Sold for $431,250 by Robert A. Siegel Galleries. Image courtesy Robert A. Siegel Galleries.
Obverse view of the Ice House Cover bearing a Lincoln stamp, posted to India in 1873. Sold for $431,250 by Robert A. Siegel Galleries. Image courtesy Robert A. Siegel Galleries.
Obverse view of the Ice House Cover bearing a Lincoln stamp, posted to India in 1873. Sold for $431,250 by Robert A. Siegel Galleries. Image courtesy Robert A. Siegel Galleries.

NEW YORK (AP) – A rare Abraham Lincoln stamp that was stolen from Indiana in 1967 and surfaced 39 years later in Chicago has sold at auction for more than $400,000.

The stamped envelope was offered at auction by order of the Dorothy Jean Baker Revocable Trust and was sold on Saturday, June 13, 2009 at Manhattan’s Robert A. Siegel galleries.

The buyer is Arthur K.M. Woo, a doctor who would reveal nothing more about himself.

Dr. Woo paid $431,250 (inclusive of 15 percent buyer’s premium) for the 90-cent stamp. It had been entered in the sale with an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.

The so-called Ice House Cover with Lincoln’s likeness is on an envelope mailed from Boston to an ice house in India in 1873.

The stamp vanished from its owner’s safe in Indianapolis and turned up in 2006 at a home in Chicago. A collector notified police.

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

AP-CS-06-14-09 0048EDT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Obverse and Reverse view of the Ice House Cover bearing a Lincoln stamp, posted to India in 1873. Sold for $431,250 by Robert A. Siegel Galleries. Image courtesy Robert A. Siegel Galleries.
Obverse and Reverse view of the Ice House Cover bearing a Lincoln stamp, posted to India in 1873. Sold for $431,250 by Robert A. Siegel Galleries. Image courtesy Robert A. Siegel Galleries.

Auction disperses car museum’s collection

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) – A 1978 Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace car with only 7.8 miles on the odometer and a 1911 Model T light delivery truck described as “Mr. Pedro’s Pie Wagon” were put up for auction Saturday at Shreveport’s Antique & Classic Car Museum. But bids never reached the unannounced minimum prices for the Model T truck or the Corvette, so they were not sold.

Everything in the museum was for sale, from a 1926 Essex Super 6 to a one-horse open sleigh made in 1899, and the life-size model horse that
posed in front of it.

The Essex brought $6,300, a 1930 Model A truck $4,250 and a  1970 Cadillac DeVille with a gold paint job $3,300. The sleigh sold for $750, and the horse statue for $650.

Founder Francene Miller announced in May that the museum was closing.

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

AP-CS-06-06-09 1433EDT

Midrange heats up, high end goes higher at Morphy’s sale, May 28-30

Pre-1900 reverse-on-glass oval corner sign advertising Yuengling's brewery of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $6,600.
Pre-1900 reverse-on-glass oval corner sign advertising Yuengling's brewery of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $6,600.
Pre-1900 reverse-on-glass oval corner sign advertising Yuengling’s brewery of Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Sold through LiveAuctioneers.com for $6,600.

DENVER, Pa. (ACNI) – While the finest examples in each category brought predictably high prices, it was the reawakening of the middle range that spurred the most discussion at Dan Morphy Auctions’ $1.3 million Spring Sale. The May 28-30 event showed strength at all levels, said auction company owner Dan Morphy, even in areas that had cooled in recent months.

“I was talking to our antique advertising specialist Gary Metz, and with Don Heim, who’s an extremely knowledgeable dealer/collector, and we all agreed that a lot of the middle to high-range material brought very good prices,” said Morphy. “Some of the hand-painted German tin toys were only graded 6.5, but they had a fantastic following and sold for excellent prices. There was a collection of toy snails that contained a Lehmann production that a lot of German collectors wanted. It sold for $3,700 (15% buyer’s premium included), which was just amazing.”

European bidders were especially active in the sale via the Internet, Morphy said. “Virtually all of the German bidders for the toys were online. In all, we had more than 1,000 registered Internet bidders.” A total of 401 lots sold through LiveAuctioneers.

