Clark Gable enameled handbag claims top slot

A rare Whiting and Davis Clark Gable enameled handbag was the top seller at the Auctions Collectibles Auction No. 1. The auction, which closed Dec. 16, 2009, saw 215 lots sell for a total of $26,001, including the buyer’s premium.

“This was a new area and a special niche category, so we didn’t know what to expect, to be honest,” said Steve Bloedow, director of auctions. “We were very pleased with the bidding activity and the prices realized were about where we expected.”

The event featured vintage handbag, jewelry and celebrity couture. The handbags were from the Dennis and Terri LaMothe Collection, which is the largest mesh handbag collection to come to auction.

“Taking on new areas and being successful is a great sign of growth, and I think we accomplished that with this sale,” Bloedow said. “We got great exposure, with coverage in the NY Times, that really helped things along.”

The winning bid for the Clark Gable pictorial bag was $1,989, almost three times the minimum bid of $750. The bag features brown, blue and flesh-toned enamel with a gilt-metal handle and pinch clasp. Close on its heels was handbag depicting Charlie Chaplin, which features cream and black enamel over metal mesh, which sold for $1,784. The minimum bid was $625.

Two “celebrity” lots were featured in the event. A pair of silver-tone ring-mesh gloves from the personal collection of Cher, designed by Michael Schmidt, failed to meet the $750 minimum bid. A flat-mesh halter top in metallic red, from the personal wardrobe of Lisa Hartman Black sold for $70.20; its minimum bid was $60.

An Whiting And Davis purse with red, white, blue, green, brown, gray and gold enamel on gilt-metal mesh with a rhinestone-decorated powder compact brought $819 — roughly 20 times the $40 minimum bid.

A colorful 1930s-era Whiting and Davis enamel mesh handbag brought $644; the minimum bid was $75. The 8-inch long bag features blue, beige, green, tan, black, white, yellow, pink and red enamel worked in an elaborate design motif that resembles a pear-shaped American Indian-style beaded purse.

An Art Deco skyscraper-motif mesh bag brought $410; the minimum bid was $75. The bag depicts three skyscrapers in cream and black enamel on both the front and back of the bag. Auctions’ next event will be  an online-only Sports & Americana auction, slated for Jan. 11-28, 2010, followed by another Sports & Americana catalog auction running from March 22-April 8, 2010, Bloedow said.

Sports & Americana Online-Only Auction
    Consignments: Closed
    Auction Dates: Jan. 11-Jan. 28, 2010
Sports & Americana Auction No. 4
    Consignment Deadline: Feb. 13, 2010; call 888-463-3063 to consign.
    Auction dates: March 22 – April 8, 2010
For more information: visit

Susan Sliwicki is editor of, a Web site that focuses on collectors and the pieces they love to buy, sell and own. She can be reached at


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