The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, July 20, 2019

Items from two chapters of the Telephone Pioneers of America Museum ring the bell with bidders
Bell and Watson prototype phone, accompanied by original 1881 patent paperwork and a tag with Watson’s hand-written name and the date August 2, 1881 ($40,000).

CRANSTON, RI.- An original model of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson’s very first telephone from 1881 sold for $40,000 and a rare circa 1876 Bell Butter Stamp magneto telephone originally installed at a residence in Newport, Rhode Island in 1891 brought $27,500 at an historical telephone auction held August 4th by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers in Cranston.

The auction was held online and in Bruneau & Co.’s gallery at 63 Fourth Avenue. Featured were items from two regional chapters of the Telephone Pioneers of America Museum: the William J. Denver chapter #20 museum in Providence, R.I., and the Excelsior Chapter #98 in Buffalo. N.Y. A live-only pre-sale event at 10 am Eastern was followed by the main cataloged auction at 11.

The metal-and-wood Bell and Watson prototype phone was accompanied by original 1881 patent paperwork and a tag with Watson’s hand-written name and the date August 2, 1881. The Bell Butter Stamp magneto phone was mounted to an easel board and had the original museum label, stating it had been installed “many years ago in the Malvina K. Wetmore residence” in Newport.

The auction presented an exciting and rare collection of historical telephones, photographs, maps, cables, prototypes, ephemera and more, ranging from the first phone/emergency call box ever installed in the Yukon in Canada to the telephone from President Dwight Eisenhower’s Newport, Rhode Island summer White House. In all, over 500 lots crossed the auction block.

“It was a thrill and a half to hammer down the Thomas A. Watson prototype and Butter Stamp magneto telephone,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer. “I really don’t know if and when I will be able to handle such exciting yet historical items again, but I know I’ll be ready. It was the best learning experience I could ask for and it was a great sale.”

Bruneau & Co. company president and auctioneer Kevin Bruneau added, “It was pretty neat to hold a telephone that was held by a president before I was even born, or to hold a plank from Alexander Graham Bell’s laboratory. If things like that don’t send chills up your spine nothing will. I am excited to learn more as we work together with the Telephone Pioneers of America.”

The Eisenhower phone he referred to was marked behind the cradle “Bell System” and “Made by Western Electric”. It was used at the Newport home formerly known as the “Commandant’s Residence and Quarters Number One”. An original museum label identified the telephone as “President Eisenhower’s Personal Telephone at the Summer White House”. It went for $1,375.

Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by,, and Phone and absentee bids were also accepted. All prices quoted here include the buyer’s premium.

A circa 1893 Clark “candlestick” telephone that would have connected to a switchboard capable of controlling 74 lines changed hands for $3,000. The table of the metal and plastic, 15 ½ inch tall telephone was marked, “Clark Automatic Telephone, Patented May 30, 1893”, while the phone’s speaker was marked, “Clark Automatic Telephone Switchboard Co., Providence, R.I.”

The first phone/emergency call box ever installed at Dawson, Canada, in the Yukon Territory, at the time of the Gold Rush around the turn of the century, had a tag that said: “Combination Telephone and Fire Alarm Box”. Made by National Telephone Company (Chicago), the phone was removed from its pole at 5th and Church streets in Dawson in August 1960. It made $2,500.

A 1984 Summer Olympic Games (Los Angeles) relay torch, one of only 4,500 made, carried prior to the Games by John Cox of the Pioneers, Hamburg-Olean Council, with a photo of Cox carrying the torch and an Olympic committee booklet, went to a determined bidder for $2,125.

A late 19th century Victorian Western Electric vanity phone with a cherrywood case and incised bellflower and scrollwork decoration, accompanied by a museum label reading, “Type used by Alexander Graham Bell for first New York to Chicago call in Oct. 1892”, commanded $2,375.

A large group photograph taken around 1911 of several hundred Henry Street Garage telephone linemen, some shown seated on motorcycles, cars and horse-drawn carriages, measuring 39 ½ inches by 27 ¼ inches (sight), and signed “HARE” in the photo’s lower left, realized $2,000.

A mid-20th century Western Electric experimental side hanger phone breezed to $1,500. In the mid-1960s, Providence, R.I., was selected by Bell Laboratories for a product trial of a newly designed telephone set. The result was this model, which was sent back to the lab for redesign.

A circa 1896 leather-bound Providence, R.I., hand-drawn phone line diagram map book, with a museum label stating, “Record Book, Diagrams of Providence Telephone Company, Main Lines and Branches, 1894-1896”, measuring 7 ½ inches by 5 inches, showing wear, went for $1,375.

Today's News

August 11, 2018

British Museum identifies looted Iraqi antiquities, sends them home

artnet and the China Association of Auctioneers publish the Global Chinese Art Auction Market Report 2017

Indiana University and Uffizi Gallery unveil website featuring first set of 3D, digitized artifacts

Paul Morrison turns portraiture on its head in new exhibition at Sheffield's Graves Gallery

$500K NEH grant will support Cincinnati Art Museum's re-envisioning of the art and architecture of the Near East

First Silver Dollar of the Americas heading to auction

U-M exhibition challenges traditional understanding of African arts and cultures

Disinherited musician Jean-Michel Jarre scales up challenge over father's will

German artists Heiner Thiel and Michael Post bring their own unique and playful minimalism to Santa Fe

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago announces three new appointments

Bulgaria's famed all-female folk choir back with a modern twist

Items from two chapters of the Telephone Pioneers of America Museum ring the bell with bidders

Survey of Wilbur Niewald's career opens at Nelson-Atkins

Debut exhibition of Brooklyn-based painter Emily Furr on view at Sargent's Daughters

Gallery FUMI opens pop-up exhibition at 'The Supermarket' in Porto Cervo

Latvian National Museum of Art opens exhibition of works by Li Bond

Cartoonist and graphic novelist Art Spiegelman to receive the 2018 Edward MacDowell Medal

Six original tattoo flash art sheets attributed to Charlie Wagner and Sam O'Reilly bring a combined $41,375

Fotohof brings together five artistic positions that examine political crises as long-term phenomena

Compton Verney announces six new guest curators for its Women's Library project

Heritage Auctions' Comics Department breaks weekly auction record for third time this year

Writing top class essay for next exams

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful