Monday, February 22, 2010

Holy Cow Batman!! Updated. It's Superman's Turn

BBC News :First Superman comic sold for $1m

A copy of the first comic to feature caped hero Superman has been sold on the internet for $1m (£646,000).

The 1938 edition of Action Comics No 1 - which originally sold for 10c - was sold by a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom was named.

Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the US auction website Comic Connect, said it was "the Holy Grail of comic books".

The sale smashes the previous record price for a comic book of $317,200 (£205,000) in 2009.

That was also a copy of Action Comics No 1, but in poorer condition.

Mr Fishler said the transaction happened minutes after the issue was put on sale at around 1030 local time (1530 GMT) on Monday.

He said that the seller was a "well-known individual" in New York with a pedigree collection, and that the buyer was a known customer who had previously bought an Action Comics No 1.

'A milestone'

"The opportunity to buy an un-restored, high-grade Action One comes along once every two decades. It's certainly a milestone," said Mr Fishler.

He added: "It is still a little stunning to see a comic book and $1m in the same sentence."

About 100 copies of Action Comics No 1 remain in existence and only two of those have a grading of 8.0 - very fine - including the one sold on Monday.

The previous record-holder had a grading of 6.0.

The cover of the rare issue pictures Superman lifting a car over his head, DALLAS, TX -- "When a truly exceptional copy of Detective Comics #27, the very first appearance of Batman, is auctioned by Heritage Auction Galleries in its Feb. 25 Signature® Comics & Comic Art Auction, it will set two important marks:

It will, more than likely, become the single most valuable comic ever offered at public auction. Though it's being sold with no reserve and no minimum bid, it's expected to bring at least $300,000. The current record for a comic sold at auction stands at $317,000, for a copy of Action Comics #1, sold last year at another auction house.

The other question the auction will settle, at least for the time being, is one of the great debates of Pop Culture: Who is worth more today, Batman or Superman?"

Heritage Auctions Press Release: "...When this issue was released with a May 1939 cover date, Superman was the only other superhero on the stands, save for the now-obscure likes of the Arrow and the Crimson Avenger. So it's no wonder that the striking cover by artist Bob Kane made a strong impact. It has taken its place as one of the most famous covers in the history of comics. Kane and writer Bill Finger (generally credited these days as a co-creator of the character) produced a hero to rival Superman without imitating the earlier character. As Jim Steranko noted, "Superman had given DC its strength, but Batman gave it tone. Of course, Superman was more impressive... but Batman was more fascinating."

"The Bat-Man" appeared in a six-page story that also introduced the character of Commissioner Gordon. The second-to-last panel revealed that this mysterious figure was in fact Bruce Wayne, introduced earlier in the story."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A No Reserve Auction In New Jersey. Some Good Guessing Some Bad

The crazy world that is DC these last few weeks continues. Last night I headed home via the bus up Wisconsin Ave. Its not much more than two miles between the store and home. It took me an hour and a half. This city is still a mess and all this has been keeping me from my duties. Its called exhaustion. At any rate I reviewed Rago's auction results and I was pretty good at most guesses and bad at a few.

There were some great deals and it shows that our economy is still creating environments for great buys. Here again are my bids and what the items sold for. That was fun!
Sorry about the size of the pictures. Blogger software problems.

On February 12th and 13th, Rago's Auction House in Lambertville, NJ, is holding a big no reserve auction. No reserve means that there is no minimum that the auctioneer won't accept. As a result there no estimates as to where the bidding should begin. This makes for great fun amongst us auction hounds and can, with the right circumstances, result in a great buy.

Since there is no minimum bid denied to start the lot, the first offer can be way low. If there aren't enough people interested in the item, that price can stay low. It doesn't happen often but it does happen. This is a big auction so the chances for the great buy are good.

This a very large auction and a reflection of the the times. People are selling their treasures. Its not a fire sale, but obviously the house has many items it wants off the inventory list. Folks, this is an opportunity to grab something that might be on your list for a great price.

So this could be fun and a bit o'work and embarrassment for your friend Homer. I'm going to take a guess at what I think these items are worth. Most of them are outside my area of expertise, okay I'm Nooo appraiser but I have been doing this for awhile so I have "minimum" confidence..yea that was a pun. I'd love to hear what your estimate thoughts would be.This will makes the comments section funto read. Its a huge catalog which you can view here. I chose just a few items that I'll keep my eye on. Lets look.

Lot 178: TWO AMERICAN SILVER TANKARDS R & W Wilson octagonal coin silver tankard with engraved floral motif, Philadelphia, ca. 1825-1846 together with a Victorian sterling tankard with unknown hallmarks...
My bid is $800.00
SOLD FOR $336.00. Boy was I off there. Not a good start.

