Some good results at Cottone’s Fine Art & Antique auction, September 26-27, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Tiffany Studios Angel of Resurrection window

Tiffany Studios Angel of Resurrection window

Cottone’s held their Fine Art & Antique auction this past weekend, September 26-27, 2014, with some good results. Top lot of the sale was a Tiffany Studios memorial window, Angel of Resurrection from the Church of the Redeemer in upstate Newark, NY. It exceeded its high estimate of $60,000 to realize $71,300, including buyer’s premium.

Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp

Tiffany Studios Poppy table lamp

The second highest lot of the sale was another Tiffany Studios item – a 17″ diameter Poppy table lamp. Fresh to the market, the estimate seemed fair, $60,000-$80,000, especially with an important blownout base. To my surprise, it sold for the low estimate of $60,000, plus buyer’s premium ($69,000). Sounds like a deal to me.

There were bargains to be had, but unfortunately I was asleep at the switch. I was so preoccupied with the antique show this past weekend that the auction totally slipped my mind. Too bad, because I could have bought some fine items at reasonable prices. For the complete results of the sale, click here.

No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The results of the NYC Big Flea Market, September 27-28, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

There was a good crowd inside and outside just before opening on Saturday

There was a good crowd inside and outside just before opening on Saturday

The NYC Big Flea Market completed its maiden show, September 27-28, 2014. Attendance was good on Saturday, with lots of interest, but sales were not commensurate. The crowd was younger than at the November and March Pier shows, with lots of new faces. Sunday attendance wasn’t quite as good, but still significant. Sunday resulted in two good sales, a Tiffany lamp and a Pairpoint lamp.

Saturday afternoon in front of my booth

Saturday afternoon in front of my booth

It was tough sitting at the show — the hours were ridiculously long — 10 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. It would have been less of a problem if we were busy selling all day, but we weren’t. Add the pungent smell of sauerkraut all day, from the food vendor at the entrance, for an unpleasant experience. What really counted were sales. Although we didn’t make many, the results were good enough for us to return in April, for the spring edition of the show. That means we’ll exhibit twice in the same facility within a few weeks, in March and April. I don’t think that will be a bad thing, since the two shows attract different crowds.

This beautiful Tiffany 19" green Linenfold table lamp was sold at the show

This beautiful Tiffany 19″ green Linenfold table lamp was sold at the show

In asking around to just a few dealers, I got the following comments. Arnie Small of Barbara Gerr Antiques (American pottery) remarked “The show was OK. We saw more young people come through than at other shows. The gate was good.” Virgil Rogers of Only Authentics (handbags) said “The show was better than the normal Pier show in November. The crowd was large. I sold some very expensive Chanel and Hermès handbags.” Jeff Myers (glass) was enthusiastic. “I thought it was good. I’m going to come back in April. The crowd was completely different.” Peter Boehm of Dualities Antiques (general) of Larchmont, NY, didn’t feel the same way. “My show was horrible. The worst I’ve ever done.” Finally David Smirnofff of From Here to Antiquity (paintings) of Cheshire, CT, said “I sold a lot of inexpensive items. I’m disappointed that it was promoted as a flea market rather than a treasure hunt.”

Now for a little time off. No shows until November, when we have four in a row. We’ll start in New Jersey at the Morristown Armory, then travel to Chicago for the Antiques + Modernism Winnetka show, followed by the Kansas City Antiques Expo, ending up back at the Pier in NYC for the usual November show. Remember to check my website for the latest items and keep reading my blog. We’ll spend a lot of time finding some great new items for our November circuit.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

The NYC Big Flea Market will open this weekend, September 27-28, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

The show will be held in Pier 94, the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in Pier 94, the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The NYC Big Flea Market will open this coming weekend and run from Saturday, September 27, at 9 AM, until Sunday, September 28, at 5 PM. The promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This is the first time for this show, with an entirely new cast of dealers.

One of the Fredericksburg displays

One of the Fredericksburg displays

D’Amore Promotions produces the DC Big Flea Market in Chantilly, Virginia and the Fredericksburg Big Flea Market in Fredericksburg, Virginia. They decided to duplicate their successful Virginia shows in New York City. Pretty gutsy move. A successful Virginia show doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful New York City show. It’s not exactly Field of Dreams — if you build it, he will come. First you’ve got to convince the dealers to exhibit at your new show. They needed a good response and got it. The show will be full, with many new dealers who never exhibit in New York City. The next step is to fill the place with buyers, who will make the dealers happy and so will begin a virtuous cycle.

