Curated kitsch collection to be offered at Benefit Shop Foundation
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Curated kitsch collection to be offered at Benefit Shop Foundation
This RCA Victor fireplace radio ($500-1,500) comes with a set of fireplace tools and accessories. It measures 50 by 60 by 25 inches.

MOUNT KISCO, NY.- Some collectors collect one type of thing they are passionate about while others have room in their hearts — and homes — for more than one collection. For decades, a Brooklyn couple collected vintage radios and phonographs, Roseville pottery, Asian porcelain, blue and white china, Gone with the Wind lamps and much more, filling their home. The kitchen was a veritable sea of whimsical and kitschy red items from cherry red bowls to pots and even the toaster oven. Their home was chock-full of the antiques they loved and the living room, for example, looked like a Victorian parlor on steroids with red velvet chairs and a large cathedral radio. The home was tidy and neatly organized however with everything in its place.

After their passing, their collection is now going to new homes with the first grouping of highlights from their collections crossing the block at The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. at a Red Carpet auction on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 10 am. The couple had so much stuff that items are still being cataloged and their estate will spill over into a March auction here also.

“They collected everything under the sun and never threw anything out,” said Pam Stone, owner and founder of The Benefit Shop Foundation, Inc. “You could describe this as a curated kitsch collection, featuring vintage radios from the 1920s through the 1980s.”

Radios are an iconic piece of Americana and before the age of television, families would gather around the radio to hear music and stories, the news of the day, or follow their favorite sports team. Indeed, the vintage radios here come in all forms with tubes or transistors and made of different materials from Bakelite and Catalin to wood. Spanning decades and styles, radios prominently featured range from small tabletop models to larger cathedral style models and even one that looks like a fireplace mantel. Many are from companies that once were industry leaders but are now history footnotes, such as Zephyr, Crosley, Majestic, Emerson and Sentinel.

Highlights include a RCA Victor fireplace radio, having intricate wooden detail and measuring 50 by 60 by 25 inches, that comes with accessories and fireplace tools ($500-1,500) and a vintage Zenith Stereophonic record player and radio console table ($200-2,000) built into a cabinet, offered with several vintage records, 32¼ by 45 by 20 inches.

Radios made with Catalin are highly desirable and perhaps none are more iconic than a FADA Model 1000, which debuted in 1941, epitomizing the Art Deco streamlined design of this era. Crossing the block here will be not one but two FADA Model 1000 Bullet radios in butterscotch and red that are among the top design icons of the Twentieth Century and highly prized by radio collectors.

Other sought after vintage radios in this auction include a Crosley 10-136E ($100-600) from 1950 made of Bakelite in an ebony and gold case, 12.9 by 6.9 by 7 inches; an RCA Victor 9X572 tube radio, circa 1949, 9¾ by 12½ by 8½ inches; a Mighty Majestic Monarch Of The Air shortwave radio in black Bakelite ($200-500), Model 55, 8 by 10 inches, made by Majestic in 1937-39; and a Crosley American Overseas 66TC wooden tube radio ($200-500), circa 1940s, 16 by 10 by 8 inches.

While the Benefit Shop Foundation offers across the board auctions, artwork is a specialty here and a staple of most sales here. This auction boasts fine etchings, bronzes and contemporary art. On offer are two signed lithographs by Keith Haring, one depicting a figure riding a fish ($200-800), 26/150 edition, and a limited edition litho of two dancing figures holding up a heart ($200 - $600), 19/250, measures a 14½ inch square as framed.

Fine art standouts estimated at $1/3,000 include two 17th Century grand scale Piranesi etchings, depicting figures standing among ruins, inscribed in Latin and Italian, each 34⅛ by 43¼ inches, as well as several bronze sculptures: a signed Emmanuel Villanis bust of a woman, inscribed “Iris,” 21⅝ inches tall, and a signed Bill Hunt pelican sculpture, “Skimming the Waves” 9 inches tall.

Roseville pottery was another field well collected by the Brooklyn couple and highlights feature a 15-inch Freesia floor vase ($100-250), a Poppy basket vase/planter $100-200), 8½ inches wide; and a Magnolia centerpiece vase ($200-500), 16½ inches tall.

A last-minute addition to the auction and still being unpacked is a collection of Lord and Taylor’s perfume bottles, all salesman samples, and animatronic puppets from the store’s window displays. These will be sprinkled into several auctions, from February through April.

Rounding out the auction will be a 2000s La D de Dior diamond watch featuring mother of pearl ($2,5/10,000), a pair of Hazorfim Bugatti sterling candlesticks ($1/2,000), 16 inches tall, and a pair of antique French mirrored wall sconces by Carlos de la Puenta ($1/$3,000) having two S-curved brass arms, each 18 ½ inches tall.

The monthly Red Carpet sales feature choice collections of antique, Midcentury Modern, brand furnishings, sterling, china, crystal, jewelry and fine art. With a mission of “to donate, to discover and to do good,” the foundation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit and auction proceeds support community organizations. Consignors get a tax deduction, the buyer gets a great deal and local non-profits get much needed funds.

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