When Meissen marries Capodimonte, it's all good

This lovely 19th century porcelain Meissen bronze-mounted dresser box, produced in the Capodimonte style, is expected to bring $3,000-$5,000. (photo courtesy Crescent City Auction Gallery)

Meissen pieces are coveted by collectors, who are attracted to the creations of Europe's first porcelain factory, founded in 1710. The 19th century porcelain Meissen bronze-mounted dresser box shown here was produced in the Capodimonte style, which may explain why it's an expected top lot at Crescent City Auction Gallery's big three-day estates auction, planned for September 16-18 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Capodimonte is the Italian (and later Spanish) porcelain factory noted for its production of figure groups designed by Giuseppe Gricci.

This dresser box carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,000-$5,000. Meissen was the first European hard-paste porcelain. It's expensive to produce, and in the beginning was a luxury that only the upper classes could afford. The European wealthy accumulated vast collections and when a wealthy class emerged in the U.S. families like the Vanderbilts started their own collections. While its products are costly to make, the high quality and artistic value make Meissen porcelain very desirable by collectors and connoisseurs. Visit www.crescentcityauctiongallery.com.


Teddy Roosevelt's hunting knife will be sold Sept. 9-11

This hunting knife, owned by Theodore Roosevelt and passed down in the family for the last 107 years, is estimated to gavel for $150,000-$300,000. (photo courtesy Rock Island Auction Co.)

There are collectible pieces of militaria and political memorabilia, and there are jaw-dropping examples of American history. The latter will be offered September 9-11 when the hunting knife once owned by President Theodore Roosevelt comes up for bid at Rock Island Auction Company, online and in the firm's Rock Island, Illinois showroom. The knife – given to Roosevelt in 1909 by his good friend New York Supreme Court Justice James W. Gerard as a farewell gift as Teddy was about to leave the presidency – is estimated to hammer for $150,000-$300,000.

The two men served together in the Spanish-American War, when Roosevelt led the legendary Rough Riders. The knife was expensive to produce, costing Gerard $1,250 ($33,266 in 2016 dollars). Two companies were involved in its creation: J. Russell & Company (Green River, N.Y.), whose stamp is on the blade; and Dreicer & Company, whose name is printed on the handle's edge. Dreicer was a top jewelry retailer and a direct rival to firms like Faberge. It is unknown which shop performed the acid etched inscription. For more, visit www.rockislandauction.com.


Joan Mitchell, Joni Mitchell: two women, much in common

Joan Mitchell This abstract oil on Masonite painting by Joan Mitchell (Am., 1925-1999) is expected to sell for $50,000-$75,000 at Kaminski Auctions on September 11th. (photo courtesy Kaminski Auctions)

Joni Mitchell is the Canadian-born singer-songwriter who pushed her way to the top of what was a male-dominated field of folk-rock entertainers in the 60s and 70s, through sheer determination, will and great talent. Joan Mitchell (no relation, 1925-1999) was the American “second generation” abstract expressionist painter who became one of her era's few female artists to gain critical and public acclaim in what was a largely male-dominated field. She, too, did this through grit, guile and talent, at a  time when acceptance of women wasn't nearly as prevalent.

On Sunday, September 11th, Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Mass., will conduct its first Fine Art Auction of the fall season. The expected top lot is the painting by Joan Mitchell shown here, a colorful abstract oil on Masonite, signed lower right and pulled from a Massachusetts estate. It has a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-$75,000. That's significant, because Ms. Mitchell is up against some heavy-hitting notables, all with lower estimates: Alexander Calder, Raoul Dufy, Granville Redmond, Lovis Corinth – all males, incidentally. Visit www.kaminskiauctions.com.


All aboard for train items at Doyle New York, Sept. 13

At Doyle New York's Fine Jewelry Sale on September 13th, lots 666-681 will comprise the collection of railroad collectors Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. (photo courtesy Doyle New York)

Railroadiana refers to the many varieties of collectibles pertaining to travel by rail – everything from old timetables to brakemen's (or marker) lanterns to horns and train whistles to dining car linens. Some truly ambitious collectors even go for big game, buying speeders, or complete passenger cars. Most pieces in a collection are purchased either from surplus or scrap sales from the railroad companies themselves, or through after-market railroadiana shows. Highly desirable (rare or from popular lines) items may sell for significant multiples of their original price.

At Doyle New York's Fine Jewelry Sale on Tuesday, September 13th, lots 666-681 will comprise the collection of accessories and watches from Boston-born Lucius Beebe (1902-1966) and Ohio native Charles Clegg (1916-1979). Both men were authors, railroad historians and bon vivants. Mr. Clegg was raised in Rhode Island and worked closely with Beebe, editing and providing photographs for the many books they published on railroad history. The items in the Doyle auction will be a mix of gold, jewelry and railroad-themed accessories. Visit www.doylenewyork.com.


Match safes will strike it big at Pook & Pook's Sept. 14-15 sale

A large grouping of match safes, to include these ones shown here, will be sold in Pook & Pook's online-only Decorative Arts Auction, Sept. 14th and 15th (photo courtesy Pook & Pook, Inc.)

Pook & Pook, Inc., has featured many large groupings of match safes (also called vesta cases) at its auctions this past year, and the one planned for September 14-15 (online-only) will be no exception. The Thursday, Sept. 15th session will feature many of these highly desirable cases that capture the imagination of collectors for their diverse forms and bygone tradition. Match safes were small, portable boxes made in a wide variety of forms, with snap-shut covers to contain vestas (or short matches) and keep them dry. Many match safes are extremely attractive.

Match safes came into use around 1830 and were produced extensively between 1890 and 1920. During this time almost everyone carried strike-anywhere matches, so they could light stoves, lanterns and other devices. Early matches were unreliable and prone to ignite from rubbing on one another or spontaneously. So, most people carried a match safe to house their matches. Wealthy people had match safes made of gold or silver, while common folk had ones made out of tin or brass. Many very notable silversmiths produced them. Visit www.pookandpook.com.