Published: September 9, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Nest Egg Auctions
BERLIN, CONN. – Group lots are an effective way to dispatch a large number of modestly priced individual pieces, as evidenced by the number of group lots that dominated the leaderboard at Nest Egg Auctions’ August 28 sale. It was an appropriate strategy for the auction, which offered more than 200 lots from the lifetime collection and select contents of a Woodstock, Vt., country antique shop owned by a dealer/collector who also had a Florida residence. Only six of the 204 lots failed to sell from the podium, giving the sale a 97 percent sell-through rate.
Auctioneer Ryan Brechlin, who did a second auction for another firm the day after Nest Egg’s sale, was understandably tired when we reached him, but happy with the results, nonetheless.
“It was Nest Egg’s first in-person auction in over a year,” Brechlin said. “It was nice to see everyone again and to reconnect with friends.”
The lot with the highest estimate – $1/2,000 – was also the auction’s top seller, bringing $1,968. It was a group lot of more than 70 pieces of American and international airlines uniform wings and pins that saw competition on two dueling online platforms. Brechlin thought that the collection had been sourced during the collector’s time in Miami. He also said that it was unusual for the large number of original pilot’s wings, which are more desirable than souvenir junior wings among collectors. The lot included wings for both pilots and flight attendants, representing such current and defunct carriers as United, Olympic, Pan Am, Pratt & Whitney, Royal Sabena, Capitol, Eastern, Aer Lingus, TWA and Delta, to name just a few.
One could probably name another collecting category and it would have been represented in this sale. Bringing $1,169 was a group of Boy Scouts of America patches, Jamboree and Camporee badges, Order of the Arrow sashes and troop number badges. A handful of Girl Scouts of America patches rounded out the offerings, some of which dated to the 1930s-40s. Another lot in the sale offered Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America pins, medals, rings and buttons that did not find quite as much favor, going for $400.
If ocean liner and cruise collectibles was more your thing, Nest Egg had those, too. Souvenirs of all sorts – spoons, pins, buttons, money clips, cigarette holders, pocket knives, wick trimmers, buckles and hat patches and luggage tags – in a lot so large the online catalog did not identify how many exact pieces were included. Estimated at just $200/400, it sailed to $861 from a trade buyer in Connecticut.
A group lot of baseball memorabilia that included miniature bats, balls, trading cards and programs hit a homerun with bidders, with a trade buyer in South Dakota knocking it out of the park for $677. Brechlin said the lot included a Jim Thorpe football trade card that was in poor condition but still inspired interest.
One expects to see silver offered in large groups and it was. Leading the category was an assorted grouping of 75 pieces of sterling silver flatware at $1,169. For $1,107, a buyer snapped up a 39-piece set of Reed & Barton flatware in a fitted and lined wooden box. Another buyer paid $677 – or about $35 a piece – for an assorted group of fancy flatware that included pieces by Wallace, Lunt, Reed & Barton and Gorham. Brechlin made the comment that the current silver market is good for both dealers and collectors.
There were a few surprises to be had. Two bidders in the room were the sole competition on an Edison phonograph and horn in working condition that eventually sold for $800, quadrupling its high estimate. Brechlin said he had been surprised because the market for mechanical music has been soft lately. He also reported, with some amazement, that a group of five vintage adding machines had been purchased by a buyer in India. “The lot cost $185; it will cost much more than that to ship them there.”
Nest Egg Auctions’ next sale is the firm’s “Made in Meriden” auction on September 18.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
For information, 203-630-1400 or www.nesteggauctions.com.
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