|By Carole Deutsch
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Auction goers are always in for an adventure when they participate in a Kamelot auction, but the recent sale of the iconic collection of Richard and Linda Scott from Sydney, Ohio, set a high bar.
The collection, which sold unreserved on Jan. 12, was composed of more than 50 Works Progress Administration lithographs and prints from the Great Depression, 100 lots of the world’s finest antique automobile mascots, and a large collection of original antique European automobile posters. It also featured a fully restored Cretors Model C horse drawn popcorn and peanut wagon, circa 1903, and a selection of fine period appropriate furnishings and decorative arts items that represented virtually every timeframe and aesthetic movement.
“The car mascots, WPA lithographs and antique advertisement posters were truly the show stoppers of the entire Scott sale,” said Lindsay Nichols, Director of Buyer Relations. “The lots took so long to get through because SO many people were bidding at the same time. It was amazing to see, absolutely one of the most exciting auctions we’ve had in recent history.”
The WPA was an employment program created in 1935 by President Roosevelt to offset the economic stress of the Great Depression by hiring workers for public works projects, which included projects in the arts.
Topping the sale was a circa 1936 signed lithograph on paper, titled Jesse James, by Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975). The work depicted Jesse James and his gang robbing a train at gunpoint as they terrorized bystanders. The framed 26 by 31 inch piece was shown in Prints from the Great Depression: The Richard and Linda Scott Collection, at The Dayton Art Institute in 2010. It was estimated at $4,000 to $6,000, but raced past the mark to achieve an impressive $45,000.
Another lithograph that crushed the presale estimate of $500 to $1,000, when it landed a surprising $23,750, was Grand Prix Zurich, October 8, 1939, an original French automobile advertising poster. The high drama 50 by 35 inch poster depicted a red racing car #18 with a motorcyclist #3 coming up from the rear. It well captured the excitement of the event, but, in actual history the winner was never officially determined, since there was an indecisiveness as to which point system would be used to determine the result and during the debate World War II broke out.
Man’s Canyons, an etching and aquatint by Samuel Margolies (American, 1897-1974), was done for the NYC Works Progress Administration. The etching depicted a cityscape with towering buildings viewed from a high vantage point. It was titled and signed, made in an edition of 25, measured 12 ¼ by 9 ¼ inches, and brought $22,500, outdistancing the estimate of $600 to $900.
One of the show stoppers of the auction was a rare Cretors Model C horse drawn popcorn and peanut wagon, circa 1903. It was purchased by Richard Scott in 2005. Scott then proceeded to put years of meticulous work into restoring the wagon to its original state. The one-of-a kind gem had a fully functional concession stand and came with a custom-built trailer and all the equipment needed to pop and roast. All restoration and replacement parts were sourced from other original Cretors popcorn wagons and featured appointments of the highest quality, which included sterling silver hardware, precision painting and pinstriping, and 24 karat gold hand-painted scrollwork on the wagon. It sold for $42,500.
Kamelot is in a class by itself regarding its ability to effectively handle the transportation and relocation of enormous, often room-sized, objects. “Shipping the popcorn wagon required a 3/4 ton truck with dual back wheels and torsion rod bar hitch. We hired a skilled shipper who delivered the wagon in perfect condition. We had zero complications,” said Linda Scott.
The Scotts collection of antique automobile mascots consisted of 100 lots that represented masterpiece examples of Cubist and Deco designs in a multitude of themes and materials that included silvered bronze and glass, as well as topaz.
An Art Deco Lalique Epsom automobile mascot of a horse’s head, on an illuminating radiator base, No. 1153, was mounted on a wood base that supported the horse head with a nickel plated cuff that was incised, “Breven Galleries, Knightsbridge.” The circa 1920 mascot stood 9 inches and realized $7,500.
A Lalique “Coq Houdan” automobile mascot, marked Lalique, France and numbered 1161, was 8 inches tall and brought $6,563. It portrayed the classic image of a cockerel with his chest raised in a crowing position.
The sum of $5,000 was achieved for a 6 ½ inch bronze stork automobile mascot, circa 1935, by Charles-Joseph Artus (French, 1897-1978). It was raised on a wood base and marked, “Artus and Le Verrier.”
For more information visit www.kamelotauctions.com or call (215) 438-6990.