Red Sox stars’ portraits that graced minor league stadium step up to the plate at Bruneau

Detail of monumental portrait of Red Sox player Carlton Fisk, which hung in McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Bruneau & Co.

CRANSTON, R.I. –  A total of 42 monumental portraits of Red Sox players that once graced a minor league Red Sox affiliate team’s stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island will come to auction at Bruneau & Co. on Monday, March 18 as part of its Collection of Collections Auction. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

In 1977, Ben Mondor, then the owner of McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, home of the Red Sox minor league team the Pawtucket Red Sox (aka the PawSox), hit upon the idea of decorating the venue with oversize images of team heroes. He commissioned Rhode Island School of Design student Carol ‘Teyo’ Heuser to paint mammoth portraits of Red Sox players directly on the concourse walls. In 1990, the images were replaced by eight-by-four-foot paintings, most of which will appear in the auction. Renovation work prompted the removal of the portraits in 1999, and they were replaced with digital replicas that were displayed alongside additional digital photos. At some point after the paintings were taken down, they were sold to the consigner. (It is commonly believed that 42 portraits were made because the stadium opened in 1942, but there were actually 45; the other three were auctioned off to Red Sox players.)

Fans have fond memories of the PawSox and McCoy Stadium, though both are gone. The minor league franchise was relocated to Worcester, Massachusetts in 2021, and the defunct stadium is due to be demolished in 2024 to make way for a new high school. In October 2023, Andy Tuetken, a local high school history teacher who grew up attending games at the stadium, released a book on the paintings titled Murals of McCoy. He self-published it to ensure that the proceeds would benefit youth baseball in Pawtucket.

The five Red Sox portraits that have each received the highest estimates, at $2,000-$3,000, are the five best-known Red Sox players depicted. Three of the five were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York: Wade Boggs, Jim Rice, and Carlton ‘Pudge’ Fisk, who famously waved his arms to coax the ball he just hit to fall fair and score a home run to secure a walk-off victory in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Fred Lynn, another hero of the 1975 World Series, which the Red Sox ultimately lost, had a playing career that was too short to earn his way in to Cooperstown, while allegations of steroid use convinced enough Hall of Fame voters to deny Roger Clemens entry on the standard ballot. His eligibility expired in 2022.

Other portraits depict Red Sox fan favorites such as Nomar Garciaparra, Mo Vaughn, Dennis Ray ‘Oil-Can’ Boyd, and Mike Greenwell, all of which are individually estimated at $1,000-$2,000 apiece.

African American whaler scrimshaw topped $9K at Bruneau & Co.

19th-century scrimshaw created aboard the only known vessel with an all-African American crew, which sold for $7,250 ($9,060 with buyer’s premium) at Bruneau & Co.

CRANSTON, R.I. – A 19th-century work of scrimshaw carved on board a whaling ship with an all-African American crew sold for $7,250 ($9,060 with buyer’s premium) at Bruneau & Co. on January 22. The finely worked sperm whale tooth depicts a detailed view of a bustling city and its harbor and the name John & Winthrop, and was estimated at $2,000-$4,000. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The captain of the John & Winthrop, a whaling bark operating out of San Francisco in the 1880s and 1890s, was William T. Shorey (1859-1919). Known as Black Ahab to his crew, he was the only African American captain on the West Coast, and his ship the only whaler in the world to be manned entirely by an African American crew. A street in Oakland, where Shorey lived, is named after him. The scene engraved to this tooth likely depicts San Francisco and is accompanied by the words Bark John & Winthrop 1876-1880.

The top lot at the 438-lot Winter Fine & Decorative Art online-only auction was a speculative Old Master drawing. This unsigned 18th-century capriccio rendered in red chalk was cataloged as Italian, but was very much in the manner of the prolific French draughtsman Hubert Robert (1733-1808). He specialized in semi-fictitious picturesque depictions of ruins in Italy and the French countryside – in this case, a rural canal scene with fashionable figures in a punt in the foreground. Sold at the time as finished works rather than preparatory studies, numerous sketches by Robert are rendered in red chalk. Boasting some well-observed passages, this drawing measuring 11 by 15in (28 by 40cm) was estimated at $800-$1,200 but took $26,000 ($32,500 with buyer’s premium). It came for sale from a Newport, Rhode Island estate.

From the same source were two Chinese Export oils on canvas painting depicting shipping in the harbor at Canton (modern-day Guangdong). The best of these showed the famous view of the 13 Hongs of Canton, the warehouses where trade between the West and China was conducted from 1757 to 1842. The scene was popular in China Trade paintings from the mid-18th century, with this one, dating from circa 1830, showing Spanish, American, British, and Dutch flags and showing the buildings that were reconstructed after a catastrophic fire in November 1822. It was estimated at $3,000-$5,000 and hammered for $11,500 ($23,000 with buyer’s premium). The pendant picture showing shipping on the Pearl River was offered separately with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 and sold at $6,250 ($7,810 with buyer’s premium).

