The latest Hake’s Americana & Collectibles auction has closed, and the staff at Hake’s is currently dealing with all the necessary post-auction excitement and procedures. Here is detailed overview of the auction, which yielded some wonderful results.
Continuing what founder Ted Hake started in 1967, Hake’s Americana & Collectibles recently finished its 200th auction. While still a college student in 1965, Hake began to issue carbon-copy sales lists consisting of political pin-back buttons. The customer response to these lists proved beyond his expectations. Inspired by George Rinsland’s Americana Mail Auctions in the early 1960s, Hake resolved to conduct his sales in an auction format. Then, upon receipt of their catalogs, customers could submit their bids by mail and later raise those bids by telephone on the auction closing day. This practice proved both fair and successful. This tradition continues today, more than four decades later.
“Personally, I’ve long anticipated Hake’s milestone 200th auction.” said Ted Hake, “And it was worth the wait. Our bidders’ positive response to fascinating artifacts in hundreds of categories justifies our efforts to put the collector first. Somehow, even after 200 auctions, we manage to find great things in great condition that are new both to us and most of our bidders. We are well on the way to repeating the process for Auction #201 to close in late September.”
In any given Hake’s Americana auction, results for the first session of the auction are usually scattered among various categories, such as political, advertising, sports, war and others.
This was not the case in Hake’s latest auction, which saw sports collectibles take a commanding lead. Nine of the top 10 items from the first session of the auction were sports-related collectibles, all coming from the Richard Merkin Collection, a vast and focused collection recently consigned to Hake’s.
Some of the highlights of the many impressive results in the sports collectible field include: a large framed photo of the 1906 Harrisburg Giants African American baseball team that sold for $5,930; a real photo postcard featuring St. Louis Browns pitcher Rube Waddell that brought in $2,334; a framed panoramic photo of the first “Colored World Series” game on Oct. 3, 1924, that sold for $2,292; a postcard featuring Negro League baseball team the Philadelphia Stars which realized $1,916; a near-complete Cuban card album featuring famous athletes sold for $1,804; a game-worn uniform for the Old Cuban League baseball team the Havana Lions slid into base with $1,771 in bids; a large framed panoramic photo of the 1915 opening game for the Federal League baseball team the Pittsburgh Rebels sold for $1,771; and a menu for a 1932 tribute banquet held in honor of Baseball Hall of Famer John J. McGraw that was signed by the baseball great sold for $1,581.
Some other sports items of note include an original piece of cartoon art depicting the Heavyweight Championship boxing match between Jess Willard and Frank Moran by Thomas “Tad” Dorgan that was a knockout, receiving $1,252 in bids; 30 of 32 known buttons from a series depicting ballplayers from the Reading Baseball Club that were issued by Kolb’s Mothers’ Bread in 1922-1923 sold for $1,220; a Bradley “All Star” wristwatch from 1964 that featured baseball greats Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Roger Maris and Willie Mays realized $1,071; a real photo postcard featuring the aforementioned Harrisburg Giants sold for $999 and a variety of the Joe Louis button showing his support for Wendell Willkie’s 1940 presidential campaign garnered $853.
In addition to the overwhelming response to the sports offerings, Hake’s political items received a great amount of attention, as well. Two Harry S Truman buttons, in particular, performed admirably. A rare and unlisted button from Washington state with a “True To Truman” slogan sold for $1,530 and a rare inaugural button with a wonderful heart design and attached “Illinois” ribbon realized $1,529.
Advertising items also proved strong, with a circa 1898-1900 button for Koko Chocolate showing an anthropomorphic package dressed as Uncle Sam spanking a boy, who represents Dutch chocolate. This button hit the sweet tooth of collectors, selling for $1,319. A figural advertising display for BPR Whiskies from the 1930s shows a radio announcer stating that BPR Whiskies was “Your Call Letters For Good Taste.” The display sold for $1,106.
