MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – The personal World War II flight jacket of Count and Colonel Ilya A. Tolstoy, the grandson of the renowned Russian author and Count Leo (Lev) Tolstoy (War and Peace), plus other items from the estate of Ilya Tolstoy, is an expected top lot in a two-session auction scheduled for Saturday, October 3rd, by EstateOfMind, live and online, at 11 am Eastern.
Ilya A. Tolstoy was an officer with the Office of Strategic Services (CIA) from 1942-1946. The size 42, type A-2 Army Air Force Flying Tigers flight jacket has a China-Burma-India theater insignia and retains a “Blood Chit” American flag with Chinese characters that reads, “This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians should rescue and protect him.” The jacket comes with a notarized document from the estate of Mr. Tolstoy.
Included with the flight jacket are 29 albums of Ilya A. Tolstoy’s top-secret photos for the Office of Strategic Services’ China-Burma-India theater mission, including approximately 1,860 land, sea and aerial photos, plus an index identifying the place and location of each, for years 1942-43.
Also from the Tolstoy estate is a large watercolor equestrian-themed scroll titled Dancing Horse, signed by Beihong Xu (Chinese, 1895-1953) with three seal marks and calligraphy. The scroll has an overall size of 80 inches by 25 inches. Beihong Xu (also known as Ju Péon) was famous for his ink paintings of horses and birds and for his huge oil paintings with epic Chinese themes.
Other items from the Ilya Tolstoy estate will be sprinkled across both sessions of the auction. These include important Tibetan bronze Buddha figures Mr. Tolstoy acquired during his travels.
The auction – over 750 lots – will be held outside, under several large open-air tents, on the grounds of EstateOfMind, located at 195 Derby Road in Middletown. “We’re mindful of the health and safety of everyone in attendance and will be following strict CDC, state and local regulations and guidelines,” said Darrell Dirr, owner of EstateOfMind. “There will also be a donation table for Veterans Memorial Park, staffed by Purple Heart recipient Michael Cody.”
Session 1 will consist mainly of militaria, antique firearms, swords, daggers, fishing tackle and other items. That will be followed by Session 2, headlined by items from the Tolstoy estate. It’ll also feature fine art, historical documents, vintage posters, a watchmaker’s collection of watches and parts, jewelry, silver and a 1988 Chevrolet Corvette with removable top and 11,000 miles.
Paintings will feature a 16th century Old Master oil on canvas portrait of Isabella de Medici, unsigned, from the Circle of (or by) Allessandro Allori (Florence, Italy, 1535-1607); and an oil on canvas portrait of Mary Magdalene, painted in the Old Master style after Giampietrino in the 18th or 19th century, 35 inches tall by 28 inches wide, housed in a fine period Baroque gilt frame.
Certain to generate local interest is an original broadside for “The Great American Mastodon”, unearthed not far from the EstateOfMind facility, printed circa 1846 and measuring 25 ½ inches by 18 inches. The broadside states the mastodon is “Now Exhibiting at the Hall” and provides “Dimensions of the Skeleton”, its approximate weight (“20,000 Pounds”) and other particulars.
The furniture category will include a lovely 18th/19th century Hepplewhite inlaid sideboard with the original surface, and a handsome circa 1910-1915 Arts and Crafts Mission Oak china cabinet.
More than 70 lots of rare, vintage movie posters will come up for bid, including examples from the film Dragstrip Riot from 1958 (“Murder….at 120 Miles Per Hour!”), 40 inches by 27 inches; and the movies You Gotta Stay Happy from 1948, starring James Stewart and Joan Fontaine, and Good Neighbor Sam (1964) starring Jack Lemmon and Romy Schneider (to be sold as one lot).
Jewelry will feature a 20th century Victorian diamond, sapphire and enameled 18kt yellow gold bracelet; a Hemmerle 18kt yellow gold and lizard skin wrist watch band, circa 1960; a 20th century Deco 18kt rose gold and enameled bracelet, signed and hallmarked Brev; and a lovely circa 1950 Art Deco 18kt white gold, emerald and 18-diamond ring (the diamonds 4 carats total).
Decorative accessories are plentiful and will include a pair of 19th century Chinese famille rose gourd vases, each one 16 inches tall; a pair of 20th century William & Mary style Cartier sterling silver candlesticks, 8 inches tall; and a hard-to-find pair of 17th century Augsburg, Germany Baroque silver vases with Pomegranate hallmarks, diminutive at just 5 ½ inches tall in height.
