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Auctioneers and Appraisers

Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

Lionel Girls Train Set: The Little Enginette That Couldn’t

Collecting and playing with model trains has been a popular past time for over one hundred years. At the forefront of this train-crazed mania was Lionel Trains. These sturdily constructed toy trains were praised and collected for their life-like realism by adults and children alike. Originally marketed towards fathers and sons to promote bonding, electric trains started to emerge as a male-centric hobby. Mothers and daughters might be visible in their advertisements, but more as someone who could passively view the trains in motion instead of engineering them.

Lionel Girls' Train Set (Lot 1617, Estimate $1,000-2,000)

Lionel Girls’ Train Set (Lot 1617, Estimate $1,000-2,000)

During the 1950s, Lionel saw a decline in popularity. Children were more interested in the glitzy appeal of space travel than in the locomotives of the first half of the 20th-century. Lionel decided that they needed to broaden their marketing base to include girls. With the notion that if they made the trains a little more whimsical and aesthetically appealing, girls would rush and demand them. Enter the Lionel Girls’ Train Set of 1957. The pastel-colored cars and locomotives certainly make a statement with a bubblegum pink engine leading the pack.

Changing the color of the train set did not help the company. The girls who had been interested in trains in the past wanted the same ones that their brothers and fathers had. They wanted to pretend that they were engineering a realistic train. Children who wanted to play trains were going to play with ones that resembled ones at the real train yard. Trying to single girls out by painting the trains pink ended up backfiring on Lionel.

Not many of the Girls Train Sets sold, and Lionel even had to buy a lot of their stock of pastel trains back, so that they could re-paint them and make some money out of this venture. Since they were such a flop, the Girls Train Sets are quite desirable amongst collectors today. Both women and men who might not have been interested in these oddities in the ‘50s now seek them out.

Skinner is excited to offer one such train set in our current Discovery – Interiors online auction as Lot 1617. Bidding is open now and will begin to close Friday, February 17, at 2 PM ET.

How to Spot a Counterfeit Coin

Here you can see the noticeable color difference as well as the sand-cast surface. Also of note, the coin on the left weighs 12% less than the coin on the right.

One of the largest nuisances in the field of numismatics is detecting counterfeits. Dealers and collectors alike can still find themselves susceptible to coins and currency meant to deceive. Everybody has a story from when they were duped or made mistakes regarding valuable pieces or even seemingly insignificant ones. Every now and then, we see counterfeit pieces brought in by consignors who are unaware of the item they have. Here are a few easy tips to make sure your coins are original.… Read More

Lecture | The Hallowed Halls of Scrimshaw | March 3

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The Hallowed Halls of Scrimshaw

A Lecture by Stuart M. Frank, PhD

Friday, March 3 |  RECEPTION 5PM  |  LECTURE 6PM

RSVP ONLINE

Stuart M. Frank is Senior Curator Emeritus of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Director Emeritus of the Kendall Whaling Museum, and Founding Director of the Scrimshaw Forensics® Laboratory. He is the author of the books Ingenious Contrivances, Curiously Carved: Scrimshaw in the New Bedford Whaling Museum; Dictionary of Scrimshaw Artists; More Scrimshaw Artists; Scrimshaw and Provenance; Herman Melville’s Picture Gallery; Jolly Sailors Bold: Ballads and Songs of the American Sailor; The Book of Pirate Songs; Classic Whaling Prints; and numerous articles and monographs about nautical art, history, literature, and music.… Read More

American Beauty: Skinner’s American Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on March 4 promises depth, breadth and surprises

Scrimshaw Whale's Tooth with 'Sailor's Farewell' Scene, Mid-19th Century (Lot 166, Estimate: $10,000-15,000)

Scrimshaw Whale’s Tooth with ‘Sailor’s Farewell’ Scene, Mid-19th Century (Lot 166, Estimate: $10,000-15,000)

BOSTON, MA – Skinner Inc.’s upcoming auction of American Furniture & Decorative Arts features over 500 lots, ranging from classic New England case pieces and seating furniture to exceptional ceramics, fine scrimshaw, and very desirable folk paintings. The auction will take place at the Boston Gallery, 63 Park Plaza, on March 4 at 10AM.… Read More

Coins of The Carson City Mint

1885-CC GSA Morgan Dollar (Lot 1115, Estimate $200-400)

1885-CC GSA Morgan Dollar (Lot 1115, Estimate $200-400)

Carson City Morgan dollars are some of the most iconic coins in American numismatics. The Morgan dollar series in and of itself is highly collectible, obtaining staggering prices for higher end pieces. However, coins from the Carson City Mint, bearing the “CC” mintmark, have always excited numismatists, especially Morgan collectors. The branch mint produced only thirteen years of Morgan dollars, while the whole series experienced twenty-eight years of issue.… Read More

Discovery – Interiors Online offers objects, furniture, and artwork from around the world, February 9 – 17

Distler Electromatic 7500 Toy Car (Estimate: $300-500)

Cycling Act (Estimate: $200-300)

MARLBOROUGH, MA – February 9, 2017 – Skinner, Inc. is hosting Discovery-Interiors, an online-only auction, running from February 9 through February 17. Interested bidders are invited to view items and meet with specialists in person on February 14 from 12-5 PM and on February 15 from 10 AM – 7PM or anytime online.

The auction features furniture, ceramics, memorabilia, Asian art, lighting, fine art, and textiles including:

♦ Over 100 lots of 18th, 19th, & 20th century timepieces including an E.… Read More

Skinner’s January Fine Art Auctions total over $2.8 million, with Modern and Contemporary works leading the way

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Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) Untitled (Standing Mobile, c. 1965) (Sold for $471,000)

Outstanding auctions on January 27 offered 475 lots that included a wide choice of pre-20th-century material as well as a notable quantity of Modern and Contemporary artwork in all categories: paintings, sculpture, prints and photographs. Today’s collectors, notes Robin S. R. Starr, Director of American & European Works of Art, are especially eager for 20th and 21st-century material; call it the millennial effect.… Read More

February First Tuesday | Marlborough

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Join us for First Tuesday in Marlborough

Tuesday, February 7 | 1:30PM – 4PM

Skinner experts will provide complimentary verbal auction evaluations during our monthly consignment event on the first Tuesday of each month.

Experts Available in February:

Jane Prentiss, Director, 20th Century Design ♦ Adam Tober, Director, Fine Musical Instruments ♦ Michelle Lamuniere, Specialist, Fine Photographs ♦ Robin S.R. Starr,  Director, American & European Works of Art ♦ Kerry Shrives, Director, Fine Judaica, Silver & Jewelry

Skinner Marlborough Gallery 274 Cedar Hill Street Marlborough, MA

First come, first served.… Read More

The Philip & Patricia Marco Collection: Notable Works of American Indian Art on Auction, February 10

Apache Beaded Hide Doll with Baby Carrier, c. last quarter 19th   century (Lot 59, Estimate: $5,000-7,000)

Micmac Beaded and Silk Applique Decorated Woman’s Hood, c. 1840s (Lot 132, Estimate: $20,000-30,000)

BOSTON, MASkinner, Inc. presents The Philip & Patricia Marco Collection, featuring American Indian art. The 132 lots being offered on February 10 in Boston were acquired primarily in the 1980s when the selection was broad. In addition to its high quality, the material in the auction has the attraction of being fresh to the market.… Read More

Fine Jewelry Appraisal Days

Art Deco Platinum, Diamond, Emerald, and Enamel Brooch, Charlton & Co. (Lot 443, Estimate $15,000-20,000)

Tuesday, January 31 | Providence, RI

Thursday, February 2 | Western Massachusetts

By appointment only.

Skinner’s Fine Jewelry department is inviting consignments for the March 21st Fine Jewelry auction. Experts from Skinner will be in Providence on January 31st and Western Massachusetts on February 2 to view items by appointment only.

To make an appointment please call: 617-874-4313

 … Read More

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