Published: January 5, 2021
TIMONIUM, MD. – “Out with the old, in with the new” is the saying at this time of year. It is also the time of year for auction houses to go through their warehouses and shelves of unpaid-for lots and sell them to the highest bidder. That was the case at Richard Opfer Auctioneering, which, on December 17, offered nearly 500 lots in an online-only sale appropriately titled “Eclectic Collector.” From toy soldiers and collectible toys to camera and military collectibles, sports memorabilia to advertising, the sale had something for everyone, with prices reasonable enough to accommodate every checkbook.
When we reached Rick Opfer the day after the sale, he did not beat around the bush. “The sale was fine. It was a clean-up sale for us. We had a few good things thrown in, but really, we were cleaning up from a bunch of estates we had here, things that were left over from previous sales, for whatever reason. I will say that I think the markets are better – maybe 15-25 percent – than they were before Covid started.”
The sale of 479 lots was 98.5 percent sold and brought in about $32,400. Not an insignificant amount for things that were taking up space and once they have been picked up, will make that much more room for incoming consignments.
The sale included just a handful of vintage camera lots but they were among the top sellers and the bulk of them had been consigned by a local dealer who offers clean-out and broom-sweep services and who had found them in local estates. Topping the offerings was a leather-cased Leica camera that was sold alongside four lenses, a tripod and two other attachments, and several pamphlets and a book. It brought $960. A group lot of lenses offered a GMBH, Leica, Leitz and Macrotar lenses and finished at $660, while a large lot of more than 100 pieces of vintage camera supplies that included filters, light meters, flashbulbs, cameras and books achieved $540.
“I was very happy with the Britains,” Opfer said of the more than 100 lots of miniature metal soldiers, civilians and accessories that comprised the largest category in the sale. Opfer said they had come from a local gentleman who was selling his house and handed his collection over for sale. Charging to the head of the category was a 19-piece group of fox hunters, dogs and a fox that made $390. Several “Racing Colors” lots were in the sale, bringing prices from $270 each for boxed example of colors worn by horses owned by Winston Churchill and H.M. The King, $240 for “His Highness Aga Khan” and down to $60 for a group of five unboxed Britains Jockeys and Racehorses.
The sale included several lots of German military collectibles, most from one collector. There was also a group of sheathed daggers, one of which was a German Nazi example that was missing the eagle symbol; it brought $780. A group lot of more than 15 military pins and badges closed at $540, a 15-piece lot of military arm bands of various vintages and from various regions realized $480 and a group of military patches and chevrons was sewed up at $180. Two lots of red German World War II flags were offered consecutively and realized $180 and $156.
Opfer has done well recently with Transformers toys and the sale had a half-dozen lots on offer. Bringing the most was “Beast Wars” in its original packaging, which bidders fought to $360 for. “Evil Decepticon” from 1984, also boxed, realized $132, while a group lot of five boxed Transformers finished at $84.
If you liked penguins, this was the sale for you. A Pennsylvania collector who recently moved to Maryland had those as well as Steiff bears and other stuffed animals, such as the penguins. A Napier silver-plated penguin-form cocktail shaker waddled to $360 with Steiff examples bringing from $42 to $108.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium as advertised by the auction house.
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