Friday, 31 October 2008

Texas Samaritan buys woman her house at auction

A woman distraught over losing her house showed up to watch it auctioned off, but that wasn't the end of the story. Tracy Orr will return home after a stranger bought the house back for her Saturday.

"It means so much to all of us," Orr said. "It's not just a house."

Marilyn Mock said she decided on the spot to buy the house after striking up a conversation with a sobbing Orr at the auction Saturday. Mock was there to help her 27-year-old son bid on a house.

Mock successfully bid $30,000 for Orr's house in Pottsboro. Orr will make payments to her once the deal is finalized.

"She needed help. That was it," Mock said. "I just happened to be there, and anybody else would have done the same thing."

Orr bought the house for $80,000 in 2004 but lost her job a month after taking out the loan. She fell behind on her payments and lost the house this year — an increasingly common story across the nation.

"She didn't even know if I had a job or was a nut case," Orr said in the Wednesday online edition of The Dallas Morning News. "She didn't even see a picture of the house."

The two are waiting on final approval from mortgage giant Fannie Mae before visiting the home. Mock's son also bought a house at the auction.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Mary Pickford's autograph book for auction

H.G. Wells wrote that Mary Pickford was "his life-long devotion", Thomas Edison dedicated his entry to "the sweetheart of the Americas" and Benito Mussolini simply signed his name and the date, May 10, 1926.

More than 120 famous names from 1926 to 1981 signed the silent film star's personal autograph book, which is among more than 750 lots from the Pickford estate going up for auction for the first time on November 22-23

"These books contain the Who's Who of the 1920s and 1930s," said auctioneer Darren Julien of the autograph book and two leather bound guest books signed by visitors to the Pickfair mansion in Beverly Hills shared by Pickford and actor Douglas Fairbanks.

Pickford's autograph book, which also includes dedications from playwright George Bernard Shaw, aviator Amelia Earhart, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and car maker Henry Ford, carries a pre-sale estimate of $6,000-8,000.

That estimate will be exceeded by a huge margin. I predict well over $50,000.

Dinnerware from parties thrown by the Hollywood couple for royalty and the leading minds of the times are also up for sale along with paintings that once graced the walls of Pickfair, as well as furniture, photos and jewellery.

Before the auction, which will be held live, televised and online by Julien's Auctions, highlights of the sale will go on public exhibit at the Beverly Hilton hotel from Nov 17-21.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

*Yeats poem sold at auction

A rare first edition of the renowned W B Yeats poem EASTER 1916 has sold for 7,100 euros.

The poem, which was one of just 25 copies privately published the year after the rising. It had been expected to fetch between 3,000 and 4,000 euro at Adam's auctioneers in Dublin.

Written between May and September 1916, the poem sets out Yeats' mixed feelings on the tumultuous event. It was distributed among only a select number of people for fear of its political impact.

There is a first edition copy in the National Library in Dublin and one in the British Library, but the whereabouts of the other 22 copies are unknown.

Prince Charles' and Camilla's 'crude' drawings up for auction

A Fortnum and Mason chocolate box on which the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall scribbled "crude" jokes and drawings 30 years ago is being put up for auction.

The tin shows a picture of Mr Fortnum and Mr Mason delivering Christmas presents in a horse-drawn carriage.

But the Prince and the Duchess have drawn a pile of horse manure and a puddle under the horse and scribbled silly jokes about diarrhoea and yellow rivers.

Both the royals have signed the chocolate box which shows early evidence of their friendship in the late 1970s.

It is expected to fetch up to £600 when it is put up for auction at Ludlow, in Shropshire, later this year.

Richard Westwood-Brookes, of Mullock's Auctioneers, said: "This is clearly the product of a jovial evening between Charles and Camilla.

"As we now know today they were very much in love at this time and some of the comments are somewhat ribald."

Mr Westwood-Brookes said the box had originally been given to member of staff at Blenheim Palace before they acquired it for auction.

Charles and Camilla's signatures on the box have been cross-checked with other documents to make sure they are legitimate.

The Fortnum and Mason box was on sale in Christmas 1977 - three years after the Duchess married Andrew Parker Bowles.

Mr Westwood-Brookes has put an estimated price of £600 on the box but says the bidding could go a lot higher.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

$596,000 for Einstein wristwatch

Antiquorum auctioned off Albert Einstein's 1930 Longines wristwatch on Thursday.

The house estimated the watch would fetch up to $35,000. It went for $520,000. (With fees, the total came to $596,000.) That's over 2000% higher than the estimated price, and a record for any Longines at auction.

The watch is inscribed to "Prof. Albert Einstein," and is also marked with the date on which it was presented to him, February 16, 1931.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Rare Sooty puppet to be auctioned

Fans of children's favourite Sooty will have the chance to own an early version of the bear puppet when it is sold at an auction in Derby later this month.

The yellow bear, who was created by puppeteer Harry Corbett, will be sold with a guide price of £200 to £300, although I predict a price of four figures.

Hansons Auctioneer manager Charles Hanson said: "Apparently this puppet was one of Harry Corbett's most cherished ones."

Sooty has been a fixture on children's TV since the 1950s.

The original puppet was bought on Blackpool Pier for 7/6 in 1948.

It was completely yellow but Corbett sewed on a black nose, mouth and ears so that he stood out on black and white TV.

Sooty, who communicated by apparently whispering in Corbett's ear, was later joined by Sweep, a dog puppet and Soo the panda.

The Sooty puppet was given to senior BBC receptionist Violet Marley in 1962.
Ms Marley gave the puppet to her niece, Sally Keene, who has put it up for sale.

Hanson said the auction is "poignant" because Sooty is 60 this year.
"We hope it will find a good home and stay in the country," he said.

Entertainer Richard Cadell recently bought the rights to the bear, with plans to revive the classic puppet for the next generation of children.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Norwich elephants generate £203,000 at auction

The 53 fibreglass model elephants that have graced Norwich this summer were sold at auction this week for a total of £203,000. Seventy five per cent of this will be split between the Born Free Foundation and CLIC Sargent.

'Jemima' by Susan Gunn sold for £25,000 with 'Angel' by Kate Munro selling for £16,000.

The project was created by The Forum Trust in partnership with Wild in Art, and had already raised nearly £200,000 in sponsorship from local businesses.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Jacques Brel notebooks for auction in Paris.

Sotheby's is set to auction off a private collection of notebooks, autographs and memorabilia of iconic singer Jacques Brel who died thirty years ago.

The auction will take place, in Paris, tomorrow, October 8th.

The sale consists of 94 lots, the top item being a notebook that Brel used to jot down the draft lyrics of his masterpiece Amsterdam which is estimated to sell for between 50,000 and 70,000 euros.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Exceptionally Rare Molière Signature for auction. None sold since 1895!

A document calling in a debt, and signed by the French playwright Molière, is to be sold by auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields on October 15.

Born in 1622, Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Molière is considered the godfather of French theater. His signatures are exceptionally rare – no other examples are known to have been sold in auction since 1895 – and this is believed to be the last in private hands.

The document bearing his signature and dating from 1667 authorizes a certain Claude Le Long to collect a debt that had been owed to the playwright since 1665. Molière had lent the money to a gentleman named François de La Court.

The one-page document was previously sold at auction in Paris in 1860, and purchased by a collector named Dubrunfaut for 950 francs – at the time the second highest price ever paid for a signature in France- befitting Molière’s status as France’s answer to Shakespeare.

This document, signed by Molière in his precise handwriting, is being sold together with two other documents signed by members of his family, and is expected to fetch between $40,000-60,000.

The illustrated auction catalog will be online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sale at