Appealing more to Chinese taste was a late Qing or Republican carving that used the natural contours of a pink coral branch to depict birds perching on the limb of a tree laden with cherry blossoms. It hammered to an online bidder via LiveAuctioneers for $4,600 ($5,750 with buyer’s premium) against an estimate of $300-$500.

Confederate Army relics lead the parade at Bruneau’s militaria sale Feb. 7

Confederate Louisiana frock coat, estimated at $30,000-$40,000 at Bruneau & Co.

CRANSTON, R.I. – Gettysburg battlefield-found items, plus a Confederate Louisiana frock coat as well as a Confederate shell jacket and shirt, are highlights at Bruneau & Co. on Wednesday, February 7, leading the Historic Arms & Militaria sale. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

“The material in this auction comes from a variety of museums, historical societies and private collections around the country,” said Bruneau & Co.’s Director of Arms & Militaria Joel Bohy.

The sale’s highest-estimated lot is a Confederate States of America Army Louisiana frock coat with a steel gray jean cloth body. Believed to have been worn by Charles Stebbins of the 5th Louisiana, this famous and highly documented uniform coat is one of the finest enlisted Confederate examples known today. The coat comes with extensive research to 1953 when it was purchased by military historian Robert L. Miller. The coat carries an estimate of $30,000-$40,000.

Charles A. Parkins was an Englishman who served in the CSA’s Louisiana regiment during the war and later returned to England, where in 1905 he donated his coat and shirt to the Royal Artillery Museum in Woolwich. It was later deacessioned and sold via Sotheby’s in the late 1980s, where it went into the Don Troiani collection. Missing only a single button, these surviving examples of CSA-issued daily battlefield garments are estimated at $30,000-$40,000.

Found on the battlefield after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, this Confederate officer’s kepi (a cap with a flat, circular top and a peak) would have been issued to a captain of infantry. In remarkable condition, the kepi has passed through numerous collections since, including the legendary collection of Steve Mullinax. It comes with extensive documentation and is estimated at $15,000-$20,000.

Also recovered from the Gettysburg battle site is a Confederate Army canteen with a paper label attached, reading Confederate Canteen / picked up on / Gettysburg / Battlefield / 1887 / In a closet / under the / stairs in old / seminary. It has an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

Commonly depicted in movies about the Civil War was the classic Confederate ‘beehive’ wide-brim slouch hat issued to CSA regulars to help protect them from the rays of the sun. Also found at Gettysburg and retrieved by a Union Army soldier from New York, the hat has been depicted in various Civil War collecting guides. It is estimated at $8,000-$10,000.

Scrimshaw from African American whaling ship showcased at Bruneau Jan. 22

19th-century scrimshaw created aboard the only known vessel with an all-African American crew, which sold for $7,250 ($9,060 with buyer’s premium) at Bruneau & Co.

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CRANSTON, R.I. – A 19th-century work of scrimshaw carved onboard a whaling ship with an all-African American crew will be presented at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers on Monday, January 22. The finely worked sperm whale tooth, which depicts a detailed view of a bustling city and its harbor and the name John & Winthrop, is estimated at $2,000-$4,000. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The captain of the John & Winthrop, a whaling bark operating out of San Francisco in the 1880s and 1890s, was William T. Shorey (1859-1919). Known as Black Ahab to his crew, he was the only African American captain on the West Coast, and his ship the only whaler in the world to be manned entirely by an African American crew. A street in Oakland, where Shorey lived, is named after him. The scene engraved to this tooth likely depicts San Francisco and is accompanied by the words Bark John & Winthrop 1876 1880.

The 438-lot Winter Fine & Decorative Art online-only auction features items from a number of area estates and collections. A newly discovered Tonalist oil by Robert Bruce Crane (1857-1937) is expected to exceed its estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer, describes it as “a fresh find” and “the perfect study of a misty fall morning.” Crane specialized in these fall and winter scenes, which he developed at the Grez-sur-Loing art colony, but painted mainly from his studio in Bronxville, New York.

