Janet & Sherry the auction hunters: Day 2
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    Auction Finds

    Janet & Sherry the auction hunters: Day 1

    My auction buddy Janet and I were headed to an auction recently when I broached the idea of the two of us becoming auction hunters for a day:

    Pretend we’re on a TV show where we’d choose five items we considered valuable and then determine if they were worth something or nothing.

    She was a little reluctant at first – she didn’t want to expend too much energy on this early Sunday morning – but then she agreed. I thought it would be big fun to pit ourselves against some of the folks on the too-many auction shows she watches on TV. I had already written a blog post about one show that I thought was inane, but there are a few others that I actually watch if I happen to stumble upon them while channel-clicking.

    We decided not to choose items that the auction house had locked inside cases because those were usually the most expensive – the sterling silver, coins, Lladro figurines, limited edition or one-of-a-kind items. We would pick items from elsewhere on the floor using the expertise we had acquired from years of going to auctions, and reading and learning about things we came across or collected.

    This week, I’ll be blogging about the items we chose, the story and history behind them (where available) and how much they sold for (if possible) on eBay and other sites. I’ll also note how much they sold for at the auction – if they sold while we were still around.

    Here are our first items:

    gilt american eagle

    A folk-art style American Eagle.

    Janet’s pick

    American Eagle wall hanging

    This was a carved wooden folk-art Eagle painted in what looked like gold leaf. It appeared to be handmade, and on the back were slats for keeping it stationary and in place. Janet chose it for its “American pride,” she said. “People like to have that stuff in their house.” She also liked it because it was made of wood and not resin. It had no marking.

    On the web, I found a similar one on the Capital Antiques website described as a “19th Century carved and gilt wood French second Empire Eagle wall hanging, C1860s.” It had been sold but the price was not listed. On another site, I found a gilt eagle wall hanging from around the 1870s selling for $695.

    Estimated value: around $695

    Hartmann suitcase

    A Woodbox Pullman by Hartmann luggage.

    Sherry’s pick

    Hartmann Luggage

    I was familiar with Hartmann as a high-end brand of luggage and pulled it out from under a table as soon as I saw it.

    It was a boxy suitcase, and had the trademark Hartmann leather trim and name. It was still in good condition and appeared to have been well-cared-for. The company was founded in 1877 in Milwaukee and made “trunks and Pullmans for steamliner and railway travel to the development of smaller, fashionable suitcases designed specifically for travel on new commercial jets,” according to its website. The site offered a slideshow showing a wardrobe trunk from 1866 to 1940s military trunks to a 1960s rawhide set to a 1991 black alligator carry-on.

    They were lovely items, and I had not seen many of them before. The suitcase at auction – I’m not sure what size it was – was a tweed Woodbox Pullman that was familiar to me. The Tweed Collection, according to Hartmann’s website, has been around for 50 years. The newest Woodbox Pullman was selling for $1,195 to $1,245. The used vintage ones were selling on eBay for $10.50 (26-inch) while a set of four 24-inchers sold for $26. The asking prices for others were $59 to $99.

    Estimated value: Probably about $20 on a good day


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