Show Notes

Dear Mr.Willis,

I have attached a photo of a painting signed Walt Kuhn in upper right, which belonged to my father. We have reason to believe it was passed down from his paternal side of the family. He never displayed this painting nor had it appraised – he died in 2008. We found the painting among his effects and we think he forgot that he had it.

The painting is on canvas, and it has no signature. There is an old New York gallery label on the reverse of the painting that says “Walt Kuhn, Head of a Young Girl” the painting is 14″x 10″

Can you tell me what it is worth?  NK


Dear NK,

Thank you for sending this information. Your painting certainly appears to be by the artist Walt Kuhn (1877-1949). There is a lot to say about Walt Kuhn; besides being an American Modernest Master, he was also instrumental in putting together the landmark 1913 Armory Show. Through this show, he was the first to bring Pablo Picasso among others to the US. Kuhn was offered $20,000 during his life for his masterpiece, The White Clown. At the time, it was the most money ever offered for any painting of a living artist. The White Clown currently lives at the National Art Gallery in Washington, DC and would without a doubt set a new record (the current record at auction is: $1.1 million) if it ever went to auction. Kuhn was known for painting circus performers which as a collector is the most desirable subject. It is possible your piece is of a performer However, not being identified, it would not be a good idea to sell it as one.

I would be delighted to handle such a piece at auction. Without seeing it in person, if authentic, the pre-auction estimate of $8, 000-12,000.


Martin Willis, Appraiser

James D Julia Auctioneers

827 Main St

Woburn, MA 01801


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Martin: Hi everyone, welcome to the Antique Auction Forum. This is Martin Willis. Today is Podcast 122 with Gregg Elliott. His website is We’re going to be speaking today about collecting high-grade, mostly antique, shotguns. You can like us on our Facebook page, or you can follow us on twitter. Those icons are on our website. If you would like to contact me, that’s

Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy today’s show.

This podcast is sponsored by WorthPoint. Find out what your antiques are worth at

I’m with Gregg Elliott. How are you doing, Gregg?

Gregg: I’m doing well, thanks. How are you doing?

Martin: Great, and we’re going to talk about shotguns, which I never thought I was going to talk about on this blog, but it’s pretty interesting. Right off the bat I’m going to ask you what makes a good shotgun a good shotgun?

Gregg: I think, from my perspective, one is original condition; I like to find one that hasn’t been refinished or restored in any way. I really value old finishes because those were put there by the original craftsmen, and they are part of the history of the item and if something has had that wiped away I feel like part of the history of the item is gone.

Martin: Now, are we talking about the stock and barrel?

Gregg: Yes, so the metal work and the wood; both of those can be refinished,

Martin: re-glued and…

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Martin:  Hi everyone, this is Martin Willis with the Antique Auction Forum. Welcome to Episode 121 with Mary Miley Theobald. Today’s topic is going to be on historical myths. Some of them do apply to antiques; it’s a pretty fun show, I hope you enjoy it. You can follow us on twitter or you can like us on Facebook; those icons are right on our website You can contact me at Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy today’s show.

This podcast is sponsored by WorthPoint. Find out what your antiques are worth at

Martin:  I have Mary Miley Theobald in Virginia on Skype. How are you doing Mary?

Mary:  I’m fine, thank you.

Martin:  And you are a historian, and you live in Virginia.

Mary: Yes I do.

Martin:  I listened to one of your podcasts, the Colonial Williamsburg Podcast; I thought it was great and a really interesting topic because we do from time to time some historical podcasts here and a lot of what we are involved in in the business certainly relates to history, so they’re always very popular on these shows. Can you talk a little bit about what some of your books have been lately about myths and debunking them? This is a real fun subject if you ask me.

Mary: It is fun. And of all the writing I’ve done in the past 30 years this has really been the most fun book I’ve written. I guess it got started back in 2006 when I visited the DAR Museum in Washington, and they had an exhibit on history myths. They were debunking certain myths that are widely repeated at museums, or historic sites, national parks, city bus tours, carriage rides, those kinds of things. Myths like “People didn’t bathe back then”, or “Colonial Americans thought tomatoes were poisonous” or “women secluded themselves indoors during pregnancy”; things that were patently not true. I wrote an article debunking a few myths; I thought maybe I’d find a dozen. And it got a lot of attention. People wrote back saying “what about this myth” and “what about this myth”, so I wrote a second article, started collecting them, had enough for a book, and I’m still collecting; I might have enough for a second book!

