Weekly Arts, Antiques & Collectibles News Roundup: Nov. 21-25, 2011

In this week’s roundup of arts, antiques and collectibles, we learn of what could be the oldest toy train (and which may have been made by a father for his son in the 1820s or 1830s), that the governor of Ohio in on record of a law banning the auction (or other sales) of exotic animals and that the auction of Dr. J Memorabilia fetches $3.5 million in what is being called the “biggest online sports auction ever” . . .

The Northern Echo (U.K.)
Wooden Loco could be the World’s Oldest Toy Train

A locomotive discovered in a cottage that backed on to the original Stockton to Darlington railway could be the oldest toy engine in the world. Experts were stumped for a value when Tom Robson took the model engine to the “Antiques Roadshow” valuation day at Seaton Delaval, Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, in July. Antiques expert Paul Atterbury, who could barely contain his excitement, said the train, which may have been made by a father for his son in the 1820s or 1830s, was worth anything from £20 to £5,000

The Associated Press
Ohio governor: Ban Exotic Wild Animal Auctions

A study group on Monday proposed that Ohio ban new ownership of venomous snakes, monkeys, tigers and other dangerous animals with only limited exceptions. The group has held expedited meetings in private since last month, when police were forced to kill 48 wild animals—including endangered Bengal tigers—after their owner freed them from his Zanesville farm and then committed suicide. A summary of the group’s input and state agencies’ recommendations for new regulations was obtained by The Associated Press on Monday, after the panel’s final meeting.

Yahoo Sports
Dr. J Memorabilia Fetches $3.5 Million in Biggest Online Sports Auction Ever

Julius Erving is one of the best basketball players in history. When it came to earnings, however, Dr. J’s career ended just before salaries began to soar higher than his breathtaking one-handed dunks. Erving’s biggest payday by far came in the wee hours Sunday morning when an online auction closed and 144 of his possessions had sold for $3,552,627. His 1974 ABA New York Nets championship ring fetched $460,741, the highest total ever for a sports ring. Five more of Erving’s rings each exceeded $195,000. Three MVP trophies each exceeded $165,000.

Collectible Stamps Show Their Strengths as an Alternative Hedge over the Long Term

Academics from the London Business School have researched stamp catalogue prices to investigate the returns on British collectible postage stamps over the period 1900-2008. Elroy Dimson and Christophe Spaenjers’ paper, “Ex Post: The Investment Performance of Collectable Stamps,” published in the Journal of Financial Economics, reported that stamps have an annualized return on of 7 percent in nominal terms, or 2.9 percent in real terms.

Behind the Scenes: How people get on ‘Antiques Roadshow’

“Is it treasure or trash?” they wonder. If you’ve ever watched the popular PBS series “Antiques Roadshow” you’ve likely wondered just how the hopeful attendees bearing an item – a family heirlooms, a piece of old furniture, or something picked up at a garage sale just because it looked interesting—are chosen to appear on camera with the men and women who will describe its history and give an appraisal of its value. Between 50 and 60 of the show’s fans found out just that at the Germantown Cricket Club on Sunday as they listened to Dr. Donald H. Cresswell, co-owner of the Philadelphia Print Shop, as he presented “An Insider’s View of the ‘Antiques Roadshow,’” sponsored by the Germantown Historical Society.

Evansville Courier-Press
Antiques, Memories Worth More than Money

I’m an admirer of the PBS TV program “Antiques Roadshow.” It’s entertaining to watch as an appraiser tells someone that some ugly something Aunt Maude left them in her will is worth thousands of dollars. The show stokes a bit of hope—and greed—in most of us that just maybe some old thing that’s been stored down in the basement for the past 50 years will be valuable, too. But it’s unlikely—at least at our house. As far as I know, since the beginning of time, my folks have been poor. There have never been vast acreages, white-columned mansions, fancy silver or heirloom furniture to pass on from one generation to the next. What has come down have been little things that somehow weren’t worn out or broken and had just enough sentimental value to be saved.

