RARE PASSENGER LIST FROM THE DOOMED OCEAN LINER TITANIC FETCHES $33,900 AT MULTI-ESTATE SALE HELD JUNE 20-22 BY PHILIP WEISS AUCTIONS IN NEW YORK

. June 26, 2008

(Oceanside, N.Y.) – A rare, second-class passenger list from the doomed ocean liner the Titanic, produced by White Star Line and with the words “Titanic, First Sailing, April 12, 1912” handwritten on the cover, sold for $33,900 at a three-day multi-estate sale conducted June 20-22 by Philip Weiss Auctions. The list was from the estate of Ken Schultz, a dedicated collector of ocean liner memorabilia.

titanic-passenger-list.jpg “Titanic memorabilia is aggressively sought after by collectors worldwide, and we were very fortunate to have been able to include this extremely rare piece in our June sale,” said Philip Weiss. “The passenger list probably drew as much attention as any of the more than 2,000 lots that changed hands. We knew Ken Schultz’s collection would be a highlight. He really brought out the collectors.”

The Titanic item was not the top lot of the sale. That honor went to an original pen-and-ink Sunday “Peanuts” comic strip by the late Charles Schulz. Dated July 14, 1963, the strip showed Charlie Brown and Snoopy, with Snoopy dancing for his supper. It soared to $61,020. Also, a daily comic strip by Schulz, four panels, dated February 24, 1956, featuring Charlie Brown and Lucy, achieved $28,250.

The crowd was modest by Philip Weiss standards – about 140 registered bidders each day on hand – a fact Mr. Weiss attributed to the mild weather. However, the sale drew around 2,500 Internet bidders (via eBay Live and LiveAuctioneers.com), about 4,000 pre-sale absentee bids and enough phone bids to keep the board blazing all weekend long. “We were busy, that’s for sure,” Mr. Weiss said.

In all, the auction grossed right around $500,000 – not a record-setter for a Philip Weiss auction, but not disappointing, either. “We had a handful of better items that actually sold for far more than I thought they would,” he commented, “while the mid-level and lower items brought mostly lukewarm, average prices. But for a summer sale meant to clean out some inventory, it was all we had hoped for.”

Following are additional auction highlights. All prices quoted include a 13% buyer’s premium.

ruffian-silks.jpg Rivaling the Titanic item for intense bidder interest was a lot of items relating to the legendary horse race between the filly Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure, held July 6, 1975, in which Ruffian sustained severe leg injuries that led to her being put down the next day. Auctioned were the silk shirt worn by Ruffian’s jockey, Jacinto Vasquez; one of Ruffian’s horseshoes from the race; and a bandage safety pin.

“These are items that probably belong in a museum,” Mr. Weiss remarked. “They are equivalent to a game-worn jersey from a Triple Crown winner in baseball. The lot sold for just $11,300, which I thought was a really good buy.” An aside: Jacinto Vasquez was the jockey for both Ruffian and Foolish Pleasure and had to pick one to ride. He chose Ruffian because, he explained, “She’s the better horse.”

Another item from the estate of Ken Schultz – a vintage White Star Line poster from around the 1920s – hammered for $3,050. The poster, measuring 40” x 25”, was titled “Types of World Famous Liners” and showcased the White Star lineup. It was printed by the Liverpool Printing & Stationery Company and was in good condition, with no major damage save for some minor creases and cracks.

From the fine and decorative arts category, two lots were top earners. One was an aquatint from 1950, stamped and signed by Pablo Picasso himself (#66/150), titled “La Grave de Cheire.” The 30” x 22-1/4” piece went for $6,780. Also, an outstanding silver overlay iridescent 7” art glass vase by Loetz (the Austrian glassworks firm that operated from 1840 until the Second World War) realized $6,215.

An original pen-and-ink political cartoon by the renowned British cartoonist Sir David Low (1891-1963), dated Sept. 12, 1938 and titled “The Man Who Hears Voices,” rose to $4,407. The cartoon (#1568 in the British Cartoon Archives, 20-1/2” x 13-3/4”) depicted Adolf Hitler on horseback, dressed as a knight, while leaders of France, England and Russia listened to his speeches on a Victrola.

An antique figural beer stein made by the German firm J. M. Musterschutz (circa 1900-1920) changed hands for $2,825. The stein was in the form of a Pierrot (French mime character, depicting a sad character). The hallmark on the base read, “Musterschutz, Made in Germany.” The piece stood 8-3/4” tall and was in overall good condition. Musterschutz was a well-known made of drinking steins.

gama-cadillac.jpg A toy Cadillac convertible, made in the 1950s by the German manufacturer GAMA, in near mint condition and still in the box, sped off for $2,260. The 12” long vehicle was beautifully colored and detailed, made of sturdy metal and complete with composition driver, nicely detailed tin-litho interior and spring-load antenna. The colorful box had an illustration of the hardtop version of the car.

A large round porcelain sign for “Buick Authorized Service, Valve in Head,” round and 42” in diameter, sold to a determined bidder for $1,975. The nice example of petroliana was a two-sided sign with bright colors and a glossy finish. It was made in the 1930s. Some minor scratches, dings and porcelain loss didn’t deter bidders, who were more than happy to drive the price to just under $2,000.

Philip Weiss Auctions takes a much-deserved break in July and August, but comes back strong in September with six sale dates planned over the course of three weekends. The month kicks off on Saturday, September 13, at 10 a.m., with Part 2 of the B.L. “Phil” Phillips Collection (mostly battery-ops); a single-owner toy truck collection with many high-end pieces; toys; trains; and toy soldiers.

The following day, September 14, at 10 a.m., more toys will be offered, along with comics; comic art; original “Peanuts” art by Charles Schulz; animation art; and more. Skip ahead five days to Friday, September 19, at 6 p.m. The sale that evening will feature material from several prominent area estates, plus other consignments, to include paintings; silver; porcelain; posters; doorstops; and quilts.

The Saturday session, on September 20, will be highlighted by a pair of important aviation collections and some great military memorabilia. Then, on September 21: rare books; manuscripts; autographs; and historical memorabilia. A top draw will be an actual manuscript page from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s classic book “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” and an archive of Ms. Stowe’s handwritten letters.

Saturday will also feature a postcard collection; still more original “Peanuts” art; still more from the Ken Schultz estate plus other ocean liner material; and Hollywood memorabilia. Finally, on Sunday, September 27, stamps and coins will take center stage, highlighted by Part 3 of The Newport Collection (including rare and valuable U.S. Plate Blocks); and medical stamp and postcard collections.

Philip Weiss Auctions conducts its sales in a spacious showroom facility, located at #1 Neil Court, In Oceanside, N.Y. (on Long Island). The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at (516) 594-0731, or e-mail them at phil@prwauctions.com. To learn more about the firm, click on www.prwauctions.com.

Category: Auction News

Comments are closed.