OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – A turn-of-the-century Punch cigar store figure, standing more than five feet tall and in original condition, sailed past the high estimate of $150,000 to sell for $542,400 at Philip Weiss Auctions’ Oct. 20-21 sale. The figure was bought by Kennedy Galleries in New York on behalf of an anonymous collector. All prices include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.
“We knew the Punch figure was rare and would generate interest, but the final sale price exceeded our wildest dreams,” said Weiss. The Punch figure was the top lot in a sale that grossed $1.6 million and saw 1,600 lots change hands.
The Punch figure was attributed to Samuel Robb (1851-1928), whose New York studio specialized in tobacconist carvings.
Many of the top lots of the sale – including the Punch figure – came out of an unassuming two-story brick house on Long Island once owned by Joseph Kedenberg, who died in 1983. The house had walls full of early trade signs and advertising material; 200+ occupational shaving mugs; rare 18th- and 19th-century carved ship figureheads; barber and pharmacy bottles; and a cast-iron toy collection, featuring original mechanical banks.
Porcelain occupational shaving mug showing a speedboat captain, $2,370.
A maritime woodcarving, possibly a figurehead and made sometime in the 18th century, achieved a little more than its presale estimate of $1,000-$2,000. By the time the dust had settled from a lively bidding war, the price had soared to $129,950. “Proves how much we know about folk art,” Weiss said matter-of-factly.
A dentist’s trade sign made of tin by Cushing & White of Walthan, Mass. (circa 1880s) changed hands for $49,720. The 17-inch by 18-inch sign could be hung by three metal bars, and was embossed in the roof of the mouth with the maker. An occupational white glass “Bay Rum” barber bottle, hand-painted and showing a policeman making an arrest (circa 1900), brought $2,825.
An original Charles Schulz Peanuts art Sunday page from August 1971, which had a baseball theme, was a hit at $67,800, while a “Great Pumpkin” Sunday page from October 1962 brought $62,100. Three dailies also sold, bringing the total for Schulz art to more than $150,000.
A pen-and-ink splash page drawn by the noted comic illustrator Murphy Anderson, for Hawkman # 17, sold for $5,200. Executed in the 1960s, the illustration measured 16 1/2 inches by 11 inches.
Weiss’ sale scheduled for Nov. 17-18 will feature autographs, sports memorabilia, rare books, photographs and militaria, including an Ernest Vogt Civil War drum and a rare early John Armstrong rifle. For more information, visit www.philipweissauctions.com or call 516-594-0731.