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A touch of local flavor adds spice to upcoming auctions

| Tuesday, June 3, 2003

Prominent Pittsburgh names add some sparkle to the auction marquee during the next few weeks.

On Saturday, the final holdings of the world-renowned local collector G. David Thomspon, including works by Aaron Gorson, Sam Rosenberg and Man Ray, will hit the market at the Concept Art Gallery in Regent Square. Meanwhile, Dargate's two-day auction on Father's Day weekend will feature Caldwell bronze lighting fixtures and more from the long-razed Beechwood Boulvard mansion of Henry Thaw. In between, Constantine & Mayer will add a sweet touch with goods from former city candy man W. Clyde Thurman.

Finally, the Mattress Factory will creatively put all its eggs in one basket during a sale of ostrich eggs decorated by area celebs and pols.

Concept Art Gallery

During the middle years of the 20th century, Pittsburgh's very own G. David Thompson reigned as one of the world's best-known art collectors. In fact, Thompson once approached the Carnegie Museum of Art about the possibility of constructing a separate wing to house works by George Rickey, Sam Rosenberg and others. The proposal died, however, because he insisted that the building bear his name, which violated museum policy.

Once among of the largest and most important in the United States, the Thompson collection dwindled as relatives sold works after his death in the mid 1960s. Still, the pieces on sale include many rare works from masters in all genres.

In addition, the auction features works from several eastern Pennsylvania museums and private collectors.

To preview the 330 lots on sale, visit the Concept Art Gallery Web site or stop by the gallery at 1031 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square. The auction is at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

Details: (412) 242-9200 or .

Constantine & Mayer

Everyone knows Clark Bar candy bars. But the tasty confections of W. Clyde Thurman also satisfied many local sweet tooths in the golden age of Pittsburgh candy makers.

Among the 550 lots up for grabs are what owner Jeff Constantine calls an "eclectic" mix of furniture, silver, antiques, Asian rugs, art and a few oddities. Combined with goods from another anonymous but notable city estate, the June 16 auction promises a wide selection of merchandise, including three Victorian-era ostrich eggs on decorative stands, for nearly every taste.

Once again, the Fireman's Banquet Hall, 398 Perry Highway, West View, will host the auction, with previews at 3:30 p.m. and the sale at 5 p.m.

Details: (412) 828-7015.

Dargate Auction Galleries

While his family enjoyed a respectable reputation as enterprising industrialists, Henry Thaw earned a considerable amount of infamy after he murdered architect Stanford White in 1906 over the affections of Evelyn Nesbit, better known as "The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing."

Although that much-ballyhooed "Crime of the Century" remains part of our local lore, Thaw's childhood home on Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill is a distant memory. Built in 1889 by Thaw's father, William, the Gothic mansion sprawled over the family estate.

Named "Lyndhurst" for a Tarrytown, N.Y., home owned by railroad magnate Jay Gould, the Thaw manse contained many trappings of wealth, including Caldwell bronze chandeliers and sconces, which will go up for bid at Dargate's two-day sale, June 14 and 15.

Also on the block are artwork from Pittsburgh painter Aaron Gorson, Michael Jackson's "Moonwalking" dance shoes, Tiffany flatware and more.

Previews will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 13 at the Dargate Galleries, 214 N. Lexington Ave., Point Breeze. Bidding will begin at 10 a.m. June 14 and 15. For a complete online catalog, visit .

Details: (412) 362-3558.

J.S. Dill Auctions

Back from vacation, owner Jack Dill gets back in the routine with a pair of weekly auctions on Thursday and June 12 at the company's Evans City auction site. The first sale features a nice selection of modern furniture from makers such as Drexel and Hickory Hill. In addition, the sale features a 1981 Dodge St. Regis and a Dodge Monaco from the same year.

A week later, the docket will include several pieces of local sports memorabilia from the collection of Steve Morris, better known as the owner of Froggy's, Downtown. Among the treasures are a poster from the last football game at Pitt Stadium, a Forbes Field print signed by Pirates great Bill Mazeroski and several Roberto Clemente souvenirs. As a special bonus, the auction includes the entire contents of a state-ordered estate sale, unpreviewed as of press time.

Bidding takes place at the J.S. Dill center at 360 W. Main St., Evans City. Previews will begin at 5 p.m. for the 6 p.m. sale.

Details: (724) 538-3700 or .

The Mattress Factory

Right now, about six dozen area creative types, ranging from Mayor Tom Murphy to party planner extraordinaire Bob Sendell, have been enlisted to decorate ostrich eggs that the Mattress Factory will auction off during its Urban Garden Party, June 13 and 14.

Returning after a taking a year off while the North Side landmark celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2002, the two-day community celebration of the arts features live music, hands-on activities for children and adults, special creations from local restaurants and beverages from the intoxicating Ladies United for the Preservation for Endangered Cocktails.

The Mattress Factory is at 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side.

Details: (412) 231-3169 or .

Recent sales
Royal York Auction Gallery

Bidders battled over a good array of merchandise at the Royal York's May 31 sale, with final hammer prices for many items exceeding pre-sale estimates by three to four times. A sleeper in the offerings was a small Henry Koerner watercolor that sold for $1,400.

Recent sales

While the bidding never reached the expected crescendo, the final hammer price for a handwritten manuscript of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony sold for a noteworthy 2,133,600 British pounds -- that's a cool $5.26 mil for us blokes in the States. Walking away with what many consider a steal, the unidentified buyer now owns the only known original copy of piece.

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