Auction Watch: For-sale items span the globe in terms of topics, origin
A last-minute switch puts Constantine & Pletcher in the lineup of upcoming sales that includes BHD Auctions and Mark Ferry Auctioneers as Easter weekend approaches.
BHD's Brian Detch admits that selling off an antiques dealer's inventory can be a dicey proposition. Many times, an auctioneer gets a call after the dealer conducts a massive discount sale, leaving odds and ends and few quality goods behind. That's not the case as Detch prepares for the first of several online auctions, March 27 through April 3, to liquidate the contents of the Back Door Antiques shop in New Castle.
In fact, the store is so packed with quality items that Detch will leave the goods on site instead of moving them to BHD's facility in Zelienople. Along with saving time and mileage, keeping the merchandise in place at the New Castle store will allow bidders to preview the goods that will be on the e-block during all sales in this series.
Leading off, the opening auctions will serve as a sampler of what's to come. The diverse selection features fine china, samplers, quilts, frakturs, crocks, majolica, pottery, paintings and prints, toys, old books, tintype photos, clocks, silver, 1950s and '60s LPs and 45s, pinup and advertising calendars and 1930s and '40s Hollywood star trading cards.
After closing the shop a few years ago, owner Judy Giangiuli decided to put the store's goods on the block, along with many items from her personal collections. Of special note is a large collection of Castleton china. Produced in New Castle from 1901 until the 1980s, when Shenango China owned the line, Castleton earned a reputation for its durability and beauty. The company produced china for Haviland China of France during World War II and supplied dinnerware for Lady Bird Johnson while her husband, Lyndon, served in the White House. Over the years, Giangiuli amassed a collection so extensive that buyers turned to her to find replacement china for broken pieces when the company went out of business.
Bidders may view anytime the goods online at bhdauctions.net or in person at the Back Door from 10 a.m. to noon March 25 at 3582 Route 422, New Castle.
Mark Ferry Auctioneers
Vintage and antique long guns and pistols will be in the crosshairs during Mark Ferry Auctioneers' April 4 sale in Greensburg. From a single owner's collection, the firearms on the block feature classic names such as Remington, Winchester, Colt and Browning. The small arsenal includes large-bore guns for bringing down game and handguns carried by soldiers in World War I. Guns fans will find pump-action shotguns, .22-gauge hunting rifles, U.S. Army revolvers, Russian military pistols and more.
The highlight of the sale might be a rare Winchester Model 42, 410 pump shotgun, factory-engraved with gold inlays of a dog, quail and a setter spotting a grouse in flight. Most of the weapons, according to owner Ferry, are in fine condition and rank as investment quality. Scopes, ammunition and other gun-related gear will be in the sale.
The preview and sale will be at the Westmoreland County Fairgrounds, 4H Building, 123 Blue Ribbon Lane, Greensburg. Doors will open at 7 a.m., with the sale starting at 9 a.m.
Constantine & Pletcher
A deluge of new goods forced a scheduling change at Constantine & Pletcher as the Cheswick auctioneer will open its spring slate with an April 4 sale of merchandise from the estate of Eugene Kalinowski.
A retired city of Pittsburgh art teacher and member of the Pittsburgh Watercolor Society and Associated Artists of Pittsburgh, Kalinowski collected a mix of items from postcards to artwork from around the world as he frequented flea markets, trade shows and auctions over the years.
The first of a proposed series of five sales from the Kalinowski collection — with additions from Fox Chapel and Sewickley homes — the April 4 auction features more than 100 lots of W. Britain metal soldiers, reinforced by a toy fleet of Hubley airplanes and Arcade motorcycles and trucks. Other toys up for grabs include pre-World War II trains from Lionel and a Marx Merry Makers windup band of musical mice on drums and piano.
Global influences rule the art category. A longtime member of the Frick and Carnegie museums, Kalinowski amassed many pieces of African art, several of which he lent to the Carnegie for an exhibit.
In his collection, bidders will find African carved masks from the 1930s to '50s, fertility statues and other figural pieces, a bowl and lid shaped liked a water buffalo and a polychrome mask that measures 24 inches wide and 36 inches high. American- and European-school painters contribute a blend of watercolors and oils to the group, along with German engravings and English lithographs, circa 1810.
Though the market for Asian art and artifacts has cooled, the demand for items from the Far East remains strong. To satisfy the appetite, C&P offers a selection that features 18th- and 19th-century Buddhas from different regions of Asia, 30 pieces of carved jade, a collection of 30 snuff bottles, ceramic bracelets and a 20-inch-long jade carving titled “Mountain of Life,” depicting immortal godlike figures. And the shining example of Asian artistry may just be a 24-inch-tall “Golden Zebra,” cast in bronze and coated in 24-karat gold.
In the decorative arts, 10 pieces of Rookwood stand out, with a vellum vase decorated by the noted artist Edward Hurley. The furniture department includes choice pieces such as a pair of English writing desks for ladies and a mahogany grandfather clock.
Finally, in the “items of interest” category, the discoveries include antique marbles, employee pins from the Allegheny Ludlum steel company, national and local political badges dating to the early 20th century, vintage photos of a downed World War I German bi-plane and other subjects, contemporary art glass and nearly 4,000 antique postcards that span the globe internationally and locally, with themes ranging from holidays to other special occasions.
The preview will start at 10 a.m. before the noon sale at the Harmar House, 1321 Freeport Road, Cheswick. Details: 724-275-7190.
John Altdorfer is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.