Weekly Arts, Antiques & Collectibles News Roundup: Oct. 24-28, 2011

(UPDATED DAILY; Friday, Oct. 28 10:50 a.m.)

This week’s roundup of arts, antiques and collectibles is a study in heroes and villains as the Batman collection of a slain millionaire will be put up for auction, as will collectibles and memorabilia of basketball’s Dr. J. And what did we make of the fact that the Buckner Ball—the baseball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series didn’t meet its minimum bid in an eBay auction?

Bloomberg Businessweek
Batman Items of Slain Florida Millionaire to be Sold

An extensive collection of Batman memorabilia once owned by a slain Florida millionaire will be auctioned next month. Heritage Auctions said on Oct. 26 it expects the sale of Ben Novack Jr.’s collection to generate more than $1 million. It will be held Nov. 15-17 in Beverly Hills, Calif. The items include a copy of DC Comics’ first Batman edition from 1940 and a 1939 comic in which “The Batman” first appeared. Novack’s replica Batmobile is not part of the auction.

Associated Press
Dr. J Denies Memorabilia Auction Tied to Lawsuit

Julius Erving has denied an upcoming auction of his personal basketball memorabilia collection is tied to a lawsuit filed against him by a Georgia bank. Known on the hardwood as Dr. J, Erving told The Associated Press on Oct. 26 he’s never been a “hoarder or collector,’’ and plans to donate a portion of the auction proceeds to the Salvation Army. Erving’s auction collection includes his 1983 NBA championship ring with the Philadelphia 76ers, a pair of ABA championship rings with the New York Nets, and MVP trophies from each league.

Bloomberg Businessweek
Buckner Ball Redeemed at Auction as ’86 All-Stars Struggle

Bill Buckner is cheered now where he was vilified a quarter century ago, when a ground ball that got through his legs made him despised throughout Red Sox Nation. The so-called Buckner Ball didn’t sell on eBay’s on-line auction Oct. 25 when the bidding failed to reach the $1 million minimum by the 11:37 p.m. New York time closing—25 years to the minute after the event that has shown sports fans’ propensity for both hatred and redemption.

Coin World
Ancient Cretan Stater Coin Brings $479,000 World Record Price

London numismatic specialists Morton & Eden have had some spectacular results in their auction Oct. 24, A Collection of Exceptional Ancient Greek Coins. Several lots broke the six figure mark, and most of these were unexpected. But the highlight was a Cretan coin, distinguished as being carefully struck on flans that show no evidence of overstriking. Listed at £60,000-£80,000, it impressed bidders to the point at which one paid a startling £300,000 ($479,000) – an enormous sum for an ancient coin.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Minneapolis Collectors’ Home is Like a Gallery

What do you get when you mix collectibles from many eras and cultures into one stylistic stew? You could easily end up with visual indigestion. But collectors Jamie Becker and Wayne Beauchemin have found the recipe for blending Asian, Russian, Mexican, French, African and Scandinavian artifacts into an artfully balanced mélange.

USA Today
Bette Midler Would Sell You the Clothes Off Her Back

Letting go hasn’t been easy for Bette Midler. “I cried my eyes out,” Midler concedes while assembling the more than 300 items she’ll sell Nov. 12 at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. The collection of clothing, shoes, accessories and other memorabilia traces some 40 years of fabulousness, from the singer/actress’s early gigs to her 2008 Las Vegas spectacle, “The Showgirl Must Go On,” staged for two years at the Coliseum at Caesars Palace.

WCVB-TV Boston
Massachusetts’ Unclaimed Gold, Silver to Be Auctioned

Gold, silver, jewelry, collectible currency and high-end wristwatches are among the dozens of items pulled from abandoned safe deposit boxes that the state is going to start auctioning off if the rightful owners don’t come forward to claim them. The state treasurer’s office started displaying the unclaimed bounty at Nurses Hall at the Statehouse on Oct. 26. The items will then be shown Oct. 27 from noon to 5 p.m. at the State Office Building at 436 Dwight St. in Springfield and on Friday, Oct. 28 from noon to 5 p.m. Massachusetts State Lottery offices at 151 West Boylston Dr. in Worcester.

Philadelphia News
Doctor J to Auction Basketball Memorabilia

There will be no on-court action from the 76ers anytime soon that will remind you of the team’s glory years, culminating in the NBA title in 1983. That’s no knock on the current state of the Sixers, just a fact, because the ongoing lockout means it will be quite some time before any NBA basketball hits the floor. But if you’re looking for some way to recall those glorious seasons, particularly Julius Erving, you can do it. Just get the wallet out and be ready to empty it.

Bellingham (Wash.) Herald
Photo Album Provides a New Picture of Wyatt Earp

Sure, he’s best known as the steely nerved Wild West lawman who faced down the bad guys at the O.K. Corral. But Wyatt Earp may have had a soft and sentimental side too. Brothers Keith and Brian Collins say they discovered Earp’s personal photo album while picking through a Hesperia, Calif., antique shop. Inside the worn, leather-bound album were more than two dozen tiny tintype and carte de visite pictures showing Earp as a child, a teenager and a young adult, they say. They say the album also contains photos of his mother and pictures of two of his three wives.