Lot 200: MIES VAN DER ROHE Pair of chrome and wicker lounge chairs. 34" x 21 1/2" x 30"
My bid $1,600.00
SOLD FOR $1,708.00. A good guess. Whew.

Lot 242: GLENN APPLEMAN Red ceramic Packard cookie jar. Dated 1980. Signed Appleman. 8 1/4" x 16" x 9 3/4"
My bid $300.00. Remember Warhol! That would be a great buy.
SOLD FOR $458.00. Not a bad guess.

Lot 328: DONALD DESKEY / BENNETT Pair of brass and enameled cast iron andirons. 15" x 8" x 17 1/2"
My bid $250.00. They look like aliens! Live Long and Prosper.
SOLD FOR $366.00. I might have stayed in too $300.00.

Lot 334: GILBERT ROHDE / HERMAN MILLER Pair of mahogany, burled walnut and rosewood etageres with steel pulls and interior adjustable shelves, each with glass doors and single shelf...
My bid $2,000.00. Electic mid century. Yea baby!
SOLD FOR $1,220.00. Went too high for those.

Lot 339: ART DECO Pair of club chairs upholstered in forest green leather. 34" x 32" x 34"
My bid $3,500.00. I love them, very Astaire/Rogers.
SOLD FOR $732.00. My goodness, perhaps they weren't in good shape. My bad.

Lot 352: FREDERICK WEINBERG (Attr.) Four faux bamboo bar stools with enameled steel bases and vinyl upholstery. Unmarked. 30 1/2" x 16 1/2" sq
My bid $900.00. Very Mrs. Robinson. I'd put faux leopard on them and have a Manhattan.
SOLD FOR $397.00. Somebody got a great buy.

Lot 429: MODERN Console table with glass top on enameled steel base. 29 1/2" x 48" x 16"
My bid $600.00. Its a classic, you could put that anywhere.
SOLD FOR $366.00. A steal!! I'm not doing well am I?

Lot 589: HARVEY PROBBER Cabinet with two leather-covered sliding doors concealing three drawers on one side and single shelf on the other, over a lower shelf on tubular brass legs...
My bid $800.00. Again, yeaa baby. Very "What is James Wearing."
SOLD FOR $183.00. OH MY way off.

Lot 593: BAKER Solid brass and glass tray table, its base in a bamboo pattern. Unmarked. 18 1/2" x 37 3/4" x 24"
My bid $999.00. My favorite piece. A total I ruined my bid.
SOLD FOR $427.00. I missed it, I missed it!!

Lot 861: MCHUGH (Attr.) Settle with reverse tapered posts and X-shaped arm inserts. 36" x 62" x 26 1/2"
My bid $400.00.
SOLD FOR $458.00. Finally, pretty close.

Lot 915: WELLER FOREST Two trumpet-shaped vases and a pitcher. Hairline to rim of pitcher. All stamped Weller. Pitcher: 5 5/8" x 6 1/2"
My bid $1,700.00. A roadshow favorite. Yawnnnn
SOLD FOR $397.00. What do I know?

Lot 1007: TANG STYLE Pair of carved wood red lacquered horses. 30 1/2" x 36" x 14"
My bid $400.00. That would be a great buy. Fingers crossed.
SOLD FOR $122.00. A decorative steal. Darn they went for nothing.

Lot 1013: ASIAN Two Chinese porcelain jardinieres or goldfish bowls, 20th C. Tallest: 12 1/4"
My bid $400.00. Low I'm sure.
SOLD FOR $61.00. Yes $61.00.

Lot 1073: NINE PAIRS OF BOOKENDS Shakespeare, Recumbent Lions, Town Crier, Bradley and Hubbard Book Reader, Liberty Bell, Native American and others, 20th century, tallest 7"..
My bid $489.00. I might be close, what do you think?
SOLD FOR $397.00. Close.

Lot 1077: BURL WOOD BOWL Shallow with much interior wear, uncertain origin and age. 10 1/2 X 3 1/4"
My bid $450.00. Could be way off.
sold for $397.00. I surprised myself.

Lot 1127: RICHARD GINORI Tea set with service for eight includes teapot, sugar, creamer with underplate, demitasse with saucers and cake plates. Marked Richard Ginori Italy...
My bid $1,200.00. Pretty set.
SOLD FOR $976.00. Good guess Homer.

Lot 1133: MINTONS FOR TIFFANY & CO. Gilt decorated porcelain dinnerware. Thirty-nine pieces include thirteen bowls, fourteen salad plates and twelve bread plates.
My bid $2,000.00. Can't put it in the dishwasher!
SOLD FOR $732.00. A deal I'm sure.

