Barbie’s rich resume built over 60 years

This Barbie No. 2, with box, sold for $6,325 at a recent Theriault’s auction in Chicago. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

CLEVELAND – Barbie turned 60 on March 9.

Barbie creator Ruth Handler, and husband, Elliot Handler, founded Mattel Creations in 1945. She was inspired to design the Barbie doll after watching her daughter play with paper dolls. Most dolls made for children were baby dolls, not fashion models. The first Barbie was introduced at the American International Toy Fair in New York on March 9, 1959. This date is considered her official birthday.

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Daniel Craig views making of new 007 Omega watch

Actor Daniel Craig recently toured the Omega factory in Villeret Switzerland. Image courtesy of Omega

Actor Daniel Craig recently toured the Omega factory in Villeret Switzerland. Image courtesy of Omega

BIEL/BIENNE, Switzerland – Actor Daniel Craig has made a special visit to the heart of the Swiss watchmaking industry for the inauguration of the Omega factory in Villeret.

Craig, who reprises his role as James Bond in SPECTRE, the 24th Bond adventure, was given a guided tour, as well as exclusive access to the factory’s assembly line. During the visit he was also shown production of the new Omega Seamaster 300 “SPECTRE” Limited Edition.

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Terry Kovel set this table with a beautifully traditional Thanksgiving theme. The focal point is Spode china in the 'Floral' pattern, which was introduced in the 1830s. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

From Kovels: Great tips on setting a Thanksgiving table

Terry Kovel set this table with a beautifully traditional Thanksgiving theme. The focal point is Spode china in the 'Floral' pattern, which was introduced in the 1830s. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

Terry Kovel set this table with a beautifully traditional Thanksgiving theme. The focal point is Spode china in the ‘Floral’ pattern, which was introduced in the 1830s. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

BEACHWOOD, Ohio – Collectors who are setting a table for Thanksgiving can look to Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel for inspiration. Their plate, glassware and serving pieces reflect their different collecting styles (and ages) and here are their choices.

Terry Kovel’s table is traditional. It starts with blue and white porcelain plates in the Floral pattern introduced by Spode in the 1830s. The sterling silver flatware was a wedding gift to a family member just after World War I. The pattern is Trianon. Pieces are marked “I.S. & Co.,” the mark of the International Silver Co., and the patent date, 1921. The water goblet is pressed glass from the 1880s. The silver-plated figural napkin ring, made about 1880, is decorated with Japanese fans. Terry bought the sterling silver open salt with a cobalt blue glass liner while on her honeymoon. It was made in England in the 1830s. She paired it with a Victorian silver salt spoon and a Georgian-style pepper shaker. Serving pieces include a Victorian silver ladle and a Georgian long-handle stuffing spoon, both with English hallmarks, a hefty Victorian silver cold meat fork, and a silver fruit spoon made in the early 1800s that was engraved and gold washed during the Victorian era. The gravy dish, cover and underplate are cobalt blue porcelain decorated with gold chinoiserie and a bamboo-shaped handle. It was made by the Ott & Brewer Co., which operated Trenton, N.J., from 1871 to 1892. Terry also uses a cut glass relish dish from the Victorian American Brilliant Period.

Kim Kovel favors a midcentury tablescape. The dinnerware was designed by Eva Zeisel (1906–2011) for Hall China Co. The organic Tomorrow’s Classic set of shapes is one of Zeisel’s most popular. The plate pattern is Dawn, 1952, and the butter dish and vase are Fantasy, 1952–57. Water goblets are Block Crystal’s Watercolor-Green pattern from 1984. Classic Greek and Roman architecture is reflected in Kim’s stainless steel flatware with handles in the shapes of flattened columns—Doric capitals for spoons, Ionic for knives and Corinthian for forks. They were designed in 1992 by architect Robert Venturi for SwidPowell (a studio founded in 1982 that commissions international architects to design tabletop pieces) and made by Reed & Barton Co. Also reflecting columns are the candlesticks, designed by Ettore Sottsass (1917–2007) for Baccarat. They’re called Bougeoir Nusku from Baccarat’s 2002 Rencontre Collection. The backdrop is a tablecloth woven in the 1950s.

Antiques enthusiasts can add one-of-a kind freshness to their tables with unexpected pairings of new, vintage and old accessories.

Terry Kovel is America’s foremost authority on antiques and collectibles. She is the well-known columnist and author of more than 100 books on antiques and collecting. With her daughter, Kim Kovel, she co-authors the best-selling annual “Kovels Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide.” Both Terry and Kim are collectors.

About Kovels.com:

Kovels.com, created by Terry Kovel and Kim Kovel, provides collectors and researchers with up-to-date and accurate information on antiques and collectibles. Kovels’ Antiques was founded in 1953 by Terry Kovel and her late husband, Ralph. Since then, Kovels’ has published some of America’s most popular books and articles about antiques, including the best-selling “Kovels’ Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide.” The brand new 2015 edition is now available in bookstores and in the online shop at Kovels.com. Ralph and Terry were featured in three TV series about antiques and collectibles, The most recent was “Flea Market Finds with the Kovels” on the HGTV cable channel. The Kovels’ website, online since 1998, offers 900,000 free prices and includes a free weekly email, “Kovels Komments.” It give readers a bird’s-eye view of the market through the latest news, auction reports, a Marks Dictionary, readers’ questions with Kovels’ answers and much more.

