BEVERLY, Mass. – Kaminski Auctions’ sale on Sunday, July 21, features the lifetime collection of Gretta Scharf of Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. The auction includes her extraordinary collection of carved carousel horses and animals, Tiffany Atelier Le Tallec Cirque Chinois china, as well as, Chinese porcelain, fine art, jewelry and furniture. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.
The carved carousel animals include works from such master carvers as Marcus Charles Illions, Charles Carmel, Charles I.D. Loof and Daniel Muller. The featured lot is an early 20th century Marcus Charles Illions carved carousel camel (above).
Marcus Charles Illions was a Lithuanian-born master carver of wooden carousel horses and other figures. He lived in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, where he started his firm, M.C. Illions and Sons Carousel Works. His five children all worked in the business from a young age. At one time, over 10 carousels in the Coney Island section of New York City featured M.C. Illions and Sons carousel carvings. The New York Times once referred to him as “the Michelangelo of carousel carvers.”
Scharf purchased the exquisite camel carousel at Guernsey’s of New York City on June 26, 1993, for $10,000. Guernsey’s auction catalog described the camel on page 99, as, “M.C. Illions, camel, stripped, Sauer’s Kiddieland, Schererville, Indiana. A large and rare ‘Ship of the Desert.’” The lot measures 52 inches high by 75 inches in length and is offered together with a copy of the original receipt and catalog description. It is estimated to bring $8,000-$12,000.
Also offered is a Charles Carmel carved carousel jumper horse with a round jeweled saddle and marble eyes, purchased at the Redbug Workshop, Berkeley, California, in 1979 for $2,400. The jumping horse (below) on its stand measures 58 inches high and approximately 53 inches in length. Together with a copy of the original receipt, and shipping invoice it is offered at $3,000-$5,000.
From the German master carver and builder of hand-carved carousels and amusement rides, Charles I.D. Looff, is a rare early 20th-century carved carousel giraffe with a curved saddle and marble eyes. Scharf purchased it in the late 1970s for $13,000. The lot is offered with a copy of the original handwritten receipt.
There is also an early 20th century Charles Looff carved carousel jumping horse, which features a long head, flared nostrils and saddle with jeweled decoration. It was also purchased at the Redbug Workshop, Berkeley, California, in 1979 for $4,600.
The fifth carousel carving is an early 20th-century Daniel Muller carousel jumper. Muller trained formally as an artist at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His sculptures were realistic, with incredible attention to fine detail and highly sought after by collectors.
The circus theme continues with a Tiffany Atelier Le Tallec Cirque Chinois china service. Designed by Camille Le Tallec (French, 1906-1991) for Tiffany & Co., this hand-painted French china in the Cirque Chinois pattern includes 31 pieces in total. All pieces bear the inscription on the base ‘Tiffany & Co. private stock, hand-painted, made in France,” along with the Atelier Le Tallec marks.
Asian highlights include a Chinese carved jade tray (below) and a pair of Chinese blue and white Guangxu bowls.
Silver highlights include an International sterling tea service in the Royal Danish pattern and a Towle Old Masters sterling silver flatware service for 12.