My pick this week come from the estate of Jonathan Barrow of Los Angeles, California. What a terrific find in this Japanese tin friction car. While the airplanes are cool, this one for me has such great lines. I chose lot number 1265 the Japanese tin friction 1956 Lincoln Futura car. This is like the Munster’s and Batman meet Apollo 11 and Marvin the Martian (ok you can google search images for Marvin now). This toy includes the antennae which is missing more often than not. With its sleek lines, this car of the future would certainly be a status symbol parked in anyone’s garage. How is the estimate only $600-800? A tough toy to find in this condition! Keep hitting the bid button!
by: Jamie Shearer
This pick is from our spring online only toy auction which is being held on Saturday, February 9th, 2019 beginning at 9 AM EST. The showcases and tables here in Downingtown, Pennsylvania will be filled with a nice cross section of toys, from contemporary to folk art, tin wind-up to battery operated, there seems to be something for everyone. There is a very nice group of Japanese battery operated and friction toys from the Estate of Jonathan Barrow of Los Angeles, California. My pick this week flew in on the red eye from this unique collection. I picked lot #1183, a German pilot trainer which is a tin battery-operated toy. This British European Airways airplane sits on the runway which is on a continuous feed “treadmill”. Although the toy is currently not working it has been fun to raise and lower the plane and make noises. I have a nephew who is currently in the process of getting his pilot’s license. We were very proud when at 17 he did his first solo flight. I am wondering if this toy would give him more experience and get him in the friendly skies quicker? It certainly would be cheaper!
I am stuck in a quandary once again. Trying to narrow down to one thing for this week’s pick. What a nice problem to have! I could easily select another fraktur, just look at lots 643 and 644 in our upcoming Americana sale if you need more inspiration. There is a fantastic pair of Philadelphia chairs, a schrank with a great old painted surface, tiger maple dressing tables (yes plural), portraits, stoneware, and the hits keep coming. I start with a list of about twenty items and start comparing which ones I like better, so my twenty is paired down to ten which becomes five until I finally decide which is “The One”. This week for me I chose lot 338. When everyone comes for the preview this will be the guy who greets you at the door. It is a massive carved and painted recumbent lion. Measuring an impressive 70” long as his paws and tail overhang his wooden platform. His open mouth seems to be talking as it shows off his pearly whites. The regal gilt mane shows a deft hand of a successful carver, the massive paws with a fresh pedicure beckon you in for a closer look. All painted in an old ivory surface with terrific wear. Will this lion be the King of the Pook and Pook auction on January 11th and 12th, 2019 or will some other magnificent example rule the land? Look again next week for another competitor to the throne of this exceptional auction.
by: Jamie Shearer
Christmas is now in the rear-view mirror. New Year’s Day is approaching faster than my dog from the end of the yard when I say the word treat. Not to mention the Pook and Pook January catalog auction is just around the corner. January 11th and 12th, 2019 over 750 lots will find new homes. Get a head start on next year’s Christmas shopping, spend the leftover money you have or even spend someone else’s money after making them feel guilty for not getting you that perfect antique gift. This sale has something for everyone. We have talked about the fraktur, we teased you with a few words of upcoming lots. There is so many great things. I searched and searched for my lot again this week. I really like the country living appeal of the apothecary cupboard, the surface on the pair of Philadelphia chairs is unbeatable, the rarity of the Philadelphia wing chair will garner a lot of attention. I went with lot 357 as this week’s most prominent. It combines several things that I love about antiques. One of those is its Pennsylvania origin, as a born and raised inhabitant of this great state, there is no wonder I love Pennsylvania antiques. The second is great paint, I have always gravitated to painted surfaces. For me, I prefer Pennsylvania painted pine and poplar over mahogany and walnut any day. This painted pine tall chest has a warm, vibrant red grained surface which is better than if it had actually been the mahogany that they were trying to represent. The chest has split drawers over a full bank of five graduated drawers resting on bold bracket feet. There is plenty of storage for all of those new Christmas outfits you received. Don’t miss out on this one!
by: Jamie Shearer
I am giving advance notice that our upcoming January Americana and International auction on January 11th and 12th in Downingtown, Pennsylvania is an exceptional sale! There are several estates and collections featured including those of Kenneth and Elizabeth Johnson of York, PA, Edie and Bruce Smart of Upperville, VA, Bruce Fredericks of Colts Neck, N.J., the home of Titus Geesey of Wilmington, DE, just to name a few. Each collection provides a stand out item. The Johnson collection has a fabulous room size Heriz carpet, from the Smart collection is a great group of Pennsylvania long rifles which are always of interest to me, the Geesey collection submits a great line and berry Chester County spice chest, the Fredericks collection has two exceptional additions one is a pair of Philadelphia dining chairs in the best surface one could hope for as well as an important carved Philadelphia wing back chair that is sure to garner a lot of attention. My pick however came from the estate of Charlene Sussel of Rockville Maryland. Most of us who have been around the antiques business for any amount of time recognize the Sussel name as one of those who belong on the Mount Rushmore of antique dealers. The estate is chocked full of fraktur and this is where my pick came from. I had difficulty just deciding on one. The fraktur artists’ names read like a who’s who: Petermann, Landes, Eyer, Zinck, Munch, Krebs and Young just to name a few. There is a terrific example attributed to the Ehre Vater Artist that was once part of the Himmelreich collection which last sold in May of 1973. I, however, chose one that for me has all the bells and whistles. This is one that we are not sure who made it but it is attributed to the Schwenkfelder’s. This fraktur scherenschnitte has a terrific border highlighted by a central portrait of a man along the bottom edge, hearts in the lower corners, potted tulips and roses throughout the edge all centering text. The top edge with an angel portrait that watches over the script. A similar unfinished example is in the Schwenkfelder Library collection. Search online on our website for fraktur and this one will certainly catch your eye.