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Martin: Hi everyone, this is Martin Willis of Antiques Auction Forum episode 120. I’m excited about today’s guest; it’s the award-winning legendary actress, and singer as well as author, Polly Bergen Because of that I have her music as an intro and outro. Hope you enjoy that. A couple of announcements: You can follow us on twitter and you can like us on facebook; those icons are right on our website. This pod cast is sponsored by Worthpoint: Find Out What Your Antiques are Worth at Thank you for listening, and I hope you enjoy today’s show.


 Martin:  I am in Connecticut with Polly Bergen. How are you doing Polly?


Polly:  I’m very well. Thank you, Martin.


Martin:  It’s such a pleasure to work with you first of all, you are really gracious with me to record about antiques.


Polly:  Oh it’s my pleasure. I’m old enough to be able to talk about old things!


Martin:  (laughing) Now, you were collecting all the way back into the 1950’s but before we get into that, first of all, for the younger people – we have a lot of younger people around world who listen – can you kind of go into…

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Martin:  Hi everyone, this is Martin Willis with the Antique Auction Forum. Today’s episode is number 119 with Dale Blackwelder. He is a picker who specializes in artwork; very interesting.  It’s a short podcast but I hope you enjoy today’s show.


Martin:  I’m with Dale Blackwelder. How are you doing Dale?


Dale:  Real good.


Martin:  Now you’ve been dealing in art for…?


Dale:  I had my first store, I think, in 1969 or 70. I used to do clocks and music boxes, (but) I always had an affinity for art. I liked looking at it and I started collecting paper works; now it’s mostly oils.


Martin:  So you’ve evolved mostly into art over the years?


Dale: Well, yeah. I like mechanical things, and what I could see really well. It was easy to do, and it was quick… you know, I could clean a clock and make a few dollars. And at that time the Europeans were sending everything over to the United States, so you could go into warehouses and buy 50 great clocks – and oil paintings and things.  There was just so much of it; it was really inexpensive, so I started then.


Martin:  Now, in our conversation we had prior to this, you don’t use a computer. You never used a computer, you never will, probably (laughing).


Dale:  Most likely not; I just find it keeps you from learning what looks good and what isn’t good.

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Martin Willis:  I’m on the phone with Terry Kovel  How are you Terry?


Terry Kovel:  I’m fine, thanks. Good to hear from you.


Martin:  Yes thank you, now, I am talking about Terry Kovel of Ralph and Terry Kovel’s price guides. I have seen these books around and, growing up in the business, God I want to say back in the 70s, I first picked up a Kovel’s.  How many books have you published? When did you start?


Terry:   Now I’m giving my age away. Our first book came out in 1953. It was Dictionary of Marks: Pottery and Porcelain, and it’s kind of funny, the first copy arrived the day our daughter was born so we kept saying we were to call her Mark if she was a boy but, I got a girl; she lucked out.

At any rate, then they said we were experts, you know, “You wrote a book. You’re an expert”.  Price book came along a couple books later, but the one this year, the 2013 Kovel’s , is the 45th price book, and they’re all new every year so I can count it and, hold your breath, this is our hundred and first book.


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Martin: OK I have jack Wilson on Skype, how’re you doing Jack?


Jack: I’m doing well Marty, yourself?


Martin: Good, thank you, and where are you?  You’re in Arizona?


Jack: Prescott Arizona; one of the top retirement locations in the United States.


Martin: Ah, well, that right away makes me think of a lot of goodies that may come in that area.


Jack: That’s Correct.


Martin: Yeah, I think of it this way, in retirement places like Florida, places like that, a lot of people may sell their furniture but a lot of times they’ll bring nice decorative arts with them or art work; in Florida a lot of things end up settling there and I’m sure it must be the same where you’re located.


Jack:  more so actually in phoenix than in Prescott. There’s a lot of the antiques shops here but not a lot of what I would classify as genuine antiques; more tourist type stuff.


Martin: Ah.  So today we are going to talk mostly about the subject of Ruba Rombic glass which has always fascinated me from the very first time I saw it, now how did you get interested in this subject and start researching and collecting this type of glass?  And before you get into that can you explain basically what the glass is, you know I think of it as like the Cubist type form in the Art Deco era but I want you to give a description if you would please.


