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Auction Report: Error Stamps Highlights Philip Weiss Auctions

by WorthPoint Staff (06/08/09).

Block of six rare Canada error stamps (Scott 387A), never hinged, from corner of sheet sold for $50,850 (including a 13-percent buyer’s premium) at multi-estate sale held May 8-9 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

Block of six rare Canada error stamps (Scott 387A), never hinged, from corner of sheet sold for $50,850 (including a 13-percent buyer’s premium) at multi-estate sale held May 8-9 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – A block of six rare Canadian error stamps (Scott 387A), never hinged, from the corner of the sheet, sold for $50,850 at a multi-estate sale held May 8-9 by Philip Weiss Auctions. It was the first of two May weekend events conducted by the firm; the other was held May 29-30. Both took place in Philip Weiss Auctions’ gallery at No. 1 Neil Court in Oceanside, N.Y.

“May was a pleasant surprise for us,” said Weiss. “Both sales were successful. The good material did exceptionally well, while the mid-level merchandise brought better-than-expected prices.” Weiss added that between 2,000 and 2,500 lots crossed the block for the two sales combined, with more than 1,000 registered bidders participating via Proxibid and the website (www.prwauctions.com).

Each sale attracted between 30 and 100 bidders in the room, while absentee and phone bidding was active in both auctions, according to Weiss. The May 8-9 event featured collectible toy trains, coins and stamps, rare books, autographs, manuscripts and vintage posters. The May 29-30 auction featured antique toys, sports memorabilia items and quality, fresh-to-the-market merchandise from several prominent local estates.

Tying with the block of six Canadian error stamps for top lot honors at the May 8-9 auction was a two-set, 10-volume compilation by J.J. Audubon—seven volumes dedicated to “The Birds of America” and three volumes to “The Quadrupeds of America”—that realized $50,850 (all prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium). Both sets—first printings published circa 1840—featured hundreds of remarkably clean hand-colored lithograph plates and original leather bindings.

Among other noteworthy sales from the May 8-9 auction include:

• An exceedingly rare, original, two-sided handwritten manuscript leaf page from the seminal book “Walden,” by Henry David Thoreau, climbed to $18,080. The leaf, measuring 8-1/2 inches by 5-1/2 inches, begins, “It is very natural … I feel more like” and, on the verso, “goes lumber from … rags in bales, of all.” “Walden (Life in the Woods),” Thoreau’s manual on self-reliance, was published in 1854.

Original 10-panel “Peanuts” Sunday comic page by Charles Schulz, signed and dated 4/6/86 ($29,380).

Original 10-panel “Peanuts” Sunday comic page by Charles Schulz, signed and dated 4/6/86 ($29,380).

• Original pen-and-ink “Peanuts” comic strips by the renowned cartoonist Charles Schulz—staples at many Philip Weiss auctions—crossed the block at this one, too. A 10-panel Sunday comic page, signed and dated (4/6/86), with a “Game Day” theme featuring Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty, realized $29,380; and a four-panel daily strip dated 5/23/69 and featuring Lucy, Linus and Woodstock hit $18,080.

• Two additional lots of Charles Schulz books, signed and inscribed to legendary golfer Sam Snead, who was referenced in several jokes in “Peanuts” comic strips of the 1950s and ’60s, each made $1,695. The first was “Happiness Is a Warm Puppy” (copyright 1962). The second was “Christmas Get-Together Time” (copyright 1964). Both had all their pages and dust jackets, plus drawings from Schulz to Snead.

Following are highlights from the May 29-30 sale:

Rare toy egg from the Columbian Exposition of 1893, a world's fair held near Buffalo, N.Y. ($6,665).

Rare toy egg from the Columbian Exposition of 1893, a world's fair held near Buffalo, N.Y. ($6,665).

• The top lot was a rare toy egg from the Columbian Exposition of 1893, a world’s fair held near Buffalo, N.Y. ($6,665). The egg—coveted by toy and world’s fair collectors—was in the original box and featured lithographed and painted tin, and cloth and paper sails. A spring-loaded Santa Maria ship (honoring the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America) popped out of the top of the egg.

• From the vintage toys category, a beautiful early American tin pull toy, probably made around the 1880s by Fallows and featuring the original paint, and a horse with jockey on a wheeled platform (10 inches long), commanded $2,145. Also, a turn-of-the-century Ives mechanical Santa Claus toy, in outstanding, all-original condition and in remarkable working order, found a new owner for $3,725.

• A French wind-up fisherman toy, made of tin by Martin (pre-World War I) earned $2,935. When wound, a man spun around and pulled his arm up like he landed a fish, but with its tail missing. The toy showed some soiling and wear but was in overall good condition. Also, a 19th-century DENT cast-iron hook-and-ladder fire truck, 31 inches long, with two drivers and a three-horse team, garnered $3,275.

• Baseballs signed in the 1950s or ’60s by baseball heroes Paul Waner and Al Simmons fetched $3,390 each. Both came with a James Spence letter of authenticity. Also, a collection of more than 70 sports-related and non-sports-related tobacco cards—including a nice group of T-205 and T-206 cards of many Hall of Fame baseball players, plus lighthouses, cowboys, Indians and more—made $3,725.

Philip Weiss Auctions’ next big sale will be a three-day weekend event slated for July 31-Aug. 2. Featured will be vintage and newer toy trains; ocean liner memorabilia from Ken Schultz and other collections; military collectibles (from the Revolutionary War to the World Wars); animation art; space memorabilia (to include many signed photos); furniture; paintings; pottery; sculpture; and other items.

Philip Weiss Auctions is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (516) 594-0731, or you can e-mail them at phil@prwauctions.com. To learn more about the company and its calendar of upcoming sales, to include the July 31-Aug. 2 auction dates, log on to www.prwauctions.com. Updates are posted often.

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