Upper Moreland-Willow Grove Patch
Interest in Penn State Collectibles Spike in Wake of Scandal

In the wake of the news media’s sudden interest in all things Penn State and particularly Penn State football, I started to think about how this focus on the university impacts the current state of the collectibles market. As you might have guessed, Penn State collectibles are experiencing a market spike right now. People are selling all types of Penn State items, such as JoePa coffee mugs, invitations to the installation ceremonies of former university presidents, old milk bottles from the Creamery, vintage football team photographs from the 1960s, commemorative baseball caps, old holiday ornaments from the Nittany Lion Inn, and other memorabilia. While these items are selling at auctions, flea markets, and for the most part, online, surveying the market shows me that Pennsylvanians are not at the forefront of this market spike.

National Post (Canada)
Luxury Living: Antiques are Never Antiquated

“People seldom use the word antiques in its traditional sense,” says Viki Mansell, the owner of Absolutely and Absolutely North, in Toronto, the go-to stores for design insiders. “Antiques used to mean at least 100 years old and typically referred to serious period furniture. Now people tend to use the term vintage for desirable items and think of antiques as rather fussy things associated with their grandparents, and not suitable for them.” Older, vintage items such as 1940s and ’50s mid-century modern furniture are very much in demand, Mansell says. “It’s the unusual, one-of-a-kind older pieces that customers are searching for now; authentic things that give a personal feeling to an interior that might otherwise be contemporary in style and new.”

New York Times
Feriarte Fair in Madrid Offers Array of Art, Antiques and More

The annual Feriarte Art and Antiques Fair will bring together more than 100 Spanish and international antiques dealers and gallery owners from Nov. 19 to 27 at the Feria de Madrid. Participants will offer an impressive array of furniture, paintings, sculptures, timepieces, lamps, jewelry and Asian and tribal art. Nearly 50 experts oversee the entries to guarantee their quality and authenticity. Last year more than 27,000 people visited the fair, not only taking in the 3,600 objects but also instructive conferences and roundtables. This year’s topics will be “The Art Market and Its Link with Public Institutions” and “Perspectives Regarding the Art and Antiques Trade: The Collector, the Artist, Antique-Dealers and Art Gallery Owners and the Art Critic.”

RTT News
Michael Jackson’s Deathbed Removed from Auction

Michael Jackson’s deathbed has been removed from an upcoming auction at the request of the late singer’s family. The bed was set to hit the auction block along with a handful of other items that were in the mansion that pop icon was renting in the final months of his life. According to RollingStone.com, the bed frame did not include the mattress, which was removed as evidence by authorities following the singer’s death. Starting bids for the item were set at between $3,000 and $5,000.

English News (China)
Contemporary Chinese Oil Painting Fetches $23.6 Million at Auction

An oil painting by contemporary artist Wu Guanzhong was sold late Saturday for ¥149.5 million yuan (about $23.6 million) at an auction held by Beijing-based auction house A&F. The painting, entitled “Ten Thousand Kilometers of the Yangtze River,” was created between 1973 and 1974 and is considered to be one of the artist’s best works. Born in 1919 in the city of Yixing in east China’s Jiangsu province, Wu is widely recognized as the father of contemporary Chinese painting. He died in July 2010 at the age of 91.

Fine Art Restoration Firm Sterling Associates to Launch Auction Business

When Sterling Associates conducts its inaugural Fall Estates Sale on Dec. 3, bidders from around the world will have the chance to experience what may very well be the future of the auction business—a format that company owner Stephen D’Atri calls the “hybrid auction.” “All of the bidding will be done absentee, over the phone or via the Internet, but we’re very much a permanent brick-and-mortar company where anyone can come in to inspect the goods,” said D’Atri. “It will be run exactly like a live auction, but without a live audience.” D’Atri said the idea behind Sterling Associates developed organically, after many years of working with his family’s antique lighting business, followed by the establishment of a very successful business of his own.

San Francisco Chronicle
5 Ways to Find Success at Storage Auctions

The popularity of storage auctions has seen explosive growth in the past year thanks to the introduction of no less than four reality-based television shows on the subject. As a result, crowds at these events have grown by as much as 1,000 percent and people are paying more than ever to acquire the contents of storage units. The “Storage Auctions Guide” offers five tips to avoid wasting time and money when purchasing storage units at auction.


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