Piano Babies Cry Cuteness, But Appeal Is Limited
Air King radio
The circa 1933 Air King radio sold for $42,700 recently at Bonhams New York
Q: Any info on my piano baby? It was a wedding gift to my grandmother from her parents, and came from a wealthy Southern family.
A: You really have to marvel at the Victorians. To their eye, a blank space was a wasted space. And so they plopped shawls, what-nots, tchotchkes, and all kinds of you name it on any available flat surface.
As a result, piano babies, a ceramic conceit of over-the-top cuteness, lounged on pianos or mantels until about WW I. Some think the popular collectibles were most popular as a weight to keep silk piano shawls (another Victorian excess) from slipping. Today, piano babies are a niche taste loved by some collectors, loathed by others.
The babies, most about the size of football (though some were minis), were molded on their backs playing with their toes, on their stomach with knees bent back and toes in the air, or seated upright.
To a baby, most were made of bisque, a matte surface ceramic called biscuit porcelain by the British.
Mention piano babies, and most smart collectors think Heubach Brothers, the maker favored for lifelike sculpting. Heubach babies have artistic hair and facial expressions, and their cuteness runs way off the adorableness charts.
But the piano baby in an image sent is not a Heubach. Instead of the company's distinctive blocky incised mark, the bottom is stamped with a round C topped with a stylized N plus a mold or inventory number.
Camille Naudot and Cie in
Smart collectors know that true Naudot pieces are rare and few. Naudot pieces show clear
As with many big bucks authentic and rare pieces, Naudot has been knocked off, especially by post WW II Japanese factories. Troll
The family story on this particular baby is lore. I suggest you enjoy the bisque for what it is.
Q: My Classics Illustrated comics are in pretty good condition. How do I sell them?
A: There are four comics. Photocopied covers sent show a mixed bag of issues, from No. 34 to No. 144.
The reader does not a have a total run, or anything close. Collectors love complete compilations, or at least comics in quantity.
Data base www.artfact.com reports that last June, a set of five Classics Illustrated comics brought
With paper goods including comics, condition is everything. A long-timer in the comics biz described the condition standard to me as "tight, white, and bright." Money goes to issues with tight bindings, white paper, and bright colors. Results depend on how close to that standard issues come.
I suggest selling the assorted issues online. Look for similar postings before posting a start price. An issue with torn cover must be described and photographed accurately.
AUCTION ACTION: When a private collection of 93 table radios from the 1930s and 40s sold recently at Bonhams New York, top lot was a 1933 Air King model 52. All radios sold had Catalin (an early phenolic resin) cases.
The iconic red case radio with black knobs brought
Christmas is over, but many collect it year round. Can you match these grand houses that decorate for the holidays with their locations?
A: Answers are 1-d, 2-e, 3-a, 4-c, 5-b. Source: "Christmas at Historic Houses" by
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(c) 2011 Danielle Arnet