January 2, 2006 (Indianapolis, Indiana). Finishing off a year of ever increasing sales at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper Auctions was the Sunday, December 11th auction featuring the estate of Italian Sculptor Edgardo Simone. Presenting a first-time opportunity to bid at auction on the works of Edgardo Simone, as well as the furniture and antiques from the Hollywood home Simone shared with wife, American composer Radie Britain, Antique Helper set the standard for future sales of Simone’s work. With relatively no previous auction records to act as a benchmark, this auction was unique not only in its content and notoriety, but unique also in the sense that this sale represented the first time a true representation of Simone’s work was to be offered at auction. The end results demonstrated success on two levels: Antique Helper’s ability to build a successful auction without extreme artist notoriety, and results that placed Simone neck and neck with better-known artist names.
Thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign combined with pre-auction press, interested bidders were well-informed early on. From Hollywood to Hawaii, from East Coast galleries to European collectors, this sale attracted the breed of well-informed bidder that is the backbone for a successful auction. While most long-distance enthusiasts placated themselves with absentee or telephone bids, a few chose to travel to Indianapolis in order to participate in the bidding and view this collection, together for the last time, in person. Items typically sold within or above high estimate; prices listed include buyer’s premium.
Approximately 100 works of sculpture by Simone were offered. 8 pieces were relatively large bronze works that averaged nearly $8000 each. 14 smaller, bronze-clad works averaged approximately $700 each. Kicking off the cataloged sale was a Simone signed bronze nude Goose Girl fountain with Art-Lagana Napoli foundry marks, which ended above high estimate at $4,406.25, selling to a floor bidder who traveled from Maryland in order to bid first-hand. Going to the same bidder was another Goose Girl Fountain, which closed at for $4,993.75. And local floor bidders did not leave empty handed by any means. A bronze plowman found a new home in Indianapolis to the tune of $3,290, and a 1929 bronze female nude water skier or surfer, embodying the reckless free spirit of the 1920s, also sold to a local collector, closing at $7,050. And a telephone bidder was the winner of a small bronze fountain depicting kissing nudes, signed and dated April. 1929, with Italian foundry marks, selling for $7,350. One of the true show-stoppers of the sale was a bronze Diana nude, approximately 44" high, signed "Edgardo Simone, New York, 1929," and marked with "Cellini Bronze Works, NY." Demonstrating the power of the Internet, this beautiful piece sold to an eBay bidder for an impressive $14,087.50. But the uncontested top seller of the day was "The Kiss," a bronze fountain in two parts, including a photograph of the original clay sculpture with artist’s signature. With the fountain flowing from Deco heads on both sides and from urns into the table top reservoir, the piece was signed and dated "Edgardo Simone New York City 1929" with foundry marks, "Cellini Bronze Works, NY." After receiving much attention and notoriety, this piece closed at $25,725, to a New York telephone bidder.
The remaining 75 sculptures were all non-metallic works that included clay originals, cast plasters and pottery that sold for an average price of over $1000 and in a range between $100 and nearly $5000, for the premiere figural pottery vases and large clay originals. All ceramic pieces sold well, with some of the finest going to the same floor bidder, who traveled from Michigan in order to participate in person. An Art Deco female profile vase in polychrome glazed ceramic sold for $2,702.50, while two more lots, including a ceramic figural candleholder and classical garland planter with polychrome mermaids, maidens and putti, reportedly made for Jack Dawn, make up artist for MGM Studios, sold for $2,232.50 and $1,527.50, to the same bidder. Far-away relatives of the artist enjoyed successful absentee and telephone bidding on a number of pieces, including a signed cast plaster Narcissus sculpture, stamped with E. Simone Studios mark, selling for $4,900.
