Published: August 14, 2018
This week’s Across The Block rings some “Butter Stamp” bells and tickles some keys as only a Steinway can. Good company all around from auction houses around the United States as we bring you a list of this week’s notable results.
CRANSTON, R.I. – An historical telephone auction featuring items from two regional chapters of Telephone Pioneers of America Museum – one the William J. Denver chapter #20 museum in Providence, R.I., the other the Excelsior Chapter #98 in Buffalo, N.Y. – was conducted on August 4 by Bruneau & Co Auctioneers. Items pertaining to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, included an early example of the inventor’s butter stamp magneto telephone, retaining the original Bell Telephone Co butter stamp receiver, patent date “Mar. 7. 76, Jan. 30. 77,” impressed “A 921”. The item was mounted to an easel board, accompanied with original museum label stating “Old Magneto Telephone Including Cut Out Key Box, 1891, Installed Many Years Ago In The Malvina K. Wetmore Residence ‘Chateau Sur Mer’, Bellevue Avenue, Newport” (Rhode Island). For more information, 401-533- 9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – “Publicity is a glamour girl’s best friend,” Marilyn Monroe may well have postulated as a corollary to the famous jazz song in the 1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Seven years earlier in a June 1946 Pageant magazine, the blonde bombshell was featured on the cover. A lot that included the cover (it had been separated from the issue) together with an 11-by-14-inch publicity photo showing Monroe with an unidentified escort brought $600 on August 4 at Mid-Hudson Galleries. For information, www.midhudsongalleries.com or 914-882-7356.
BELLPORT, N.Y. – Thos. Cornell Galleries knows that a sure-fire way to entice auction patrons in addition to offering great merchandise is to entertain them. And that is exactly what Tom Cornell and staff did for the firm’s August 5 estate auction. The gallery hosted a special champagne preview with live entertainment by the South Country String Band on the Friday preceding the sale, which presented the living estate of Elias Lifshitz, a sculptor and painter, as well as other estates and collections. The festive mood carried over to the auction’s results as a Steinway & Sons Model L ebony grand piano #303560 left the gallery for $4,800. For information, 631-289-9505 or www.thoscornellauctions.com.
ST LOUIS, MO. – A 1968 etching and aquatint by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) done toward the end of his long career sold at Link Auction Galleries on August 4. “Femme au lit revant,” on Rives BFK paper, numbered 8/50, sold within estimate for $4,880. This artwork was among many lots with works by Picasso, including many pieces of ceramic art. A 7-inch in diameter bullfight bowl was the top lot of the ceramic group, selling at $3,660. For information, www.linkauctiongalleries.com or 314-454-6525.
MORRISVILLE, N.Y. – Brzostek’s Auction Service conducted a three-day onsite auction here August 4-6, with a collection of antique and vintage vehicles leading the first day of the sale. Among the many cars, trucks and other vehicles on offer, a 1956 Ford T-Bird got the winning flag when it sold for $16,400. Runners-up were a 1931 Ford Victoria that sold for $13,800 and one of the 1930 Ford Model A cars, which sold for $15,800. Brzostek’s is in Baldwinsville, N.Y. For information, 800-562-0660 or www.brzostek.com.
WILLISTON, VT. – Duane Merrill & Co Auctioneers & Appraisers sold four World War II A2 aviator’s jackets (one shown) for $16,605 at the firm’s Adirondack Sporting & Military auction on August 3-4. The flight jackets were illustrated with personalized art from a southern Vermont collector. Also bringing nice prices were an Emile Gruppe oil on canvas titled “Vermont Hills” for $10,062 and a CDV album of officers from the Massachusetts 25th Infantry for $4,612. For more information, 802-878-2625 or www.merrilsauction.com.
HUDSON, N.Y. – There was plenty of Americana on offer in the eponymous sale conducted by Stair Galleries on August 4. It was a pair of Napoleonic prisoner-of-war engraved ship models, however, that captured the day’s highest prices. The war between Napoleon’s French navy and the naval forces of King George III of England lasted so long that the captured French prisoners had to find resourceful ways to spend their imprisonment, and many took to constructing elaborate ship models from recycled cattle bone, boxwood, whale baleen and other materials they could acquire in captivity. One ship in a PlexiCase case brought $62,500 (shown), and another ship went out at $47,500. For information, www.stairgalleries.com or 518-751-1000.
PLAINVILLE, CONN. – Winter Associates reported a very strong sale on July 23, when fine art, especially portraits, led the auction. The top lot was an oil on canvas by Philip Alexius de Laszlo (Hungarian, 1869-1937). A portrait of “Mrs Chichester de Windt Crookshank (nee Mary “Maimie” Usher),” 1924, inscribed LR “de Laszlo/1924,” depicts a half-length portrait of a woman seated near a fluted column wearing an evening dress and stole, a long necklace and emerald bandeau; in a carved wooden frame, the painting was being sold to benefit the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich, Conn. Listed in the artist’s catalogue raisonné, the 42½-by-33-inch (sight) painting sold at $43,000. For additional information, 860-793-0288 or www.auctionsappraisers.com.
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