Circus fans flocked to a poster for the Original Adam Forepaugh Shows. The poster is from around 1895 and features three distinct scenes: the center scene showing performing donkeys, one shown jumping over a trio of horses, head-butting, dancing and throwing the Ringmaster; the scene to the left shows a baboon on tightrope and jumping from a horse’s back over banner as man and clown hold it; the scene to the right shows two dogs on their back legs, dressed in costumes, one as a clown. Another dog is shown walking on his front legs only, and others are shown jumping over a high stick. The poster was one of the best circus posters ever offered by Hake’s, selling for $1,232.
While the first session of the auction was strong, the second session was even stronger with many incredible highlights and record prices.
Bidders were more than happy to get caught with their hands in the cookie jar as the rare Herman & Katnip (Harveytoons answer to Tom & Jerry) jar realized a staggering $10,143 in bids. Little Audrey and Baby Huey cookie jars, both also produced by American Bisque in the early 1960s, each sold for $2,530. These cookie jars came from a vast collection, of which there will be more selections in the next Hake’s auction.
Disneyana continues to be a strong category for Hake’s, and one of the items receiving the most attention from bidders was an eight inch tall sand pail featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck. Described on Hake’s website and in their catalog as “Without a doubt the nicest character sand pail we have offered in our 44 years…” Collectors certainly seemed to agree, given the outstanding price of $4,474 realized. Another impressive result was the $6,900 bid for a retailer’s display that contains a complete set of ten Walt Disney character “Birthday” wristwatches. These watches were issued by US Time/Ingersoll in 1948 in recognition of Mickey Mouse’s twentieth birthday. Not only do the watches depict Mickey, but also Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, Bambi, Joe Carioca, Pluto, Dopey and Bongo.
Hake’s also offered three pieces of original concept art for Disney’s 1959 animated classic Sleeping Beauty by Eyvind Earle, the film’s primary designer of the backgrounds, colors used and the film’s overall style. A piece showing Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) walking through the woods as birds fly overhead sold for $4,216, another Earle piece showing a woodland scene sold for $3,708 and another showing the pet raven of the film’s villainess Maleficent flying towards her foreboding castle realized $3,596.
Another fantastic item of Disneyana that performed well was a large and beautifully designed display for Humming Bird Hosiery that featured one of the Centaurettes from The Pastoral Symphony segment of Disney’s 1940 animated musical feature Fantasia. This item was one the best Fantasia items offered by Hake’s in their 44 year history. This display was designed to catch eyes and it certainly did, resulting in $3,450 in bids.
Hake’s also offered two German metal figures from the 1930s depicting Mickey Mouse. The first shows him standing beside a lamppost that has an attached holder for two-sided paper calendar sheets. This figure lit up collectors, selling for $4,427. The other figure depicts Mickey lounging in an overstuffed armchair. This figure sold for $2,277. All figures from this German series are scarce, this seated Mickey being among the most sought-after in the small series of sculpture-like objects.
The incredibly detailed Mickey Mouse dolls produced by Charlotte Clark in the 1930s always prove popular with Hake’s customers. This was again the case with a nineteen inch tall Mickey doll wearing green shorts instead of the usual red that was manufactured around 1930. This doll ended up selling for $2,024.
An amazingly and whimsically detailed figural teapot by Regal China depicting the Mad Hatter from Disney’s 1951 animated feature Alice In Wonderland brought $2,087 in bids. This teapot is often considered among the best pieces of vintage Alice collectibles. Its design says it all. Collectors love it.
In comic book news, a 4.5 CGC-graded copy of Four Color Comics #1 which featured an early appearance by Donald Duck and was published by Dell in 1940 sold for $2,991. This issue is on Overstreet’s top 100 Golden Age Comics list and is difficult to obtain in any condition.
