(Indianapolis, Indiana) You could almost taste the excitement in the air at Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper on Sunday, December 5th as dealers, collectors and those with a flare for the finer, shinier things in life gathered on site, via eBay Live and telephone to get in on the action during the Costume, Bakelite and Estate Jewelry Auction. Following the success of the first jewelry auction held at Antique Helper in April 2004, consignments were gathered from several important collections to create a stellar offering for this sale. Enthusiasm spread like wildfire, thanks to a strong advertising campaign; additional attention was easy to come by, thanks to exposure of several of the most outstanding offerings showcased at the New York Pier Show in November.
There was a marked ebb and flow to this sale, with most pieces closing within or just above estimate. But, the day was punctuated with plenty of fireworks, too, as numerous items spiked well above estimate, sometimes more than doubling their expected prices. Among the stars of the day were vintage offerings by Weiss, Coro Craft, Miriam Haskell, Boucher, Eisenberg, Weiss and Trifari. There were also handsome estate pieces to be had, beautiful watches, and Bakelite of every description.
Among the variety of non-jewelry items was a beautiful selection of antique handbags, including mesh enameled hand bags by Whiting Davis and Mandalian Manufacturing Company, as well as several large beaded bags. On the low end, prices for these bags were mixed, ranging between $90 and $250, with a knitted red swag bead purse closing just shy of its high estimate or $600 at $525. Another bag fared even better: a large beaded purse, beaded with Phoenix birds and symbols, estimated between $400 and $600 soared past high estimate to close at $725, plus buyer’s premium. A very pretty Art Deco Austrian sterling vermeil pink and black enameled compact with attached lipstick, estimated between $100 and $200 more than doubled high estimate, closing at $425. Also unique to the sale was a vintage Emerson Tombstone Catalin radio. The case, crafted in deep marbled green bakelite, was presented as all original, with no cracks or loss. Estimated between $3,000 and $4,000, this piece closed just shy of low estimate at $3,750, including buyer’s premium, to an anxious Chicago collector.
Counted among the more than 70 lots of Bakelite jewelry offered in this sale were bangles, necklaces, and an eclectic, often whimsical array of brooches, clips and pins. While sales were mixed in this area, a few pieces gave star performances. A very pretty marbled bakelite peach charm necklace with seven pink celluloid leaves, estimated at $600-$900 sold just above low estimate at $675, while a gold plated metal clad marbled bakelite bangle, estimated between $400 and $600 managed a sturdy $525, plus buyer’s premium. A carved Bakelite pin portraying an ethnic lady bust squeaked just past its high estimate of $500, closing at $550, and an unusual Bakelite Victorian lady’s boot pin closed just below high estimate of $450, at $400. Equestrian-inspired bakelite fared well, with a horse themed riding crop pin with boot charms, estimated between $250 and $350, closing at $325, and an over dyed bakelite boots and horseshoe pin with brass embellishments closing just at low estimate of $250. Closing just above high estimate of $300 was a carved bakelite butterfly/moth belt buckle. Measuring an impressive 3 ½" x 5 ¼", this piece brought $325.
In the midst of so much finery and sparkle, it could have been difficult to find the brightest stars. But in the case of this sale, the favorites made themselves known very quickly. Kicking off the entire sale was a handsome Weiss dancing couple pin, set with clear and black jet stones with swinging fringe at skirt, this pin sold with its estimated $150-$250, bringing $200. A sterling Siamese fighting fish Coro Craft duet brooch, estimated between $100 and $200 closed at $350, and a sterling enamel frog Lilly pad pin, set with crystals, more than doubled high estimate of $300, closing at $625. There were plenty of lots featuring several pieces, including a lot of five pieces of vintage rhinestone jewels that surpassed its high estimate of $200, to close at $250. A beautiful and rare Dujay reticulated cuff bracelet, circa 1935, estimated at $2,500-$3,500 closed just below estimate, at a still-impressive $2,100.
Gorgeous enameled pieces by Marcel Boucher fared extremely well, with nearly all prices realized at or above high estimate. Sales gained momentum as the auction progressed; two enamel flying bird pins, estimated between $500 and $700 each, both soared past their high estimates, each closing at $950, plus buyer’s premium. While this was an exciting turn of events, spectators soon realized that the Boucher party was just getting started. When two Boucher metallic enamel and rhinestone bird pins, each estimated at $500-$700, closed at $700 and $800, respectively, it was clear that the sparks would continue to fly. A Boucher enamel pineapple pin, estimated between $500 and $700 brought an impressive $1,050, and a fantastic Boucher praying mantis brooch, estimated between $900 and $1,200, swiftly hopped past high estimate, bringing $2,500. A metallic enamel exotic bird brooch, set with pave rhinestones also exceeded expectations; estimated between $1,500 and $2,500, this piece closed at $2,600. Meanwhile, a metallic enamel peacock pin, set with white crystals, also estimated between $1,500 and $2,500, closed at $3,000. But, the final Boucher offering brought the house down. A 5" long metallic enamel flying humming bird pin with rhinestones, expected to bring $1,500-$2,500, buzzed beyond expectations, doubling its high estimated when it closed at a cozy $5,000.
But the true stars of the afternoon, costume jewels by Trifari brought impressive results as well. A Trifari Enamel Birdhouse pin/clip, estimated between $500 and $700 more than doubled high estimate, closing at an impressive $1,650. Presented as the last piece of jewelry in this sale of sales was a Trifari water bird on lily pond brooch. A fantastic Trifari Crane pin, set with pave rhinestones and one large 1" x 1.5" green rhinestone hit the block and proceeded to streak past all expectations. By the time bidding closed on this piece, the prices had doubled its low estimate of $4,000, closing at $9,200, including 15% buyer’s premium, to a telephone bidder.
Based on the success of this sale, another Jewelry auction is planned for spring, 2005. Consigners are welcome to contact us any time. As the final sale of 2004, Dan Ripley’s Antique Helper will host an uncataloged Discovery Auction on Sunday, December 19. Holiday shoppers can also visit the gallery or check online to peruse pieces, priced as marked, offered in our Gallery Sale. Our next cataloged auction is scheduled for Sunday, January 16th. For more information, visit our website at www.antiquehelper.com or call (317) 251-5635.