Published: July 8, 2003
Theriault’s conducted its Marquis cataloged auction entitled “300 Impossible Things Before Noon” in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 17. The title of the auction was based on a chapter from Alice in Wonderland where the Queen of Hearts states to Alice, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many a six impossible things before breakfast!”
Each of the three diverse collections represented at Theriault’s largest single-day auction thus far this year represented a specific genre of collectibles, illustrating the development of the grouping in history from start to finish. The combination of the artistic works of Gebruder Heubach, an amazing selection of French dolls and automata and a discerning collection of vintage toys helped nearly double expectations of the weekend as totals soared to almost $1.4 million.
Outside the auction as roulette wheels ticked away and cards of chance were flipped, the surest bet at the Venetian were the many dolls of Gebruder Heubach. To gaze at the sheer artistry and history found in this renowned private collection featured in the Heubach book by Lydia Richter was an amazing opportunity.
With phone bids coming in from around the world and anxious bidders in the audience, one could understand the goalie’s upturned impish lips and the charming wide-eyed looks. Lot 35, a 8590 Heubach googlie, brought in double its presale estimate at $12,000 while lot 101, a 8556 Heubch googlie, reflected the faces of many collectors on Saturday as this elfin character realized $23,000 against a $6/8,000 estimate.
Other notable German dolls included a beautiful, serene-looking Simon and Halbig character 1307, lot 161, at $19,000 against a presale estimate of $8/11,000.
The history shared by German doll historians and authors Jurgen and Marianne Cieslik of the portrait model of young Teddy Roosevelt, lot 77, caught the attention of many collectors worldwide. This stately portrait is attributed to Cuno and Otto Dresser by Simon and Halbig, and is from a series of historical dolls issued by that firm in 1893 representing American heroes of the Spanish American War. It realized $9,000 against a presale estimate of $4/5,000.
Another notable French doll was lot 29, an outstanding French bisque bebe A.T. by Thuillier. This decadently dress A.T. stood poised as bidding topped at $38,000. Lot 80, another A.T. by Thuillier in all original costuming, also realized $38,000. Lot 80, a very rare French bisque bebe by Schmitt et Fils, helped to solidify the current strength of the doll market by realizing $29,000 against a presale estimate of $18/24,000.
The vintage toys included Popeye, Mickey, Li’l Abner, Henry and Mortimer Snerd. Charlie McCarthy joined Mortimer Snerd in Marx’s “Private Car,” lot 71, at $5,750, and Mickey Mouse’s street organ, lot 303, played a jaunty tune as Minnie danced on the lid for $5,600. But it was Popeye who stole the show, riding in on his speedboat (lot 153), and realizing $10,000 against a presale estimate of $4/5,000.
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