Firefighter trove brings $4,200 in NY antique auction

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OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – A Tiffany Studios leaded glass bronze floor lamp lit up the room for $135,600 at a three-day multi-estate sale held Sept. 24-26 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

It was the top item of the estimated 1,800 fresh-to-the-market lots offered from prominent local estates and collections. The sale was held in the Philip Weiss showroom, at 1 Neil Court in Oceanside.

The Tiffany lamp came from the Jacqueline Lowe estate. Its provenance could be traced back to an appraisal the family had done in the early 1930s. It boasted a bamboo-style lamp base and a dragonfly type shade, but altered into a unique pattern. The shade was marked “Tiffany Studios New York 150” and a foot of the base was marked “Tiffany Studios New York 472.”

The auction grossed more than $750,000 and attracted approximately 1,000 bidders, both in-house and online (through “As expected, fresh merchandise sold for big money,” said Philip Weiss of Philip Weiss Auctions. “We had everything from transportation and ocean liner material to stamps and coins to original paintings and sculptures to Peanuts comic strips.” All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.

The Tiffany name was front and center among top achievers. A fantastic Tiffany & Co. humidor made for the Corsair – a yacht owned by renowned American industrialist J.P. Morgan – changed hands for $7,628. The case was rosewood, with two flags centered, and most of the covers were marked “Tiffany & Co.” The humidor measured 23 1/2 inches long by 11 inches wide.

Three original Peanuts comic strips, drawn by the legendary illustrator Charles Schulz, went for a combined $41,245. A 1969 daily with a football theme and Peppermint Patty as the coach brought $14,125; a daily dated Dec. 15, 1956, in which Lucy loses her tooth, hit $18,080; and a strip from January 1984 showing Snoopy on top of his dog house gaveled for $9,040.

An archive of material pertaining to the short-lived Tucker automobile fetched $19,200. The material, all circa 1940s and from a dealer called Prusack Motor Sales, included a company checkbook, booklets, advertising posters, newspaper clippings, silk advertising banners, four original seat covers with boxes, and two suitcases, which came with the purchase of a Tucker.

Turning to artwork, a figural statue of a boy and a girl, executed in Carrara marble by the Italian artist Romanelli Fratelli (circa 1888) climbed to $20,340. The work depicted a little boy getting ready to blow his horn into the ear of a beautiful little girl laying down on a period sofa. The marble pedestal was spectacular, showing a group of dolphins and heavily carved leaves.

Two oil on canvas paintings by Eugene G. Berman (1899-1972) got paddles wagging. One, signed and dated June 1949, was titled “The Obelisks” and measured 24 1/2 inches by 30 1/2 inches ($10,170); the other was initialed and dated 1948 and measured 29 1/2 inches by 36 inches (16,950). Both were from the estate of Theresa Helburn, who spent more than 40 years in the Theater Guild.

An important oil on canvas painting by Jacques Zucker, titled “The Subway Station” and executed during the Great Depression for the WPA, topped out at $9,605. The work boasted a fabulous image of a man at a newsstand, buying a newspaper and accompanied by his dog. It measured 21 inches by 26 inches, had been signed and came from the estate of a family member.

A turn of the century fireman’s archive from Henry Wolleben, former Brooklyn fireman, rose to $4,200. Included were a Limoges occupational shaving mug, a cabinet card of Wolleben in full uniform, a retirement certificate, an 18 karat gold pocket watch from the FDNY, a souvenir paperweight, Wolleben’s fire helmet with original front leather and an 1893 exempt certificate.

Rounding out the auction’s top lots: a pair of U.S. silver dollars dated 1870 – a proof dollar and a standard dollar, both in high grade condition – sold as one lot for $12,995; and a rare Ben Shahn Progressive Party poster, titled “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” hammered for $4,520. The poster, 45 1/2 inches by 30 inches, had some light creases but was overall very nice. For more information contact 516-594-0731 or or visit ?


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