Published: January 8, 2002
FAIRFIELD, ME. – James D. Julia brought their year to a close with the sale of the Gerald E. Czulewicz, Sr, collection of Uncle Sam on November 30 and a selection of toys and antique dolls on December 1.
Czulewicz’s collection of patriotic images was formulated over a period of more than 40 years and generated great interest and publicity.
The sale included the only known photographic image of Sam Wilson of Troy, N.Y., the original progenitor of Uncle Sam. (An act of Congress in 1961 established Sam Wilson as the undisputed source of the famous image.) This 1852 tintype taken two years before Wilson’s death had come directly from the Wilson family and was inscribed on the reverse. It sold for a final price of $10,350.
The same price was paid for the Uncle Sam suit and top hat used by the well-known Nineteenth Century American illustrator Thomas Nast for his model while at Harper’s Publishing Co. in New York.
But it was the original suit and top hat worn by James Montgomery Flagg in his iconic “I Want You!” image of Uncle Sam for his self-portrait painted with the help of a mirror and featured Leslie’s Magazine in 1917 that generated the greatest interest. The “I Want You!” image has since been used for everything from military recruitment to advertising. The suit brought $21,850.
Other images ranged from original watercolors like J.M. Flagg’s “Come On America, We’ve Got A Big Job To Do!” ($16,100) to the pen and ink drawing, also by Flagg, “Home From the War” ($8,050) and Flagg’s wistful Uncle Sam painted in 1952 with a message “I Need You Now!” ($4,600). Flagg’s 1960 watercolor sketch entitled “You Want Me!” sold for $3,737 and his 1952 pen and ink drawing of Uncle Sam taking actor Robert Taylor’s fingerprints reached $4,025.
Other artists created versions and visions of Uncle Sam, of course. The sale offered Dean Cornwell’s remarkable oil sketch that was reproduced as an ad in a 1943 issue of The Saturday Evening Post ($4,715) and Robert Gunn’s 1986 oil painting of Uncle Sam as an IRS representative enduring a small dog tugging at his pants leg ($1,840).
Many images of Uncle Sam became popularized through mass-production posters. A 1918 war stamp poster with a searing J.M. Flagg image of Uncle Same carried a warning, “Beware of the Wrath of a Patient Man!” sold for only $690. A 1917 enlistment poster with the same image was almost an order relating to the purchase of savings bonds: “I Am Telling You. On June 28th I expect you to enlist in the army of war savers to back up my army of fighters.” It sold for $575.
As the day progressed, the auction moved into advertising imagery such as the Nineteenth Century lithograph for Harmony Chewing Tobacco. This ad copyrighted in 1879 brought $1,610. Three-dimensional Uncle Sams were also offered, from a hand-carved wooden bust of Uncle Sam designed to display cigars ($575) to a rare Uncle Sam/Santa Claus automaton used in 1917 as a window display for Macy’s Department Store in New York City. The carved automaton was signed “Robert Williams” and sold for $8,625.
A contemporary three-di-mensional rdf_Description was the Uncle Sam sculpture on a 52-inch big-wheeled bicycle. The Uncle Sam figure was holding a flag that said “Liberty.” The lot, estimated at $350/550, sold for $1,725.
Julia opened the next day with comic character and transportation toys. A circa 1930 Mickey and Minnie see-saw parasol toy that offered jointed celluloid hand-painted figures and a spinning parasol sold for $1,610. A Mickey Mouse nifty drummer in original box (est $800/1,200) topped out at $2,240.
A Linemar roller-skating Popeye made in Japan in the 1950s brought $460. A cast-iron Hubley Popeye Patrol motorcycle sold for $3,400.
A lot of six Marklin toy trains, estimated at $300/500 brought $1,840. A large Buddy-L outdoor train set featuring a 25-inch long engine, estimated at $1,2/1,800 sold for $1,840. A 15-inch Marklin blue streamlined train, estimated at only $200/300 was also highly competed for and sold for $2,300.
One of the major strengths of this sale was Black Americana, especially in the area of rare dioramas and automatons. Topping the list was a lithographed diorama automaton depicting a barn dance. Figures danced as some played musical instruments. It all sold for $8,625. A rare, large “Jazzbo Jim” electrified store display brought $3,737. This rdf_Description was about four times larger than the normal toy version, which sold for $510.
A windup Black dancer toy, probably by Ives, was estimated at $1,2/1,800 and sold for $2,125. Hey-Hey the Chicken Snatcher toy, estimated at $600/800, sold for $920. A tin windup Charleston Trio with original box sold for $860. A rare J.M. Cromwell Black dancer estimated at $1,5/2,000 sold for $2,000. A fabulous animated Black composition baby shelf sitter sold for $5,500.
The top-seller among dolls won her place after a bidding war that included every phone in the house. The bisque Jumeau socket-head doll stood a diminutive nine inches tall and came on the block with an estimate of $4/4,800. When the bidding stopped, she has reached a final sale of $11,500.
In addition, a rare 28-inch J.D. Lilas bisque socket-head doll with paperweight eyes and pierced ears formerly from the Gladys Hilsdorf collection sold for $9,775 and a bisque Jumeau socket-head doll with brown paperweight eyes marked “E12J DEPOSE” brought a final price of $6,612. A rare talking Jumeau bisque socket-head doll sold for $4,887 and a K*R Simon & Halbig bisque socket-head doll with a brown mohair wig doubled the estimate when it sold for $2,070.
Mechanical banks included a nice Eagle & Eaglets bank at $1,380 and a Speaking Dog for $830.
Advertising memorabilia included large movie posters, Coca-Cola ads, and a salesman sample barber chair that turned out to be the top-seller of the day. The rare 16-inch porcelain Theo A. Koch’s salesman sample was as good as the real thing, with its leather upholstery and nickel filigree footrest. It brought a final price of $26,450.
A rare, early Coca-Cola clock manufactured between 1893 and 1896 by Baird brought $6,325. A group of Coke trays included a rare Hilda Clark tip tray that sold for $1,000. A fully restored Coca-Cola Vendo V-81B sold for $3,680.
Among advertising signs, a rare tin litho convex sign in the original frame pitching “Genuine Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco, Prize Winners” sold for $3,565. A very rare Horseshoe Tobacco Cut Plug tin sign did not sell. A Sharples Separator tin sign with a simulated wood-grain self-frame dated to 1907 and sold for $2,242. Also a Koehler Escoffier motorcycle poster, estimated at $700/900, went out at $1,265 and a great Case porcelain and neon sign sold for $1,600.
Some other rdf_Descriptions of interest were a figural Royal Crown Cola scale, which sold for $2,300; a pair of two apothecary floor model show globes, which reached $6,600; a rare apothecary cluster show globe set, which garnered $3,450: a Victory Punch dispenser, which sold for $1,400; and a Verba syrup dispenser, which brought $1,900. Also, a Zonophone disc record player with an oak horn brought $2,400 and a Victor type V10V with an oak horn realized $2,650.
All prices cited include the buyers premium.
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