Published: September 14, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Informally deemed a “Discovery” sale by Dom Navarra of Hyde Park Country Auctions, the firm’s September 5 sale offered nearly 300 lots of postcards and stereoview cards, ornaments, early documents, railroad memorabilia, World War I bond posters and vintage telephones, as well as two sizeable doll and toy collections from Hudson Valley residences in the process of downsizing. Navarra had intended to sell a larger grouping of material at the end of August, but a few scheduling conflicts required him to sell the dolls, toys and ephemera separately; the remainder will be sold in late October.
Never mind the historic works in the sale; it was a group lot of 33 vintage ungraded Marvel Comics from a Woodstock, N.Y., estate that brought the auction’s highest price, $4,140. The result is perhaps not all that surprising, given how hot the vintage comics market is these days, and the lot included the Incredible Hulk #181, which introduced the character Wolverine and which Navarra said has sold for as high as $75,000. Bidding on the lot had opened at $30 but an internet bid of $1,300 accelerated bidding, with it selling to a gentleman who purchased it for his son, who plans to go into business trading comic books.
The second highest price in the sale – $1,610 – was also realized for a printed volume but one that could not have been more different from the Marvel Comics. Estimated at $300/500, a 1793 edition of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious And Moral, that had been published in Albany, N.Y., after its original London printing, was missing the first page. Despite that flaw, the condition was otherwise described as complete and in fair condition. Navarra said the seller was a private collector who was downsizing.
A handwritten Revolutionary War petition, dated 1780, was addressed to the members of Maryland’s “House of Assembly,” from three captive Maryland officers asking for financial and material assistance ahead of an anticipated prisoner exchange release. Navarra thought it was “probably the best thing in the sale” and estimated it appropriately, expecting $500-$1,000 on it. It sold to a private collector for $1,265.
One might assume that a group of ephemera related to the Schwartz cigar store of Poughkeepsie would attract local interest and it did. Three local bidders pursued it but, in the end, it sold to a buyer from Connecticut for $1,265. Made up of two period photographs of the store, a trade card, receipts dating 1872-1873, four retailer’s premium certificates and a Schwartz cigar cutter, the lot was sold by the seller who had consigned the Phillis Wheatley volume. Navarra said the most desirable item in the lot was the photo of the cigar store Indian.
Navarra noted that the doll market has been soft for some time; dolls and doll related objects – accessories, dollhouses and furniture, and books – made up approximately one-fourth of the sale. Bringing the top price for a doll lot was a 36-inch Heinrich Handwerk doll with bisque head, composition body, blond human hair and blue sleep eyes that had been acquired by its New York collector at a Theriault’s auction. It sold for $1,150. The result was twice that realized ($575) for the next priciest doll, a 28¾-inch Simon and Halbig example with bisque head and composition body, from the same seller, that had also crossed the block with Theriault, probably in the 1990s when the seller had been actively collecting.
Closing at $805 was a group of 16 original contact prints on Kodak paper documenting Woodstock in 1969 and made by Baron Wolman of San Francisco. The sheets totaled 512 images in total, showing everything from traffic jams, cows in fields, skinny dipping in a lake, concert goers and performers, as well as graphic signs. The catalog entry noted that the group had come from an Ulster County, N.Y., estate.
Stereoview cards were in plentiful supply, with ten lots on offer; all from the same seller as the Phillis Wheatley and Poughkeepsie Schwartz cigar lot. Prices for them ranged from $69 for a grouping related to Mohonk Mountain to $1,093 for 89 oversized Nineteenth Century cards that features numerous historic and landscape views. Another group of 63 stereoview cards included nine cards depicting African Americans on Southern plantations. The group finished at $978. Navarra said both were leaving the area.
The next sale at Hyde Park Country Auctions will probably take place in late October.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For information, 845-471-5660 or www.hpcountryauctions.com.
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