Auction of the Week: Thomaston Place Curious Collector Sale, June 22, 2018



2018-06-14 12:01:35

This week's featured auction is The Curious Collector Sale at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Maine. The sale offers a range of weird and wonderful range of decorative objects and historic artifacts for every collector – and here are ten of our favourites...

Driftwood mermaid sculpture

Estimate: $200 - $300   

This ethereal 20th century folk art sculpture depicts a mythical mermaid, with her body assembled from small pieces of natural driftwood along with a delicately sculpted face.

Vintage Moxie cooler

Estimate: $200 - $300

This vintage 1930s steel cooler was made to promote Moxie, the soft drink which was popular across the U.S during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Moxie originated as a nerve tonic in 1876, and a highly successful brand advertising campaign throughout the 1920s saw the word "moxie" enter common usage as a term for "courage, daring or spirit".

The brand suffered serious declines in the 1930s, but is still in existence to this day, and remains popular in the states of New England and New Hampshire where it is currently produced.

Antique hot air balloon tin toy

Estimate: $300 - $500

This early 20th century tin litho toy features an acrobat on a trapeze, suspended beneath a hot air balloon.

It was made by the German manufacturer Muller & Kadeder, founded in Nuremberg in 1900, which produced numerous balloon and zeppelin toys before switching to tin automobiles following WWI.

19th century China trade portrait

Estimate: $250 - $350

This late 19th century painting of a young man holding flowers is believed to be a 'China Trade' portrait, completed to order by an unknown Chinese artist.

The portraits were popular with sailors and travelling merchants of the period, who would commission local artists to produce portraits based on photographs, as mementoes of their time in China.

1930s wicker elephant tray

Estimate: $200 - $300

This Anglo-Indian wicker elephant with carved wooden tusks was manufactured in the 1930s, and features a loose tray top making it an ideal and quirky vintage side-table.

Abraham Lincoln assassination newspaper

Estimate: $300 - $400

This original edition of the Bangor Daily Evening Times was published on the day U.S President Abraham Lincoln died, Saturday April 15, 1865.

The Maine newspaper features several contemporary reports on Lincoln's assassination by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre on April 14, and his subsequent passing the following day.

It also includes reports on the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William H. Seward, who was attacked in his home by Booth's co-conspirator Lewis Powell on the same evening.

Tammany Hall Boss Tweed mechanical bank

Estimate: $300 - $500

This 19th century mechanical bank depicts William 'Boss' Tweed, a powerful politician who controlled Tammany Hall, a New York City political organization which provided funds and a power base for the Democratic Party.

Tweed's name became synonymous with corruption, and it's believed he personally stole up to $200 million from public funds during his time in power during the mid-19th century.

He was eventually convicted of embezzlement in 1873 and the bank by Hall & Co reflects his reputation, as each coin placed in Tweed's hand is instantly deposited into his top pocket.

New England 'firehouse' chair

Estimate: $500 - $700

This beautiful 'Firehouse' chair was made in New England circa 1840, and features a Sheraton form rail with a six-spindle back, scrolled arms, splayed legs and turned box stretchers. The chair is decorated in ochre paint with gold and black pinstriping, with a traditional motif of painted fruit and leaves.

Senufo 'Firespitter' tribal mask

Estimate: $400 - $600

This fearsome early 20th century African tribal mask originates from the Senufo people of the Côte d’Ivoire.

Known as a Kponyungo, or "Firespitter", the mask is used by members of a secret men's society called the 'Poro', who perform rituals to protect villages from witchcraft and black magic.

The ceremonial wooden mask combines the attributes of several creatures including antelopes, buffaloes, crocodiles, warthogs and chameleons, and traditionally worn during funeral ceremonies to ward off evil spirits.

Nipper the dog advertising figure

Estimate: $500 - $700

Dating from around 1880, this large papier mache advertising figurine depicts Nipper the dog, who became the company mascot of record companies including RCA Victor and EMI, and the music retail company HMV.

In 1898, three years after his death, Nipper was immortalized in a painting by his final owner Francis Barraud. The portrait, entitled "His Master's Voice", depicted Nipper listening curiously into the shell of a gramophone

In 1899 Barraud presented it to the head of the Gramophone Company in London, and the image went on to become a trademark for the early recording industry.

To this day Nipper remains one of the world's most iconic brand mascots, and is highly popular with collectors of vintage advertising memorabilia.

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