Bertoia Auctions’ April 17-19 Open House Sale draws global interest, chalks up $1.8 million Bertoia Auctions' $1.8 million Open House Sale held April 17-19 achieved its predicted overall high estimate. A fine, early German ark topped prices realized at $36,800.
News-Antique.com - May 06,2008 - VINELAND, N.J. – Bertoia Auctions welcomed spring with a 2,462-lot auction of toys, dollhouses, miniatures and Christmas antiques that attracted global bidding and intensely competitive bidding on top-tier selections. The company’s $1.8 million Open House Sale held April 17-19 achieved the predicted overall high estimate, with a superb, early Erzebirge-style ark stealing the show as it sailed past expectations to settle at $36,800 (all prices quoted are inclusive of 15 percent buyer’s premium).
The 27-inch-long ark, hand painted and accompanied by an army of more than 200 wonderfully carved animal pairs, had attracted widespread attention prior to auction. “The size of the ark, the quality of the paint and the number of animals made it very desirable,” said Bertoia Auctions’ co-founder Jeanne Bertoia. “There were 53 bids on that lot. Many people were taken by its folk-art charm.” She revealed that the buyer was none other than Fred Cannon, a renowned collector of Christmas antiques, who had consigned his own famous collection to the very same sale. “He said he had always wanted an ark and thought this one was fabulous – he said he had to have it.”
The subject of a feature article in Delaware’s largest daily newspaper, a lavishly appointed scale-model roombox inspired by the formal dining room in the home of the late Jean Austin du Pont completed a full circle to return to the state’s most famous family, for $16,100. The custom-built tableau encased in a mahogany display cabinet had been specially commissioned by Mrs. du Pont and was furnished with exquisite miniatures, silk draperies, and a Georgian dining table with 12 hand-carved mahogany dining chairs placed on hand-pegged hardwood flooring. The winning bidder was a granddaughter of Mrs. du Pont, who remembered seeing the piece at her grandmother’s house as a child. “It had sold at the Jean Austin du Pont estate sale, but the granddaughter wasn’t old enough to purchase it at that time,” Jeanne Bertoia explained. “She was actually present at our auction and bought three articles that were from the du Pont family, one for each of her three children.”
Like the du Pont dining room, the scale model of a historic 18th-century Philadelphia residence named Fairmount Park had come from the Delaware Toy & Miniature Museum, which closed in November. Designed in 1916 by noted architect Charles Borie, the dollhouse featured multi-paned Palladian windows, a sweeping stairway and outstanding architectural appointments throughout. An investor purchased the lot for $13,800.
A Hubley 9-inch cast-iron Popeye figure in impeccable condition was the star of the auction’s doorstops section. “It was from a very seasoned collector who collected only the best,” said Jeanne Bertoia, herself a respected doorstop expert and reference book author. “Even some of our competitors who saw the Popeye doorstop displayed at our booth at Atlantique City commented that it just doesn’t get any better than that. The buzz was that it was going to fly at auction, but how high? We thought maybe tennish, but it ended up selling