by: Jamie Shearer
This week I wanted to choose one of the amazing steam toy accessories set to cross the auction block on Saturday, December 8th, 2018. I am trying to picture in my mind the grandiose layout with several large steam power plants intertwined with belts and pulleys, smoke belching from the chimney stacks and the room engulfed in motion. Everywhere you look something is spinning, churning, twirling all under a hypnotic buzz. Just keep the fires burning and the steam would drive them to run all day and night. I think every activity is represented, the farriers, blacksmiths, coal miners, knitters and even the gamblers have a member showing off their skills. The amusement park rides were just like the real ones, the Ferris wheel taking people to new heights, the swings causing hair to flow in the breeze, the horses on the carousels spinning around and around. Look over there at the whip as the riders scream from being tossed from side to side. That one kid doesn’t look so good. I think he is going to be sick. In the distance a man is playing a banjo on the entertainment stage, his foot tapping to the rhythm of the beat which changes my focus. This week I picked lot number 416 from the Steam Toy Collection of Morton Hirschberg. The painted tin Olympic relay race made by Doll exemplifies perfection in a steam toy of the early 20th century. The movement of five runners each holding a baton, which they stretch forward to the track star in front of them. The lead runner not taking off until the guy behind nears. The center with a flag pole hoisting the Olympic flag as a banner signifies the stadium in the background. Don’t have a steam toy power plant to drive the race? No problem, just turn the hand crank on the side and watch them run like the wind. This is yet another visionary toy with great action that sure beats any PlayStation game in my book.
by: Jamie Shearer
I once again am lacking promptness on my picks of the week. As the basement at Pook and Pook Auctions was being swamped in guns, toys, and antiques I found it nearly impossible to find time to address some of my favorite things set to cross the auction block. Now that I am almost recovered from too much turkey and stuffing, I have found something I need to show everyone. I must admit that if I had a pick of the past year this would certainly be in the running for my favorite! Keep in mind that this toy will be sold Friday evening, December 7th, 2018 so there is plenty of time to have it wrapped and under my Christmas tree. I wonder if 100 years ago some young child ran down the steps to find this as his gift. The excitement and awe transcend the century since it was made. This pick is lot 188, the HMS Franklin automaton. Franklin’s lost expedition was a British voyage led by Sir John Franklin in 1845 aboard two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror. The ships became ice locked in the Canadian Arctic waters and all lives were tragically lost. In 2014 the HMS Erebus wreckage was finally located and two years later the HMS Terror was found as well. Imagine being a young sailor and getting assigned to serve on a ship named the “Terror”! This toy features a clockwork mechanism with a fantastic animation of a sailor scurrying up wire rigging as a polar bear emerges from below to chase at his heels. The sailor reaches the top where he disappears into the façade of a towering iceberg. The bear hot on his heel’s dives into the cavern with reckless abandon. There is brief delay as you wonder the fate of the young man. Did he escape, did he manage to kill the bear, what happened? Just as all hope fades, he reemerges from a trap door in the ice below only to hastily make his getaway once again. Off to the side of the bow of the ship is an older sailor wielding an axe as he swings aimlessly at a second menacing polar bear. The toy still works smoothly and the bear will chase the poor middy all day long. I am amazed by the complexity and vision of the maker so very long ago. Don’t forget that I have been very good this year and I have a spot saved under my tree!
by: Jamie Shearer
As someone who knows little to nothing about firearms, but knows plenty of the history of Scotland, my favorite lot of the November 17th Firearms, Sporting and Militaria sale is the exceptional matched pair of 18th c. Scottish flintlock pistols. The distinctive set are signed by John Campbell, member of the renowned gunsmith guild of Doune, Perthshire. The pair is a classic example of the Doune pistol, featuring an entirely steel construction (Scottish wood was generally unsuitable for making firearms), having scrolled ram’s horn butts, silver inlay of Celtic inspired foliate ornamentation, flared muzzles, and button-shaped triggers without trigger guards. They carry the highest pre-sale estimate of any item in November’s sale at $20,000 – $30,000.