Another lot already attracting significant presale attention is a Chinese export oil-on-canvas painting depicting the 13 Hongs of Canton. It shows depicts numerous trade ships in the harbor at Canton (modern day Guangdong) and the Spanish, American, British, and Dutch flags flying from the warehouses where trade between the West and China was conducted from 1757 to 1842. The scene was popular in China Trade paintings from the mid-18th century, with this one dating from circa 1830 showing the buildings reconstructed after a catastrophic fire in November 1822. The pendant picture showing shipping on the Pearl River is offered separately with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Both pictures come from a Newport, Rhode Island estate.
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Scrimshaw whale’s tooth carved on the John & Winthrop, a whaling ship that had an African American captain and crew, estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Tonalist landscape oil by Bruce Crane, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Chinese export oil of the Hongs of Canton, estimated at $3,000-$5,000 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Early 20th-century Pairpoint Puffy Papillion table lamp, estimated at $800-$1,200 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Tavannes Hermes silver golfing belt watch, estimated at $1,500-$2,500 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Dutch 18th-century horn and wood snuff box, estimated at $500-$800 at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers.
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Ruth Orkin ‘Israeli Teenager’ print showcased at Bruneau and Co. Nov. 6

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CRANSTON, R.I. — An original signed and dated print by famed photojournalist Ruth Orkin is the top lot in Bruneau & Co.‘s Fine & Decorative Arts sale on Monday, November 6. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The 438-lot sale is an eclectic mix of consignments from collections and estates, ranging from coins and jewelry to American Indian baskets and musical instruments.

Bearing the highest estimate in the sale, at $2,000-$4,000, is Israeli Teenager, the aforementioned print by Ruth Orkin (1921-1985). Born to show business parents in Los Angeles, Orkin began her photographic career as a child with a cheap camera, taking images of friends and school teachers. Largely self-taught, Orkin began to gain traction after World War II with photographs of prominent celebrities. This drew the attention of Life magazine, then America’s largest-circulation periodical, whose editors dispatched her to travel with then-nascent Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Captured during that trip, the image is inscribed under the mat Israeli Teenager Miriam Schnoock age 15, Tel Aviv, 1951 Ruth Orkin 1952.

At one time, the Willard Storage Battery Company of Cleveland, Ohio supplied wet-cell batteries to 85% of all American vehicle factories. So dominant was the firm that eventually it was purchased and merged into what would become Exide, today the leading battery manufacturer in the United States. This 1920s-era illuminated clock is in fine condition, with only minor paint loss to the hands. Not commonly seen, this classic point-of-purchase item is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

The Edo period in Japan (1603-1868) saw a flourishing of ukiyo-e art — a movement that captured sumo wrestlers, kabuki actors, and other elements of then-contemporary Japanese life. Seemingly out of nowhere came woodcut artist Kitagawa Utamaro (circa 1753-1806), who issued hundreds of woodcut prints, of which this sale has six examples. Shaving the Nape of the Neck from the Elegant Five-Needled Pine series depicts a woman clad in a blue outfit shaving hair from the back of the neck of a woman dressed in pink. Like all the Utamaro prints in the sale, this one is estimated at $800-$1,200.

Bruneau’s sale also includes a large selection of Essie Ward folk art paintings featuring her Ozark pioneer characters Miranda and Hezzakiah. Known as the “Grandma Moses of the Ozarks,” Ward often turned out a painting a day, working directly from tubes of paint laid onto Masonite. All the lots have estimates of $600-$900, including this untitled work featuring a bad cat on the run after overturning a pitcher of milk.
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Ruth Orkin, ‘Israeli Teenager,’ estimated at $2,000-$4,000 at Bruneau & Co.
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Willard Batteries clock, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Bruneau & Co.
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Kitagawa Utamaro ‘Hairdressing’ woodblock print, estimated at $800-$1,200 at Bruneau & Co.
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Untitled folk art painting by Essie Ward, estimated at $600-$900 at Bruneau & Co.
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Emile Galle, French Art Nouveau nesting tables, estimated at $1,000-$2,000 at Bruneau & Co.
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Collection of pop culture insider Andy Yanchus continues at Bruneau & Co. Oct. 18

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CRANSTON, R.I. — Bruneau & Co. returns Wednesday, October 18 with part four of the Andy Yanchus collection, a trove of pop culture, toys and internal Marvel Comics items that reflects the depth of knowledge only an industry insider would have. The catalog is now available for online-only bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Yanchus (1944-2021) had a remarkable pop culture life. He served as head of model kits at the legendary Aurora Plastics Company, then later moved to Marvel Comics, where he served as staff colorist on a number of well-regarded titles during a nearly 20-year period, including Uncanny X-Men and Alpha Flight.

An avid model builder as a youth, Yanchus never lost his love for toys, creating a collection with a keen eye for uniqueness and rarity, as seen in this sale.

The auction’s top lot comes from Mego, the 1970s-dominant action figure and playset maker. The 1981 Greatest American Hero Convertible Bug is a simple playset from a largely forgotten superhero television show, but its rarity in the market commands an estimate of $800-$1,200.

One of the stars of the sale is Yanchus’s collection of Marvel color guides. These were hand-drawn and -colored comic book covers, stamped and marked for approval by Marvel, and retained by Yanchus in his collection. A total of 33 color guides appear in the sale, with estimates ranging from $200-$500.

