Monday, October 6, 2014

Auction Part Two: More Good, Less Bad

The Sequel, wherein I have an unexpected, surprise first-hand report.

I was pretty lucky the first time, to happen to be online when Jennifer Dodd reached out to me for values opinion, during a live auction of an estate with Monrovia Hagen-Renaker horses

I was doubly lucky to be asked a second time, but this time, Jennifer was contacted directly by the auctioneer with "more of those horses you like". I may have come to mind again because 1. I restored a couple of her initial lot, and 2. I happened to be located on the way to the pick up.

She messaged me some photos, and asked for values. I sent her the numbers, with their total, and the next thing I know... "Are you free?"

Well, this must have been meant to be, because I had just sent off a commission for approval ahead of deadline, so I had nothing to do on that until I heard back. I had finished demolding, and all the studio shipping and receiving for the day. Let's go save them!

Yes, the "Let's go save them!" impulse was running pretty strong in both of us. The last thing we wanted to see was any more loss and damage to these old, ceramic artworks. We didn't know what to expect, so we both grabbed boxes and wrapping materials, and tossed them in her car. These horses were in the exact same situation that damaged the others; the circumstance that we were told led to the complete obliteration of a Crusader, large white Honora, and a small rose gray Zara. We didn't want to see that painful story repeat.

Repeat, it could... for you see... the same molds that were reported as smashed to dust, were in this lot.

The only damage in this whole lot.

Before cleaning & restoration. This one has a dark ribbon.

What are the odds that the same lost molds (and in their respective colors) would appear in the next group? The auctioneer confirmed that they came from the same estate. 

Duplicates? The same horses, just held back? I will leave that to the reader to speculate, but luck certainly played some part in this. We're just grateful that the auctioneer directly reached out to collectors, and didn't just put them in some random lot of housewares.

When we arrived, the auction staff had carefully bubble-wrapped each horse, and laid them out in cardboard flats, stashed safely out of the way. We were touched that they were so careful with this group. It was pretty exciting to be the first collectors to handle these ceramics in decades, and realize that we would reunite them with their "stablemates" from the previous auction lot.

When we returned to my studio, we set straight to work cleaning them. The rubbing alcohol and gloves came out. It was a fun evening of chatter of collectors, hearts overflowing with joy and the destiny of the whole thing.

Photo by Jennifer Dodd.

All cleaned up.
Hagen-Renaker Monrovia DW Crusader.

If you recall the past Crusader/Sespe post, you may be noticing something funny about this rescued Crusader. Here is a comparison photo with a typical Crusader.

< Normal Monrovia                   Pale Rescue Monrovia >

This paleness is not an acquired thing, it can't occur with age; this is how she left the factory. Are they found any paler? Her gray shading batch is likewise tinted differently, a brown or flesh, instead of normal gray. Her mold detail is equal, but without dark shading for contrast on the edges, it is hard to see at a distance. Of course, this is exactly the sort of variation I collect, as a potter. It may not appeal to collectors seeking a competitive show horse, because it would appear flat/lacking detail on the judging table. This really was meant to be... she was meant to "find" me.

 We could not have asked for a happier ending! Those lost are safely in one piece, in collector hands. I hope this cheers all the folks who cried with us over the reported losses.

Gratitude to Jennifer Dodd, for the spontaneous sharing!

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