Visit Kovels online at www.kovels.com

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Terry Kovel set this table with a beautifully traditional Thanksgiving theme. The focal point is Spode china in the 'Floral' pattern, which was introduced in the 1830s. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

Terry Kovel set this table with a beautifully traditional Thanksgiving theme. The focal point is Spode china in the ‘Floral’ pattern, which was introduced in the 1830s. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

Reflecting her love of modern design, Kim Kovel created this elegant midcentury tablescape using dinnerware designed by Eva Zeisel for Hall China Co. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

Reflecting her love of modern design, Kim Kovel created this elegant midcentury tablescape using dinnerware designed by Eva Zeisel for Hall China Co. Image courtesy of Kovels.com

Large (18 x 23in) Copeland Spode flow blue turkey platter with hand-colored decoration, English, sold for $989 on Feb. 7, 2010 at Myers Fine Art. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Myers Fine Art

Large (18 x 23in) Copeland Spode flow blue turkey platter with hand-colored decoration, English, sold for $989 on Feb. 7, 2010 at Myers Fine Art. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Myers Fine Art

Elite Works Limoges French porcelain game service, 20 pcs including large scalloped platter, 11 dinner plates and eight side dishes, manuf. 1920-1932. Sold via LiveAuctioneers for $1,320 in Jeffrey S. Evans' Oct. 1, 2013 auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Jeffrey S. Evans

Elite Works Limoges French porcelain game service, 20 pcs including large scalloped platter, 11 dinner plates and eight side dishes, manuf. 1920-1932. Sold via LiveAuctioneers for $1,320 in Jeffrey S. Evans’ Oct. 1, 2013 auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Jeffrey S. Evans

Doulton Watteau flow blue turkey platter (21 x 17in) with six matching plates. Sold for $1,334 by Strawser Auctions on May 24, 2012. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Strawser Auctions

Doulton Watteau flow blue turkey platter (21 x 17in) with six matching plates. Sold for $1,334 by Strawser Auctions on May 24, 2012. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Strawser Auctions

Wheeling Pottery 'La Belle' flow blue turkey platter and 12 plates, circa 1893-1910. Sold for $1,150 at Burchard Galleries' Jan 22, 2006 auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Burchard Galleries.

Wheeling Pottery ‘La Belle’ flow blue turkey platter and 12 plates, circa 1893-1910. Sold for $1,150 at Burchard Galleries’ Jan 22, 2006 auction. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and Burchard Galleries.

'All things come to him who waits — on himself.' This postcard offers up sound advice (with maybe a hint of sarcasm) from a century ago.

Old postcards still captivate, as one new collector explains

 'All things come to him who waits — on himself.' This postcard offers up sound advice (with maybe a hint of sarcasm) from a century ago.

‘All things come to him who waits — on himself.’ This postcard offers up sound advice (with maybe a hint of sarcasm) from a century ago.

IOLA, Wis. – During National Postcard Week 2014, I was drawn to several box lots of postcards in an online Fusco Auction catalog. I thought the lots had ample potential for launching a collection and inspiring me to learn more about postcards and report on the findings through Antique Trader – the publication where I serve as print editor. I made inquiries on the shipping costs and buying process before bidding; Fusco was timely in their replies to my questions. I bid on two lots via LiveAuctioneers, hoping I would win at least one of them.

I ended up winning the lot of “450-500 Sleeved Mixed World & Theme Postcards.” Participating was simple and exciting; closing the deal with Fusco was a breeze, too. I paid for my lot ($45 plus shipping, in case you were wondering) and they shipped it to me. The lot was soundly packaged and arrived within a couple of days of payment. It couldn’t have been any easier, and I couldn’t have been happier. (Unless I had won the second lot, too, of course.)

Soon after, I was browsing eBay listings and found another lot that I couldn’t help but bid on. This time, it was “Huge US, Holiday & Topical Antique Postcard Lot 600+ Pieces.” I thought it would round out my newly acquired mixed world and theme postcard collection, giving me many topics to explore and write about. (That the lot was located in my home state of Wisconsin, and hence wouldn’t take long to deliver, was an added bonus.) I set my limit and was outbid in short order. I then set another maximum and bid and was outbid again. Then I set another limit (clearly, I don’t know my limits) and bid yet again. The fourth time I set my maximum bid, it was finally enough. I won the lot. At just over $76 for more than 600 postcards, I figured it was a lot of entertainment and education for less than 15 cents per postcard. I paid the seller (via PayPal, of course) and received my purchase in short order.

Though the postcards were securely packed in a USPS Priority Mail box, I was not thrilled about the cards being tightly packaged in a bread bag, effectively rounding, creasing and chipping many of the corners. But overall it balances out to a lot of “edutainment” for a relatively small investment.

After winning just two auction lots, paying roughly $125 for more than 1,000 postcards, I’m excited on the prospect of diving in and sharing what I find.

I don’t expect to find any cards that are worth more than $5 apiece. Generally speaking, postcards in large box lots – like any collectible in large lots – tend to be well-handled. By holding onto realistic expectations, I keep myself from being disappointed and may have some pleasant surprises. To quote Allentown, Pa., bottle digger Rick Weiner: “I’m not in it for the money; I’m in it for the history.”

If you’re looking to start a postcard collection the same way I did, through box lots, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on the description. (The better the description, the higher the bids.) However, there have been cases where lots slip through for a fraction of their auction estimates.

Because of my new interest in collecting postcards, I decided to launch a new column called “Postcard Ponderings.” I don’t aspire to replace Barbara Andrews, a dear friend who wrote about postcards for many years in Antique Trader – she is irreplaceable. Instead, my goal is to spark discussions of the values of postcard collecting – and not just in a monetary sense.

Postcards reflect art, culture, history, geography, humor, technology – the subjects are limitless. By exploring the postcard topics and their historical context, the postage, postmarks and messages, as well as home display ideas, an interesting journey lies ahead. I hope you’ll join me in the exploration by following my new column through Auction Central News.

Karen Knapstein is Print Editor for Antique Trader. A lifelong collector and student of antiques, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Joe, and daughter, Faye. She can be reached at karen.knapstein@fwmedia.com.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


 'All things come to him who waits — on himself.' This postcard offers up sound advice (with maybe a hint of sarcasm) from a century ago.

‘All things come to him who waits — on himself.’ This postcard offers up sound advice (with maybe a hint of sarcasm) from a century ago.

Smile / Awhile / And while you smile / Another / Smiles, / And soon there’s miles / And miles / Of smiles / And life’s worth while / Because you smile. Postcards can’t get much more optimistic than that ... can they?

Smile / Awhile / And while you smile / Another / Smiles, / And soon there’s miles / And miles / Of smiles / And life’s worth while / Because you smile. Postcards can’t get much more optimistic than that … can they?

Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., this historic historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Image by AgnosticPreachersKid. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

AAA selects 11 favorite historic American hotels

Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., this historic historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Image by AgnosticPreachersKid. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., this historic historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Image by AgnosticPreachersKid. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

ORLANDO, Fla. (PRNewswire-USNewswire) – To help travelers connect with our nation’s history, AAA inspectors assembled a list of their favorite historic hotels—structures of notable record or architecture, typically 75 years or older. Artifacts range from an opulent pre-Depression luxury hotel to a flamboyant Old West rail stop to a sprawling mountain resort with a Prohibition speakeasy.

Here are America’s hotel experts’ 11 top picks for evoking an atmosphere of days gone by. Travelers can read about additional AAA Inspectors’ Favorite Historic Hotels on the AAA TravelViews blog, visit AAA’s historic hotels board on Pinterest and find more than 1,500 AAA Approved historic hotel listings on AAA.com

Casa Laguna Inn & Spa, Laguna Beach, Calif.

Mission-style architecture adds charm to this ocean-view inn, situated on a terraced hillside among picturesque gardens. Because there is no elevator, be prepared to climb the stairs to get a full perspective of the property. Each step you take unveils yet another hidden seating area, artistic tile work or lush landscaping accent.

The Driskill, Austin, Texas

Opened in 1886 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1969, the hotel offers a spectacular lobby with inlaid marble floors and magnificent woodwork leading to a grand staircase. From the cattle barons of the Old West to LBJ commandeering the hotel to watch election returns to today’s celebrities, guests enjoy superior service and upscale amenities.

Fitger’s Inn, Duluth, Minn.

This renovated Lake Superior brewery houses a historic hotel, an operating brewery, a brewery museum, shops and several restaurants. Guestrooms reflect the elegance of the brewery’s heydays, each unique in decor and size based on the style of building, many with great views of the lake.

The Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.

Dating from 1913, the Arts and Crafts inspired architecture and interior design are meticulously maintained. The lobby’s floor-to-ceiling stone fireplaces mirror one another across the great hall. Distinguished past guests include the last 10 U.S. presidents, prolific authors and numerous political notables. Patrons enjoy outstanding cuisine, a 40,000-square-foot spa and a magnificent mountain view.

The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tenn.

The stunning 1910 architecture, restored to its grandeur in 2003, marks the building’s exterior and ornate, cathedral-height ceilings in the large open lobby. Impressive marble columns circle the lobby and one-of-a-kind antique furnishings create an environment of pre-Depression prosperity. One area not to miss is the impressive 1930s Art Deco-style men’s room near the restaurant bar. (Women may enter after knocking.)

La Posada Hotel, Winslow, Ariz.

A popular stop on the Santa Fe Railroad, the hotel is just down the street from the “corner in Winslow, Arizona” made famous by the Eagles’ lyrics. Guest attractions include the hotel’s art museum, historical exhibits, architecture, gardens and contemporary southwest cuisine from the Turquoise Room. Restorations that began in 1997 include plans to add a million-dollar garden to fulfill a dream of the original designer, Mary Colter.

Lake Quinault Lodge, Quinault, Wash.

This 1926 hotel where President Franklin D. Roosevelt once dined offers guestrooms with the smaller, sparser furnishings of an era when the idea was to spend time hiking in the rain forest or paddling at sunrise on the glass smooth lake. Guests can curl up next to the lobby’s roaring fire, relax in Adirondack chairs at sunset or casually stroll the rolling lawn.

The Occidental Hotel, Buffalo, Wyo.

The Wild West comes to life with embossed ceilings, mounted animal trophies and antiques. Calamity Jane, Butch Cassidy, Teddy Roosevelt and members of the Hole in the Wall Gang stayed here. Each guestroom features a unique theme. The hotel, a restaurant and saloon featuring the original back bar plus a complex of storefronts comprise a city block.

Omni Mount Washington Hotel, Bretton Woods, N.H.

Among its many historical claims is The Cave, a Prohibition-era speakeasy still operating as a bar and an octagon-shape dining room designed to avoid seating any guest ‘in the corner.’ The property is renowned for hosting the 1944 Bretton Woods Monetary Conference that resulted in the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. From a distance, travelers note the stately structure’s distinctive red roof atop pristine-white stucco masonry and local granite, set against a backdrop of the White Mountains.

Strater Hotel, Durango, Colo.

Steeped in history, this downtown landmark delivers world-class accommodations and hospitality. Employees in period costume add a sense of stepping back in time to your visit. The 93 Victorian-style rooms are filled with walnut antiques and period wallpapers. Western history enthusiasts enjoy the beautiful lobby, lounges and public space. Other offerings include fine dining, nightly live entertainment and live theatre performances.

The Willard InterContinental, Washington, D.C.

Opened in 1901, this time-honored hotel features rich, eye-catching Beaux Arts architecture. It was while staying here that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., put the finishing touches to his “I Have a Dream” speech. In 1968 the hotel closed and fell into disrepair. Demolition was averted by a developer who restored and reopened the hotel in 1986 to provide luxurious accommodations and a high level of personal services.

