Friday, December 5, 2014

Introducing Gray's Auctioneers and Appraisers

Friday, December 5, 2014
Sunny and very cold

Introducing Gray's 
Auctioneers & Appraisers

   Last week, I was visiting Liveauctioneers when I was "floored" (an English  word  for amazed ). An auctioneer by the name of Gray's Auctioneer's was presenting an exceptional auction of mechanical banks and Barclay's slush figures. Of course, there were other fine items that were 
non-toys, but my focus was the banks and Barclay's collection. The collector is  from Mr. James N. Seidelle. When I receive more information on Mr. Seidelle, I will add the information.  What attracted my attention was the high quality of photography, and the presentation of the items against a whitened background and foundation.  If your a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I spend lots of times to present the images of guests against white (with their permission, of course). Personally, I find that this presents the item best without distraction of colour or other items in the photo.  This happens most with ebay sellers because they do not have the space, lights, or tabletop to photograph in a simpler way. Of course, the quality of the images and toys is something that I always look for before asking anyone if I can write about them.

   When I saw the exceptional items and the photography, I wrote to Gray's Auctioneers  and waited patiently to hear from them . I eventually was given the permission - thank you!  The collection of Mr. Seidelle will be auctioned on December 10, 2014, starting at 07:00 A.M.  The time goes by very fast, so I and Flannery wanted to present the post soon. I had some extra time today, as Heidi and I are redoing our "sunroom" as we call it, and I have to be around to help  he professionals if they need any help or information.

   I just searched the fine website of Gray's Auctioneer's, and discovered that they also have an art gallery for artwork. I will definitely write about this in my next post. But for today, I decided just to present one fine mechanical bank and introduce everyone to this outstanding company.

Ms. Flannery Marley wrote me today and mentioned the owner  Deba Gray and Serena Harrigan who co-founded Gray's 20 years ago,and is now the CEO (Chief Executive Officer).  Both have extensive expertise and experience in the industry, and their past  work positions are certainly an attribute to both of them, and their fine reputations.  In reading Deba's background, I noticed that she had worked at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, another fine woman and owner of this renowned auction company, whom I have had the pleasure to write about.  But what also caught my attention was that both Deba and Serena both devote time to the arts. Deba is on the board of the Cleveland Institute of Art, and Serena supports Cleveland Play House and Cleveland  Public Theatre.

The screen capture below illustrates the well-designed and interesting website that 
Gray's Auctioneers has. If you aren't in the profession (photographer, graphic design, layout designer), you  might not know how important a page design is to most print and of course the Internet.

Flannery wrote me today after she proofread the post to say that Sanwal Deen is the head of Gray's  photography & design department.

I decided to present this fine mechanical bank screen-capture almost as I found it on the 
Gray's Auctioneers website.


A Cast Iron Magician Mechanical Bank Manufactured by the J. & E. Stevens Co., ca. 1901, Place a coin on the table and as the lever is pressed, the magician covers the coin with his hat and moves his head up and down. When he raises his hat, the coin has already fallen into the bank. 

Dimensions: height x width x depth:   8 1/8"  7" x3 3/4"    201 mm x  177 mm  x  95 mm

Provenance: The Collection of Mr. James N. Seidelle. *
*Description Courtesy of Gray's Auctioneers

If you aren't an advanced or professional photographer, or do not work with photo-editing software you wouldn't know how well-photographed and photo-edited this fine mechanical bank is. Since part of Gray's business is artwork, it is extremely important to show detail, and most importantly "get the colour exact"!

Photographing the "extremes"of black or white are difficult, and Sanwal Deen and his staff  of photographers certainly "know their stuff" ( An English term for having the skill to do something with excellence).

What's great about always looking for more contacts is that I am always learning and finding old and new toys, but with more photographs. In this way, I can see the full features of toys, and better understand how they mighty have been made and the features that they have.

I like detail! And when I see the magician up close, I appreciate the photographer and his/her stylist (a person who directs the photographer in a photo session). One doesn't close-ups often, not the larger-sized photos  such as those on Gray's Auctioneers website.

Back in 1901,when this cast iron bank was made, the level of craftsmanship and quality for cast iron was exceptional. As a result of working with very fine sand and with excellent workers, the lines on the face of the magician are unbelievable.   

What  I  often find "funny" (interesting) is that most auctioneers rarely  illustrate with photographs how these mechanical banks work. If I were working at Gray's Auctioneers, I'm sure Flannery and the photographers would always be watching me, since I'd want to see how these banks work. I wouldn't be surprised if the Mr. Seidelle (the collector) had "examined" these fine Amercian and unique banks, and knows exactly how each and every one works.

When I spoke with Flannery, she mentioned that all items that go to auction have to be carefully examined to see if the items work and in what condition they are.  A light went on above my head - Perhaps I could persuade Deba and Serena and Flannery to hire me as a toy tester.

Someone has to test these toys, and I'm sure the others have more important things 
to do than to play, er, I mean check toys.

Thanks for dropping by, and as always,
gave a great part of the day or night,
wherever you may be,

No comments: