What is the most interesting item you remember auctioning? I asked two auction houses, each very different from each other, what they could come up with.
Carlo Savo of formerly Savo Auction had been around the auction business since he was old enough to walk and received an apprentice license when he was 18 and fully licensed two years later. For 16 years he sold antiques, fine art, and firearms with his brother John in rural Pennsylvania (I personally bought hundreds of rustic items from the Savos). Together they did an informative radio show and a short-lived, and highly-entertaining TV reality show on the National Geographic Channel. They closed their doors in 2016 to spend more time with their family and pursue their other passions. Carlo is now a painter and photographer. His work can be seen at carlowsavo.com
Pam Stone started The Benefit Shop over ten years ago to help local charities. She was a Wharton MBA and spent 22 years in Wall Street before opening the doors to her upscale auction house in Mount Kisco, New York. The Benefit Shop Foundation is known as a secret source for Westchester area interior designers, and I get all my fancy birdhouses from there. (To see their online auctions, go to Benefit Shop.)
WorthPoint: So, back to our regularly scheduled program: What is the most interesting item you remember auctioning?
Carlo Savo: One of the most unique items I ever sold was a human skull. It sold for $400.
WP: Where did it come from?
CS: I found it behind a bunch of junk in a garage. The family said it belonged to their grandfather who was a doctor. It was the part of a skeleton he kept in his office. They were surprised when I found it because they had lost the rest of the poor fellow some time ago.
WP: What happened to it?
CS: We sold it at auction, and I believe the person who bought it was a self-proclaimed witch.
WorthPoint: The Benefit Shop had a hard time picking just one item. It was a five-way tie.
Pam Stone: The first item is a vintage urine analysis kit that went for around $40. [WorthPoint values this item at approx. $80.]
This exceptional German hand-carved nutcracker shown below sold for $1,800. (Most vintage German hand-carved nutcrackers go from between $200-300.)
This set of mid-1880s carnival shooting gallery heads in the photo below from Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park in Denmark is a personal favorite. Tivoli was first ever carnival in the world and took place in Copenhagen. The buyer was Tony Award-winning actor Harvey Fierstein, who is an avid collector of carnival memorabilia. We got the heads initially from a French/Dutch woman who came to Connecticut with her diplomat husband. (Eight sold for $1,000 each.)
This set of mid-1880s carnival shooting gallery heads from Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park in Denmark is a personal favorite.
Furniture-wise, this pair of Piero Fornasetti column back chairs shown below went for $3,500. [Fornasetti chairs can go for five figures. A full Fornasetti dining set can go for $100,000.]
A furniture favorite is this pair of Piero Fornasetti column back chairs that went for $3500.
And finally, this one-of-a-kind Francis Sultana Fur Chair below sold for $3,000 (3,900 after buyer premium and tax) to a buyer in New York City. It is nicknamed the Green Yak by its former owner [valued between $3-6,000].
The final favorite is this one-of-a-kind Francis Sultana Fur Chair sold for $3,000 to a buyer in New York City.
Bob Eckstein is a New Yorker cartoonist and New York Times bestselling author. His new book, The Illustrated History of the Snowman and postcard boxset of his bookstore paintings both just came out. To enjoy more of his artwork go to www.bobeckstein.com or follow him at @BobEckstein.
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