We'll have this wonderful Martin Brothers double-face jug at the show

We’ll have this wonderful Martin Brothers double-face jug at the show

I’ve got a good feeling about this show. I expect different people to attend, which hopefully will be a good thing. I’m bringing lots of fresh items to the show, which is always good for business. Look for the results next Monday.

Click here for more information about the Big Flea Market.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Ever wonder how a Lalique vase is made?

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Lalique Bacchantes mold

Lalique Bacchantes mold

Lalique vases are made in molds, as opposed to French cameo vases that are usually hand-blown. That means that a sculptor first has to hand-sculpt an original, usually of clay. From there several molds are cast until the final iron version is ready. Molten glass is injected into the mold and then cooled very slowly, usually over 24 hours or more. The process is called annealing and its purpose is to remove stress from the glass, so it doesn’t crack. After the cold vase is removed from the mold, it goes to a glass finisher who grinds the rim, the base and any irregularities until the vase is smooth and sits flat. Finally the vase is signed and ready for sale.

Lalique Bacchantes vase

Lalique Bacchantes vase

Different glass can be injected into the same mold to create variations, which may include different colors or opalescence. Many modern collectors look to obtain colored variations of the same vase, which always command premium prices over their colorless cousins. Certain rarer colors, like red, are the most sought after.

Three variations of R. Lalique Ronces vases

Three variations of R. Lalique Ronces vases

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule and almost upon us. The NYC Big Flea Market will run two weekends from now, September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. I’m bringing a lot of special items, so come and visit me at the show.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Christie’s South Kensington London held a most unusual Out of the Ordinary sale, September 3, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

The door to Paul McCartney's childhood home, Christie's lot #1

The door to Paul McCartney’s childhood home, Christie’s lot #1

Bernard Buffet's monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L'Alcazar, Christie's lot #119

Bernard Buffet’s monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L’Alcazar, Christie’s lot #119

Christie’s South Kensington, London, held a very eclectic sale on September 3, 2014, entitled Out of the Ordinary. The sale couldn’t have been more diverse, with items ranging from the door to Paul McCartney’s childhood home (£6,875 = $11,316) to Bernard Buffet’s monumental stage curtain from the Paris cabaret club L’Alcazar, opened by Jean-Marie Rivière in 1968 (£194,500 = $320,147).

Royal Navy machine gun, 1880-5, Christie's lot #147

Royal Navy machine gun, 1880-5, Christie’s lot #147

The Bernard Buffet curtain was the top lot of the sale, but a Royal Navy deck-mounted machine gun from 1880-5 was the second best lot. It exceeded its high estimate of £70,000 ($115,990) to sell for £86,500 ($142,379).

German WWII Enigma encrypting machine, Christie's lot #25

German WWII Enigma encrypting machine, Christie’s lot #25

Other fascinating lots included a WWII German Enigma encrypting machine (£50,000 = $82,300), a circa 1900 Elizabethan Capture chair (£27,500 = $45,265) and a large Ammonite mineral (£32,500 = $53,495). To view the complete results of the sale, click here.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule and almost upon us. The NYC Big Flea Market will run two weekends from now, from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Duffner & Kimberly lamp sells at McInnis Auctions, September 6, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Duffner & Kimberly table lamp, McInnis lot #599

Duffner & Kimberly table lamp, McInnis lot #599

John McInnis Auctioneers, of Amesbury, MA, held a two-day estates auction on September 5-6, 2014. Included in the sale was an attractive, unsigned Duffner & Kimberly table lamp with a floral border. Although it was unsigned, it was clearly a Duffner lamp, including the very distinctive cap, finial, base and shade design. But that was only to the trained eye. With a very attractive estimate of $2/4,000, I had hoped to sneak up on it, as it was definitely underestimated. But all it takes to spoil the party is one other knowledgeable bidder. The lamp sold for $5,750, which although still fair, was a little too much for a dealer to pay. Oh well! Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

For a look at the sale (without results), click here.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule. The NYC Big Flea Market will run from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Would you pay $3.2 million for a comic book? Someone did.

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Action Comics #1, sealed in plastic

Action Comics #1, sealed in plastic

A copy of Action Comics #1, which introduced Superman to the world, was put up for auction on eBay. By the time the sale ended on August 24, 2014, a new world record of $3,207,852 was established — not bad for a comic that originally sold for 10¢ in 1938. This example was sealed in plastic by Comic Guaranty LLC (CGC), a comic book grading service, and graded 9.0 (out of 10). That made it the highest-rated example of the estimated 50-100 examples thought to still exist, of the original 200,000 printed. It had been stored in a cedar locker for decades, so it had perfect white pages and no damage — just what collectors desire.

