Archive | August, 2011

How cute is this?

30 Aug

Ok, well maybe it’s so ugly that it’s cute? 

It’s the gift for someone who has everything because almost no one has a French gilt vase in the form of a walrus emerging from waves.  Designed by Georges Flamand in the early part of the 20th century, this piece is a stunning example of charm and whimsy.  Estimated to sell between $2,500 and $3,500 in the upcoming Estate Sale, bidding opens around $1,200.

For more information on this piece and other incredible finds in the Estate Sale, go to



Estate Auction Find

29 Aug


Don’t we all need a Radio Bar?  I sure do! 

Heritage will be offering this lovely Art Deco Radio Bar in its inaugural Estate Auction to be held on September 27th.  Estimated at $2000-3000, it’s sure to find a multitude of bidders as it is coming from the private collection of Whoopi Goldberg.  The walnut-veneered case encloses a fitted interior made specifically to house a collection of glass decanters and various-sized tumblers.  It’s perfect for entertaining – and will surely impress all of your friends. 

It’s one of my favorite things coming up for sale next month.  I’ll be featuring other items from the sale in the next few weeks.  Good pieces at good prices.  Maybe we’ll all find something special that we desperately need to have!

Match Safe Madness

19 Aug

It’s Match Safe Madness at Heritage these days.  The Fine Silver and Vertu sale this September will feature a vast private collection of sterling matchsafes.  These small pieces have extraordinary detail and history.

Neil Shapiro has a fascinating website devoted to his study of match safes.  In an article, Shapiro recounts a brief history of the art form based on those produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company.  Shapiro writes:

The first friction match was made by John Walker, in Stockton-on-Tees, England in 1826. By 1840, friction matches were in use in many parts of the Western world.

He continues:
Since those early matches were easily combustible when carried loosely in the pocket or purse, special containers were designed to hold the matches.

The first containers Walker used to hold the matches he made and sold in his chemist’s shop were round canister-shaped tin boxes that cost two pence each and held 100 matches. There was no roughened surface on the boxes to ignite the matches but rather a piece of sandpaper was inserted for that purpose.

Walker never patented his invention and others took his ideas and spread them around the Western world. The containers that held these later matches were called vesta cases in England and match safes in the United States.

In the United States, one of the most prolific manufacturers of match safes to hold friction matches was the Gorham Manufacturing Company (the name used from 1865-1961, the period when most match safes were made in the United States) in Providence, Rhode Island. They made more than 1,180 different varieties of match safes; i.e., either the material, motif, decoration was unique.

For more information on the history and study of match safes, check out Shapiro’s website

And don’t forget to check out the auction catalogue online at  Bidding opens soon!



17 Aug


Fabulous!  That’s the Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Gardens motto.  It’s “where fabulous lives”.  And fabulous it is. 




I visited the Hillwood Estate in Washington D.C. and was completely overwhelmed by the extraordinary amount of phenomenal artworks on display.  Heavily focused on 18th century French and Russian decorative arts, the collection contains some of the finest Imperial Russian works outside of Russia itself.  And the Sevres!  The Sevres collection is out of this world….and REAL….not the reproductions and copies that I normally see in estates and collections.  The sheer volume of the Hillwood museum, over 18,000 items, is mind boggling, and every piece is better than the next.  An eclectic collector, Marjorie Merriweather Post acquired Russian liturgical items, Faberge pieces, bloodstone carvings, Chinese jades, French furniture, French gold boxes, Russian icons, Sevres porcelain, and the list goes on and on.  If you are ever in the D.C. area, please don’t miss this jewel of a collection.

Besides the permanent collection on display, the museum was hosting a special exhibition of wedding gowns from three generations of the Post family.  Marjorie Merriweather Post was married four times, and the exhibition showcased her gowns, as well as the flower girl/bridesmaid gowns of her three daughters.  Also on display is her mother’s gown and gowns worn by each of her daughters at one of their weddings.  My how styles changed from the 1880s to the 1950s.

And more importantly, don’t miss the the gift shop!  I seriously think this was one of the top 3 gift shops that I have ever been in.  From books and toys to jewelry and decorations – everything was smart, fun, and rather inexpensive.  My favorite was the Marie Antoinette action figure – with removable dress, wig, and head!

The Great Big Silver Meltdown

15 Aug






Nope, the silver market hasn’t crashed.  Just the opposite, the high price of silver has many people running to the nearest store to have their sterling silver flatware and hollowware melted! 

What do people with antique silver do when the intrinsic value of the silver content is worth more than the overall market for that particular maker, pattern, and piece?  They often end up melting it.  It’s a shame to lose so much craftsmanship in the melting pot, but dollars in your pocket can go alot further in this economy than tarnished silver sitting in your closet.  I say keep the important pieces and family heirlooms, but melt the non-designer pieces.  It’s like recycling!

Bloomberg has a nice article on this new trend.  To read the Bloomberg article, click HERE.

Small Sale – Big Lots

8 Aug

Heritage’s Vintage Sports Collectibles auction was held August 4th, in Rosemont, Illinois, home of the 2011 National Sports Collectibles Convention.  With 104 lots – Heritage sold big, amassing a final sale total of $4.9 million.  The best of the best in the hobby was offered, and collectors shelled out the cash for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase amazing memorabilia.  Click here for the highlights of the sale, which was 91% sold by value, 92% sold by lot.

Whether we’re discussing art, coins, movie posters, or sports memorabilia, an auction needs a combination of four qualities to be a phenomenal success:

Quality items
Overall very good condition
Items fresh to the market
Reasonable estimates and reserves

Auctions are always a gamble.  Sometimes you find items that seemingly fly under the radar and become great bargains for buyers, and sometimes the bidding skyrockets and consignors win the lottery.  But that’s why we love auctions, because you never know what can happen on any given day.

UPDATE: Fuzzy’s Ring Sells for $50,788

5 Aug






Last night, Heritage’s auction of Vintage Sports Collectibles realized phenomenal results.  Collectors were out in force, and collectibles were selling fast.  Congrats to the Sports team for a great sale!  More to come….