2004 Wrap UpDan Ripley's Antique Helper Doubles Sales Third Year Running
(Indianapolis, IN) Dan Ripley's Antique Helper, Inc. is pleased to announce year-end sales doubling those from the past year for the third consecutive year, and the action is full steam ahead for this pioneering company in the fine art, antiques and online trade business. "Extensive marketing, attention to detail, sensitivity and respect of the collections assembled by our consignors" are what sets Antique Helper aside from the competition, says owner Dan Ripley, who earned his CES ("Certified Estate Specialist") designation by the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute in 2004.
Full Service Auction Company
In an auction year that included sales running the gamut from fine art and antiques to modern design to fishing collectibles to estate and costume jewelry to Christmas gifts and collectibles, diversity has proven to be this auction company's best friend. Drawing customers from a worldwide audience and consigners from across the continental United States, news of Antique Helper's sales and services continued to spread throughout the year. Highlights of 2004 included spring and fall specialty auctions offering Vintage, Costume, Estate and Bakelite Jewelry, Fishing Collectibles, and Modern Design. Among the high points of these specialty auctions was the sale of a Trifari Crane pin at the December Jewelry Auction. This fantastic pin hit the block and proceeded to streak past all expectations. By the time bidding ended on this piece, the selling price had doubled the low estimate of $4,000, closing at $9,200, including 15% buyer's premium.
But general Fine Art and Antiques auctions hosted their own share of exciting times as well. Proving that a widespread audience increases competition for in-demand objects, the year was off to a great start when, in January, an Oscar Bach signed Art Deco lamp, estimated between $1,500 and $3,000 brought $8,900, including a 15% buyer's premium. In May, a modern Chinese scroll depicting a scholar viewing a waterfall (est. $100-$200), exceeded all expectations when the ending price soared to $6,325, including 15% buyer's premium. An oil on canvas depicting a ship (est. $3,000-$6,000), attributed to American illustrator Harvey T, Dunn (1884-1952) sold in July, ending far above anyone's wildest expectations to close at an impressive $18,500, plus 15% buyer's premium. Another show-stopping scene occurred in August, with the sale of an old porcelain 2-sided Marathon Oil advertising sign. Measuring 57" H x 48" W, this sign was expected to bring between $400 and $600, but the price swiftly soared to an impressive $2,300, going to an eBay bidder.
Ripley points to many significant moments in Antique Helper's past year: the Costume Jewelry sales, the first fishing auction held in March, and the Modern Design auctions. But, perhaps the most notable offerings came in the package of the Dukoff Consignment, an acquisition so vast that objects found their way into more than half the auctions offered in the past year. Says Ripley, "In these times of change for the antiques business, Ken Dukoff, an experienced dealer and collector, took advantage of the active auction markets by liquidating inventory that wasn't getting enough exposure," says Ripley. Liquidating items and experiencing a welcoming worldwide market worked like a tonic for Dukoff; according to Ripley, "Ken is now actively dealing and exhibiting at shows with renewed enthusiasm for the antiques trade."
In a year that included so many strong points, it could be challenging to recollect just one defining moment. However, when pressed, Ripley quickly recalls one outstanding Antique Helper event: "I'd say that selling the Wayland de Santis Gregory ceramic fountain to the Cleveland Museum of Art was pretty exciting," he says. This important Art Deco mermaid fountain by Waylande de Santis Gregory (American, 1905-1971), for Cowan Pottery, c.1930. was gleaned from the Ken Dukoff collection and offered at auction on September 2; this piece is believed to be only the second example of this design to appear on the market and was estimated to bring between $12,000 and $18,000. A fulfilling moment turned ecstatic when the fountain finally closed at a solid and impressive $24,750 to a floor bidder representing the Cleveland Museum of Art.
Partnering with other auction companies, providing online services is another pioneering path for Antique Helper. Such a union proved worthwhile in November, when, in partnership with Christy's of Indiana, Antique Helper listed several paintings by Hoosier Modernist painter, Lorena Phemister on eBay, to a worldwide audience. The excitement ballooned early in the sale when Phemister's award-winning "Phantasmagoria" sailed beyond its estimated $600-$900 to an ending price of $5,464.50, including 15% buyer's premium, to a California collector. Shortly after, another painting, "Twilight," also exceeded its high estimate of $900, closing at $3,325, including buyer's premium.
Branching Out, Looking Ahead
Joining the Antique Helper staff is house Auctioneer DeWayne Butler. In addition to market areas where Antique Helper has already excelled, Butler brings with him a new level of expertise in areas including books and ephemera, pattern glass and traditional antiques. Butler's presence enables Antique Helper to surge into the New Year, offering more frequent general antiques and consignment auctions as well as increased appraisal and estate services. "It's an exciting time to join Antique Helper," says Butler, "As an auctioneer, I'm excited to be involved with a company that continues to be a cutting-edge, forward-moving force in the antiques industry."
With fine art and antiques auctions scheduled on a bi-weekly basis, as well as several specialty auctions planned through the coming year, Antique Helper staff is constantly kept on their toes. Highlights for the coming year include rare Tiffany pieces consigned from the Gluck collection in Florida. Upcoming specialty auctions include Modern Design and Jewelry, as well as a special auction featuring books and paper, all slated for spring. If past specialty sales give any indications, each of these auctions holds great promise, in keeping with Antique Helper's forward-moving tradition, for an active and exciting 2005.