Published: December 19, 2000
PORTSMOUTH, R.I. – A world record price for a single doorknob was set in December when Web Wilson’s Antique Hardware Auctions sold a rare “Doggie” doorknob for $7,725 plus ten percent buyer’s premium
“This was a rare `varietal’ ‘Doggie’ knob,” explains Web Wilson, of webwilson.com, the Internet auction service that conducted the sale. There are only one or two examples of this doorknob known.
This is the second world record ‘Doggie’ doorknob the firm has sold. The first brought $3,960. “That was a different doorknob,” Wilson explains. “It was a well-documented style found in many collections. The design was patented by Ludwig Kruzinger, and those knobs are dated 1870. They are also usually marked by the manufacturer, Russell & Erwin of New Britain, Conn.”
The knob is cast in bronze and features the “Kruzinger” face and paws extending outward from the center. However, the background details, the profile and the construction of the knob are completely different and indicate that it was made prior to the R&E model. It is neither marked nor dated.
“This means that someone else came up with the ‘Doggie’ design, or Kruzinger and an unknown company were experimenting with decorative hardware before 1870,” Wilson notes.
“The Internet is great,” he added. “We offer catalogue sales that open on a Tuesday at midnight EST and run through 10 pm the following Sunday. When we opened the catalogue the ‘Doggie’ was bid to $1,000 within three minutes, and was up to $1,850 four minutes later. By Friday the bid was around $3,500. It seemed that everyone was waiting for the `Last Call’ or final bidding segment that begins at 10 pm on Sunday. Then the bids began jumping by three and four figures, and it seemed like you couldn’t hit your refresh button fast enough.
“All bidders and consignors in our auctions remain anonymous,” Wilson commented. “The casting is wonderful, with fine detail around the eyes, and even a coat of hair on the head, nose and ears, and we can say with certainty that the consignor is just delighted.”
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