Jack: Sure, in the mid twenty’s, actually 1926, the Consolidated Glass Company located in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh, got into the art glass business at the urging of Reuben Haley who had worked at the U.S. Glass Company and had left when the ownership changed and he didn’t like the new owners.  So in ’26 he came out with a line of glass called Martele which is basically American Lalique and in ’28 he came out with a line of glass called Catalonian, all Spanish, and ‘28 was Ruba Rombic.  Ruba Rombic was very very Deco.  There’s a lot of different ideas of where the name came from, but I think it came from number one, Reuben, and number two, rhomboid which is a geometric figure with no parallel planes, and Ruben Haley was actually a sculptor; had worked at some of the silver companies earlier and the way I heard the story he picked a piece of plaster off the factory floor and sculpted the first piece of Ruba Rombic design in the plaster. And I heard that from a guy who worked for him.  I also interviewed his son, Ken Haley in Pennsylvania before he died.  So it’s very cubistic glass that came out in ’28 and the problem was it was ultramodern, number one, so some people liked it and some people didn’t, and in 1929, in October actually, we had Black Friday which was the great depression so bam the production lifecycle of Ruba Rombic wasn’t very long, and we’ve had varying estimates of how many pieces there are.  Bob Aibel of Moderne Gallery of Philadelphia thought it was about 1,500; based on what I know, I think it’s between 2,000 and 3,000.  But those are very, very, very small figures when you compare them to something like Lalique where if you go to a major glass show in Miami you’ll probably see 20 or 30 pieces of Lalique you can purchase, and if you see one or two of Ruba Rombic you’d be lucky.

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Martin Willis: I’m in New Haven, Connecticut with Fred Giampietro. How you doing, Fred?


Fred Giampietro: Fine, fine. How are you?


Martin: And I apologize it took me a little while to pronounce your name properly. I’ve known your name, and of the pieces you’ve sold, I’ve seen your ads for many, many, many years of handling very fine things, and I’d like to know how you got started. What was your beginnings, and how did you evolve into handling such fine pieces?


Fred: I grew up Cheshire, Connecticut. My parents did not have money. They were very, very middle America, ran a landscaping nursery, and when I went up to school in Florida to study classical music I met Kathy, who – we later got married, so in 1973 I found myself at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida studying classical music, and one of my first dates with Kathy was to an antique shop. Her family always collected. Her father was an artist – is a contemporary artist and they loved antiques and they used to rummage around finding stuff, so first date we go to a place called Carousel Antiques in DeLand, Florida next to the University, and I bought a Shaker Number 7 Rocker. I don’t know what came over me. I just loved the stuff. I loved the idea that shop had everything from Victorian furniture to vintage clothing to old tools to junk, and there was this Shaker Number 7 Rocker and I got –


Martin: So, you know how to – you knew how to spot something fairly decent right off the bat, obviously.


Fred: I didn’t know it was a Shaker. I knew nothing about Shaker or what Shaker was, but I took it home. Took it to some antiques dealer that – who I respected or thought I respected and they told me what I had and –


Martin: Did it have the number 7 in them – one of them?


Fred: It had number 7 on it and it had – I’ll never forget it had a broken rocker and I, promptly, had the rocker replaced, and I took it to the dealer and they said: you did great, except you replaced the rocker, so I learned not to touch anything.


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Martin Willis: Hi, everyone. I’m with Richard Wright on Skype in Chicago. How you doing, Richard?


Richard Wright: I’m doing fine. Good morning to you.


Martin: Good morning and thanks for joining us. This is the second time you’ve been on.


Richard: Yes.


Martin: You were all the way back in the beginnings of this podcast and I appreciate your willingness to come back, and today we’re going to stay on a, or mostly on a topic, of mid–century modern, just for our listeners, out there, who have an interest in that, and so I’m going to, just, fire some questions at you. Your company’s been around for a while and you’ve handled – I saw on your website you’ve handled over 20,000 objects, so far.


Richard: That is true.


Martin: And, encompassing, mostly, the 20th and 21st century, basically. Right?


Richard: Correct.


Martin: Yeah. So, as far as mid–century modern – that’s a term you hear all the time, today, and, what does it actually mean and what are the years it encompasses when it comes to furniture and decorative arts?


