Published: May 4, 2021
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Pook & Pook
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – The 445-lot collection of Bud & Judy Newman amassed $1,116,000 at Pook & Pook on April 24. The Newmans’ passions were evident in the various collections they put together, including American stoneware, Pennsylvania paintings, paint-decorated sleds and one of the largest collections of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century games to ever appear on the market.
“Bud and Judy Newman’s game collection, comprised of more than 850 classic-era games…is the largest collection I know of,” Noel Barrett told Print magazine. “We sold the second largest in 1992, the collection of pioneer game collector Herb Siegel. It included more than 500 games – a watershed event in game collecting.”
The Newman collection has provided another watershed moment for this niche community, which seemingly fields more cross-over interest from abroad than within. Auctioneer Jamie Shearer said the games section, comprising the last 262 lots of the sale, took in over $320,000. Interest was from all over, he said, “There was a lot of cross-collecting – you had games that had high-wheel bicycles, baseball, Christmas… I would be willing to bet the majority of those went to people who collected in those particular areas, not necessarily board games. The lithography of it all was just fantastic.”
Bud Newman’s interest in board games began in the late 1970s. His family owned Newman and Co, which manufactured recycled paperboard, the material used by game board manufacturers to create their products. Through business, Newman became acquainted with these companies and their storied pasts.
“The games were a question mark, we didn’t know what was going to happen. But they well-exceeded expectations,” Shearer said.
One bidder from New Zealand walked away with a sizable collection, Shearer said. He could not name the person, but said they were a household name and he hadn’t heard of them collecting game boards in the past.
Leading the games was a $20,910 result for a Yellow Kid Ten Pin Game by McLoughlin Bros, circa 1896. The game features ten lithographed paper-on-wood cutout figures of Mickey Dugan aka “The Kid,” an early newspaper cartoon character that inspired the phrase “yellow journalism.” It is only the second example known in its original box.
McLoughlin Bros was actively publishing in New York from 1858 to 1920, when it was sold to Milton Bradley & Company. The firm was a pioneer in color printing, producing some of the earliest games on American soil. Other notable lots from McLoughlin included a Zimmer’s Base Ball Game, circa 1893, which features chromolithographed images of 18 early Major League players. It sold for $19,680. Behind at $18,450 was a similar game, The World’s Game of Base Ball, which commemorated the first world exhibition tour of baseball led by Albert Spalding. Bulls and Bears – The Great Wall Street Game featured comical vignettes of the Gilded Age’s most notorious names: Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt and Cyrus Field among them. The illustrations for it were created by cartoonist Frederick Opper and it would sell for $15,990. With a Christmas theme was a Game Of The Visit of Santa Claus, circa 1901, that brought $7,380.
Other makers were featured as well. At $19,680 was The Champion of Base Ball by A.S. Schutz, an early game dated 1889 featuring the Hall of Famers Dan Brouthers and John Clarkson. A scarce table top pinball type game, Waghter’s Parlor Base Ball, dated to the 1880s and was attributed to Henry Waghter. It sold for $14,760.
“Stoneware was an early interest for the Newmans,” Shearer said. “They bought a lot from Bruce and Vicki Waasdorp’s sales in the early 90s.” It was in this category that the sale would find its leader with a $51,660 result for a crock by Manhattan maker W.A. Macquoid. Cobalt brush decoration to the front depicts two Civil War officers playing a fife and drum around a keg. It had been featured in a 1989 exhibition at the Museum of American Folk Art titled “Always In Tune: Music in American Folk Art.” It sold to a Pennsylvania collector. Shearer said there are three known works from the potter with this type of decoration, including one at the New-York Historical Society.
The Newmans did not collect in any one region of stoneware, instead they looked for strength of image and seemed to have a soft spot for folky works. That same idea was pervasive among bidders, as well. “I’m looking at buyers from Alabama, Texas, Nebraska and Colorado, all for Mid-Atlantic state stoneware,” Shearer said. “It’s being sold all over the country, the boundaries are off.”
Coming in at $37,800 was a Thomas Commeraw jug, circa 1805, with incised cobalt swags and tassels. Commeraw was among the earliest Black potters in America and is regarded as one of the most famous artists working in Manhattan’s Corlears Hook area. This jug was one of a few that the Newmans had recently purchased at auction within the last few years, indicating they had no waning interest in the field. At $36,900 was a 3-gallon crock, circa 1880, from the Lyons pottery and featuring a cobalt brushed lion. From T Harrington Lyons was a star face water cooler, circa 1860 and 19½ inches high, that went out at $19,680. A Baltimore stoneware pitcher attributed to Henry Remmey Jr or Sr featured an incised and brushed bird perched on a branch. It measured 15½ inches high and brought $20,910.
More game boards from the collection of Bud and Judy Newman will be offered in forthcoming auctions at Pook.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium. For more information, www.pookandpook.com or 610-269-4040.
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