About AAA Inspections and Historic Hotels

AAA offers the only rating program that conducts comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. And, with far more approved properties than any other rating entity, AAA operates the only rating system covering the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find AAA Diamond Rated establishments across AAA’s online, mobile and printed travel information products.

Hotels classified as historic are typically 75 years or older with historic architecture, design, furnishings, public record or acclaim and at least one of the following: maintains integrity of historical nature, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, designated a National Historic Landmark or located in a National Register Historic District.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., this historic historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Image by AgnosticPreachersKid. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., this historic historic luxury Beaux-Arts hotel designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh. Image by AgnosticPreachersKid. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Driskill Hotel, a Romanesque Revival-style building completed in 1886 in Austin, Texas. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Larry D. Moore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Driskill Hotel, a Romanesque Revival-style building completed in 1886 in Austin, Texas. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Image by Larry D. Moore. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Grove Park Inn, an Arts and Crafts Movement showcase in Asheville, N.C. Image by Jill. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

The Grove Park Inn, an Arts and Crafts Movement showcase in Asheville, N.C. Image by Jill. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Mount Washington Hotel, a National Historic Landmark in Bretton Woods, N.H. Image by rickpilot_2000. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Mount Washington Hotel, a National Historic Landmark in Bretton Woods, N.H. Image by rickpilot_2000. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, undated, chalcedony, gold, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

Faberge exhibition opens at Detroit Institute of Arts

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, undated, chalcedony, gold, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, undated, chalcedony, gold, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

DETROIT — More than 200 precious objects made under the direction of Karl Fabergé provide a glimpse into a bygone era of Russian imperial glory in the exhibition Faberge: The Rise and Fall, Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) now through Jan. 21, 2013. In addition to the array of stunning artworks, the exhibition explores Fabergé’s rise to international fame and the eventual demise of his designer brand, House of Fabergé.

For more than 40 years, the House of Fabergé, led by Karl Fabergé, produced world-renowned luxury objects during one of the most decadent and turbulent eras in modern Russian history. At the height of its success, the company employed more than 1,500 craftsmen and was selling today’s equivalent of $175 million worth of goods per year. The exhibition traces the story of Fabergé’s business savvy, artistic innovations and privileged relationship with the Russian aristocracy, especially the Romanov imperial family.

“Visitors will certainly be fascinated by the quality, craftsmanship and sheer beauty of these exquisite objects,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “Their opulence is a reflection of the lifestyles of the people for whom they were created, and while it’s tempting to just present an exhibition of ‘pretty things,’ we also provide a look at the House of Fabergé’s rise to prominence and how social and political factors led to its downfall.”

Visitors have the rare opportunity to view imperial Russian treasures, including jewel-encrusted parasol handles, an array of enameled frames, a menagerie of animals carved from semi-precious stones, and one-of-a-kind miniature egg pendants. The DIA is privileged to showcase six imperial Easter eggs, of which only 50 survive. Highlights include the Imperial Tsesarevich Egg (1912) and the Peter the Great Egg (1903). These eggs continue to capture popular imagination, both as relics of aristocratic excess and pinnacles of artistic ingenuity.

The DIA’s display will be complemented by thought-provoking text, large-scale photo murals and hands-on activities to help visitors imagine the ways in which such luxury objects would have been hand-crafted in a workshop, viewed in a storefront and used to adorn the interior of the imperial palace. The museum will feature a variety of public programs from lectures and artist demonstrations to rare silent films accompanied by live music.

The exhibition is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Arts. Educational programming is provided by the GM Foundation.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children, $12 per person for groups of 15+, and free for DIA members. Member tickets now available; general public tickets go on sale Sept. 17. Purchase at the DIA Box Office, by phone at 313-833-4005 or at www.dia.org. A $3.50 handling charge applies to nonmember tickets not purchased at the DIA. Tickets are timed and advance purchase is recommended. Final entry is one hour prior to closing.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. NOTE: Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 13, the DIA will be open on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6–17, and free for DIA members and residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

About the Detroit Institute of Arts:

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera’s world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from the City of Detroit and residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, undated, chalcedony, gold, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, undated, chalcedony, gold, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Fedor Afanas'ev, workmaster, Tenth-Anniversary Brooch, 1899–1908, gold, enamel, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Fedor Afanas’ev, workmaster, Tenth-Anniversary Brooch, 1899–1908, gold, enamel, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903, gold, platinum, diamond, ruby, enamel, bronze, sapphire, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903, gold, platinum, diamond, ruby, enamel, bronze, sapphire, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Henrik Wigström, workmaster, Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912, egg: lapis lazuli, gold, diamond; frame: diamond, gold, platinum or silver, lapis lazuli, watercolor, ivory. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Henrik Wigström, workmaster, Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912, egg: lapis lazuli, gold, diamond; frame: diamond, gold, platinum or silver, lapis lazuli, watercolor, ivory. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Julius Rappoport, workmaster, Bratina, undated, silver, gilt, enamel, sapphire, emerald, ruby, garnet, blue topaz, pearl. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Julius Rappoport, workmaster, Bratina, undated, silver, gilt, enamel, sapphire, emerald, ruby, garnet, blue topaz, pearl. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Rabbit Bell Push, 1908–17, silver, ruby. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Rabbit Bell Push, 1908–17, silver, ruby. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Cane Handle, before 1899, gold, enamel, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Mikhail Perkhin, workmaster, Cane Handle, before 1899, gold, enamel, diamond. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Chick, 1899–1908, aventurine quartz, gold, ruby. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Chick, 1899–1908, aventurine quartz, gold, ruby. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Henrik Wigström, workmaster, Vasilii Zuev, miniaturist, Imperial Column Portrait Frame, 1908, gold, diamond, ivory. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Henrik Wigström, workmaster, Vasilii Zuev, miniaturist, Imperial Column Portrait Frame, 1908, gold, diamond, ivory. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Katherine Wetzel. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Frame, undated, varicolored gold, platinum, enamel, ivory, watercolor. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