Richard: So, mid–century modern is generally – there’s not a strict definition of it, but, generally, it falls into the category of post–war design. So it begins in 1945 and it, sort of, runs stylistically to, about, 1960. After 1960 you start to have other influences in design that, sort of, move design in a more radical place. So, real, kind of, heroic mid–century modern is 1945 to 1960.


Martin: So, again, you said that it’s not really strictly defined, because I’ve seen people sell 1970s items and call it mid-century modern. It’s, kind of, stretching it, a little bit, in the 70s.


Richard: Totally. I mean, I think that the concerns of design, the design world, coming out of the war were completely different than the, much more consumer-driven, culture of the 1970s design. There is a absolute stylistic shift that starts to occur, probably strictly, we’d start to see that shift show up in the late 50s – 1958, 1959. I’m using 1960 as a nice, round number, but mid-century modern really is – it is a cohesive style, visually. That style starts to fragment later on in the century.


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The following is a podcast  transcription.

Hi, everyone, this is Martin Wills and welcome to the Antique Auction Forum for episode number 111 with John Rinaldi on whaling scrimshaw.

Couple of announcements:  you can follow us on Twitter at  You can like us on Facebook and that icon is right on our website which is

If you’re listening to us on iTunes or some other podcast site, please do leave us a review.  Your comments are welcome on any podcast.  There is a comment form underneath each of them.

And if you’d like to give us feedback on our show or any show ideas or guest ideas, please feel free to email me at

Today we have a great informational show and I hope you enjoy it.

Martin:  This podcast is sponsored by WorthPoint.  Find out what your antiques are worth at  This is Martin Willis and I’m in Kennebunkport, ME with John Rinaldi.  How are you doing, John?

John:  Good, how are you doing?

Martin:  Good.  Thanks for meeting with me.  We met I think it was in the ‘90s sometime and I saw right away you had a lot of knowledge in scrimshaw and things like that.  You’ve been at it for how long?

John:  I started in 1972, so quite a while.

Martin:  Wow, so you were pretty young then.  So how’d you get started in that?

John:  When I started living in Kennebunkport I got quite interested in the history of – it’s such a shipbuilding history here in town that I kind of got interested in that.  And with that came interest in all the different artifacts that were related to ships and shipping and what not.  And it just became something I got very involved with and then I started to buy and sell things and started putting out little catalogs, and I’m still at it.

Martin:  Wow.  Where did you come from originally?

John:  I grew up in Connecticut in a very industrial city in Connecticut called Waterbury.

Martin:  How long would you say…you started collecting and selling scrimshaw teeth I think you said?

John:  Yeah, I got involved with it right away.  It was right about the time Norm Flayderman wrote his book.  It was, Scrimshaw and Scrimshanders.  And so there was a lot…it really kindled up an interest in scrimshaw and I got interested as a result.  And the book was kind of the Bible, and it still kind of is the Bible of the business, although a new one was just produced by the New Bedford Whaling Museum which is wonderful.

And so I just really liked it and loved the history of whaling and what an important industry it was in 19th century America and I got involved and interested not just in the scrimshaw aspect of it, but the implements and tools and items that they used:  harpoons and whale guns and just all the different aspects of whaling I found very fascinating.

Martin:  I was at an auction I would say 10 or 15 years ago and I believe one of those books went at the auction for quite a bit of money.

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Martin Willis:  Hello everyone, this is Martin Willis with the Antique Auction Forum and welcome to episode number 110 with Leslie Hindman.  I hope you enjoy today’s show.  This podcast is sponsored by WorthPoint.  Find out what your antiques are worth at

Hi, everyone, I’m on Skype with Leslie Hindman.  How are you doing, Leslie?

Leslie:  I’m doing really well, great!

Martin:  And we’re calling you at your Chicago office.  Can you tell us, right off the bat; I want to know how you started because I saw that you opened your first auction gallery there in 1982.  What’s your background prior to that?

Leslie:  You know I started working for Sotheby’s in 1978 and they opened a Chicago office and I was the assistant to the woman who was running it.  It was their first branch office that they started in America.  So I started there working, and I didn’t know much about the industry and I loved it immediately.

Martin:  Did you have an art background or something?

Leslie:  I had somewhat of an art background, but you know, just a general art history background.  I was 21, I think and the woman who was opening their office needed someone just to work with her just as her assistant.  I actually went to shorthand school and learned how to type, back in the day when people typed letters, and  just started doing all this general office work and then really fell in love with the auction business. And our office was very successful and grew.

