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Tiffany items to be auctioned

Maybe it's the cold temperatures that are cooling off area auctions over the next few weeks. Still, Constantine & Mayer should create some heat on Saturday with a blockbuster event. Away from the home front, the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King go up for bid at Sotheby's in New York.

Constantine & Mayer, Inc.

Let's just say that Jeff Constantine has been holding back on area bidders -- and that's a good thing. Shortly after moving to his new Cheswick location, the co-owner of the self-billed "boutique auction specialists" started pulling select high-end items from his regular sales. The goal was to gather enough quality goods to stage a barnburner this Saturday.

"There's so much good stuff," Constantine says. "I began collecting and gleaning some of the best pieces from recent estates to put together this sale. It really is the best of the best."

The true highlight is a Tiffany gold dore pond lily floor lamp. Rising from the lily pad base, slender intertwining vines climb 56 inches high to 12 separate lamps. Although just seven of the original signed shades remain -- along with two replacements -- this rare work displays all the hallmarks of Tiffany craftsmanship. Constantine expects this number to fetch $25,000 to $35,000.

Also from Tiffany, a linen-fold table lamp should create some high-wattage bidding. At first glance, the shade on this 23.5-inch tall beauty appears to be made of nicely folded linen. Closer inspection reveals the fabric is patterned glass panels with bronze trim. Finished in gold dore, this masterpiece's shade and base are signed.

Rounding out the Tiffany trio is a bronze-and-glass desk lamp. Although a bit more modest than the other Tiffany offerings, this gem glows on its own right with a green glass shade marked with pink and purple highlights.

Always looking for tucked-away finds in a forgotten corner, Constantine turned up a trove of oil-on-canvas paintings by prolific Philadelphia artist Hermann Herzog. The German-born painter traveled to the United States in the 1860s and remained here until his death at the age of 100.

A century or so ago, listening to a "recorded" song meant sitting around a less-than-portable but nicely crafted music box. A quintet of such devices should hit all the right notes during the sale. Three of the pieces play cylinder roll, while two well-preserved Stella players spin metal discs.

Checking in at more than 475 lots, this sale offers plenty of choice in nearly every category of antiques and collectibles. Just in time for summer, a lovely bunch of Roseville jardinières offers planting options in a variety of styles and patterns. Military buffs will fall into formation for a selection of French and American war swords and a small library of Civil War books. Silver shines, as well, with assorted sets of flatware, tea sets and other items. For a closer peek, double click on www.constantinemayer.com for summaries of all items and photos of some of the featured pieces.

Previews are 5-8 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, followed by the sale at 11 a.m. at 1306 Pittsburgh St. in the Cheswick Shopping Center. Details: 724-275-7190.

Three River Auction Company

There's always something going on at Tripp Kline's Washington, Pa.-based auction gallery. This Sunday, he opens the doors of his bidding house on the corner of W. Beau and Washington streets for a sale heavy on indoor and outdoor furniture, a smattering of collectibles and 1995 Cadillac DeVille, with just 54,000 miles. Previews are 3-8 p.m.Thursday and 10 a.m. Sunday, before the noon start. Details: 724-222-8020 or www.3riversauction.com .

J.S. Dill Auctions, Inc.

Take to the highway for a couple of Thursday to-dos at Zelienople's J.S. Dill Auctions. This week's bill offers the belongings of a Beaver, Pa., home. Then they set up shop outside at 2431 Evans City Road for a June 22 sale serving up a collector's lifelong accumulation of goods. Details: 724-453-0853 or 412-362-9001 or www.3riversauction.com .

Sotheby's

He had a dream. And now anyone with a sizeable chunk of disposable income can own a piece of history, as Sotheby's auctions a massive collection of manuscripts and books from the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King. The June 30 sale at its New York location includes most of the slain civil-rights leader's landmark 1960s addresses, including his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech from 1964 and early drafts of the 1963 March on Washington "I Have a Dream" speech that he delivered to more than 250,000 people on the Mall in the nation's capital.

Although the collection contains more than 7,000 items, everything will be sold in a single lot. Over the years, the King family failed to negotiate a $20 million deal to sell the collection to the Library of Congress that would make the papers available to the public. Now estimated at $15 to $30 million, the sale is creating controversy, because the collection could be sold to a private buyer who could restrict access to historians and others wishing to study the papers. Details: www.sothebys.com .

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