Bidders push telephones way past their estimates at auction

Collectors were in a frenzy to get historically important phones and related items at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers‘ recent sale.
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Gallows Pole early horn transmitter telephone reproductions, United States, 20th century, pieces marked “Historical Replica Reproduced by Bell Telephone Laboratories,” from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Smallest is 6” x 10-1/2”, largest is 7-1/2” x 10-1/2”, $12,000 (est: $3,000-$5,000).

Gallows Pole early horn transmitter telephone reproductions, United States, 20th century, pieces marked “Historical Replica Reproduced by Bell Telephone Laboratories,” from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Smallest is 6” x 10-1/2”, largest is 7-1/2” x 10-1/2”, $12,000 (est: $3,000-$5,000). 

CRANSTON, R.I. – Collectors were in a frenzy to get telephones and related items at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers‘ recent sale. After receiving 44 bids, the top lot was a group of Gallows Pole early horn transmitter telephone reproductions that sold for $12,000 — thousands more than the estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

The historically important phones were from the collection of the Telephone Pioneers of America Museum of New York, and several other items from this collection were also big sellers, including a Mahogany telephone switchboard box that had 56 bidders and sold for $11,000 — far exceeding its estimate of $200-$300.

The 444-lot Estate Fine Art, Antiques & Collectibles Auction featured a selection of listed artist paintings, etchings and prints; a collection of Austrian and Bohemian art glass and figural lamps from a Long Island, New York collection; and a great single-owner collection of Japanese robes. Also offered were a selection of Asian arts; five rare 18th and 19th century Rhode Island and Massachusetts almanacs; a high-end Leica spotting scope; sterling silver chalices; and estate sterling lots, jewelry, sculpture and more. 

“Four days into the New Year and we are already starting it with a bang,” said Kevin Bruneau, the president of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. 

Another top seller included a 1985 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit that the winning bidder rolled away with for $11,000. With just 35,000 miles on the odometer, the full-size, British-made sedan is a full-size luxury Rolls that’s been perfectly maintained. It had an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

For more auction results, visit www.bruneauandco

Fifty-six bidders vied for this mahogany telephone switchboard box, United States,19th century. unidentified company, from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Overall 12-3/4” x 11-1/4”, $11,000 (est: $200-$300).

Fifty-six bidders vied for this mahogany telephone switchboard box, United States,19th century. unidentified company, from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Overall 12-3/4” x 11-1/4”, $11,000 (est: $200-$300).

These black painted wood cased phones with glass transmitters were also pushed way above their estimate by 36 bidders who clamored for them. By Maxim New York, United States,19th century, the telephone without receiver marked with serial number “24761706,” the one with the receiver still intact has an exceptionally low number of “225” marked around transmitter. Marked “American Bell Company” around transmitter, sides of both are marked “July 11, 1893” and from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Overall 4-3/4” x 4”, $7,000 (est $150-$250). 36 bidders. 

These black painted wood cased phones with glass transmitters were also pushed way above their estimate by 36 bidders who clamored for them. By Maxim New York, United States,19th century, the telephone without receiver marked with serial number “24761706,” the one with the receiver still intact has an exceptionally low number of “225” marked around transmitter. Marked “American Bell Company” around transmitter, sides of both are marked “July 11, 1893” and from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. Overall 4-3/4” x 4”, $7,000 (est $150-$250). 36 bidders. 

This lot of five 19th century solid-color receivers was also popular and sold for thousands more than expected. One marked “36,” one marked “42,” one marked “Property of Bell Telephone Co.” and “D 296,” from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. The smallest is 5-3/4” x 2-1/2”  and the largest is 7-1/2” x 2-3/4”, $6,000 (est: $400-$600). 

This lot of five 19th century solid-color receivers was also popular and sold for thousands more than expected. One marked “36,” one marked “42,” one marked “Property of Bell Telephone Co.” and “D 296,” from the collection of the New Jersey Telephone Pioneers of America Museum. The smallest is 5-3/4” x 2-1/2” and the largest is 7-1/2” x 2-3/4”, $6,000 (est: $400-$600). 

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