What’s Selling on eBay: November 2016
by Deborah Abernethy and Mike McLeod
$10,902 (13 bids, 5 bidders): Antique Papier-mache Clockwork Rabbit and 3 Bunnies – All Nodders and Mouth Moves.
A large Father Rabbit with three bunnies tucked inside the waist of his pants. When wound up, his head with big glass eyes rocks back and forth with the tick-tock of a clock, and his mouth opens and closes. The bunnies’ heads also rock back and forth but not all together, as each one rocks a bit off time. There was a note with this treasured rabbit that he has had a couple of old repairs: one ear re-glued and one bottom foot, as well as a couple of the bunny ears, but done well by a good repairer. It was packed away for who knows how long in tissue and an old sheet in a storage box. His framework seems good and steady, not a wobbly body. These old treasures are ever increasingly hard to find, especially in this condition. There is probably a bit of dust here and there, but the clothes are original and not in bad condition. The winding mechanism works smoothly; the rabbits have a good strong movement and will run until wound down, unless you stop it manually, and then re-start when you want by just tipping the big guy’s head. I do not know who made him, sorry no tag of identification and no clue on estate notes.
DBA: A clockwork mechanism is essentially a wind-up toy. While this technology has been around for centuries, this particular papier-mache object was probably made around 1900. It is just a little on the high side as I could find quite a few that have sold for $8,000. The condition issues would ruin almost any other category of object.
The first papier-mache was made in 1772 by Henry Clay (British). Made of paper, glue, chalk and other ingredients, it is molded and baked. It can then be painted. The 19th century wares were usually painted black and then adorned with mother-of-pearl and lots of painted designs. On another note, during WWII metals were restricted due to the war effort, and many items were made of papier-mache that would have previously been made in metal.
$172.50 (15 bids, 8 bidders): Staffordshire Figural Pottery, Colonial Man and Woman Pocket Watch Holder.
I have just finished searching the internet, and I can find many examples of antique Staffordshire pocket watch holders but not one exactly like the example in this auction. This Victorian-period, painted pocket watch holder depicts a woman and man dressed in 18th century clothing. They are holding a wreath with a large blue bow in the center, which has a 1 1/8-inch diameter opening. Measuring 6 inches tall by 5.5 inches by 3 inches at the base, this 19th century Staffordshire case is in very good condition with no restorations. We did find that there are a couple of tiny and shallow glaze flecks to the back, as well as a small chip to the front of the base.
(Photo: eBay seller wwolst12)
DBA: Central England is home to the ceramic industry which has become known as Staffordshire. Plentiful clay and coal for fuel was available there. This area became known for the wares for the middle class and the more “everyday” wares of the upper class. The watch holder was one such ware for the middle class. The pocket watch was placed in the holder, turning the set into a mantle clock, and became a place to harbor the valuable pocket watch. Compared to prices for such wares, the buyer got a good deal.
$2,025 (24 bids, 11 bidders): Antique Yellow National Bitters Patent 1867 Figural Ear of Corn Glass Bottle.
Very nice old figural corn bottle! Measures approximately 12.25 inches tall. Appears to have some bubbles/lines in glass at top the around rim. I honestly cannot tell if they are simple glass flaws or tiny cracks that have happened over time.
(Photo: eBay seller antiquegirl530)
DBA: While this may seem like a high price for an antique bottle, I could find several that have sold for more money. It is more of a retail price rather than an auction price. Given that information, I would say that this was a fair deal with neither having the advantage or “good luck”. These bottles were made in 1867 by Walton & Co. in Philadelphia, PA, and are very scarce. Figural bitters bottles garner a lot of interest, and this area of collecting has been around for many years.
$4,751 (31 bids, 5 bidders): Rare Gustav Stickley Circa 1900-1902 Armchair with Rush Seat.
Estate-fresh armchair with original rush seat and original untouched finish. This chair is unsigned but clearly Gustav Stickley. If you look at Gustav Stickley’s catalog in 1900, there is a very similar chair, but it has a leather seat and is titled, “Spanish Arm Chair Number 2576.” The chair measures 27 inches tall to the top of the front arm; 39.25 inches tall from the top of the back of the chair to the floor; 21 inches across the back of the chair; 25 inches across the front from corbel to corbel; 18.5 inches deep on the bottom of the chair; 19.25 inches across and 15.75 inches deep on the middle of the cane seat.?No repairs and in original finish. Cool piece!
(Photo: eBay seller c.1901)
DBA: There are many books written on Gustav Stickley. I will give just a few sentences to describe his prominence. He was a furniture manufacturer and the best known for the American Craftsman style, the American version of the British Arts and Crafts movement. His American Craftsman style reflected his principles of simplicity, honestly in construction, and truth in materials. His work was considered the best of that style.
If you search for other chairs, even Gustav Stickley chairs, you will find that this one is a much higher price than those. Why is this one so much more? It is particularly his early furniture, produced between 1901 and 1904, that is considered rare and extremely collectible. That this one has an original finish and original rush seat adds additional money.
Gustav Stickley had two other brothers in the furniture business so there are several shop marks. One must be careful to check the labels carefully when considering a purchase. Even with this one unmarked, there are plenty of published resources to identify that this one is the real deal.
Currently, this would be considered a retail price. The prices for Gustav Stickley have fluctuated in recent years. Probably, the highest prices paid were in the 1990s.
Deborah Abernethy is a certified appraiser with the International Association of Appraisers. She can be contacted at 404-262-2131 or Deborah@expert-appraisers.com. Her website is www.expert-appraisers.com.