Find your next treasure
August 25, 2011 | view archive
There is all kinds of excitement surrounding the Keno brothers’ new television show that premiered on Fox this week. “Buried Treasure” showcases regular people who may have an unknown treasure lurking in their home.
“Buried Treasure” might seem cutting edge, but it’s pretty much the same thing that Antique Helper does every day. That is, with the exception that we’re not a brand new television show airing on a major national network.
You don’t need to answer a casting call to find out the potential value your great uncle’s record collection or that old landscape painting that’s been tucked in the back of your closet for decades. We can evaluate your items and help you determine their auction value in a fuss-free environment.
If the news is good, we can help you sell your item at auction. And, sometimes the sale of an item or collection can turn into a life-changing event. We have seen our share of life-changing auction experiences over the years, and it never gets old.
Sometimes, it’s an auction centered on a single collection that literally makes front page news, like the George S. Hipp Baseball Autograph Collection, which grossed $355,000 in 2005.
This particular auction was jam packed with homeruns. But, the grand slam of the sale was this Jimmie Foxx autographed baseball, with a gavel price of $30,000.
Most of the time, it’s a single object that finds it way to our doors and manages to stand out from the crowd. We get extra excited when something that’s been in a family for years surfaces in on of our auctions.
In our August 20 Art and Antiques Auction, we were pleased to offer a Bayou landscape by American painter Joseph Rusling Meeker. It had been in the same family since its original purchase in the 19th Century and had spent the last few decades tucked in the back of the current owners’ closet.
When the consignors brought the painting to Antique Helper, they knew it had some value. But, they had no idea that it would bring a hammer price of $27,000 on auction day. You can imagine how pleased we were to share this news with them.
This was a buyer-perfect scenario. The painting was untouched and fresh-to-the market, increasing its appeal among dealers and collectors. The phrase “Fresh-to-the-market” is like music to their ears. They wait for fresh items, then, more often than not, have a bidding hay day when a sought-after item hits the auction block.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen something wonderful unfold on the auction floor. It’s nice when good things happen to regular people. Around here, it happens on a regular basis.
This large Overbeck pottery vase was discovered by a consignor in a thrift store in 2005. They realized it was something special, and brought it to Antique Helper for auction. Imagine their delight when it exceeded expectations, bringing $11,000 on auction day.
Sometimes, the sale of an item spawns fresh consignments of similar objects. That was certainly the case when this Tsugouharu Foujita portfolio book of cats came our way in 2005. When it brought an impressive $22,500, it triggered a chain reaction down the road, attracting another such portfolio, selling for $18,000 in November of 2009, and still another, which sold for $22,000 in January of 2010.
This fabulous Louis Vuitton steamer trunk once belonged to the stepson of Robert Louis Stevenson. But, it was discovered in a more modest setting in rural Indiana before it came to auction. All of the right people knew it was here, and a bidding war ensued, driving the price to a sturdy $8,000 before the hammer dropped. You know that made another consignor very happy.
This trunk followed a line of other, equally fabulous LV trunks that have come our way over the years, each one with its own particular pedigree. The first, sold in January 2006, once belonged to William Randolph Hearst’s mother. It brought $5,500. The other, offered in March of 2006, belonged to a former showgirl, and came packed with her costumes and correspondence.
That chain-reaction is still active. Coming up in our Sept. 17 Art and Antiques Auction, we have another fabulous steamer trunk. At first glance, it could easily be mistaken as another Louis Vuitton flat top trunk, but this one is the workmanship of another high-end French luggage maker, Goyard. Like the Vuitton trunks, it exemplifies the heart of early 20th Century luxury. We’re looking forward to seeing how this trunk fairs compared to the Vuitton specimens.
Of course, we will never forget the amazing English oak dinging table by George Nakashima that came our way in 2008. This treasure had been in the same family since it was originally commissioned by the famed furniture designer in the 1950s. News of this fantasitic piece spread quickly, and bidders traveled great distance to see the table up close. We made yet another consignor very happy when the bidding closed at $34,000.
Each of these treasures was discovered in an unassuming place, sometimes tucked away and forgotten until it found the light of day at Antique Helper. People make new discoveries every day. And, sometimes, pulling an old forgotten object out to greet the sunshine is the first step toward auction success.
Now, it's your turn. I wonder what treasures might be hiding in plain sight where you live?