A cover recreation featuring Superman by legendary Golden Age comic book artist Jack Burnley sold for $4,025. Burnley (1911-2006) was a noted King Features Syndicate sports cartoonist when he was hired by D.C. Comics editor Whitney Ellsworth to work on the Superman comic book independently of the Superman co-creator Joe Schuster’s shop. Burnley only did a small handful of re-creations in his lifetime, most being rendered in black and white. The example sold by Hake’s was one of his finest, in full color and attractively matted in a frame which matches the early triangular symbol on Superman’s chest. The first ever Superman ring that was issued in 1940 by DC Comics as a prize in a contest promoted in issues of Action Comics and Superman comic books realized $4,025 in bids.
Superman wasn’t the only superhero to perform well for Hake’s. A Robin plaster statue/bank combination sold for $3,478 and a Green Hornet Signal Ray flashlight on its original and graphic store card sold for $1,349. A double-sided serial promotional hanger promoting the 1941 Republic serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel also garnered interest amongst collectors. Captain Marvel is depicted holding a copy of Whiz Comics, the comic book title he first appeared in. The hanger ended up selling for $1,150.
Jimi Hendrix fans (and fans of great vintage rock and roll concert posters in general) turned out in force for the chance to own a classic Hendrix concert poster. The first printing poster for the February 1-4, 1968 concerts that took place at The Fillmore Auditorium and Winterland in San Francisco, Calif., featured The Jimi Hendrix Experience, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers and Albert King. The poster art by Rick Griffin features a bloodshot eyeball with wings and rattlesnake tail emerging from a ring of fire while holding a skull in one of its clawed hands. This poster sold for $3,731.
A rare boxed example of a 1934 Betty Boop pocket watch sold for $2,875. It is one of a few boxed examples known to exist, the box being even rarer than the much sought after pocket watch. Another timepiece that struck a chord with collectors was the 1935 Buck Rogers pocket watch by Ingraham. While Hake’s has offered this watch in the past, it is rarely found boxed and complete with its original box insert and warranty/guarantee papers. After all was said and done, it ended up selling for $1,960. Another Buck Rogers item that took flight in the latest Hake’s auction was the Solar Scouts Repeller Ray ring issued in 1936 as both a Cream of Wheat and newspaper premium. The gold metal ring offered by Hake’s retained its brilliant luster, which set off the ring’s green faceted stone. The ring sold for $1,852.
A rare Yellow Kid sand pail bearing an 1896 copyright date featured multiple images of the Yellow Kid and the bottom of the pail is embossed with an elephant for use as a sand mold. This pail is the rarest and earliest character pail known to Hake’s, being only the second they’ve offered in 44 years. The pail sold for $1,768.
A complete set of 24 King Features Syndicate character figures manufactured by Multi Products in the 1940s that featured characters such as Blondie and Dagwood, Popeye and Olive Oyl, The Katzenjammer Kids, The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, Maggie and Jiggs, Barney Google and others sold for $2,530. This was the only complete set ever offered by Hake’s in their 44 years.
A complete set of three Marx Brothers dolls produced by National Mask & Puppet Company in the 1950s captured the Marx Brothers at their zaniest, with detailed likenesses of Groucho, Chico and Harpo. Hake’s had previously offered single dolls from this set as each doll is scarce on its own, let alone as a complete set. This scarcity led bidders to run these dolls up to $2,150. In other movie collectibles news, silent film heartthrob Rudolph Valentino’s personally owned cufflinks sold for $1,391.
A felt pennant that was used on the classic 1950s Howdy Doody television show sold for $2,311. The pennant was hung in the Peanut Gallery and now is on its way to its new home. And now it’s Howdy Doody Time!
Hake’s sold a lot spotlighting Eloise, the protagonist in a series of children’s books written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight. In the stories, Eloise is the six year old girl who lives in the “Room On The Tippy-Top Floor” of the Plaza Hotel in New York. The first Eloise book was published in 1955. The lot offered by Hake’s featured an original piece of Eloise art by Knight. This lot commanded $5,751 in bids.
So for those who may have missed out on Hake’s latest auction, mark your calendars for Auction #201 which goes online early September.
For more information on Hake’s Americana & Collectibles, visit their website – www.hakes.com. ?
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