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Memorabilia Auction A Big Success

YESTERDAY’S AUCTION OF THE MOUNT VERNON (NEW YORK) VFD MEMORABILIA had a good turnout and a very satisfactory sale.

If you missed the announcement of the event, read the Firegeezer article HERE.  There were some terrific items available and the article has the links to the photo descriptions of some of them.

We got a report today from the Clarke Auction Gallery and we’ll post it here because we’re certain that many of you will find it interesting:

We had a big crowd of collectors and dealers yesterday afternoon as well as the top two  officers of the Mt Vernon Volunteer Fire Battalion in attendence.  The president gave a short opening speech reminding everyone present that the history of firefighting in America was built on volunteers.

We think that the sale went very well and the average price per lot was close to $500. 

Highlights were a 6 foot high hand carved folk art oval plaque c.1900 signed T.H. Boyce that hammered at $11000. The same artist also did two shadow box dioramas of firehouses that hammered at $1200 and $1300.  An 1857 C Currier lithograph of the NYC Fire Department in poor condition hammered at $900.  An 1877 baseball commemorating a July 4 game between two firehouses went at $3000.

Traditional fire memorabilia also went high. One small speaking trumpet under a glass dome hammered at $1800, another for $1700. An inscribed silverplate kettle on stand went for $1400.  

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Helmets went from low of $30 for a badly fire-damaged one to $800 and $1000 for better examples. A collection of helmet badges went for $2100. A framed collection of medals from various events went for $1600.

As far as old firehouse books, two 1850’s ledgers and minutes went for $325 and larger collections from the 1860’s through the 1950’s averaged about $200 a box lot.

The 19th C. Wax sculpture of a fireman, with a damaged shoulder went for $1500. Later we heard that it may have been a figure of Harry Howard.

An old firehouse pool table went for $4750.

There were bargains also – big oak cabinets for example. The midget firefighter  photos did not attract much attention from the crowd and hammered at $80. A photo captioned Captain Kangaroo turned out to be a living ex-firefighter who resembled the Captain so got corrected.  A huge framed triptych in good condition with many 19th C. photographs went for only $200, almost the same as a collection of scrapbooks of newpaper clippings.

But the important thing is that the firemen were moved by the response and delighted with the results, all for a good cause.  

Anyway, I wanted to thank you for the coverage. We are not sure how so many collectors had heard about the sale, but I know that your reach is wide and hard to measure.

All prices are hammer and don’t reflect our 17.5% buyers premium.

- Tom Curran for Clarke New York auction.

Update, 7:00 pm:  We asked what the selling price for the fire pole was.  Their response:

The 9′ fire pole only went for $225 + premium. The second 12′ one actually was determined to be a bar rail so went for $50 only….haha.

We enjoyed doing this sale – great consignors and a great cause, but we also found these collectors and dealers a cut above in terms of personality and honesty –  a good bunch. 

Update #2:
Reader Hank Bergson left a comment on the original posting and he’s asking for some information.  So we’re re-posting his comment here to make sure his question gets read by everybody:

It was a great auction.  The volunteers made some $ and there were a lot of happy collectors.
Any one have a list of Early Mt Vernon NY fire chiefs?  Looking for one with initials J.W.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Hank Bergson

    Mt Vernon Chief
    I got my answer
    James Wilkinson, Chief Engineer 1881-1882
    In a box of photos at the auction
    will e-mail you a picture to post
    Hank

  • Hank Bergson

    Mt Vernon Chief
    I got my answer
    James Wilkinson, Chief Engineer 1881-1882
    In a box of photos at the auction
    will e-mail you a picture to post
    Hank