As Antique Helper’s final sale of 2005, the Simone Auction was the icing on the cake of a very productive year. Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper celebrates a record-breaking 2005, boasting a year of successful auctions with highlights including merchandise as varied and diverse as the consignors themselves. While every auction has its successes and victories, there were several auctions over the past year that stood above the rest. From specialty auctions to great collections, these auctions were the catalysts that moved Antique Helper earnings ahead for the third year running. Strong consignments drive sales, while quality collections bring bidders and keep them, wanting more. Some auctions over the past year offered the perfect balance of collections, consignments and ready bidders; highlights are offered here:
The Saturday March 12 sale was one of Antique Helper’s finest. The sale presented fine examples of rare Tiffany, European bronzes and Victoriana. Presented at the heart of the sale was a pair of much-talked about Durand art glass ginger jars, selling for a glistening $10,500, and a Tiffany bronze and Favrile glass candlestick, a paw-footed version of rare form, closing at $15,000. Among three Tiffany Studios Favrile glass and bronze student lamps presented, the top seller was a double student lamp, ending at $13,000, buyer’s premiums not included.
The highpoint of the May 8 sale was a small, ca.1950, 5" x 8" watercolor by Mexican muralist Diego Rivera (1886-1957). Purchased from an exclusive gallery in Mexico City in 1954 by the consignor and guaranteed authentic, this rare find sold for $13,800.
The greatest contribution to the June 9 auction can be attributed to a large consignment from the Farber Gallery in Indianapolis, Indiana, including "Walking Tiger," a bronze by Antoine-Louis Bayre which sold for $7,475. Works by French artist Jacques Villon (1875-1963) included "Portrait of a Man," a 1928 study in oil on board, selling for an impressive $4,600 and Charles Lapicque realizing over $12,000.
The Costume, Bakelite and Estate Jewelry Auction on September 18 saw great prices throughout, from Miriam Haskell and Marcel Boucher to Eisenberg and Coro. But, the undisputed star of the show was a Bakelite Philadelphia Bracelet, a red cuff with polychrome fins, which sold for $6,325.
Antique Helper Auctions gave the sports world something to talk about with the George S. Hipp Baseball Autograph Collection, on Saturday October 8. Consisting of more than 320 lots, including 170-plus baseballs, some with multiple signatures, this was an auction unlike any other in Antique Helper history, with gross sales more than tripling expectations. The single highest selling lot of the auction was a Jimmie Foxx autographed ball, closing at $36,750.
The October 16 Art and Antique Auction, featuring Mission to Modern, included furniture, fine and decorative arts, textiles and pottery from the Mission period through early 1970s modern design. The most noteworthy piece in the Arts and Crafts furniture category, an L. and J.G. Stickley china cabinet brought $9,400, even while retaining an old coat of paint applied in the 1950’s. Several pieces of sought-after American Art Pottery were offered, including an important arts and crafts Overbeck pottery vase, selling for $12,375. The most talked about lot in the auction was a drawing and autograph by John Lennon from the log book of the schooner the MEGAN RAYE, which sold for $8,500. But the top selling lot of the auction was a Portfolio Book of Cats by Japanese/French artist Tsugouharu Foujita (1886-1968), selling for the impressive sum of $26,437.50.
The final three auctions of 2005 brought Antique Helper to a rousing year end. Included in the November 20th Art and Antiques auction was a collection of a twelve antique samplers, including an intricately detailed example from 1724, inscribed "Rachel her work in the 13 year of age 1724," which swiftly surpassed high estimate of $3,500, selling for $21,850 to a telephone bidder.
The December 4th Jewelry Auction, representing the third such sale of the year included a fine selection of estate, costume and bakelite jewelry. From Tiffany to Eisenberg to pocket watches and estate jewels, there was plenty of sparkle to go around. Opening the sale was a Tiffany sterling silver cigarette case, which sold for $690 to a local absentee bidder. But, the top selling lot in this Sunday afternoon sale was a rare orange and marbled green Bakelite bowtie bracelet, selling for $1,840 to an eBay bidder.
Antique Helper is now accepting consignments for 2006 auctions, with the first auction of the year scheduled for Sunday, January 29th. For more information, visit our website at www.antiquehelper.com or call 317.251-5635.