 Darren Adams, with his Action Comics #1  (photo courtesy of eBay)

Darren Adams, with his Action Comics #1 (photo courtesy of eBay)

Many times the name of the purchaser or seller is not known, but in this instance, we know the identities of both. Darren Adams, the owner of Pristine Comics, was the seller, who purportedly paid over $1,000,000 (but how much over only he and the seller know). Vincent Zurzolo and Stephen Fishler were the buyers. They are the partners of Metropolis Collectibles of NYC, the bigshots of the vintage comic book world. Their belief is that their purchase is a good investment that will realize a profit.

Vincent Zurzolo (right) and Stephen Fishler with a different copy of Action Comics #1

Vincent Zurzolo (right) and Stephen Fishler with a different copy of Action Comics #1

In my eyes, it’s a game of musical chairs. I wouldn’t want to be the last one standing, with a $3.2 million comic book, when the music stops. In the meantime, the prices keep marching on. The last eBay auction of Action Comics #1 was in 2011, when it set the then current record of $2,161,000. Prior to that, in 2010, Comic Connect was the first auction house to break the $1 million barrier with another copy.

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve as Superman

Christopher Reeve was probably the best-known of all the actors who portrayed Superman. In 1995, he became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during a competition. Darren Adams intends to donate 1% of the sales price to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for spinal-cord injury and paralysis research.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

Our next show is new to our schedule. The NYC Big Flea Market will run from September 27-28. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

A Chinese bowl, used by the family cat as a bed, sold for £108,000 at auction, August 6, 2014

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

15th century Imperial Ming dynasty bowl

15th century Imperial Ming dynasty bowl

A Chinese bowl, used by the family cat for sleeping, was sold at auction in the UK on August 6, 2014 for £108,000 ($177,763). Reeman Dansie Auctioneers of Colchester, UK, estimated the bowl to sell for £200-300, considering it was in poor condition.

The underside of the 12" diameter bowl

The underside of the 12″ diameter bowl

The good news was that the bowl was probably authentic and from the 15th century Imperial Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). Chinese fakes are a big problem, so the provenance and condition convinced the bidders that this was the real deal. The bowl had been passed down for generations in the family of Major General John Tulloch, who brought it back to England from China in 1900. At some point in its history, it was broken in two and repaired with staples. This was one of the rare times that poor condition added to an object’s value.

A staple used for the repair can be clearly seen

A staple used for the repair can be clearly seen

The bowl was one of nine Chinese lots consigned by the family to the auction. All of the items did very well, mainly because of the rock-solid family provenance. For example, an 11″ vase from the 19th century sold for almost £40,000 ($65,847) even with a damaged lid. Most of the bidders were Chinese, looking to repatriate their heritage. Chinese antiques have been on a decade-long tear since the rise of a wealthy upper-class in China. The winning bidder for the bowl bid by telephone from mainland China.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

We decided to add a new show to our schedule, the NYC Big Flea Market. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Think You Might Have a Valuable Old or Rare Book?

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

This is a guest post by Adam Weinberger of RareBookBuyer.com, a New York City book dealer with over thirty years’ experience. Please feel free to contact him with your questions about old and rare books.

Historia de omnibus gothorum sueonumque regibus (History of all Kings of Goths and Swedes) is an important (and inventive) Renaissance work on the history of Sweden, written by Johannes Magnus, the last Catholic archbishop of Sweden, published in 1554.

Historia de omnibus gothorum sueonumque regibus (History of all Kings of Goths and Swedes) is an important (and inventive) Renaissance work on the history of Sweden, written by Johannes Magnus, the last Catholic archbishop of Sweden, published in 1554.

If you’re like me, you probably have a relative with an attic full of dusty old books. Some of them may be one hundred years old or more. You’ve probably also asked yourself: are those old books valuable? Could you have a hidden treasure, like the people on Antiques Roadshow?

The answer isn’t always obvious. Many old and rare books aren’t inherently valuable. But there are a number of factors you can look at to help you decide whether or not your old book is worth something.

The oldest known American checkbook was issued by the Bank of New York in the 1790s and includes a payment to Alexander Hamilton!

The oldest known American checkbook was issued by the Bank of New York in the 1790s and includes a payment to Alexander Hamilton!