Created in response to the early-1980s onslaught of Mattel Masters of the Universe toys, Kenner’s Super Powers Collection was an early release in their partnership with DC Comics. Based on various DC universe characters, the line is not well known today except among ardent collectors. The Cyborg carded action figure in the Yanchus collection is estimated at $400-$600.
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Marvel Spectacular Spider-Man #6 cover color guide, estimated at $200-$300 at Bruneau & Co.
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1981 Mego Greatest American Hero convertible bug playset, estimated at $800-$1,200 at Bruneau & Co.
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1971 Mattel Hot Wheels Redline team trailer, estimated at $300-$500 at Bruneau & Co.
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1986 Kenner Super Powers Cyborg, estimated at $400-$600 at Bruneau & Co.
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1980 Takara Microman Blizzard Rolling Thunder, estimated at $400-$600 at Bruneau & Co.
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Revolutionary War powder horn leads arms and militaria at Bruneau, Aug. 5

Revolutionary War powder horn belonging to Richard Andrus, who marched with Captain Abel Pettibone’s 7th Company, 2nd Regiment, to the Siege of Boston in 1775, estimated at $4,000-$8,000
Revolutionary War powder horn belonging to Richard Andrus, who marched with Captain Abel Pettibone’s 7th Company, 2nd Regiment, to the Siege of Boston in 1775, estimated at $4,000-$8,000
Revolutionary War powder horn belonging to Richard Andrus, who marched with Captain Abel Pettibone’s 7th Company, 2nd Regiment, to the Siege of Boston in 1775, estimated at $4,000-$8,000

CRANSTON, R.I. – A powder horn used by a Revolutionary War soldier at the Siege of Boston, a uniform worn by a Confederate captain during the Civil War, and a Civil War-era Missouri First National Confederate flag and sash are a few of the expected highlights in Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ Historic Arms & Militaria auction slated for Saturday, August 5, starting at 10 am Eastern time and containing 350 lots. In addition to the items mentioned, the sale lineup also features an artillery officer’s coatee worn by Lt. Julius Adolphus De Lagnel in 1847, flintlock pistols and muskets, a large selection of percussion muskets, and socket bayonets. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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X-Men, Pokemon wizards, baseball royalty appear at Bruneau, Aug.8

Copy of Marvel Comics’ X-Men #1 from September 1963 featuring the origin and first appearance of the X-Men and Magneto, graded CGC 3.5, estimated at $8,000-$12,000
Copy of Marvel Comics’ X-Men #1 from September 1963 featuring the origin and first appearance of the X-Men and Magneto, graded CGC 3.5, estimated at $8,000-$12,000

CRANSTON, R.I. – A copy of Marvel Comics’ X-Men #1 from September 1963, two Pokemon booster boxes from 1999, Goudey baseball cards for star players from the 1930s, and original cover art for Drift Marlo #1 from 1962 will all come up for bid in Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ Summer Pop Culture auction, slated for Tuesday, August 8, beginning at 4 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Fialka M-125 cipher machine with English manual at Bruneau & Co., May 10

1960s Russian Fialka M-125 cipher machine with English manual, estimated at $8,000-$12,000
1960s Russian Fialka M-125 cipher machine with English manual, estimated at $8,000-$12,000

1960s Russian Fialka M-125 cipher machine with English manual, estimated at $8,000-$12,000

CRANSTON, R.I. – A Soviet-era Russian Fialka M-125 cipher machine from the 1960s, in good condition and with a reference manual in English, is an expected headliner in Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ 295-lot timed online Historic Arms & Militaria auction closing on Wednesday, May 10 at 6 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Comic books, Star Wars figures and video games at Bruneau & Co., May 6

Copy of DC Comics ‘Sensation Comics’ #13 from January 1943, graded CGC 3.0, with a classic wartime cover by H. G. Peter showing Wonder Woman at a bowling alley, estimated at $2,000-$3,000
Copy of DC Comics ‘Sensation Comics’ #13 from January 1943, graded CGC 3.0, with a classic wartime cover by H. G. Peter showing Wonder Woman at a bowling alley, estimated at $2,000-$3,000
Copy of DC Comics ‘Sensation Comics’ #13 from January 1943, graded CGC 3.0, with a wartime cover showing Wonder Woman at a bowling alley, estimated at $2,000-$3,000

CRANSTON, R.I. – Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers will present an auction titled Graded Showcase: Comics, Toys & Video Games on Saturday, May 6. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.“This will be a fun, 154-lot auction,” said Bruneau & Co.’s Director of Pop Culture Travis Landry, adding, “The focus is on professionally graded comics, toys and video games.”

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