There are two types of collectors: Many who come to the hobby later in life, often by happenstance, and others who begin as children when something sparks an interest.
According to Pook & Pook, Bud Newman is in the “born” group. In the third grade, he fell victim to the allure of stamp collecting and the collecting never stopped – only the categories changed. Later in life, with his wife, Judy, early Pennsylvania furniture fell into one of their “had to have” categories, then onto American folk art including painted children’s sleds and decorated stoneware.
More than 400 lots from the couple's collection will be offered by Pook & Pook on Friday, with an auction starting at 9 a.m. EDT at its gallery in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Online bidding will be available on Bidsquare. com and LiveAuctioneers.com.
Collecting board games came to Bud through his business, Newman & Co., a major force in paper recycling and cardboard manufacturing. The company was started by his grandfather in 1918. Among the major buyers of Newman’s specialty cardboard were game and toymakers, including Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley and Selchow & Righter. Seeing what they were producing with his product, combined with Bud’s interest in things of America’s past, it was only a matter of time before he discovered the magic of late 19th and early 20th century board games. Their appeal is two-fold: as early masterpieces of graphics and color lithography, as well as having much to tell us of our American past.
"I first encountered Bud Newman in 1992, when I had the honor of offering at auction the collection of the pioneer game collector Herb Siegel. That sale was a watershed event for vintage game collecting, as well as in the personal journey of Buddy in his quest for these playthings of the past. Bud’s collection includes about thirty pieces from the Siegel auction," said antiques toy expert Noel Barrett, who is conducting the auction in conjunction with Pook & Pook. "Our upcoming April 23 sale is the first installment of his amazing collection and it includes some of the earliest manufactured games: from the linen-backed lithographed paper games of the 1820s right up to the early baseball and football games of the late 19th and early 20th century."
The largest groupings are the brightly colored lithographed games by such makers as McLoughlin, Parker Brothers, Bliss and Singer. Highlights include McLoughlin’s 1883 "Bulls and Bears," a Holy Grail piece for game collectors. It brings to life the era’s stock market shenanigans of Jay Gould and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Many games in the collection have cross-over appeal. The McLoughlin masterpiece, "Yellow Kid Ten Pins," is as sought after by game collectors as by enthusiasts of comic character items, said Barrett. Outcault’s Yellow Kid is considered the first American comic strip, and this game offers ten “kids” in all. The collection of sport’s games also appeals to two different collector constituencies. The highlight in this category is the astoundingly rare "Zimmer’s Baseball Game," with its colorful lithographed paper playing field that displays portraits of eighteen baseball players of that era, with Buck Ewing and Amos Rule as catcher and pitcher, and, among others in the dugout, is Cy Young. The color lithography is by the incomparable McLoughlin Brothers. It is also a “grail” piece for game as well as sports devotees, with only ten believed to have survived.
The Newmans' collection is primarily games, but also includes toys and puzzles made by some of the game makers. Along with almost 275 items from the game and toy collection, Pook & Pook will also be offering almost 200 pieces from the couple's American folk art collection, including painted children’s sleds, New Hope impressionist paintings, decorated stoneware, paint decorated furniture, needlework samplers, and more.
A gallery exhibition, by appointment only, will be at the auction house in Downingtown, PA, on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (with a reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.), and Friday from 8-9 a.m. (for auction attendees only). Exhibition viewing is by appointment only. All visitors to the gallery must wear a mask and practice social distancing. If you would like to attend Thursday's reception, RSVP by calling 610-269-4040.
Live, phone, absentee, and internet bidding will be available for this auction. To attend the live auction, please call ahead to reserve a seat. For more information, visit www.pookandpook.com.
The second installment of the Newman toy and game collection will be featured in the December 3 Antique Toy Auction.