The first factor is rarity: how many other copies of your book are out there? The more rare it is, the more valuable it’s likely to be. It may surprise you, but most books from the 19th century are not very rare—especially bibles and other religious texts. Tens of thousands of copies still exist. Books printed before 1800 have a better chance of being valuable. First editions of a book tend to be rarer and more valuable than subsequent editions. And any kind of unique material—manuscripts, journals, original artwork—is worthy of study by a professional dealer.

The next factor to look at is importance. Was your book influential, groundbreaking, or scandalous? Did it change the course of literature, science, or history? Those are the kinds of books that collectors and dealers are usually interested in.

A page from The Google Book, a nonsense animal poem written by the English economist V.C. Vickers in 1913. Only 100 copies were printed of the book, making it very rare.

A page from The Google Book, a nonsense animal poem written by the English economist V.C. Vickers in 1913. Only 100 copies were printed of the book, making it very rare.

If you’ve concluded that you have a rare and important book, you next want to look at condition. Is your book in good shape? Just because it looks better than you will in 150 years, don’t assume the answer is yes! Condition can make a big difference in value: The book’s binding should be strong and original. The paper should clean and unspotted. None of the pages should be missing.

Ok, let’s say your book is rare, important, and in good shape. Next you want to know where it came from. That’s called provenance. An interesting provenance can often increase a book’s value. Who owned the book before you? Look for inscriptions or bookplates (an owner’s sticker). Maybe someone important owned the book in the past. Or perhaps it was part of a famous collection. Or it was inscribed to someone close to the author. All of those are examples of interesting — and potentially valuable — provenances.

The last factor to understand is desirability. This one is hard to pin down. It basically means, will someone out there want to buy your book? In some ways, desirability is a combination of the other factors: collectors often look for a combination of rarity, importance, condition and provenance. But it’s possible to have an ancient first edition in pristine condition that no one wants to buy. In that case the book is most valuable—to you!

If you think you have a valuable book, speak to an experienced book dealer. RareBookBuyer is happy to offer free appraisals of your old or rare books. You can contact us by email, webuyrarebooks@gmail.com, or call us at 646.469.1851.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

We just decided to add a new show to our schedule, the NYC Big Flea Market. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.

Norway museum returns Nazi-stolen Matisse painting to heirs

My goal is to publish new posts twice a week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, if you don’t see a new post on Thursday, it’s because I was too busy, so please look for a new one the following Monday.

Matisse's Profil Bleu Devant la Cheminée

Matisse’s Profil Bleu Devant la Cheminée

Henri Matisse painted Profil Bleu Devant la Cheminée (Woman in Blue in Front of a Fireplace) in 1937, which was purchased by the French collector and gallery owner, Paul Rosenberg. In 1941, the year after Rosenberg and his family escaped to the US, the Nazis looted 162 of his paintings, including the Matisse. After several changes of hands, the painting found its way into the collection of the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Henie Onstad Art Center) in Norway in 1961, where it remained until recently. The museum was founded by the shipping magnate Niels Onstad and his Olympic figure-skating champion wife, Sonja Henie.

The Henie Onstad Kunstsenter near Oslo, Norway

The Henie Onstad Kunstsenter near Oslo, Norway

Rosenberg and his heirs made many attempts to recover the painting, but were unable to locate it. Ultimately, the painting was discovered in the collection of the museum. Christopher A. Marinello, an attorney, and chairman and founder of Art Recovery Group, led the successful negotiations for the return of the painting to Rosenberg’s heirs, which has an estimated value of $20 million. While it’s great to hear about the return of an important painting, it should be noted that this is only one of an estimated 650,000 artworks and religious items stolen from Jews and other victims by the Nazis.

Museum Chairman Halvor Stenstadvold (left) and  Christopher Marinello made the announcement in Norway

Museum Chairman Halvor Stenstadvold (left) and Christopher Marinello made the announcement in Norway

The principles that formed the basis for the return of much Nazi-confiscated art were promulgated at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, November 30 to December 3, 1998, when the Department of State and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum hosted more than 40 governments. For the complete details, click here.

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

The show will be held in the white building on the left, September 27-28, 2014

We just decided to add a new show to our schedule, the NYC Big Flea Market. The new promoters, D’Amore Promotions, will be using the same Pier 94 that is used by USA Antique Shows for their November and March shows. This one will be substantially different, with an entirely new cast of dealers. Click here for more information. It should be good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Click here to view our new website and look around. We always strive to offer the finest objects for sale on our website and at every show. There are many items for sale, sold items with prices and free lessons about glass and lamps.