Genre paintings, those intimate depictions of everyday life, have great appeal to collectors. At this time of year, none could be more charming than Timoleon Lobrichon’s painting, “Jouets.” It is the crown jewel at Brunk Auctions sale Nov. 8-9. The large painting depicts seven well-dressed, curious children peering through a closed shop door at a marvelous collection of toys. The young girl with her hands pressed to the glass defines Christmas anticipation and excitement. The 44 3/4-inch by 33 3/8-inch French painting carries a reserve of $50,000 and is expected to bring $100,000 or more.
Toys like the kind in the Lobrichon painting are also in the sale. Thirty-six deaccessioned lots from The Toy Museum at Old Salem will delight late 19th and early 20th century toy collectors. Included among the cast iron toys are an Ives fire wagon pulled by two horses (presale estimate $500-$1,000), a 7-inch stove with three miniature skillets (estimate $300-$600), seven animal banks including three elephants (estimate $150-$350) and assorted dogs, frogs and cars (estimate $300-$600).
For the person with everything, there is the transit and solar compass collection of the late Ron Kiser of Mars Hill, N.C. Included in the collection is a Gurley solar compass marked “Geo Raymond, April 1858.” Included is the original dovetailed case and tripod. A solar compass was required for land surveys after it was discovered that the reading of a magnetic compass could be thrown off by iron ore deposits in the land being surveyed. This is the earliest known Gurley solar compass and carries a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-$12,000.
For the numismatist, check out the 82 coin lots in the sale, especially the 550 Morgan silver dollars. A majority of the George T. Morgan designed dollars, 346, are brilliant uncirculated (B.U.). Six are Morgan proofs. Included in the six is the rarest Morgan: an 1895 proof. It is one of only 880 proofs ever made and is expected to bring between $20,000 and $30,000.
Nathan Harsh co-authored one of the classic texts on Southern furniture, Art and Mystery of Tennessee Furniture and its Makers Through 1850. An 1835-1850 Tennessee sugar chest from Linden, Tenn., illustrated in Art and Mystery and from Nathan Harsh’s personal collection, is in the sale (estimate $2,000-$4,000). Also from the Nathan and Jean Harsh collection is a Kentucky corner cupboard attributed to Thomas H. Lincoln, father of Abraham Lincoln (estimate $2000-$3000).
“This is the largest and in some ways the most varied auction of the year for us,” said Auctioneer Bob Brunk. The House of Scharzenberg collection must certainly be included in the most varied category. The 90 lots were formerly the property of the late Princess Anna Schwartzenberg (1897-1954). The family owned numerous castles throughout Bavaria and the Czech Republic including Schwartzenberg Palace in Vienna, Austria. The collection includes maps, portraits, prints, coats of arms, watercolors, silver and textiles, but it is the books that have drawn international attention. Most are exceedingly rare. Examples include two 1531 translations of Cicero into German with fine woodcut illustrations (estimate $3,000-$6,000), a 1568 biography of the knight, Georg von Frundsberg (estimate $1,000-$2,000) and a book of jousting extensively illustrated with scenes from jousting tournaments (high estimate $800). “In some cases,” said Bob Brunk, “only three to six copies of the book are known to exist.”
The sale also features exceptional rugs, silver, rifles, paintings, jewelry, Chinese porcelain, and furniture. For the rider in the family, there are six lots of silver inlaid gaucho spurs (estimates range from $200-$800).
Brunk Auctions is located at 117 Tunnel Road, Asheville, N.C. The sale begins at 9 a.m. Nov. 8, and 9 a.m. Nov. 9. For more information, visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.