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Martin: I have Bob on the line now how you doing?


Bob: I am doing well; it’s great to be here Martin thank you.


Martin: I was pretty excited when Eric Bradley of Antique Trader gave me her name and I thought it would make the perfect podcast. There is a lot of intrigue when it comes to art theft, and you are on the Colbert Report what was that like?

Bob: He is a great guy, very smart man, he works hard at that show, and it’s a great show.


Martin: Yes and he took it easy on you.


Bob: I think he was actually interested in the subject, is after the taping they told me usually gets up and leaves, but he stayed and asked me some questions. I think he was actually interested in the subject itself. When you first go on you go in the green room, any comes in to visit with you. He said listen I just want you to know that this is all in fun, and please don’t take offense at anything. Then the producers tell you don’t try to tell any jokes, let him do the jokes, no one upping. You don’t want to try to match brains Steve Colbert.


Martin: right off the bat I want to say, most people’s opinions is that art thieves early like Pierce Brosman, Cary Grant in their sort of in a romantic intrigue when it comes to art thief’s. What are art thieves really like?


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Martin: I’m on Skype with Rebekah competent, Steiffgal Cambridge, Massachusetts are you doing Rebekah?

Rebekah: it is a pleasure to be speaking with you this evening.

Martin: thank you, and you are the Steiffgal please tell us why you are the Steiffgal?

Rebekah: I am the Steiffgal, because my absolute love and passion is Steiff which is the vintage German brand, button in ear teddy bear, animals and dolls. I’ve been collecting Steiff the vast majority of my life, over 40 years, I blog about Steiff I work for Steiff as a consultant archivist, meaning I travel the country on behalf of the organization and identify and value Steiff products for the company. I also write extensively about Steiff for many media outlets. My Steiff Life is my blog, and truly describes a good part of my life.

Martin: I love talking to people who are enthusiastic about what they do, and I did meet you, first of all have to say 40 years? You mean at birth, I’m surprised that you are even that old.

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With at the Original Miami antique show, Martin introduces Audra Blevins, Maggie Turnipseed, Jason Robbins, and Will Seippel.


Martin: Will would you consider this show a success?

Will: Absolutely, and a lot of fun, we met a lot of cool people and have seen a lot of wonderful stuff and things did very well with the appraisals.

Martin: There were over 200 people at the appraisal clinic. Tell us some examples of items that were brought to the appraisal clinic.

 Maggie: a German Art Nouveau silver liquor set that was figural. There was some fabulous jewelry including a bug shaped costume jewelry pin.

Will: I saw a couple of neat things including, one was a sextant from a German submarine really hard to find, there was also some brandy glasses that was taken out of Hitler’s place in the mountains, Berchtesgaden eagle nest, and there were still in the box wrapped in cardboard, with a letter from a soldier that liberated them from the liar.

Audra I had beautiful Baccarat compote, a lovely Roseville pottery piece, and a naval dress sword, World War I. A Royal Dux figure and my most interesting thing was from the 1980s not that old, it was a Daum chalices, a boxed set designed by Salvador Dali with a nose and lips designed after Mae West’s nose and lips.

Martin: Jason please talk about’s new facelift.

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Hope you enjoyed Podcast #94. Martin visits longtime friend and very knowledgeable militaria collector/dealer Ron Burkey of Flying Tiger Antiques in Portsmouth, NH. They talk about what is hot, and cautions to take if you are new to this. They bring up various niches of the vast array of collecting in this field. They cautiously speak about Nazi pieces, and how it is a dreadful part of history, but collectible for more then one reason. Get the entire transcript below.

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I hope you enjoyed podcast #93. Martin visits the Penningtons at Maine Antique Digest in Waldoboro, Maine. He speaks with Sally, Kate & Clayton Pennington about the beginnings of the paper, the direction that the business is going in and much more.

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I hope you enjoyed podcast #92. Martin talks to Mike Overby of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction about their recent $16.8 million auction, and some of their strategies for success. They further discuss the state of the Western art market, what collectors may consider when buying (& selling) and much more. This is a very interesting view on this aspect of collecting and what changes when wealthy people decide to collect a genre of artworks. The competition is brutal, and things are not going to change anytime soon. Mike also cautions people who want to “invest in art” and makes some valid points about that.

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