Published: February 27, 2001
A $19,800 Strike by New Jersey Collectors Wins Rare Indian Bowling Game
EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. – At Bodnar’s Auctions’ February sale, bidders went for a rare papier-mâché and wooden nine-pin Indian bowling game made in Nineteenth Century Germany. After much competition, the set finally sold for $19,800, including a ten percent buyers premium, to collectors Kendra and Allan Daniel of Park Ridge, N.J.
A more generic term for the parlor bowling game, according to Mr Daniel, is skittles. He continued, “The Indian container is extremely rare. It is rare that one comes to market.”
The tenth piece in this set was the 16-inch pull toy that served as the carrier for the nine papier-mâché pins, each one seven and a half inches tall, molded and painted to look like a Native American Indian. The cart, with two axles and four iron wheels, was molded in the shape of an Indian prone to the ground, with the back hollowed out to carry the nine pins and two wooden balls. A paper label affixed to the underside of the carrier was marked “DRGM 836276 (Deutsches Reich Gebrauche Muster).”
Though there was some damage to the piece, the toy was remarkably well preserved, considering its intended use, and the materials from which it was made. There were two small holes in the chief’s headdress and an old repair to one of the arms, which was reattached to the body with tape.
The Daniels, whose outstanding American folk art collection sold on January 20 at Christie’s, first saw Bodnar’s advertisement in the February 2 issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly. Kendra has been collecting these sets for about 15 years, and now, with about 20 sets, owns the largest collection of three-dimensional German and French skittles in their containers.
“We were one of five phone bidders, and a large crowd came from all over as well. The bidding was very competitive until it reached about $16,000. We’re very happy to have won the set,” said Mr Daniel. He continued, “The German sets tend to have better form, more detail. This one has a paper label with initials. We haven’t yet determined the manufacturer, but it would be identifiable once we did the research.”
Other highlights of the February sale included an Eastlake Victorian chair, selling for $250; a pair of European figural cherub lamps selling for $325; a curved front French glass curio cabinet selling for $1,100; a Marium Haskell pin that sold for $90; another Haskell pin selling for $65; a man’s Tiffany ring selling for $150; a box lot of black Jet jewelry selling for $225; and a jadeite horse head ink blotter that sold for $100.
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