Pressed-steel toys, which seemed to have slowed down in the marketplace, showed plenty of muscle in the sale’s Friday session. “Some collectors had said that there was too much pressed steel on the market and that it had gone soft, but that’s not what we saw. We had more than 100 people in the audience for the pressed-steel and pedal-car portion of the sale,” Morphy said. “Some of them had driven long distances, from Wisconsin and Missouri, and some pulled up with trailers. The person who bought the most pressed steel was still packing up his purchases on Saturday morning.”

The top pedal-car lot among the 175 examples offered from a single-owner collection was a slick 1930s Cadillac tandem model made by American National of Toledo, Ohio. Sporting a rumble seat for additional passenger, the impeccably restored 40-inch-long luxury car breezed past its $1,000-$1,200 estimate to apply the brakes at $9,360.

Toys with an animal theme proved very popular. In addition to the aforementioned snails, the single-owner collection included turtles, fish, snakes and frogs. A papier-mache ball-toss amusement game comprised of a 19-inch-tall open-mouthed frog on a wheeled platform, complete with painted-wood balls, easily surpassed its $2,000-$4,000 estimate to settle at $6,300.

Kyser & Rex was the brand of choice in the cast-iron banks category. A still bank shaped like an apple on a branch, in near-mint-plus condition, took a bite out of its $1,500-$2,000 estimate, closing at $3,200 – a record auction price for the form. An Internet bidder prevailed on the Kyser & Rex Organ Grinder and Bear mechanical bank, which sold together with its original box for an above-estimate price of $4,800.

The acclaimed antique paper doll collection of the late Phyllis Grindle drew collector attention from all corners of the United States and Europe. Leading the approximately 200 lots in this specialty grouping was an extremely rare circa-1850s boxed set known as “The Boy & His Horse.” With four reversible mounts and six interchangeable riders, the coveted set in near-mint condition realized $4,600 against an estimate of $2,500-$3,000. In the doll section, a Schmitt et Fils 12-inch bébé with closed mouth and blue paperweight eyes fared best, also making $4,600.

Antique advertising put in a powerful performance, with an extremely rare Dilling’s Old Fashioned Butter Scotch penny vending machine topping the group. Featuring bright red and yellow advertising on its front and porcelain sides, and marked with an 1899 patent, the machine produced the goods at $15,500 against hopes of $6,000-$9,000.

Bidding on an extremely colorful, oak-framed cardboard Union Leader Cut Plug Tobacco sign issued in 1899 was competitive to the end. “We had five phone bidders after the piece,” said Morphy. The winner paid $4,600.

A pre-1900 reverse-on-glass oval corner sign advertising beer, porter and ale from America’s oldest brewery, Yuengling’s of Pottsville, Pa., included its original fluted metal framework, trim and wood corner bracket. It sold to a LiveAuctioneers bidder for $6,600. Other important lots that sold through LiveAuctioneers included an antique Kyser & Rex mechanical bank known as Organ Grinder with Bear, $4,800; and a framed emblem from an iconic caped suit worn by actor George Reeves in the 1950s TV series Superman, $5,100.

Halloween collectors entered the advertising arena to vie for a particularly appealing None Such Mincemeat lantern. Decorated with images of a jack-o-lantern, American Flag and the None Such Soup Lady, it retained its original insert that can be turned to reflect light. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, it was a treat without the tricks at $5,200.

A special highlight of the sale was the 60-piece Bob Miller occupational shaving mug collection. The highest-achieving entry was the boxing-themed personal shaving mug of Charles Hitte, a celebrated turn of the 20th century pugilist from Albany, N.Y., who died tragically in 1905 after becoming involved in an argument outside a hotel. The Hitte shaving mug sold within its estimate range for a solid $7,500.

Dan Morphy Auctions will conduct its Summer Sale at the Adamstown Antique Gallery in Denver (Adamstown), Pa., Aug. 13-15, 2009. Watch for the fully illustrated catalog online and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Occupational shaving mug that belonged to American boxer Charles Hitte, who died in 1905 at age 40. Featured in The Ring, the world's foremost boxing and wrestling magazine, in the 1960s. $7,500.


