Mosby & Co. revisits Civil War era with Nov. 11-12 auction of important 60-yr. collection Authentic Civil War clothing, artifacts and memorabilia from a 60-yr. private collection lead the roster of antiques to be auctioned Nov. 11-12 by Mosby & Co.
Seldom-seen toys await bidders at Mosby’s, including a circa-1870 Ives Carrie clockwork rowboat and oarsman figure with exceptional original paint. Another true rarity is the 1934-35 Tippco airplane with swastikas on the tail and Mickey Mouse lithographed on both sides of the nosecone. “This is only the second one of its type that I’ve seen in 25 years as a toy dealer and collector,” Spurgeon said.
Everyone’s favorite cartoon sailor will make his presence known in the form of a Popeye Rowboat and a Popeye eccentric airplane with original flag – the latter being the example depicted in Robert Lesser’s 1975 book A Celebration of Comic Art and Memorabilia. Both Popeye toys retain their correct original boxes. Other standouts within the panoramic toy section include a mint/boxed “Santee Claus” and a 1914 tinplate clockwork ambulance sweets tin.
The country store lineup is anchored by a fine late-19th century chestnut counter, 85 inches long with original finish. Several country store showcases – both floor and countertop styles – serve as appropriate auction companions, as do a J.P. Priwley Gum cabinet and National No. 313 brass candy-store-size cash register.
An excellent assortment of advertising incorporates signs and figural displays of tin, porcelain and paper. A 1930s plaster Santa, counter-size panda figure touting What-A-Pop lollipops and several advertising clocks are among the featured lots.
The roster of Black and American historical memorabilia starts with slave-related articles, such as shackles, manillas (bronze bracelets used in the slave trade), slave documents including bills of sale, and freedmen’s passes. KKK articles to be auctioned include a Klansman’s uniform.
A stand-alone auction highlight is the very rare 1918 floor-model phonograph lamp manufactured by Electric Phonograph Co. “When these phonographs turn up, they’re almost always tabletop models,” Spurgeon said. “I have not been able to locate a floor model like the one in our sale in any antiques book. It is 100 percent correct and comes from a 50-year collection in California.”
Mosby & Co. is known for its expertise in the field of circus and sideshow posters. Spurgeon noted that sideshow posters, in particular, are very difficult to locate but said he was able to secure several very desirable examples for his sale: Ubangi Savages, Giraffe-Neck Women from Burma, a German-printed Museum of Oddities poster with “Tiger-Skin Women,” and others.
The widely varied poster selection spans the period from 1900 through the 1970s and documents many forms of entertainment, from minstrel shows and vaudeville to magic shows. An additional magic highlight is an inscribed1912 presentation photo of Harry Houdini, and a signed Houdini letter on Society of American Magicians letterhead from the period during which the legendary illusionist was its president.
Other poster highlights include a beautiful 1906 “Montana Frank” poster in Wild West Show style, a 1926 window card for the Lillian Gish silent film The Scarlet Letter, and a poster for the cowboy silent film King of the Saddle, with Bill Cody.