House of Fabergé, Frame, undated, varicolored gold, platinum, enamel, ivory, watercolor. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt (photo: Travis Fullerton. © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

Paul 'Pash' Pashibin with a rare John Lennon poster. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Auctioneer goes ‘far out’ to score psychedelic rock posters

Paul 'Pash' Pashibin with a rare John Lennon poster. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Paul ‘Pash’ Pashibin with a rare John Lennon poster. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

MINNEAPOLIS – Woodstock was more than 40 years ago, and he wasn’t even there. But Paul Pashibin, or “Pash” as he is known in the industry, talks about it like it was last month.

“Rock is in my blood,” says Pash, a Twin Cities-based auctioneer who will be holding his quarterly rock memorabilia auction on Aug. 11. “I fell off the music merry-go round sometime in the late 1960s and never got back on it,” he continues. “My brothers and sisters, most of whom are older than me, always played music like the Beatles, Procol Harem, Herman’s Hermits and Jefferson Airplane. I grew up with those artists as the soundtrack to my life, when most kids like me were listening to groups like Steve Miller and BTO.”

It’s predictable, then, that Pash would have an affinity to what is known as the psychedelic rock era—the later 1960s and early 1970s. His collection spans into the 2010s, but for the most part, Pash’s ephemera concentrates on that era when posters were bright, colorful and amazingly difficult to read for anyone who was not already high on music, life or a mind-altering substance.

“These poster artists had no computers back then. The typefaces, lettering and keylining were masterful, typically wrapping around images of the musicians or weaving into each other in an almost mechanical engineering pattern. I’m convinced these posters were made for the hippies of the time,” quips Pash. “Most of the older generation really had difficulty reading what the poster was about, or even the venue, dates and times. It was the artists’ way to create a conversation via a printed medium. They were made for hippies, and readable only by hippies.”

Pash points to one of his very first posters that got him into collecting. “It was the Jefferson Airplane Trips Festival poster. They are very hard to find, and I really wanted one. I searched it out and found you could get a limited edition second printing of the product, signed by the original artist. I bought it on the spot.”

With that purchase, he also met the artist, Bob Masse, who was a pioneering force of the original psychedelic art movement and still creates posters for modern day musical groups out of his studio in Canada.

“Bob signed the poster, and I ended up buying many more. He is one of my all-time favorites.”

David Edward Byrd was another famous artist Pash met. Byrd created many iconic posters for Broadway shows like Godspell, Follies and Tommy. It was Byrd’s original Woodstock poster that brought the two together.

“I contacted David and through the years we struck up a conversation. I had always known the story that the Woodstock Festival was moved from Wallkill, N.Y., out to Bethel Woods. Due to the change in venue, two posters were created for Woodstock. The Wallkill version, by David, and the now-famous ‘Dove on Guitar’ by Arnold Skolnik.”

Pash has both, and they are both signed by the original artists. Last month, Pash traveled to the original site of the Woodstock Festival with Byrd and Skolnik. It was a trip he says he’ll never forget.

“Being at the actual site where Jimi Hendrix played the Star Spangled Banner, and where so many artists converged … and being there with these two famous artists … was an amazing dream come true.”

Pash has an amazing collection, but he is also a businessman. He knows the style he likes, and he says he will always be on the lookout for those for his personal collection. But because of his personal trek for psychedelic posters, he comes across many others that he ends up purchasing for his auctions, and he is known to consign a few for sale as well.

“Many times I will come across a rare poster, and they are in such disrepair. It’s sad. Posters were rolled and stuck in corners of garages or damp basements for years. It’s really sad to see what happens to them.”

Just last week he found a rare John Lennon print that he ended up throwing out. Even the poster repair company he uses could do nothing with it—a total loss.

“That just makes the one I do own, that much more valuable,” said Pash.

Participate in Pahibin’s next auction of rock ‘n’ roll art, by visiting:

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/news/catalog_gallery/30042


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Trips Music Festival poster, signed. second printing. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Trips Music Festival poster, signed. second printing. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Pash's Woodstock collection. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Pash’s Woodstock collection. Image courtesy of Paul Pashibin.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Masque. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Picasso ceramics express the artist’s joie de vivre

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Masque. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Masque. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

LONDON – Later this month, Bonhams will hold its first-ever Picasso Editions Sale featuring ceramics, silver and prints by the most celebrated artist of the 20th century. The Sept. 23 auction, to be held at the company’s Knightsbridge gallery in London, offers buyers their choice of $165,000 worth of plates, jugs and dishes decorated with vibrant and joyful designs by one of the 20th century’s most inventive artists.

Picasso’s curiosity for pottery began in the summer of 1946 while on vacation in the South of France. There he met the owners of the Madoura Pottery in the town of Vallauris, Georges and Suzanne Ramie. This was the start of a long-lasting relationship between the artist and the pottery, where Picasso was given free use of their studio and materials in exchange for his allowing the Ramies to make and sell his ceramic editions.

Although Picasso did not thrown his own pieces, he worked in tandem with Jules Agard, who would create a clay vessel and hand the newly molded piece to the Spanish master. Picasso would then twist, stretch, punch and pierce. Echoing his practice in painting, Picasso used not only the traditional potter’s tools, but anything else that came to mind, including the blunt end of a pencil, cardboard and wire netting to press into the not-quite-hardened material.

Three types of editions could then be produced from Picasso’s original design: a replica or faithful copy, the “empreintes originalets” made from press molds, or the “poincon original,” made from stamping the artist’s own linocuts. There editions are certified by a stamp or inscription on the underneath or reverse of the piece, and on some, an edition number within the series also appears.

