|By Karin Milliman
GRAND LEDGE, Mich.— Early this month Auctioneer Glen Rairigh, Americana Auctions, began his recent antique auction with a bang by selling a small tin sign for an impressive price of $700. Picturing a cigar box from the Northwest Cigar Manufacturing Company out of Detroit, this “Detroit Opera” 5-cent cigar sign was in near mint condition. It was definitely an in-demand item with as the price rose without hesitation.
Bringing the New Year in with some great antique items kept the excitement high at this recent Americana Auction. “Use your cards. If you nod or blink, and I miss your bid, it’s because you nodded or blinked. And I don’t want that to happen,” announced Rairigh as he started off at brisk pace to sell over three-hundred catalogued lots. He doesn’t mess around begging for bids, so if you want an item here, you better get that card in the air, or he passes and moves on to the next item.
Keeping with the signs that started off the auction, a “Valley Queen II” wooden ship sign was sitting on top of a coat rack, but the bidders didn’t miss it when it went up for sale. With a red milk-paint background, this piece brought a high bid of $275.
A couple of nice pillow shams were framed and in great condition. A scarce sleepy eye framed pillow top brought a high bid of $225. An anti-tobacco linen was sold for $175.
Sewing items drummed up a lot of interest. An unusual piece was a sock darner. This one was a beautiful gold color and was made by Steuben. It went all the way to $130 with the lights glinting off it before pronounced sold. The top selling item in this category was a J & P Coats Spool Cotton cabinet. This one was square and revolved with roll-up sides and a glass display for the front. It was a top-loading store display and brought a high bid of $1200. A Clark’s Mile-End spool cabinet had six beautifully hand-hammered metal decorated drawers. This piece was in great condition and sold for $500. A Corticelli Spool Silk barrel-front display with a drawer was claimed for a $400 bid.
The highlight piece of this auction was a cabinet with 40 drawers. This cabinet was in outstanding condition. It had a clock on the top that was nestled between two columns and some scroll work. It was clearly marked to be a Brainerd & Armstrong piece. With a center cubby which nestled a mirror, the drawers flanked the outside and the bottom. This piece was clearly a collector’s item and could be put to use for many applications once the new owner got it home. It took a bid of $1,200 to be declared the winner on this one.
Some gorgeous glassware was put across the auction block. A matched set of crystal blow-out display canisters that were in mint condition sold for $450.
A Daum Nancy vase drove the bidding up. This one was an impressing 23-inches high and had four-colors of floral acid-cut-back on it. It was signed and was in outstanding condition. The final bid price on this beauty was $2,000. In comparison, another acid-cut-back art deco base was signed Legras sold for $300.
Rookwood held its own and brought some respectable prices. A 1912 arts and crafts pierced vase, #660A was a greenish blue in color and sold for $400. A 1918 Rookwood, standing 15-inches tall had two-handles on the same side. This vase marked #292B was artist initialed “LRL” and brought a bid of $350. Selling for the same price was a scarce signed Handel acid-cut-back footed 11-inch floral vase #425B. A Steuben jade and alabaster art glass center vase with two applied white handles brought a bid of $375.
A Webb MOP satin finished brides’ bowl did well. It was raspberry to yellow and was sheltered in an ornate metal frame. This piece was sold to a phone bidder for the price of $900. A second Webb hand-decorated brides bowl, also in an ornate frame with ruffled edges sold for $300.
A hand-enamel decorated Burmese cracker jar in great condition sold for $300.
A couple of lamps with their original shades also crossed the block. A Phoenix reverse-painted lamp with a lake and woods scene was driven to $450 before being sold. A Victorian hanging cranberry lamp with a jeweled frame sold for the same bid. An arts and crafts stained glass shade over a geometric wooden base sold for $300.
Paintings, prints, and oils were plentiful. A Salvador Dali, part of the Bible Series, clearly marked #7 of only nine made had an appraised value of $5,000-$8,000. This double-signed Albarretto edition piece saw the hammer go down for a $500 bid probably making this one the best deal of the day.
A table of rifles held a lot of interest. A Winchester 22-caliber rifle Model 61 sold for $450. Coming in just under that bid was a Winchester 30-30 rifle Model 94AE which sold for $400. Bringing that same bid was a Savage 300 rifle Model 99. However, the one in most demand was the only one sold that didn’t require a license. It was immediately picked up by the new owner. It was a U.S. Colt long gun which was clearly stamped 1864. It had the American Eagle mark and was an impressive looking piece. It took a high bid of $1,250.
A pair of antique Michigan license plates quickly sold. From 1914, a matched set of enamel ones in great condition brought a high bid of $250 for the pair. A single plate from 1916 sold for $85.
Selling a chalk ware puppy which was a sucker display, called “Watta Pop”, Auctioneer Rairigh commented, “And you get the suckers. I put those in there. That’s my money.” The item sold for a $200 bid. Selling a Charm Pops sucker display by Charms Products, he also reminded the bidders that it was his money that purchased the suckers that were included with their bid. It brought $45.
While the crowd was bidding on a gum dispenser, he guaranteed that the “vintage gum comes with it." This revolving green mirror-decorated store display still contained some of the old gum packages and brought a bid of $225.
Glen Rairigh, with Americana Auctions runs a no-nonsense auction. If the crowd gets too loud so bidders have trouble following the current bid, he will find some amusing way to quiet them down a bit. “We do the sales others say can’t be done,” is their advertising slogan. Offering free pick-up and storage until your items are sold, they approach the sale of your items entrusted to them with respect. They are very considerate of all their bidders and make sure the needs of both buyers and sellers are met. Americana Auctions can be reached at 517-243-9090 or you can follow them on their website at AmericanaAuctions.com.