Similar examples of Doune pistols are included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Museum of Scotland. Doune pistols were favorites among Highland clansmen, many having been fired during the Jacobite Rebellion, and were similarly favored by wealthy socialites as fashion accessories. Popular folklore suggests that the first shot fired in the American Revolution – the “shot heard around the world” – was from a Doune pistol, which currently resides in the Lexington Historical Society Museum in Massachusetts. In 2004, the historic Murdoch Pistol Factory site, where pistol-making began in Perthshire in 1678 was saved by the community from demolition. George Washington owned a pair of the famous pistols and upon his death bequeathed them to General Lafayette. Other famous owners of Doune pistols include Louis XIV of France, Peter the Great of Russia, and Queen Elizabeth. This pair is in a crisp, fine condition, a testament to their status as treasured heirlooms for over two centuries.
By: Kaitlyn Julian
Bidsquare Takes 3 Top Lots at Pook!
Oct 05,2018 | 13:57 EDT By Jessica Helen Weinberg
Although, it’s always best to embrace change, as the colorful leaves of fall so elegantly remind us before gliding to the ground – there is also an undeniable comfort in noticing the things that happen to stay the same. Similar to the glee of knowing how an apple pie will soon be appearing on a kitchen counter or feeling that seasonal nudge to finish the novel that couldn’t compete with summer’s hype – there is an equal surge of anticipation when one returns to a seller in search of sensational antiques. Click here to read more.
When I sat down with the Flacks to look over the catalog before it went off to the printer, Paul remarked that his favorite fraktur artist was Andreas Kolb. I too find Kolb’s work superior and I’ve laid out my share of fraktur artists over the past decade creating catalogs for Pook & Pook. I love the whimsical quality of his flowers and creatures as well as his use of contrasting dark and light colors in his art. Two lots by Kolb are set to cross the auction block on October 13th at The Collection of Paul & Rita Flack, both watercolor and ink songbook examples by the Lehigh County, Pennsylvania Mennonite school teacher (active 1784-1810). So, my picks of the week are lots 84 and 218. The first, a rare hymnal with a tooled and pigmented leather binding yields not one, but two bookplates inside its cover. The first is a tulip blooming out of an inscribed heart. In the corner, a quirky little face emerges. The adjacent bookplate reveals clumps of berries above the text detailing the recipient’s name.
The second lot, lot 218, shows Kolb’s skill in all its glory. Two lines of musical notes are embraced by tulips blooming into eccentric faces adorned with crowns of leaves and petals. The base is flanked on either side with birds. Very different lots by the same artist, but both simply beautiful. Either would make a fabulous jumping off point for anyone entering the world of fraktur collecting.
So here we are gearing up for the Americana & International sale, which is right around the corner on September 14th and 15th. For my last pick I went out on a limb with a non-Pennsylvania piece, one that I really like. So guess where I am going to get this week’s pick from? I went all American, as in George Washington. I don’t think you could deliver a more admirable person than George Washington. One who epitomizes the land of the free and the home of the brave. I was inspired by making a recent weekend trip the Museum of the American Revolution on third street in Philadelphia. If you get an opportunity to go, this is a great way to spend a few hours and do not miss out on the presentation and short film on Washington’s Headquarters Tent, it gave me chills. The arms and powder horns were just fantastic. So that inspiration led me to lot 269, a Gorham patinated bronze of George Washington after the original by Jean-Antoine Houdon. The original sculpture is located in the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Virginia. It amazes me to think that the original took approximately seven years to complete. Sometimes I struggle to stay focused for seven minutes! At 16 inches high, this imposing figure could occupy any place in your home. Great surface and great subject. Don’t miss out on this one.
Yet another successful online auction is over. The 1500 lots containing over 10,000 items are starting to leave the building and not soon enough! The next wave is coming and all the Pook and Pook employees are scrambling to get things set-up. This morning on the way in I had to wake the rooster up. I found out that I wasn’t the first one here in the building either as Beth Pook said she woke the same rooster up just 10 minutes earlier. He must have hit the snooze button! So, the September 14th and 15th catalog sale is in the mail and if you didn’t get yours check again tomorrow. With over 650 lots there has to be something that you want to take home. As many of you know I struggle with selecting one item. I love Pennsylvania Germanic items and this sale does not disappoint. Names like Schtockschnitzler Simmons, Ben Austrian, Chrsitian Mertel, and Wilhelm Schimmel can be found throughout the 200 alluring pages. I will admit to betraying my Pennsylvania side and going to something from the New England states. Lot 246 for me has caught my eye from day one when Kaitlyn and I visited the collection of Dr. Carl Mogil of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Everything was displayed in the perfect spot with each item complimenting the next. As we entered the foyer the tiger maple clock made me pause but as I turned to the right this rug hanging just inside the living room set the tone for the entire collection. The shirred rug with two central potted flowers bordered by a serpentine edge really caught my eye. Graphic, simple and very folksy. The earth tones in the background bringing out the vibrant red and blue flowers even more. Measuring 32” x 62” it would be a great accent to any room, I can picture it in a room with a stone fireplace built in 1802 just as easily as above a sofa in a contemporary white wall dwelling. Whatever you do after you buy it, please don’t put it back on the floor.