Picasso’s venture into ceramics can be seen as part of his continuing desire to experiment with different media. He went on to design a huge collection of pottery, including dishes, plaques, jugs and vases. Decorated with playful and energetic motifs such as animals and primitive faces, they “express the joyous, fun-loving side of Picasso’s work” [Georges bloch, Tome III, Catalogue de l’oeuvre grave ceramique 1949-1971, Berne, 1972, p. 7].

Bonhams’ Sept. 23 auction includes two of the 19 silver plates Picasso began designing in the mid 1950s following a meeting with the silversmith Francois Hugo.

Picasso was as prolific in his printmaking as in other areas of his crative ouput, experimenting in such media as etching, drypoint, aquatint and lithography. Bonhams’ sale includes works from three of his most ambitious series, the Vollard Suite, Series 347 and Series 156, both named for the number of works they contain.

Ruth Graham of Bonhams noted: “The forthcoming auction at Bonhams offers an exciting opportunity to collect works by one of the century’s pre-eminent artists. There is always much interest in the work of Picasso, and strong results and continued demand for Picasso’s editions featured in previous auctions, including ceramics, silver and prints, has led to the introduction of this sale dedicated solely to these items.

For additional information on the auction, log on to www.bonhams.com/picassoeditions.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) Bouquet a la pomme, 1956. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973) Bouquet a la pomme, 1956. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Tete de chevre de profil. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Tete de chevre de profil. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Visage de faune tourmente. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Visage de faune tourmente. Image courtesy of Bonhams.

Original Bakelite bangles with newly added Bakelite polka dots. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

Antique dealers go green, display creativity with recycling

Original Bakelite bangles with newly added Bakelite polka dots. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

Original Bakelite bangles with newly added Bakelite polka dots. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

DELAND, Fla. – It has often been often said that the antiques business is the ultimate recycling activity, but several dealers who set up at events organized by Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions have taken the idea to the next level. They are recycling the antiques themselves or at least parts of them into new forms and uses that preserve some vestige of the original antique, yet appeal to modern needs and tastes.

Three such dealers were set up at the Jan. 22-24 edition of the Deland Antique Show at the Volusia County Fairgrounds in Deland, Florida.

Bruce and Vickie Pantii of Breezy Palm Trading Company have a thing about plastic. More specifically they have a thing about Bakelite, the early plastic developed by Belgian chemist Dr. Leo Baekeland in 1907. The Bakelite formula was acquired by American Catalin Corporation in 1927 to produce the phenolic resins that are the basis of the durable plastic.

While Bakelite has many commercial and industrial applications, one of the most popular uses was developed in the 1930s when it was adapted to make costume jewelry. Today, the most popular and most expensive of those articles produced prior to World War II are the carved bangle bracelets and figural pins.

Bruce Pantii said that 10 years ago 90 percent of his sales were vintage items and that his customers were requesting Bakelite bangles with polka dots. Few were available, so he decided to make them. Now 90 per cent of his business is custom-made, signed “wearable art” made of pieces of Bakelite. He starts with a plain vintage Bakelite bangle and inserts polka dots made from Bakelite stock, usually 10-inch tubes originally used as stock to make bangles that he has squirreled away over the last twenty years. These new-style bracelets retail from the low hundreds for standard widths up to $500 for the wider ones. To make a more affordable bracelet, five years ago he began casting bangles from a type of acrylic he calls “Vibrulite.” He decorates the bangles with Bakelite dots or bow ties. These sell in the $150 range. Pantii is selling both the medium and the art by recycling old Bakelite stock.

Want to buy a really junky, old, used-up manual typewriter that no longer works? Neither does anyone else. But Roy and Rhonda Barske of Typewriter Jewelry are probably interested. Twelve years ago they started selling antiques and collectibles but couldn’t sell their inventory of used typewriters so they decided to recycle them. How? By using the letter in the keys. They are especially fond of old Coronas because they have the best fonts. They started by removing the Bakelite or celluloid keys with good fonts and incorporating them into custom made sterling jewelry using custom-made molds. They started with bracelets and have extended the line to include necklaces, earrings, pins, rings, cuff links, money clips, badge holders, keyrings and other commissioned items. Pendants and rings range from $25 to $45. Bangles are $35, and full bracelets with multiple typewriter letter keys are $80 and up. If a customer requests a style or item that is out of stock, Roy will make it within 30 minutes out of extra stock carried to shows. One nice source of business for the Barskes is weddings. They custom make pieces for wedding parties and showers at the request of prospective brides and grooms.

John Atkinson of Boston wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he is working on it, one spoon at a time. Actually, he used forks, too, but skips the knives because of the hollow handles. He converts old silver-plated or sterling flatware into silver jewelry with magnetic clasps. He couples the interesting design patterns on the handle of forks or spoons into a custom made bracelet with a clasp. He started as a finder of matching silver patterns but ended up with boxes of unused or unmatched silver items. He then realized he could turn a spoon handle pattern into a key ring and his customers would always have a sample of the pattern they were looking for.

From there he expanded into bracelets and rings and will custom make items on request as you wait. He sells silver bracelets for $20 and silver keyrings and rings for $5. He also has a wide variety of patterns from which choose.

Many of Atkinson’s customers want patterns from a certain year. His main complaint is that good stock is getting harder to find. Most patterns from the 1960s were too plain to repurpose as decorative jewelry, and not as much silver is on the open market today. He has excellent silver pattern reference books and can probably match your silver pattern from his inventory and custom design a ring or bracelet. He said that many people use his service to recycle pieces of family silver rather than passing along entire sets.

