Weekly Arts, Antiques & Collectibles News Roundup: Oct. 17-21, 2011

(UPDATED DAILY; Thursday, Oct. 20 2:45 p.m.)

In our weekly roundup of arts, antiques and collectibles, we learn not to mess with the 82-year-old owner of Armen Amerigian Antiques near Boston, that one of John Lennon’s teeth will be auctioned (removed pre-death) and of a couple of Superman-related stories . . .

Boston Globe
82-Year-Old Store Owner Chases Robber through Three Towns South of Boston

An 82-year-old antique shop owner from West Bridgewater chased the man who robbed his store through three different towns today before the suspect was apprehended, police said. A man armed with a semi-automatic pistol held up Armen Amerigian Antiques on West Center Street, taking an undisclosed amount of jewelry around 10:57 a.m. Thursday. When the man got into his red pickup truck to flee the scene, Armen Amerigian, the store owner, got into his car and pursued the suspect, police said. “He chased him through Brockton and into Easton,” said West Bridgewater Police Sergeant Christopher Werner.

Beatle John Lennon’s Tooth to be Sold at Auction

Sure, plenty of die-hard John Lennon fans are in the world. But, do they adore the Beatles’ player enough to want to get their hands on his tooth? That’s the question, as the BBC reports one of the late Beatle’s teeth will go on auction on November 6. The prong is projected to draw nearly $16,000. Fortunately, the tooth wasn’t yanked from Lennon’s dead body, but was given by him as a keepsake to his housekeeper, Dot Jarlett. According to Dot’s son Barry Jarlett, Lennon “was in the kitchen and he had this tooth which he had wrapped in a piece of paper. He said, ‘Dot will you dispose of this,’ and then he said, ‘Or, as your daughter’s a Beatles fan, you can give to her as a souvenir.’” Dot chose the latter.

Comics Alliance
Superman Fan Mike Meyer Shares Donated Comics & Collectibles With Children’s Hospital

It didn’t seem like there could be a better ending to the case of Mike Meyer than the return of his vast collection of Superman comic books and collectibles following their alleged theft by a man who pretended to be his friend, but we think you’ll agree this is it. As we reported previously, the comics community rallied in support of Meyer, a 48-year-old lifelong Superman fan who lives on part-time work at McDonald’s and Social Security for a mental disability, by organizing a drive to replace the items that had been so cruelly stolen. With his collection now recovered by police and the alleged thief in jail, Meyer took a cue from the selfless superhero he idolizes by donating to a local children’s hospital the excess items that were donated to him.

Superman Super Site
Rare Superman Items Available at Auction

As part of their 204th auction, Hake’s Americana and Collectibles in York, Pa., is offering an assortment of Superman collectibles and memorabilia from the 1940s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. One of the featured items are is a 1941 Superman Secret Chamber Ring produced by Ostby & Barton of Rhode Island, offered as a premium for the “Superman Defense Club” milk program, costing 2 bottle caps and 10¢.

Sotheby’s to Display Top Lots in Moscow

Riding a wave of booming global sales in Russian art, Sotheby’s opened a show in Moscow this week of early 20th century works, including top-lots from its upcoming New York and London auctions. Sotheby’s says its sales of Russian art have grown from $6 million in 2000 to $50 million in the first half of 2011 alone—nearly 1.5 percent of the auction house’s total turnover.

New York Times
The Specialized Art of the Appraisal

Whether it is fine wines, vintage movie posters or abstract paintings, some people spend a great deal of time and money compiling collections of valuables. Even if they’re collecting out of personal passion, rather than as an investment, it makes sense to keep tabs on how much the collection is worth. “You need to know what you own, and to know the value of what you own,” said Nancy Harrison, a fine art specialist with Emigrant Bank’s fine art financing unit in New York and the president of the Appraisers Association of America.

