Weekly Arts, Antiques & Collectibles News Roundup: Nov. 14-18, 2011

(UPDATED Tuesday, Nov. 15 12:25 p.m.)

In this week’s roundup of arts, antiques and collectibles, we learn that there some questions about how eBay runs its automobile auctions, that a program from the 1903 World Series brings in a tidy sum and, for those Justin Bieber fans out there, he is putting his pet snake up for auction. . .

Arizona Republic
EBay Auction Blunder Raises Questions

Andre Souang thought he scored the deal of a lifetime when he won a $140,000 Bentley for $14,000 on eBay last month. But when he went to make his payment, managers at Bentley Scottsdale refused to take his money, told him the car wasn’t for sale and disavowed the auction listing as a mistake. Bentley Scottsdale’s refusal to sell was followed by a form message from eBay saying the auction had been canceled for unspecified reasons. The company scraped any trace of the auction from its website and from Souang’s account. Within hours of the Oct.25 auction, it appeared as if the car had never been for sale at all. The incident offers a window into how eBay handles its vehicle auctions, and shows how it may take the side of sellers against consumers when disputes arise.

Washington Post
1903 World Series Program Sells for $241,500 at Louisville Slugger Museum Auction

A program from the first World Series game has sold at auction for $241,500. Hunt Auctions says the program was sold Saturday at the Louisville Slugger Museum. Company President David Hunt said there was enormous demand for the rare 1903 program from the series between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates, which Boston won. He said he was “aware of only one other copy of this 1903 World Series program, and that copy resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Celebrity Café
Justin Bieber Auctions off Pet Snake for Charity

Remember that snake Justin Bieber brought to the MTV Video Music Awards this year? That yellow and white one that girlfriend Selena Gomez didn’t seem too intrigued by? Well it could be yours! The New York Daily News reported that the baby boa constrictor, named Johnson, is on the auction block on CharityBuzz.com. All proceeds from the sale will go to Pencils of Promise, which is only two years old but has already built dozens of schools in Laos, Nicaragua, and Guatemala, according to the auction site.

Sell-Car U.K.
Classic Cars Must Be Rare to Fetch Premium

A classic automobile will not command a top price just because it is old, according to an investment expert, who highlighted the importance of rarity and beauty. Marcus Carlton, director of HFM Columbus Wealth, wrote in Investment Week that there will always be a market for collectibles of this kind, with the attraction compounded by the power and beauty of an old automobile. He said that people selling a car with some form of documented history—like racing results or pictures of the vehicle in action—are likely to be in a much better position than sellers with a standard car, particularly if a lot of that model are currently on the market.

Lynchburg (Va.) News-Advocate
Layaway Back in Style for Holiday Shopping

At Accents Flags and Gifts on Main Street in Lynchburg, Va., the Department 56 collection of items for holiday villages can be a popular, but expensive item. One village house can run up to $100, said manager Ashleigh Taylor, who runs the store with her mother, Deborah Keeling. That’s why the store instituted a layaway program for the collectibles this year for the first time. Taylor said customers had been asking about a program to avoid a mountain of credit card bills in January.

Boston Globe
Collectibles, Oddities, Rarities, Antiquities: Route 1 Beckons the Curious, the Hunters

“You’re killing me,” the shop owner, a stout man wearing a hunter’s plaid wool jacket and a two-day beard, said. We had just offered him $40 for an antique yellow Fiesta water pitcher—if he threw in the small wooden box we had dug out of heap in the back of the store. “This ain’t no charity,” he grumbled. But he took the offer, and we were happily on our way to the next shop, housed in a renovated 1800s barn within eyeshot. We were on an antiquing road trip in southern Maine, a 30-mile or so stretch from York to Arundel jam-packed with shops and the occasional salvage yard. It’s home to the largest concentration of antiques stores in Maine, from tiny hole-in-the-wall shacks to multi-dealer malls. Some consider it America’s original “Antique Alley.” We consider it the best fall hunting grounds in New England. The crowds were gone; the shops were open; and we had our sights on end-of-season bargains.