Occupational shaving mug that belonged to American boxer Charles Hitte, who died in 1905 at age 40. Featured in The Ring, the world’s foremost boxing and wrestling magazine, in the 1960s. $7,500.


None Such Mince Meat advertising lantern, 16 inches tall, includes four decorative glass panels. $5,200.


None Such Mince Meat advertising lantern, 16 inches tall, includes four decorative glass panels. $5,200.


Very rare Dilling's Butter Scotch 1-cent candy dispenser, patented July 25, 1899. Includes key and weights. $15,500.
Very rare Dilling’s Butter Scotch 1-cent candy dispenser, patented July 25, 1899. Includes key and weights. $15,500.
1930s Cadillac tandem pedal car made by American National of Toledo, Ohio. $9,360.
1930s Cadillac tandem pedal car made by American National of Toledo, Ohio. $9,360.
Papier-mache frog ball-toss game on wheeled platform, with original painted-wood balls. $6,300.
Papier-mache frog ball-toss game on wheeled platform, with original painted-wood balls. $6,300.
Kyser & Rex painted cast-iron still bank depicting an apple on a branch. $3,200.
Kyser & Rex painted cast-iron still bank depicting an apple on a branch. $3,200.
Watling 25-Cent Cherry Rol-a-Top slot machine, 26 inches tall. $5,500.
Watling 25-Cent Cherry Rol-a-Top slot machine, 26 inches tall. $5,500.
Rare circa-1850s boxed set of paper dolls known as "The Boy & His Horse." Provenance: Phyllis Grindle Collection. $4,600.
Rare circa-1850s boxed set of paper dolls known as "The Boy & His Horse." Provenance: Phyllis Grindle Collection. $4,600.
Oak-framed cardboard Union Leader Cut Plug Tobacco sign issued in 1899. $4,600.
Oak-framed cardboard Union Leader Cut Plug Tobacco sign issued in 1899. $4,600.

Brunk Auctions sells esteemed collection of Georgia antiques

Arie Meaders, matriarch of the White County, Georgia, pottery dynasty created this 8-inch pottery owl, which sold for $16,100. Also by Arie Meaders was an 8 1/4-inch bluebird ($6,440) and a stoneware lidded canister ($3,910). Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Arie Meaders, matriarch of the White County, Georgia, pottery dynasty created this 8-inch pottery owl, which sold for  $16,100. Also by Arie Meaders was an 8 1/4-inch bluebird ($6,440) and a stoneware lidded canister ($3,910). Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Arie Meaders, matriarch of the White County, Georgia, pottery dynasty created this 8-inch pottery owl, which sold for $16,100. Also by Arie Meaders was an 8 1/4-inch bluebird ($6,440) and a stoneware lidded canister ($3,910). Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – It was ironic that Georgians had to travel to North Carolina for a sale of their prized 18th-century country antiques. Brunk Auctions welcomed the delegation of at least 125 Peach State collectors and dealers with a two-day symposium on Georgia antiquities and a sneak preview of the May 30 auction. The 728 lots encompassed one of the finest collections of Georgia furniture, pottery, silver, watercolors and books ever assembled. The auction grossed $1.5 million.

For more than 40 years, Florence and Bill Griffin, both now deceased, traveled their native Georgia searching for primitive, unadorned furniture made from native woods. Bill, a successful real estate attorney, and Florence, a horticulturist and preservationist, created a collection so impressive that it formed the bulk of a major exhibition at the Atlanta History Center in 1983. Twenty-two of the 126 artifacts in Neat Pieces – The Plain Style Furniture of 19th Century Georgia were on the block.   

Deanne Levison, an Atlanta antique dealer and friend of the Griffins, was one of the most successful bidders. She returned to Atlanta – and to her clients – with at least 20 lots. She weathered heavy in-house competition to capture the sale’s top lot, a walnut 1810-1830 Georgia cellaret or liquor stand that William Griffin had bought by answering an ad in The Atlanta Constitution. Levison’s last bid was $120,750 (selling prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium). Bill Griffin noted that the stand descended in the family of James Means, a pioneer settler in Upson County. When the Griffins removed the cabinet from the home, the found Confederate currency strapped to the bottom of the case.