Market Watch
Major Entertainment Memorabilia Auction Goes Live Online on Proxibid

A remarkable collection of costumes, animation cels, scripts, posters, special production items, unreleased original artwork, publicity stills and other priceless Hollywood memorabilia from the silent film era through modern day will cross the auction on Saturday, October 29. More than 400 lots consisting of 40,000 pieces of rare Hollywood memorabilia will cross the block. The prior owners of the collection are well-known motion picture industry executives who accumulated the collection over several years. The collection was neatly boxed under lock and key at a storage facility until recently, when the contents were deemed abandoned due to unpaid rent on the storage unit. The collection was sold in a storage unit auction, where it was purchased sight unseen. Now, for the first time, this breathtaking collection will be available on the open market. Bidders will not want to miss the chance to bid live online on featured items including “Wizard of Oz” collectibles, movie productions items, movie memorabilia and thousands of Disney animation production cels.

The Canadian Press
Bobby Orr’s Canada Cup Jersey Up for Sale

Bobby Orr’s jersey from Canada’s win over Czechoslovakia in the finals of the 1976 Canada Cup is going on the auction block. The jersey is being sold by Classic Auctions, the Montreal-area company that also handled the sale of Paul Henderson’s 1972 Summit Series jersey. “We believe that this photo-matched, game-worn Bobby Orr Team Canada 1976 Canada Cup jersey, with unwavering provenance, most certainly represents the second-most significant Team Canada uniform find in the history of the game and the hobby,” Classic Auctons says on its website.

Antiques and the Arts
Maharajah’s Rare Jewels Highlight Capo’s First Auction of Fall Season

Capo Auction Fine Art and Antiques enjoyed a successful first auction of the fall season on September 24. Included in the auction were some rare jewels from the former collection of the Maharajah of Jaipur, the political, cultural and religious icon who died earlier this year at age 79, along with items from various other estates. Highlights in the most recent auction included some much higher than anticipated sales, some surprising bargains and buyers from locations around the globe, including Bahrain, Afghanistan, China and the United Kingdom.

Kensington & Chelsea Chronicle (U.K.)
Antiques Traders Fear for Future of Portobello Road

More antiques traders in Portobello Road say they face an uncertain future after another antiques gallery was sold. Chelsea Galleries is the latest arcade in the market to be sold to new owners, leaving traders uncertain of their futures, and in fear of rising rents or of being given notice to leave. But the owner who put it up for sale claims that traders have been given a months notice of the sale, as that is a legal requirement, and insists that it will continue as an antiques market under new ownership.

Sotheby’s Auctions Hoax Drawing By Nat Tate

Sotheby’s, the London auctioneer, is selling a drawing by the fictional artist Nat Tate, whose work and life was allegedly created in the publication of his biography, nearly 40 years after his death in 1960. Author William Boyd published a monograph as a hoax presenting Tate as an important artist with a lavish biography back in the late 1990s. Musician David Bowie even hosted a party at Jeff Koons’s Manhattan studio to promote his new art publishing house (21 Publishing) and its first publication, the biography “Nat Tate: An American Artist.”

Broadway World
Bette Midler to Auction Personal Collection of Costumes

Julien’s Auctions, the world’s premier entertainment and celebrity estate auction house, will offer an extraordinary collection of personal property from the legendary entertainer Bette Midler. Midler is one of the few performers who are instantly known by their first name, and is regarded by all as “The Divine Miss M.” Since her debut album in 1972, she has sold more than 30 million records worldwide. Her Oscar-nominated role in “The Rose” established her as a premier actress in motion pictures, and she has conquered the worlds of Broadway, television and the concert stage in a career that spans over 40 years.

Vermont’s Live Auctions: Going, Going, Gone

For decades, the green and white auctioneer’s tent and the sing-song chant and bang of the gavel were a signpost of foliage season as much as Vermont hillsides decked in bright orange and red. Today, they’re going, going, gone. Gone to eBay, Craigslist and online-auction sites. Gone to changing demographics, changing tastes, a changed economy and more elaborate auction regulations. And with the foliage auction’s demise, one more tasty slice of Vermont life is missing that hints at how the state itself has changed

Consumer Reports Investigates Penny Auctions

The discounts offered on online penny-auction sites might be tempting, but Consumer Reports said an investigation of online penny-auction sites revealed that most users end up spending a lot of cash only to end up empty handed. On sites like Bidcactus, Bid Rivals, HappyBidDay and QuiBids, which sell items such as an $1,800 high-definition television for $73, “actually winning a big-ticket item for pennies on the dollar from one of these sites can take an extraordinary amount of effort and is hardly a given.”