Sacramento Bee
40,000-Piece Hollywood Collection Discovered in Storage Locker to be Auctioned

A mammoth collection of important entertainment memorabilia purchased sight unseen at a storage-locker auction will be sold Oct. 29 at Don Presley’s auction gallery in Orange, Ca. The 40,000-piece collection containing motion picture and TV memorabilia; original animation art and other prized entertainment collectibles is described by auctioneer Presley as “the find of a lifetime.” Presley is producing the auction together with Dave Hester (Dave Hester Auctions) and celebrity auctioneers Dan and Laura Dotson. The Dotsons, owners of American Auctioneers, are nationally known as emcees of the hit TV show “Storage Wars.” Hester is also a regular on the show.

Auction House to the (Dead) Stars

Morbid but true: The more tragic a celebrity’s death, the more his or her stuff will be worth after death. Just look at Michael Jackson. The King of Pop was only 50 when he died in 2009 as he was gearing up for a massive comeback tour. And while lawyers are still arguing over who caused Jackson’s death, fans and collectors have been bidding up the value of Jackson’s stuff. In June, the red and black jacket that Jackson wore in his “Thriller” video sold for $1.8 million. That was the most expensive sale in an auction of music memorabilia that brought in a total of $3.6 billion. Also sold that day were Frank Sinatra’s Jaguar ($23,750), Elvis Presley’s original “TCB” necklace ($17,920) and one of Jimi Hendrix’s wah-wah pedals ($11,250). The sale didn’t take place at Sotheby’s or Christie’s but at Julien’s Auctions, a seven-year-old auction house in Beverly Hills that has developed a reputation as the auction house to the stars.

Memphis Commercial Appeal
Ex-Memphian Auction Fan Dies as he Lived – Violently

David Blair lived and breathed estate sales and auctions. With his close-cut gray hair and spiffy cast-off clothes from thrift-store designer racks, he cut a dapper figure, but that didn’t change the fear he inspired. An imposing man at 6 feet 2 inches, Blair was a determined, almost maniacal bidder with an eye for quality and a talent for spotting the most valuable items in a sale. It came with a threatening, bullying presence and a malevolent streak that caused dealer after dealer to ban him from their sales.

WDAY New York
Titanic Auction Nets $100,570

A collection of more than 100 items of Titanic memorabilia, including a rare letter written on the ship’s stationery the day it sailed on its first and last voyage, sold for $100,570 on Oct. 21. The collection, which had been estimated to sell for $50,000 to $75,000, was one of seven lots of Titanic material sold by Philip Weiss Auctions in Oceanside, N.Y. It was purchased by a private collector who did not want to be identified.

New York Daily News
Marilyn Monroe’s Green Velour Dress Fetches over Half a Million at Auction

A green velour frock that Marilyn Monroe wore in “River of No Return” fetched more than half a million at an auction in China. The dress, which she donned while crooning “I’m Gonna File My Claim” in the ’50s flick, was sold to a private buyer, Darren Julien, CEO of Julian’s Auctions, announced Saturday.

KSDKTV St. Louis
Cardinals Fans Advised on Buying World Series Merchandise

With Cardinals fever spreading from the World Series, the Better Business Bureau is advising shoppers on the reasons they should and should not buy memorabilia. Chris Thetford with the BBB says fans should buy World Series gear for enjoyment, and not investment. He says there is a very slim chance of the merchandise increasing in value in the foreseeable future. Memorabilia from the early to mid-20th century is worth more because it used to only be available at the ballpark.

The Guardian (U.K.)
Fury Grows over Burlington Arcade Renovation as Shopkeeper Faces Eviction

The Burlington Arcade, which runs behind Bond Street from Piccadilly, opened in 1819 “for the sale of jewelry and fancy articles of fashionable demand, for the gratification of the public.” Its legions of modern admirers are furious that new owners are planning a £5 million renovation which includes refusing to renew the lease of Daniel Bexfield, an independent antique silverware specialist, because he “no longer fits the look.” Campaigners claim the arcade’s quaint, privately run shops are to be replaced with global brands such as Jimmy Choo and Prada.

Opelika-Auburn (Ala.) News
State of Alabama to Hold Surplus Auction Wednesday

From desks, chairs and laptop computers to vehicles and vending machines, if you’re looking for something, there is a good chance you can find it at the state surplus property auction on Oct. 26. The state’s Surplus Property Division, part of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, is holding the auction in Montgomery. Along with office equipment and vehicles, the items for auction include medical equipment, golf carts, boats, lawn equipment and much more.

Mainline Media News
Cheap Ways to Keep Your Antiques

You don’t need to invest in expensive products in order to protect, clean or display your fine art or antiques. We all have to watch our pennies in today’s economy, so here are some money-saving tips and little-known tricks to keep your antiques in tip-top shape.


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