Levison also purchased another Upson County piece, an 1840-1860 paneled sugar box in poplar and yellow pine for $13,800 (est. $5,000-$7,000) and a John Abbot watercolor of a summer sparrow for $9,200.

Born in Great Britain, John Abbot immigrated to Georgia in 1776 and was one of the first to study the flora and fauna of the Savannah River Valley. His 1797 book on Georgia insects in two volumes sold for $57,500. His watercolor of a painted bunting sold to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts for $20,700. The painted bunting, which measured 16 1/8 inches by 11 7/8 inches, was the top lot among the seven Abbot watercolors in the sale. MESDA, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia, further benefited from the Griffin’s keen eye and passion for documentation.

MESDA bought a grain-painted single-case corner cupboard originally in the Augustus Dozier family of White Oak Plantation in Oglethorpe County for $11,500. The corner cupboard is destined for MESDA’s Georgia Room, a furnished setting that Florence and Bill Griffin helped establish.

The delegation from the Georgia Museum of Art was delighted with their purchases of the portraits of Robert Ransome Billups and his wife, Elizabeth Ware Fullwood Billups, by Edwin B. Smith (active 1815-1832). The circa 1827 portraits were displayed for years in the Eagle Tavern in Watkinsville, Ga. The 30-by-31 1/8-inch oil on canvas portrait of Robert sold for $92,000. The smaller portrait of Elizabeth, 30 1/8 by 231/8 inches, sold for $41,400.

There were 14 Georgia huntboards or “slabs” in the sale. No one recalled a sale with more. Many were truly neat and plain with thick sides and drawers. The top lot among the collection was a fine Georgia river birch huntboard with its original locks from Oglethorpe County, 1820-1840. It brought $29,900. Bill Griffin purchased the huntboard in 1980 and had documented its history back to the great-great-grandfather of Mrs. E.G. McCannon.

The Griffins were avid collectors of 19th- and 20th-century Georgia and South Carolina pottery. At the presale symposium John Burrison, author of Brothers in Clay: The Story of Georgia Folk Pottery, explained that slaves were potters in South Carolina, but not Georgia. Indeed it was the 16 1/4-inch pot attributed to Dave the slave potter of the Edgefield District of South Carolina that led all others. The dated 1851 jar, with a horseshoe mark and the initials “LM” for Lewis Miles, sold for $19,550. The top piece of Georgia pottery was an 8-inch brown and blue glazed owl from the skilled hands of Arie Meaders (1897-1989) that sold for $16,100.

The first published map of Georgia was contained in Reasons for Establishing the Colony of Georgia … , a book published in 1733 by Benjamin Martyn.  Rebound in red half leather, it was the top book at $4,370.

Brunk Auctions is located at 117 Tunnel Road, Asheville, N.C. For more information on upcoming sales visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


After an opening bid of $30,000, this 1810-1830 Georgia walnut cellaret or liquor stand reached last call at $120,750. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
After an opening bid of $30,000, this 1810-1830 Georgia walnut cellaret or liquor stand reached last call at $120,750. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Of the John Abbot watercolors in the sale, Brunk Auctions speculated that the majestic bald eagle would be the top lot (est. $25,000-$40,000). Instead it was the painted bunting that flew to victory. The eagle sold for $17,250; the painted bunting for $20,700. All seven paintings - bald eagle, sparrow hawk, canvasback duck, bunting, summer sparrow, partridge and woodcock - were 16 1/8 inches by 11 7/8 inches and framed. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Of the John Abbot watercolors in the sale, Brunk Auctions speculated that the majestic bald eagle would be the top lot (est. $25,000-$40,000). Instead it was the painted bunting that flew to victory. The eagle sold for $17,250; the painted bunting for $20,700. All seven paintings – bald eagle, sparrow hawk, canvasback duck, bunting, summer sparrow, partridge and woodcock – were 16 1/8 inches by 11 7/8 inches and framed. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
This 1820-1840 Georgia huntboard is the right height, 47 ½ inches, and has the spindly legs adored by collectors. It was by far the most elegant of the 14 huntboards in the sale. Opening bid was $18,000 on a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. It sold for $29,900. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
This 1820-1840 Georgia huntboard is the right height, 47 ½ inches, and has the spindly legs adored by collectors. It was by far the most elegant of the 14 huntboards in the sale. Opening bid was $18,000 on a $10,000-$15,000 estimate. It sold for $29,900. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Robert Ransome Billups was killed by Indians in 1836. His portrait by Edwin B. Smith hung in the family-owned Eagle Tavern, near Athens, Ga., for years. Bidding began at $20,000 and escalated to $80,000 ($92,000 with buyer's premium). Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.
Robert Ransome Billups was killed by Indians in 1836. His portrait by Edwin B. Smith hung in the family-owned Eagle Tavern, near Athens, Ga., for years. Bidding began at $20,000 and escalated to $80,000 ($92,000 with buyer’s premium). Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Battle royale over rare Britains figures in Old Toy Soldier May 16 auction