Dallas Observer
Heritage Auctions to Judge: Tell Us Who Owns John Quincy Adams Letters

Once again Unfair Park’s cross-the-street neighbor Heritage Auction Galleries finds itself caught between two parties claiming to own historical missives—in this case, letters written by John Quincy Adams, which are currently being kept in a vault on Maple Ave. Four months ago the U.S. Attorney’s Office asked a federal judge to determine ownership of a letter Jackie Kennedy wrote to Ethel following Bobby’s assassination, which Heritage had planned to auction off till the FBI stepped in and took ownership following the revelation they may have been stolen. Now, Heritage is asking the same thing: Can the court please tell Heritage who owns these Adams letters? Because there’s a lot of money at stake here—$28,000, at least—not to mention interest and whatever the letters might have sold for at auction.

Business Insider
Two Cents on Why Penny Auctions are a Big Waste of Time

The costs and rules vary, but one’s thing for sure: Bidding on items in an online penny auction means you’ll pay to play each time, even if you lose. Like traditional auctions, participants bid on items, with each bid increasing in price. Bidding starts around $0, so if an item were to get 2,000 bids, it would sell for $20 if the bids were made in one-penny increments, says Consumer Affairs. It sounds like a deal—hey, you’re getting a big-screen TV for $10! —but factor in that the bidders pay to bid upfront, linking their debit or credit card to a PayPal account, and you’ll quickly realize it isn’t.

Bloomberg Businessweek
Richter $16.6 Million Record Leads Auction Boost to Art Market

A Gerhard Richter painting sold for a record $16.6 million Sunday night, Oct. 16, as Christie’s International boosted confidence in the top end of the contemporary-art market and reassured dealers at the end of a nervous “Frieze Week.” Christie’s London was rewarded for including museum-quality works in a “mid-season” sale with a total of 38.1 million pounds ($60 million) with fees.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Interest in Campaigns, Memorabilia Heat Up

Politics is in the news every day, and we’re reminding collectors that buttons, signs, medallions, bandannas and even canes were made for past election campaigns. They are a collector’s challenge. Prices for some old and rare political collectibles are high at auctions, but many items can be found for less at house sales or hidden in your own drawers or attic. Some old political collectibles have slogans or pictures from long-forgotten campaigns.

Houston Chronicle
Old Items Find New Use at Downtown Market

Instead of being discarded as trash, some old license plates, fallen tree branches and warped records were transformed into treasures and sold Saturday at the Discovery Green Flea. The event showcases entrepreneurs in the Houston area who are keeping with the sustainable efforts Discovery Green is known for.

Carolina Travel News Service
Antiques are Mountain Lure at Asheville Bazaar

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – You might have missed (or nearly missed) the autumn leaf-peeping season in the mountains by early November, but there are always antiques to lure a traveler there. The 65th annual Asheville Antiques Fair, one of the oldest antique bazaars in the Southeast, runs Nov. 4-6 in Crowne Plaza Expo Center. The fair began in 1946. More than 40 antique dealers from throughout the East Coast sell at the event. Among the wares are period furniture, ceramics, prints and silver.

Car Scoop
Grateful Ford Designer Auctions One-Off Mustang Boss 302 for Charity

Melvin Betancourt is a Ford designer who 11 years ago, suffered a serious heart problem. Betancourt is now 49 years old and in good health, thanks to the doctors at Henry Ford Hospital who performed a very difficult open-heart surgery and saved his life. Wanting to give something back, a grateful Betancourt decided to design a one-off 2012 Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca that will be auctioned off to benefit the cardiovascular care, research and education departments at the Henry Ford Health System.

Boston Herald
Antique Selling Collects Steam

Looking to make an easy $40? Dig out that rotary phone. TV shows such as “American Pickers” and “Antiques Roadshow” make finding a fortune in your attic look easy. It can be—but you need to know what to look for. Walpole (Mass.) native Maureen Stanton, a novice collector and author of “Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: Seeking History and Hidden Gems in Flea-Market America” (The Penguin Press; $26.95), shadowed a friend and master dealer to pick up tips.


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