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Toys, quilts, Fiestaware might find way onto holiday gift lists

| Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, 8:57 p.m.
All aboard: Created by the Lionel train company during the Depression, this “junior” choo choo is ready to head down the tracks to a new station. BHD Auctions
Fine-feathered friend: A hand-painted exotic bird decorates this Pickard porcelain vase. Estimate: $300-$500. constantine & pletcher
Big chief: Local artist Robert Griffing painted this portrait of a Native American leader. Estimate: $300-$500. Three Rivers Auction Co.
Flower power: Always in bloom, this Weller Hudson art pottery vase is perennial favorite. Estimate: $400-$600. constantine & pletcher
Tall order: This 8-inch-high red vase is one of more than 100 lots of Fiestaware on the block at Three Rivers Auction Co. Estimate: $200-$300. Three Rivers Auction Co.

It's starting to seem a lot like Christmas, as one local sale goes online with great gift and decorating items for the holiday season. Meanwhile, two other area auctions journey into autumn with a classic selection of antiques, collectibles and newer pieces for the home.

BHD Auctions

Happy holidays might be the theme for BHD Auctions' Internet-only sale. Running from Friday to Oct. 25, the web-exclusive auction is heavy on tricks and treats for Halloween and stocking stuffers for the yuletide. The newer ghoul and goblin decorations on the block are “spooktacularly” plentiful.

Although the sound of sleigh bells might be a few months off, auctiongoers know it's never too early to start checking their holiday gift lists. The Christmas spirit fare falls in the mostly new category, with original, in-the-box decorations from Christopher Radko, Hallmark and the Jim Shore Heartwood Creek collections.

For a more nostalgic take on the holidays, vintage toys rekindle happy visions of Christmases past. A Lionel Jr. electric train set should get bidders on board in a hurry. Created by the famed toy train manufacturer in the early 1930s, the Lionel Jr. sets provided buyers during hard economic times a more affordable choice to the company's more expensive full-scale models. The Jr. model waiting at the BHD station is a six-piece combo with a steam locomotive, coal car, two freight cars, a tanker and a train station. The set comes with a well-earned patina, original box and charger, but the set is missing its tracks.

A collection of classic Barbies, many with original boxes and accessories, is stacked with great choices of fashions and hairstyles. Boy toys up for grab include tin soldiers, metal trucks and cars, along with a smattering of “Star Wars” collectibles.

Details: 724-816-0683 or

Three Rivers Auction Co.

“Just peachy” is how Three Rivers owner Tripp Kline is feeling about his Oct. 9 sale.

Two of the bigger collections on the block involve costume jewelry and quilts. The baubles, bangles and beads in the mix include 14-karat wedding sets and engagement rings, sterling silver rings, chokers, necklaces, pins and bracelets, spoons, cuff links and tie tacks. Among the notable manufacturers are Christian Dior, Weiss, Kramer, Coro, Lisner, Miriam Haskell and Van Dome.

For a more folksy feel, the quilts add a much-needed touch of warmth. Lovingly and painstakingly handmade, the quilts display a patchwork of styles that cover everything from herringbone to Dresden plate creations. Although some show signs of gentle use, these quilts are instant keepsake heirlooms.

Not long ago, Fiestaware spurred bidding frenzies at auction. While the market is a bit cooler these days, interest remains strong for this colorful line of dinnerware that brightened the dark economic times of the Depression. Phased out of production in the early 1970s, Fiestaware, exploded in the antique and auction markets almost as soon as the Homer Laughlin Co. shut down the production line. Offerings included are rare pieces, such as an 8-inch vase and nesting bowls. Also in the lineup are many pieces in early colors and forms in the shape of mixing bowls, teapots, pitchers, casseroles and chop plates.

Always a good source of antique furniture, Three Rivers delivers a rich choice again with standouts such as a chestnut dry sink, Pennsylvania-made House dresser with mirror and nightstand, and a corner cupboard also crafted in the Keystone State. A small art collection is big on Native American works by local artist Robert Griffing, who often paints scenes depicting American Indians fighting in the French and Indian War.

The sale preview starts at noon Tuesday, followed by the sale at 6 p.m., at the Three Rivers showroom, 382 W. Chestnut St., Washington, Pa. Details: 724-222-8020

Constantine & Pletcher

Fox Chapel and East End estates form the bulk of Constantine & Pletcher's Oct. 20 sale. With a large group of antiques and collectibles across a broad cross-section of categories, the two-part sale opens with an uncataloged auction at 9 a.m. followed by the cataloged event at noon.

Furniture tops the choices in this sale with a strong collection highlighted by an American curly maple and cherry bow-front chest, a Chinese Chippendale-style Victorian library, an American curved curio cabinet and a Georgian mahogany chest. Adding plenty of bench strength are a classical American card table, a country Sheraton-style worktable and a Victorian bamboo double bed.

Local collectors pay attention when art from Malcolm Parcell comes up for bid. So, interest will intensify when a pencil etching from the Washington County artist goes on the block. Matted and framed, the work captures a Southwestern Pennsylvania landscape. Also in the suitable-for-hanging group are 12 China trade colored engravings. Speaking of Asian art, Pletcher expects more strong prices from Internet bidding for a set of Chinese jade-and-brass place card holders, three Tibetan gilt Buddhas, some Chinese provincial furniture and a Korean celadon tea bowl.

Silver shines with sterling flatware sets and other items. However, the big deal in the group is a large hand-wrought Mexican sterling silver bowl. Its rough-hewn elegance is supported by its weight of approximately 90 Troy ounces.

American art pottery is another highlight, with pieces from the usual suspects such as Rookwood Roseville, Weller, Fulper, Owens, Nippon, Limoges and Royal Doulton. Also worth noting are glassworks from Steuben and Hawkes.

In the miscellaneous category, bidders will find a group of German bisque dolls, model trains and tintypes of President Abraham Lincoln.

The sale previews are noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 and 8 to 9 a.m. Oct. 20. The uncataloged sale runs from 9 a.m. to noon with the cataloged auction immediately following. Previews and sales are at 1306 Pittsburgh St., Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190

John Altdorfer is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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