Published: December 8, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Roberson’s Auctions
PINE BUSH, N.Y.- Part one of the collection of Orange County, N.Y., collector Craig Dinner was offered at Roberson’s Auctions on November 28. The sale included 263 lots of shooting gallery targets, advertising, architectural carved elements, iron figurals and stoneware.
“He’s been buying antiques since he was a young adult,” co-owner Del Roberson said. “In the circle of shooting target collectors and sellers, everyone knew Craig.”
This was only the third online auction from Roberson’s, a firm that has been holding sales for about 50 years.
“We were an old school auction that basically sold in-house,” Roberson said. “We are semiretired, so we were hoping we didn’t have to go online, but Covid pushed us there.”
The sale had three previews but bidding was conducted entirely online, by absentee or phone bid.
It was the first sale that Del helped her husband, Lou, call.
“It was the only aspect of the business that I had never done,” she said. “Him and I together called it.”
Bidders responded warmly, and given the distinctly American nature of the objects on hand, Roberson said most of the buyers were domestic, though some will ship up to Canada.
The top lot in the sale was its first offering, a wooden “Shooting Gallery” sign advertising 5 cents a shot or three shots for 10 cents. At 46 inches long, the visually striking work was purchased for $3,120 by collector Mary Campbell, who posted it to her Instagram handle @555riv. She also purchased an “Indian Chief” target with fine paint for $1,440.
Flying to $3,037 was an “American Spread Eagle” iron form featuring a red, white and blue circular target on its chest. It measured 22 inches wide. Just behind at $2,940 was a “Colorful Clown” target, 20½ inches high in a polka dot suit with collarette and red hat.
Roberson said a few of Dinner’s examples were illustrated in Richard and Valerie Tucker’s 2014 book Step Right Up! Classic American Target and Arcade Forms. The Tuckers sold their collection of shooting targets in September of this year with a Missouri auction house.
One of those examples was an owl with concentric ring target to his chest, mounted on a red-painted iron plaque that went out for $531.
Dealer Aarne Anton of American Primitive Gallery recalls selling a number of pieces into Dinner’s collection, as well as mounting many of them to their stands.
“When I did go to his home, he had a nice size collection and was very knowledgeable about them,” Anton recalled. “He was one of the collectors for shooting gallery material, and that was well before the book came out.”
An example that Anton remembered selling into the collection was a stern-looking “Mexican” man target with the figure sporting a long moustache and a sombrero. Attributed to Hoffman, it sold for $1,680.
Though it may have been a gluttonous year for shooting target collectors, there were a number of examples in the collection that were particularly scarce. Two “Howling Tom Cat” targets were among them, a yellow example attributed to Dickman that sold for $938 and a white example attributed to Evans that took $688.
The collection was full of spinners and some of them of the large size variety. Top in that category was a “Spinner Disc with Card Suits” example featuring blue and white concentric circles, a red bull’s-eye and multi-colored card suits to the perimeter that was attributed to Mangels and sold for $2,000. A similar example went out at $1,875. A baby-blue painted disc with white stars around the perimeter, 16 inches diameter, sold for $1,625. A 21-inch diameter red disc with white pipes around it sold for $1,375.
Buildings are another one of those scarce categories, and Dinner offered up two examples. A “Dutch Windmill,” 51 inches high with spinning arms that held clay pipes sold for $750. Attributed to Dickman was a “Lighthouse” form target, painted red and white, 52 inches high, that brought $600.
Anton had never seen another example of a “3 Men With Parachutes” target by an unknown maker. At 21 inches high, it brought $1,188. A singular “Man with Parachute” target, of a different style and marked “Knott Boston,” brought $625.
Two rabbit targets sold among the top earners. Attributed to Hoffman was a 19½-inch-high example of a white bunny with a red ring target at the center of his body that brought $2,125. A different form of the same color scheme, 18½ inches high, sold for $1,800.
Dinner’s collection of carved architectural elements found solid interest. Selling for $2,580 was a pair of carved wooden angels looking towards the heavens, 15 inches high each. Another pair of praying angel carvings sold for $1,500. Larger at 41 inches high was a carved oak winged griffin in sitting position that caught 23 bids on its way to $1,875.
Among Dinner’s examples of signage was a sign for a “Community Skating Pond” that went out for $1,000. In painted wood, the sign measured 25½ by 48 inches and regulated use of the pond to children under 15 years old from sun up to until 8 pm, after which it was free to all. In iron was a fabulous 10½-by-11-inch “Cow Pass 300 Feet” sign sold for $780.
Part two from the Dinner collection includes clocks, stained glass, more carved architectural elements, oak furniture, pewter agateware, knockdowns and some smaller targets. Roberson’s has the sale scheduled for January 30.
All prices include buyer’s premium. For more information, www.robersonsauctions.com or 845-744-3388.
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