Lot 1167: BRONZE Pair of stylized conch shells. Each: 4 1/2" x 7" x 5"
My bid $300.00. Just like them.
SOLD FOR $976.00. Guess I wasn't alone in liking them.

Lot 1217: DECORATIVE Side table with white and blue porcelain trivet. 17" x 14" x 10 1/2"
My bid $250.00. That would be fair.
SOLD FOR $244.00. Right on the money.

Lot 1248: OCEANLINER DECK LOUNGE CHAIR, c. 1910 folding hardwood lounge with caned seat, back and foot rest. Provenance: Pacific & Orient ocean liner. 31" x 60" x 23"
My bid $425.00. Thinking bout trips past.
SOLD FOR $427.00. A great way to end my guessing game!

I don't think I did too bad and it was a fun challenge.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Very Nice DC Auction, Delayed By Snow, Results

Due to the amazing snowstorms the Weschler's auction was re-scheduled to yesterday.
Weschlers Auction House here in DC is having an unusually large mid-winter auction on February 6th. It took me a good hour to peruse the entire catalog and I had so many things catch my eye that I recommend fans to take a look at the whole listing. You can do that here. Here's a hint, if you love Flora Danica, there is a huge amount of beautiful pieces.

Prices seem to have stabilized but there are a few pieces featured below that I think are great deals. I hope its a cold rainy day and that I have it off because I'd love to spend a couple of hours at this event. So here we go, just remember I saw many other things that looked great.

Lot 350
Charles X Applewood Secrétaire à Abattant Second Quarter 19th Century
Estimate: $800 - 1200
SOLD FOR $550.00. Oh my gosh what a steal!

George IV Rosewood Four-Tier What-Not Circa 1825
Estimate: $1000 - 1500
SOLD FOR $2,200.00. Wow that estimate was low.

Regency Parcel Gilt and Decorated Black Painted Beechwood Armchair Early 19th Century
Estimate: $500 - 700
SOLD FOR $900.00 A great deal for such a nice looking chair.

George III Style Walnut Bedside Stand Early 20th Century
Estimate: $300 - 500
SOLD FOR $350.00. Fair and a very nice buy.

George III Style Mahogany Oval Extension Dining Table First Half 20th Century
Estimate: $600 - 800
SOLD FOR $550.00. A tremendous deal. This is why I always tell newlyweds to go to the auction house.

Pair of Victorian Tole Painted Cornucopia Wall Vases Last Half 19th Century
Estimate: $1000 - 1500
SOLD FOR $750.00. Very decorative but still not cheap.

Set of Twelve Royal Copenhagen 'Flora Danica' Reticulated Luncheon Plates Dated 1980-1984
Estimate: $6000 - 8000
SOLD FOR $4,800.00. If its your thing, you got a good deal.

Meissen Ornithological Serving Dish and Six Plates Outside Decorated, Late 19th-Early 20th Century
Estimate: $400 - 600
SOLD FOR $550.00. Fair.

Two Georgian Silver Mounted Shell Bowl Tea Caddy Spoons and a Snuff Box 18th-19th Century
Estimate: $400 - 600
SOLD FOR $550.00

Pair of Continental Silver Plate Single-Light Sconces Circa 1900
Estimate: $400 - 600
SOLD FOR $1,600.00. Hmmm, some serious bidding there.

Chinese Export 'Famille Rose' Charger on Later Stand Qianlong Period (1736-1795)
Estimate: $1500 - 2500
DID NOT SELL. I kinda think there might have been an age problem there.

Tabriz Rug Second Quarter 20th Century 13 ft 8 in x 10 ft 1 in (417 x 307 cm)
Estimate: $1000 - 1500

Lot 360
Biedermeier Flame Birch Caned Bergère Circa 1825
Estimate: $400 - 600
DID NOT SELL. How did that happen?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mother Nature Wins

These are pictures I took during the early week before the massive blizzard hit today.

We surrender here in DC to the great Mother Nature. All I could do today was look out from the 18th floor at what can only be described as the most intense blizzard I've ever seen. Everything shook and is still shaking. I really thought my floor to ceiling glass doors might blow in.

I can't imagine what tomorrow will be like and when the anger over government services is going to boil over. My friends in tony Georgetown haven't seen a plow since all this started last Saturday nor have they had any mail delivery. Yet, the Wall Street Journal arrived every morning and UPS and Fed Ex made it to the store.

We had a lady come into the store yesterday who commented that she used to live in Tanzania and that the Giant grocery store down the blocked looked worse than anything she'd seen abroad. We are crushed here and I think it will be days to a week before we have the slightest recovery.