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slides: The Good, the Ugly, and the Amazingly Great Valuable at Auctions

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


One of the greatest thrills surrounding an Auction is you never know what you are going to find. Every day of the week there is an opportunity to go to a local auction whether you are searching for furniture, pottery, fine art, or even a box of out of date Twinkies. Over the course of my career I’ve seen the valuable, ultra rare, steal, shocker, and obscure.


Travis Landry

This article was written by Travis Landry, Toy Department Director and Specialist for Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and Rhode Island Comic Con in part of an ongoing content series with GoLocal.


Related Slideshow: The Good, the Ugly, and the Amazingly Great Valuable at Auctions

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Valuable: Summer Antiques & Fine Art Auction, Lot 73: George Loring Brown, Sorento Sunrise, Oil on Canvas 28” x 48”, est. $8,000-$12,000, sold for $11,875

In the antiques world, in my opinion the pinnacle of value is found in fine art. In a world were Modigliani’s and Picasso's sell for nine figures, everyone is searching for a hidden jewel. Well, what some people may not know is there are a plethora of paintings that sell for everything in between. The work titled “Sorento Sunrise” by George Loring Brown (1814-1889) was a fine example of the Massachusetts artist’s work and displayed an illuminated Italian landscape, an off key subject for Brown but still a fabulous work of art.

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Ultra Rare: Toy, Comic, and Collectible Auction, Lot 5: 1978 Star Wars 12 Back C Chewbacca AFA 90, est. $3,000-$4,000, sold for $6,250

When it comes to Star Wars, some of the highest valued and collected pieces are what collectors dub “12 backs”, the initial twelve action figures made available by Kenner in 1978. These figures on average when sealed sell into the thousands regularly, but what about the finest example in the world? The Chewbacca offered at the first Rhode Island Comic Con auction was not only just a rare green crossbow variant but the highest graded example as per the Action Figure Authority.

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The Steal: Summer Antiques & Fine Art Auction, Lot 343: 18KT Gold, Platinum, Ruby, and Sapphire Art Deco Brooch, est. $6,000-$9,000, sold for $2,000

Diamonds are a girl's best friend right? Well not necessarily. This Art Deco brooch had been one of the finest women's accessories I had ever handled featuring rose cut diamonds surrounding a large central ruby flanked by brilliant cut Sapphires. The piece originated as either a shoe or belt buckle from the 1920’s equivalent to Tiffany in quality. A picture perfect piece for the Daisy Buchanan type from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby. You never know what type of deals can found at auction.

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The Shocker: Spring Antiques & Fine Art Auction, Lot 158: European Carolingian Style Bronze Table Lamps, est. $600-900, sold for $5,625

The Carolingian Renaissance was a short lived period in art history throughout Europe from the eighth to tenth century beginning with the crowning of Charlemagne and his quest to return Rome and Christianity to its original grandeur once seen in classical times. For an art style forgotten by the twelfth century, I had been perplexed when first presented with this pair of lamps. After weeks of research and analysis I had finally come to the conclusion that these were in fact of Carolingian influence and thought my research would go unappreciated, who would want Carolingian lamps in their living room? Well, on May, 7th I had found that I wasn’t the only person who cared when a multitude of phone and online bidders duked it out to own the unique pair.

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The Obscure: Winter Antique & Fine Art Auction, Lot 216A: Tibetan Pedak Ladakhi Bridal Ceremonial Headdress, est. $1,000-$1,500, sold for $625

For the person who has everything, there is nothing better to decorate your house with than a Tibetan bridal headdress. You might ask yourself why on earth someone would want that but believe it or not I’ve found that in this business whether it’s a headdress, cereal box, or used candy wrapper, someone somewhere has been looking and is willing to spend.
When you walk into an auction it’s a mystery every time, you never know what is going to cross the block and enter your home. It’s a fun, action packed experience that gives people the opportunity to learn and personally handle items sometimes only found in museums.


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