These innovative dealers and many others exhibit at the Antique Shows of Florida/Puchstein Promotions venues and the West Palm Beach Antiques Festival. For a complete listing of dates and venues, visit www.floridaantiqueshows.com.

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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


A cast acrylic bangle with back carving and inlay. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

A cast acrylic bangle with back carving and inlay. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.


A showboard of charm bracelets made from typewriter keys. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

A showboard of charm bracelets made from typewriter keys. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.


An assortment of necklaces featuring typewriter keys. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

An assortment of necklaces featuring typewriter keys. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.


A man’s ring made from a piece of sterling flatware. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

A man’s ring made from a piece of sterling flatware. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.


Silver bracelets with magnetic catches made from flatware. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

Silver bracelets with magnetic catches made from flatware. Image courtesy Florida Antique Shows/Puchstein Promotions.

The latest screen incarnation of Sherlock Holmes opened on Christmas Day 2009. The film focuses on the sometimes prickly relationship between Holmes and Watson as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The duo makes use of brains and brawn in foiling a mysterious threat against the English government.

Rock ’em-sock ’em Sherlock: a 19th-century pop icon comes out swinging

The latest screen incarnation of Sherlock Holmes opened on Christmas Day 2009. The film focuses on the sometimes prickly relationship between Holmes and Watson as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The duo makes use of brains and brawn in foiling a mysterious threat against the English government.

The latest screen incarnation of Sherlock Holmes opened on Christmas Day 2009. The film focuses on the sometimes prickly relationship between Holmes and Watson as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. The duo makes use of brains and brawn in foiling a mysterious threat against the English government.

Category: 19th Century British Pop Culture.

Question: Name three Victorian literary characters that are still hot topics in the 21st Century.

If you answered, “Alice in Wonderland, Dracula and Sherlock Holmes,” you win the prize.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), the creator of the famous detective in that trio, was a prolific writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction articles. His successful literary career eventually eclipsed the medical profession for which he had trained. In the course of supporting his family, he invented many characters for his adventure stories and historical novels, some of which were very popular in their day. But even he did not predict that it would be Sherlock Holmes who would live on through the centuries.

As Doyle issued short stories and novellas featuring Holmes between 1887 and 1927, the art of the cinema grew from a novelty to an industry. A major boost for the popularity of this cultural icon was the public demand to see the character brought to life not only on the stage but on the screen. Interpretations varied – one actor would portray Sherlock as a keen thinker and eccentric violinist, another might play the role as man of action or master of disguise.

One of the earliest films was an American Vitagraph 8-minute movie called The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1905. The most recent is the Christmas 2009 release Sherlock Holmes directed by Guy Ritchie with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law in the lead roles of Holmes and Watson. In the best physical condition of his career, Downey comes out swinging as a very active detective who tears around London like Jason Bourne.

While some fans might complain this is not their conception of Holmes, it is true that the famous duo are young men when they first meet in their initial adventure, A Study in Scarlet. At one point, Watson lists Holmes’ pluses and minuses. The doctor notes his exceptional intelligence, some very odd habits, and the fact that Holmes is an “expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman.”

In another story, the detective straightens out an iron poker bent double by the villain. And fighting for his life against nemesis Dr. Moriarty, Holmes overcomes him in the end with the use of Japanese martial arts. Based on these statements in the canon, the new movie is justified in its muscular interpretation of the character. Holmes as “action hero” will certainly attract new generations of readers.

Given this long-term relationship between Holmes on the page and screen, it is not surprising that serious enthusiasts have focused their collecting efforts on first editions and movie memorabilia. The first appearance of Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, was published as the lead story in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887. Another novella-length story, The Sign of Four, featuring Holmes and Dr. Watson was published in magazine form in 1890.

Widespread popularly for the sleuthing pair arrived 1891 when George Newnes’ The Strand Magazine began running a series of 12 short stories, later gathered together and published as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The accompanying illustrations by artist Sidney Paget gave the public their first look at a visual interpretation of the character. His drawings of Holmes, his clothing and props became a template for actors playing the role in the future.

Doyle never considered Holmes his life’s work; his attention in the 1890s was focused on writing historical novels, such as Micah Clarke (1888) and The White Company (1891), books now largely forgotten. The author consented to do a second magazine series of Holmes tales, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, but killed off the detective in the last issue, leaving Dr. Watson and his readers inconsolable.

A set of bound copies of The Strand containing the Adventures and Memoirs sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London in January 2008 for $1,450. A first edition of the collected Memoirs, published as one volume by George Newnes in 1894, brought $1,800 at Bloomsbury New York in June 2008.

Fortunately for fans, public demand brought Holmes back from the dead. The Hound of the Baskervilles, the best-known mystery solved by the detective, appeared in The Strand in 1901 and was published in book form the following year. Always desirable, the tale of the ghostly hound sold at Bloomsbury New York for $2,640 in December 2008. Doyle was persuaded to write three more collections of stories and another novella. The last collection, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, appeared in 1927.

Auction Central News spoke with Richard Austin, director of Bloomsbury Auctions in New York, about the market for Holmes. Referring to past sales, he explained, “These lots are the first collected editions of the stories. The stories that were issued in The Strand were later collected in book form. That was a fairly common occurrence in the 19th century. Poe, for instance, and Hawthorne had stories that were issued in magazines first and then collected in books.

“Copies of Sherlock Holmes are fairly steady sellers because they are important not only for Sherlock Holmes collectors but also for mystery collectors,” Austin continued. “There’s a fairly broad audience for the material. What people want are The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Sign of Four and the Memoirs and Adventures. We usually offer copies of the Adventures and Memoirs every year, and we usually sell one or two copies of The Hound of the Baskervilles in New York.”

