SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The first-ever Internet-only auction for American Marble Auctions – an offshoot of American Bottle Auctions, which has featured marbles in its sales before but is now dedicating a new company solely to marble auctions – will go online Sept. 20 and end Sunday, Sept. 29, at 6 p.m. (PCT).
“We have assembled a grouping of 200 marbles from virtually every category of marble collecting,” said Jeff Wichmann, owner of both American Marble Auctions and American Bottle Auctions. “These include Akro Agate, Christensen Agate, Peltier and others for the machine-mades, as well as handmades such as Joseph’s Coat, Clanbroths, and Indian and other swirls.
The expected star lot, one that Wichmann called “too rare to value,” is a giant paneled speckled Onionskin, magnificent and huge, with a 2.645-inch circumference and graded 8.9 out of 10 for condition. “This is the largest four-panel Onionskin marble I’ve ever seen,” Wichmann remarked. “To find one this size, in this condition, with such a bright pattern, is truly incredible.”
Wichmann has personally collected and been a fan of antique marbles for decades (and every marble in this auction is from 1950 and before). But he’s not going it alone with American Marble Auctions. His right hand man is Sami Arim, a seasoned marble authenticator and grader. Visitors to the website (starting Sept. 18) will be able to view all the lots and see Arim’s grades.
“American Marble Auctions is our effort to establish high-quality and highly desirable marbles to our fellow marble collectors,” Wichmann said. “We are hoping to follow in the footsteps of some of the successful marble auction houses of the past, such as Running Rabbit and Marblealan (on eBay). We will complement, but not compete with, dealers like Morphy’s.”
Wichmann added, “Selling marbles through Internet auctions is a complicated business. Presenting these historic and beautiful collectibles poses many challenges. We will combine the latest technology in graphics and bidding software to present the best pictures and descriptions as possible, with conservative grading. And each marble sold comes with a money-back guarantee.”
American Marble Auctions will offer just antique marbles (mid-20th century and before), not
contemporary blown marbles. As Wichmann explained, “There are many new glass blowers who make neat examples, but as the true collector sees it, why buy a brand new marble when I can acquire a genuine antique with loads of character that might be a century old or even older?”
The premiere auction will feature some nice examples in the Lutz category. One has a wide and thick red ribbon with a couple of thick Lutz bands running between two pontils. The superb example, graded 9.5 and 0.781 inches, should make $750-$1,000. Another has three Lutz bands running between two pontils and two ribbons with borders, graded 9.2 (est. $350-$400).
Collectors of Peltier will be wowed by a fantastic and hard-to-find jobber box, filled with Peltier National Line Rainbow marbles. There are ten tigers loaded with black aventurine and in exceptional mint condition, five dragons, all with gorgeous patterns, five Cub Scouts, with great patterns, and five bumble bees with black aventurine, all in an orange box (est. $800-$1,200).
A Peltier NLR Rainbow Superman, unusually large (0.869 inches), with four red and two yellow ribbons running between a pair of cutlines on a turquoise base glass, graded 8.9, should hit $500-$600; and a 360 degree Indian, with shades of green, yellow, brown and orange bands running between two pontils on an opaque black glass base, graded 9.8, should hit $750-$1,000.
One of the oldest marbles in the auction is a rare mid-19th century handmade ceramic Pennsylvania Dutch marble, 1.414 inches and graded 9.5 (est. $500-$700). The blue and black flower motifs decorate both poles, divided with a pink line around the equator on this gorgeous Pennsylvania Dutch ceramic marble. The glazing is in as excellent condition as the marble itself.
Collectors of swirl marbles will be able to bid on a nice Akro Agate marble with dark, translucent ink-blue swirls and rich oxblood veins swirling around on a silver moonie base glass, graded 9.2 (est. $125-$200); and a submarine Indian swirl marble with two multi-color wide bands running between two pontils on a translucent blue base glass, graded 9.6 (est. $400-$600).
For anyone who has participated in an American Bottle Auctions online-only auction, the same basic terms and conditions will apply to American Marble Auctions. A 15 percent buyer’s premium will be applied to all purchases. Each lot closes separately when a bid is not entered for ten minutes. An asterisk next to the minimum bid ($10 for all lots) means no bid has been made.
“We recommend that collectors use our state-of-the-art tools carefully and contact us with any questions they might have,” Jeff Wichmann said. “We will be available full-time via e-mail (at email@example.com) and phone (toll-free, at 1-800-806-7722) to help bidders make sound and smart decisions. If possible, a visit to our showroom would be helpful.”
American Marble Auctions is located not far from American Bottle Auctions, at 915 28th Street in Sacramento, Calif. The firm will be accepting quality marbles for future auctions. To inquire about consigning a single marble or an entire collection, you may call them toll-free, at (800) 806-7722; or, you can e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about American Marble Auctions and the upcoming online-only auction that begins Sept. 20 and ends Sept. 29, please long on to www.americanmarbleauctions.com.
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