PITTSBURGH – Bidders called up the heavy artillery during Old Toy Soldier Auctions’ May 16 absentee and Internet auction, spending a total of $169,900 and claiming 99.9 percent of the lots offered. All prices quoted include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.

“Like a lot of auction houses, we were nervous in the current economic climate, but I thought the result was terrific,” said OTSA’s owner, Ray Haradin. “There were 677 lots, and I had expected it to gross $150,000 on the high end. It went almost $20,000 higher.”

Haradin attributed the auction’s success to the ongoing demand in the marketplace for toy soldiers and figures made by Britains. “They have the biggest collector base and still carry the day,” Haradin said.
Continue reading

Rare Hanukkah lamp hits $314,000 at Skinner

Synagogue Hanukkah lamps of Eastern Europe are characterized by bold scrollwork and vines, birds and animals, such as herons, squirrels and dolphins. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.
Synagogue Hanukkah lamps of Eastern Europe are characterized by bold scrollwork and vines, birds and animals, such as herons, squirrels and dolphins. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.
Synagogue Hanukkah lamps of Eastern Europe are characterized by bold scrollwork and vines, birds and animals, such as herons, squirrels and dolphins. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.

BOSTON – Led by the sale of an important Hanukkah lamp, Skinner’s auction of antique and artisan Judaica on May 21 grossed more than $1.2 million, triple the presale estimate. LiveAuctioneers.com provided live Internet bidding.

The top object in the 200-lot sale was a rare silver and silver gilt synagogue ark-form Hanukkah lamp, originating in Brody (Galicia), and dated 1787. Auctioned for $314,000 (including buyer’s premium), against a presale estimate of $60,000-$80,000, this lot and 50 others in the auction were formerly in the Salomon collection, and not seen in the marketplace since sold at auction at the Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, in 1949. From the late 1920s through the 1940s the lamp was illustrated in numerous books, publications and articles.

“The success of this lot demonstrates that exceptional and rare material presented at auction finds a very strong bidding audience in any economy, said Kerry Shrives, Skinner’s director of Fine Judaica, “but this is especially true in more turbulent times as people turn to tangibles as a hedge against uncertain financial markets.” Shrives added, “Collectors are always in search of material that is fresh-to-the-marketplace and has great provenance. The robust prices overall at this auction reflect that sentiment.”

Other lots that brought big prices include: a Russian silver temple-form Hanukkah lamp from Kiev estimated at $10,000-$15,000, but sold for $189,600; a Polish silver Hanukkah lamp from the early 19th century estimated at $12,000-$18,000, went for $142,200; and a Polish Torah crown, probably circa 1840, sold for $65,175, well over its $10,000-$15,000 estimate.

Broadly described as the material culture of the Jewish people, Judaica objects have cultural or religious significance, whether made for the marketplace or for the synagogue.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Eight dolphin-form oil lamps line a lower shelf of the synagogue ark-form Hanukkah lamp. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.
Eight dolphin-form oil lamps line a lower shelf of the synagogue ark-form Hanukkah lamp. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.
The celebrated Hanukkah lamp is dated 1787 and is also marked with a circa 1809-1810 duty stamp. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.
The celebrated Hanukkah lamp is dated 1787 and is also marked with a circa 1809-1810 duty stamp. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Skinner Inc.