Much more than the basic Lionel
VINELAND, N.J. – The auction was titled Basics, but there was nothing routine about the model train that took the top spot at Bertoia Auction’s August 10-11 sale. This version of the classic pre-war Lionel 763E Hudson powered to a hammer price of $2,750 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500. As always, condition was the telling factor.
The O gauge locomotive and oil tender, issued by the Lionel Corporation circa 1937-42 at a time when the firm was setting new standards for realism in model trains, were both boxed examples and came on a factory-issue 14in oak display stand. The tender was deemed “excellent” and the locomotive “pristine.” The winning bidder came via LiveAuctioneers.
The 763E commands a premium above most Lionel locomotives. Three variants are known: the first, as shown here, in gunmetal gray with a sheet metal oil tender; another in black and a rarity with a die cast coal tender. In 1991, one of the few known mint and boxed versions sold for a mighty $17,500.
Regency globe goes Down Under
COPAKE, N.Y. – An Australian bidder secured this early 19th-century 2ft 4in Bardin terrestrial library globe at Copake Auction’s July 29 estate sale in upstate New York. A textbook example of a still-popular late Georgian form, the papers titled The New British Terrestrial Globe are dated 1799 and include reference to the newly chartered waters of “New Holland” and “Van Dieman’s Land” (later known as Australia and Tasmania).
The cartouche names both the well-known globe maker W. & J.M. Bardin and Sir Joseph Banks, the botanist who sailed with James Cook on the Endeavour (1768-1771). For obvious reasons, these globes carry a particular resonance in Australia. This one, with a $800-$1,200 estimate, finished at $15,000.
Blink and you’ll miss it
VAN NUYS, Calif. — Few things are more satisfying than a perfect union of art and science. Harold “Doc” Edgerton understood that fact and made the most of it. The MIT professor (1903-1990) had many achievements to his credit, including work with Jacques Cousteau that contributed to the creation of side-scan solar technology, which made it easier to spot shipwrecks on the ocean floor. But he will always, and rightly, be best known for his strobe photography, which captured images of phenomena that happen too fast for the eye to see.
In 1985, Edgerton released a limited edition portfolio with the straightforward title of Ten Dye Transfer Photographs. It included some of his most famous images, such as Milk Drop Coronet, taken in 1957 and showing the collision of a drop of milk with a red surface, yielding a shape that looks like an alabaster crown; and Cutting the Card Quickly!, shot in 1964 and capturing the instant a bullet bisects a Jack of Diamonds playing card.
In its debut sale of photographs on August 2, Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA) offered a complete Edgerton Ten Dye Transfer Photographs portfolio, number 83 of 150, each image signed to the verso by him, with an estimate of $10,000-$15,000. It hammered for $19,000.
Prosperous result for Kangxi vase
NEW HYDE PARK, N.Y. – A Kangxi period (1662-1722) blue and white porcelain vase from a private Long Island collection sold to a bidder via LiveAuctioneers for $23,040 at Topwells’ auction on July 15. The textbook 18in-high baluster form was decorated with alternating panels of auspicious imagery – deer in landscapes symbolizing longevity and prosperity and items from the Hundred Precious Objects. Like most Kangxi porcelain, it lacked a reign mark and instead used an underglaze double blue ring with a pictogram of an Artemesia leaf.