California gets new player in vintage firearms market

Carol Watson’s Orange Coast Auctions, Inc., is now open in Irvine, Calif., the latest player in the growing vintage and antique firearms auction market. With more than 35 years in the auction field, the firm’s goal is to provide a complete range of services, from online and live auctions sale, to appraising, purchasing, and the consignment of single items and large estates. Read More +

Massachusetts Civil War diaries among other Americana included in July 31, 2011 estate auction

It’s not every day that antique auctioneers can walk into an estate to find a home furnished almost entirely with antique pieces, spanning 200 years of American history. This was the case of a Southeastern (Seekonk), Massachusetts home. The family also had strong ties to Rhode Island and Western Massachusetts. The pieces in the home were not amassed through collections or auction purchases but instead evolved naturally over time, handed down through the family, and were the simple utilitarian pieces that a family lived with and used for generations. The entire household will be sold in a July 31, 2011 estate auction in Middleboro, Mass.
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Seldom-seen Victorian table fountain in online sale ending July 20

Litchfield County Auctions Online Summer Sale holds more than 800 lots of fresh-to-the-market property collected from New York and Connecticut estates and private collections. The summer sale’s focus is on American, English and Continental art and antiques, including this Victorian Tufts automatic crystal table fountain, circa 1870-1880. In addition to a variety of weathervanes, pewter, baskets and canes, the Americana section features a selection of Shaker furniture and decorative arts as well. The sale is online now at and can be viewed on the Litchfield County Auctions website.
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Masudaya Target Japanese tin robot captures $23,600, nearly doubling high estimate

At Morphy’s April 29-30, 2011 auction of antique toys and advertising, bidding was especially competitive for two robots from the famed Masudaya "Gang of Five" series. The top robot lot was a Masudaya Target Robot. This purple tin "Gangster" stands 15 inches tall and comes equipped with a dart-shooting toy gun, and darts. The example was in excellent condition, complete with its gun, darts and beautifully lithographed original box. Against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000, it hit the bull’s eye at $23,600. The sale grossed $1.5 million. Read More +

Christie’s announces it will manage Elizabeth Taylor auctions this fall

Christie’s announced this week it is has scheduled a series of public exhibitions and special events leading up to the sale of the collection of Elizabeth Taylor, who passed away March 23. The tour will culminate in New York in early December with a special ten-day, museum-quality exhibition of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry, fashion, accessories, decorative arts and memorabilia, followed by four consecutive days of auctions.
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Monumental torcheres, premier estate furniture and art await bidders in California antique auction

Exquisite antiques, fine furniture and objets d’art from several southern California estates will merge with the final offering of Continental furniture and decorations from the Steven Thomas antiques firm June 25-26, 2011. In addition, the 1,100-lot sale will shine a spotlight on two technological inventions that dramatically impacted American pop culture – the original machines created to produce "canned" laughter and audience applause for Hollywood’s booming television industry of the 1950s.
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Faberge egg-style miniature portrait frame sells for $57,300

A Faberge egg shaped miniature portrait frame sold for nearly as much as several important paintings during a May 21-22, 2011 Maine fine art and antique auction. Telephone, floor and internet bidders aggressively pursued the circa 1910 gold frame, composed of white guilloche face, a seed pearl liner, a deep blue enamel outer band and gold riband top with ruby cabochon. The active bidding helped the frame piece achieve a final selling price of $57,300.
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Rock Island capitalizes on ‘regional’ sales, offers antiques and ‘relics’ along with firearms

Rock Island Auction Company has found a profitable niche in small, regional sales. These regional sales can feature more than 2,000 lots of affordable antiques, beginning collector’s items, usable sporting arms and many non-firearm lots. The next sale July 16-17 offers more than 5,000 firearms. The last regional sale resulted in a banner $3.2 million in total sales.
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Indiana Jones turns 30; iconic whip movie prop could bring $70,000

Indiana Jones, the adrenaline-addicted college professor, turns 30 years old this month and Bonhams & Butterfields is offering fans a chance to swing into the character’s lore. Several props from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" are featured in the firm’s June 26, 2011 auction. The sale is timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the film’s release in June of 1981. Highlights from include one of Indiana Jones’ six iconic bullwhips used in a stunt sequence, which is estimated to sell for $50,000 to $70,000. A prop idol that was also used during filming could sell for $20,000 to $30,000. The items are accompanied by a letter of provenance from Academy Award-winning special effects expert, Kit West, who was the mechanical effects supervisor on "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
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