Florida Today
Searstown in Titusville Lands Antique Mall to Fill Fred’s Spot


An antiques mall opens Tuesday at Searstown Mall, filling an 18,500-square-foot space that has been vacant since Fred’s discount department store closed in September 2010. The mall, at 3550 S. Washington Ave., also has a new women’s clothing store and a new company running its 10-screen movie theater, Searstown manager Herman Safar said. “It’s very promising,” Safar said.

North County (Calif.) Times
Antiques, Steampunk come Together at Del Mar Show

With more than 100,000 square feet of floor space, this weekend’s 51st annual Del Mar Antique Show at the fairgrounds is the biggest show of its kind south of San Francisco. More than 200 antique dealers from throughout the western United States will be selling antiques and collectibles during the show’s three-day run from Nov. 19 through 21. There will be booths specializing in crystal, glass, pottery, art, jewelry, silver, Americana, primitives, furniture and paper ephemera. There will also be antique and restoration artists on hand for consultations on wicker, damaged glass, crystal, porcelain, pottery, rugs and jewelry. From 5,000 to 7,000 people attend the twice-yearly shows, organizers say.

Antiques Trade Gazette
Britain’s Best Antiques Shops – How to Get Ahead for National Antiques Week

Are you the owner of an antiques shop, vintage shop, antiques centre or auction house? Are you keen to be nominated as one of Britain’s best antiques shops? There have been 19,000 nominations so far. Here are some easy tips on how to boost your profile:

Antiques Trade Gazette
Dealers Face Their Own Banking Crisis Say LAPADA

Establishing a satisfactory relationship with a bank appears to be one of the major difficulties facing art and antiques dealers in the current economic climate. In response to the experiences of a number of their members, LAPADA, the Association of Art and Antiques Dealers, are conducting an online survey to pinpoint the areas of major concern. The replacement of the traditional bank manager by inexperienced “relationship managers” who show little interest in understanding the nature of the art and antiques business is one of the major frustrations, according to feedback received so far.

Daily Mail (U.K.)
Rare Action Comics #1 Recovered after Being Stolen 11 Years Ago Expected to Fetch $1.5M

An incredibly rare comic that was stolen more than a decade ago has been discovered and is expected to sell for a world record $1.5 million. The inaugural issue of Action Comics from 1938 contained the first ever appearance of Superman and is the most sought after comic in the world. The copy for sale was stolen in 2000 from the home of an America collector and the police have been hunting for it ever since. The same comic had already set a world record when the collector paid $150,000 for it some years previously.

Wiltshire (U.K.) Times
Dealer to Retire After Over 40 Years in Trade

When Dennis White’s love of old oil lamps and clocks began to take over his life, he faced the dilemma that confronts collectors when their collections begin to get out of hand – and his solution was to open a shop. Now at the age of 65 and with the antiques trade in the doldrums, Mr. White has reluctantly decided to close his Inglenook Antiques shop after being in business for nearly 40 years. The shop in Ramsbury was originally a general stores run by his mother May and late father Jim.

Bloomberg Business Week
Burgundy Soars as Chinese Buyers Grab $69,000 Cases at Auction

Hong Kong investment banker Alan Chen embraced wine collecting after a visit to Bordeaux’s Chateau Margaux five years ago. “Now I’m fascinated by Burgundy,” said Chen, head of Asian Equities at Mizuho Securities Asia Ltd., as we sipped 1999 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Richebourg at a pre-auction tasting in Hong Kong. It’s outstanding, but he prefers the ethereal 1999 DRC Romanee-Conti he poured at his Bali wedding in 2009. When his wife said her favorite wine was 1990 DRC La Tache, he bought 60 bottles the next day. Current auction price? $68,821 a case.

Rare Early U.S. New Testament Up for Auction

A rare copy of the first English-language edition of the New Testament to be published in the United States is being offered at auction in London. Bloomsbury Auctions says the small volume, published in 1777, is estimated to fetch 100,000 pounds ($160,000) or more at the sale on Nov. 29. The identity of the seller was not disclosed. The New Testament was published by Robert Aitken, a Scotsman who settled in Philadelphia, who acted to fill a void after British authorities cut off the supply of Bibles following the American colonies’ Declaration of Independence in 1776


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