Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Merrill’s Auctioneers & Appraisers
WILLISTON, VT. – Not so cuddly, a period Queen Anne wooden doll nevertheless found someone to love her at Merrill’s April 1 doll, comics, lamps and country store auction. Estimated just $500-$1,000, the period wood doll sold for $7,475, going to a private collector in London, according to Ethan Merrill. Wearing a period dress, she featured a gesso covered and painted head, inset glass brown eyes, painted eyebrows and eyelashes, wood body with replaced wooden legs and arms in bound leather stitched to its back, and measured 12 inches high. The doll was part of an extensive collection of dolls from the estate of Marguerite Hoyt White and Clifford M. White of Derby, Vt., and the sale also included Silver and Bronze Age Marvel comics from an advanced collector, dolls and bears from a Shoreham, Vt., collector’s estate, as well as country store and advertising pieces from the former Kaufman’s Store in Champlain, N.Y.
Of a much later vintage, a Jumeau E9J Bebe French socket-head bisque fashion doll, 20 inches high, hit $3,690. She had pierced ears, set brown eyes and a jointed composition body stamped Jumeau Medaille d’or Paris.
The White doll collection numbered into the thousands. “It had been on loan to Fairbanks Museum,” said Merrill. “The bisque market isn’t what it was 20 years ago, but some of the better pieces still do fairly well. I thought the china heads did pretty well. There was a large number of china heads in that collection, a lot of good, original clothing.”
The overall sale posted a 95 percent sell-through with about 1,800 registered bidders on two online platforms.
It was untouched as found, and that was part of the allure of a rare 1920s Kelmet pressed steel dump truck in white, which was the first lot to roll across the block. With original white paint and pinstriping, 26 inches long, it sold for $3,738.
X-Men comics aficionados could swoon over a large group of ungraded X-Men comics from the mid-1970s, which brought $3,382. The X-Men brought something different to Marvel Comics when the team debuted. Instead of people gaining powers, these were mutants born with their powers and therefore fell prey to the prejudice and hate of a society that can’t accept differences. However, the comics failed to make an immediate impact, and soon, Marvel stopped printing new issues of the Uncanny X-Men comics. The all-new X-Men first appeared in the 1970s, and there were several important issues that arrived in that decade.
Originally from Kaufman’s Clothing Store in Champlain, N.Y., came a circa 1900 three-panel Mission-style oak trifold dressing mirror. It bore a later “Atwater Kent Radio” advertising decal that had been applied to its center panel. Made by Oscar Onken, Cincinnati, Ohio, “Maker of Triplicate Mirrors and Cloak Racks,” the 76-inch-high mirror with 51-by-23-inch panels brought $2,300.
Fetching $1,230 was a circa 1940 Electric Neon Clock Co. Art Deco octagonal wall clock in green painted steel case. With later enhanced hands it featured a risque female nude woman on the minute hand and a Gordon’s Vodka advertisement on the hour hand. Measuring 23 by 20 inches, its neon missing, and although Merrill’s noted that the clock was functional before removal, it will require rewiring.
You cannot save an early Steiff white mohair teddy bear from becoming soiled over the decades, but a humped back example with long bent arms lost none of its charm despite noticeable wear. The 15-inch bear was bid to $1,968.
Most every estate auction has a surprise lot, and for this sale it was a group of vintage, i.e., circa 1920-40, Christmas electric bulbs. The group, which rose to $1,968 against a $100/200 estimate, included a rare figural monkey, bull dogs, two owls, snowmen, birds, three Brownie type figures, fruit-shaped bulbs and assorted colored bulbs. Proving it’s never too early to begin planning for Christmas décor.
The next sale is set for Friday, May 6, with Americana and decorative arts, highlighted by some nice carousel figures. Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.merrillsauction.com or 802-878-2625.