Search the Auction Exchange for auctions, news, and more!
Recent Stories
Mid-century modern drew strong bids at Selkirk
Advertising signs bring big bids at Fricker auction
Trench art helped soldiers pass the time
Vintage toys play to high bids at Moldenhauer auction event
Buggy accessories: Whips from the past
Chicagoland Show proves to be a success in Illinois
Military collection marches to high bids at Old Barn Auction
Limbert copper lamp lit up Marine City with $900
Celebrate Bike to Work day in vintage style
Case 1070 brings $2,500 at Pioneer auction
News Article  
Unique antiques head up Merkel auction
By Karin Milliman

CHELSEA Mich. Showing off collectibles from early American to the Victorian Era, the treasures that were offered at a recent Merkel’s Auctioneers & Appraisers event had been moved out of a home built during the 1860s. The owners were dealers of fine antiques, and they were regulars at The Great Antique Shows. The variety was great and Auctioneer Joseph Merkel headed up the bidding efforts.

Three small unassuming side tables were bypassed by most of the bidders. However, when they were offered up for sale, it was obvious that there were a couple of bidders who had taken a closer look. The bidding began low with Merkel searching for a starting place. Finally, a $200 bid opened them up and the competition was on. With the bids rising quickly, the hammer finally fell on these three beauties at $700. The winning bidder claimed the largest one and the back-up bidder was offered his choice of the other two. The last one was offered up for sale again and ended at $125.

Sticking with the small offering of furniture, a chair was moved front and center. This chair had a rush bottom and was meant to be used as a side chair in a parlor. It took $300 for it to earn a respectable spot in a new home.

An unusual table heavily carved with lions on the feet and a lace pattern brought the hammer down at $325.

A pair of flip-top tables were consigned late since a family member had wanted them and then decided to let them sell. In great condition, the first one up was an early American version with inlay on the bottom edges. The leg opened out smoothly and the top displayed no stains or scratches. The final bid price on this one was $275. The other one was an early English version and brought a bid price of $100.

A bow-back design settee with a wishbone pattern brought a bid of $100.

A mahogany sofa table with original brass casters brought a sale price of $250.

Giving a history lesson on balloon-bottom chairs, Auctioneer Merkel amused the crowd with his explanation. He explained that they were literally made for ladies with big bottoms and hips and pointed out the flared hip stays on this pair he was selling. The crowd enjoyed the history lesson and the bidding began. He pronounced them sold at the final bid price of $135 for the pair.

A folding rocker covered in a beautiful floral pattern sold for $200. And a gate-leg table brought a bid of $175.

There was a large mystery painting that attracted a lot of attention. It hung on the wall behind the auctioneer and many walked back to take a closer look. It had been hanging in a smoking home and needed a good cleaning to bring out the once vivid colors, but that didn’t stop the bidding. It was a signed early Victorian painting. The signature couldn’t be read in the condition it was in, but there were no dings or holes in this oil on canvas. Showing a primitive bridge across a stream, there was a log cabin in the background and some cows standing peacefully in the tall grass. The vintage frame was probably the original one and the bidding began. The final sale price on this piece was $310.

A six gallon early Midwestern crock with cobalt decoration stopped just shy of $300 with a bid of $280. A second six-gallon crock sold for $320. A T.S. Bailey crock with some hairline cracks sold for $200. An early Midwestern jug with a handle sold for a bid of $200.

Some sterling pieces sold well. A set of 12 Wallace sterling spoons and four additional serving pieces dated 1891 brought a high bid of $160. A set of eight dessert forks marked RLB, made by the R.S. Lockhart Silversmiths, sold for $115. Matching that bid was a set of eight dessert forks, by the same company.

Some glassware did well. A set of six tumblers and pitcher to match with a thumbprint pattern sold for $140. A second set with six tumblers and a pitcher brought a bid of $100.

Primitives seemed to be in demand during this sale. A small child’s runner sled with original runners and original red paint reached a respectable $235.

A primitive dough box rose all the way to $250 before being sold.

A primitive bench with original bluish-green paint sold for $200.

A crazy quilt with the variety of bright colors that was dated in two different places with 1873 and 1889 brought a high bid of $135.

There were also many Christmas items offered for sale. A large fur-trimmed Santa in near perfect condition brought a bid of $35. A set of glassware consisting of Santa on his sleigh and a pair of reindeer by the Lennox Company brought a bid of $55. A set of Jim Shore Twelve Days of Christmas ornaments sold for $95.

Merkel’s Auctioneers & Appraisers are auction specialists. Their sales manager, Joseph Merkel, may be reached at (734) 320-9828 or at