Also offered will be a pair of granite revolving pedestals from around 1920, 37 ½ inches tall each; a huge pair of Italian carved alabaster figural lamps, also circa 1920, each one 52 inches tall; a pair of 18th or 19th century Tibetan bronze Buddha figures, 4 ½ inches tall, being sold as one lot; and a circa 1850-1860 “Hawaiian Tree of Life” applique quilt, 100 inches by 101 inches.
Silver enthusiasts will be intrigued by a circa 1950-1960 Towle sterling flatware service for twelve in a French Provincial pattern (a six-piece place setting with serving pieces); and a Russian enameled silver presentation loving cup made for Tiffany & Company (Antip Ivanovich, Kuzmichev, Moscow, 1894).
Vintage comic books will include rare premiere issue copies of Captain Marvel and The Invincible Iron Man, both from 1968; and a copy of Captain Marvel #2, also from 1968.
Paper and ephemera lots will feature a circa 1848 Queen Victoria military appointment and one lot of five volumes: Instructions for Foreign Travel by Howell, circa 1650; Commentaire Nicolas Torcy, circa 1550; History of Pirates by (Captain) Charles Johnson, circa 1814; An Abridgement of Christian Religion by M. Ihon Caluin, circa 1585; and Full Account Wonderful Providence by John Whittel, circa 1693.
The watches category will include a Patek Philippe & Cie 18kt yellow gold pocket watch; a rare Theodore B. Starr Swiss 18kt yellow gold chronograph/repeater pocket watch with triple dial, circa 19th or 20th century; and trays of assorted ladies’ Art Deco pocket/wrist watches with parts.
Session 1 antique firearms will feature an important circa 1780 Charleville Brown Bess flintlock rifle with a 45-inch barrel, overall 60 inches long; a circa 1860 Civil War Starr revolver, .44 caliber; an 18th century Spanish Colonial engraved brass and mahogany .50 caliber flintlock pistol, hallmarked; and an early percussion rifle with cast white brass mounts, signed Remington.
Other antique firearms in Session 1 will include an early Canton, Ohio .50 caliber rifle signed “C. Leonard”, with a 40 ½ inch barrel; an 18th/19th century J. A. Golcher warranted tiger maple flintlock rifle; and a Browning semi-automatic light 12 gauge shotgun, serial # G-25061, with an extra 12 gauge barrel, serial # D-76958 (an NICS check is required for the purchase of this gun).
Swords and daggers will be led by an 18th/19th century Russian niello silver dirk (dagger), 19 ½ inches long; a British iron Fairbairn-Sykes fighting dagger from the 20th century, 12 inches long, bearing the initials of Ilya Tolstoy; an Ottoman Empire gold plated and reticulated steel Jambiya dagger; an 18th century English brass dirk/boot dagger with bone handle; a German cavalry sword from the 19th century; and a circa 18th or 19th century U.S. Revolutionary cavalry saber.
The fishing tackle category will reel bidders in with lots like a Penn Senator 16/0 big game fish reel with tools, circa 1930-1940; a circa 1950-1960 green marbleized tackle box with contents; and a circa 1930 Goodwin Granger “Granger Special” four-piece bamboo fly rod-fishing pole.
Internet bidding will be facilitated by the popular platform LiveAuctioneers.com. Bidders can also view lot photos and get more info at EstateOfMind.biz and at AuctionZip.com (ID # 11093).
In-person previews will be held by appointment on Friday, October 2nd, from 11 am to 6 pm; and on Saturday, auction day, October 3rd, from 8 am to 10 am. The first gavel falls at 11 am. All times are Eastern. To schedule an appointment, you may call EstateOfMind at 845-386-4403.
EstateOfMind was officially born in 2009 after more than 20 years of providing estate services through a former company, American Antiques & Fine Art. Owner and president Darrell Dirr, a proprietor of fine art, antique and estate sale businesses, holds a Certificate of Recognition. Mr. Dirr was nominated by OCDSS for being a valuable community partner of PSA for 20 years.
EstateOfMind is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To inquire about consigning an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them at 845-386-4403; or, you can send an email to [email protected]. To learn more about EstateOfMind and the two-session auction planned for Saturday, October 3rd, please visit www.EstateOfMind.biz.