Asked what is considered the Holy Grail for Holmes’ collectors, Austin replied, “The first Sherlock Holmes book is A Study in Scarlet, a great rarity that doesn’t come up very often. A great copy of A Study in Scarlet would be a wonderful thing. I don’t think there’s more than a dozen complete copies of that book out there. And even the first American edition, a little paperback, is fairly scarce.”

As far as the new movie is considered, Austin said, “He has been portrayed on the stage and screen for over a hundred years now.” But he added, “Anytime there’s a film connected to literature – Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings – if the film’s a huge hit, there’s a short-term rise in value for the books they are based on.”

For collectors at the highest level, the market occasionally turns up original illustrations for the stories by Sidney Padget or even Doyle’s autograph manuscripts of Holmes’ adventures. In May 2004, Christie’s in New York devoted a sale to the personal papers of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The following month, they set a record for a Sherlock Holmes manuscript, selling The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire, circa 1924, for $399,500.

No collection would be complete without a few posters of actors in the role of Holmes. An excellent overview of Holmes’ appearances in dramas is provided by the reference Starring Sherlock Holmes by David Stuart Davies. Memorable portrayals included William Gillette on stage, John Barrymore in silent films, the classic Basil Rathbone movies that began in 1939 and continued during World War II, and Peter Cushing’s version for Hammer Films in England.

Beginning in the 1980s, Jeremy Brett became the definitive Holmes for television viewers on both side of the Atlantic.

The strongly defined character of the detective has also been the subject of cinematic spoofs, such as The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother with Gene Wilder (1975) and Without a Clue starring Michael Caine (1988).

Of all these, Basil Rathbone’s Holmes perhaps most perfectly embodied the sleuth’s combination of cerebral and physical skills. Collectors seek out posters from his two films for Fox and many appearances later in movies at Universal. Grey Smith, poster expert for Heritage Auctions in Dallas, said, “Collecting posters is a nostalgic pastime – we want to own the characters we remember. The Rathbone posters are the most readily available. If you go back to John Barrymore’s one entry, it’s so hard to find that material.”

In November 2008, Heritage sold an insert poster from The Hound of the Baskervilles, the first appearance of Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, for $10,755. Smith said, “It is really desirable. I called it $8,000-$12,000, so it fell in the middle of that. The problem with the posters from that film is that Rathbone is not really pictured – Sherlock Holmes is shown in silhouette. Rathbone was billed second and Richard Greene got top billing.”

Smith continued, “It wasn’t until The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the next one that Fox made, that Basil Rathbone was prominently pictured. We sold a six sheet for the movie in March 2007 for $31,070 – it’s probably the most expensive piece featuring Holmes we’ve sold to date. With the second film, they showed Holmes full length with gun pointed. The six sheet was done in stone lithograph – it’s really a tremendous poster. I estimated it at $10,000-15,000 and it doubled the high estimate. I think it’s the only known copy.”

British actor Ian Richardson in his foreword to Starring Sherlock Holmes wrote, “Offer any actor in the world the part of Sherlock Holmes, and I am willing to wager that you will get an affirmative response. No matter whether they be too short, too old or too fat, the lure of the Great Detective is irresistible.”

As one actor who succumbed to this temptation, he noted, “When you think of Holmes in visual terms, it is always the original Paget illustrations that come first into your mind. The tall, deerstalkered figure with the long sensitive fingers, aquiline profile, and the dark piercing eyes. Next probably comes into your head all those qualities in the person of Basil Rathbone.”

Richardson watched his films as a young man and recalls, “I thought Basil Rathbone the most wonderful actor I’d ever seen. Much, much later, when I played Sherlock Holmes myself, it was always he that I had in mind, try though I might to get out of his shadow.”

The success of the new Sherlock Holmes film, which surpassed $150 million in sales three weeks into its run, demonstrates the continuing appeal of one of the greatest literary characters ever created.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Basil Rathbone made his first appearance as Sherlock Holmes in the 1939 film version of Arthur Conan Doyle's best known story, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ Heritage sold this poster in July 2008 for $10,755. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Basil Rathbone made his first appearance as Sherlock Holmes in the 1939 film version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s best known story, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles.’ Heritage sold this poster in July 2008 for $10,755. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.


Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson received top billing in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1939). The rare six sheet poster for the film was sold by Heritage in March 2007 for $31,070. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce as Holmes and Watson received top billing in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ (1939). The rare six sheet poster for the film was sold by Heritage in March 2007 for $31,070. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.


A first edition of ‘The Memoirs of  Sherlock Holmes’ (London:George Newnes Ltd., 1894) sold at Bloombury Auctions in New York in June 2008 for $1,800 with buyer's premium. The collection of 11 adventures includes ‘Silver Blaze,’ ‘The Musgrave Ritual,’ ‘The Crooked Man,’ and ‘The Final Problem,’ in which Holmes appears to meet his death at the hand of Dr. Moriarty. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions, New York

A first edition of ‘The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes’ (London:George Newnes Ltd., 1894) sold at Bloombury Auctions in New York in June 2008 for $1,800 with buyer’s premium. The collection of 11 adventures includes ‘Silver Blaze,’ ‘The Musgrave Ritual,’ ‘The Crooked Man,’ and ‘The Final Problem,’ in which Holmes appears to meet his death at the hand of Dr. Moriarty. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions, New York


Oft dramatized on stage and in film, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ with its eerie setting on the English moors remains the best known of all Sherlock Holmes tales. This 1902 first edition with its beautifully designed cover and illustrations by Sidney Paget sold in December 2008 for $2,640. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions, New York

Oft dramatized on stage and in film, ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ with its eerie setting on the English moors remains the best known of all Sherlock Holmes tales. This 1902 first edition with its beautifully designed cover and illustrations by Sidney Paget sold in December 2008 for $2,640. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions, New York