Antique 'train weathervane' could steam ahead at James D Julia

As we've reported, James D Julia is looking to a major firearms auction in the spring. It's natural to concentrate on their militaria auctions as they are currently the leading auctioneer of collectible firearms.

However, it's easy to miss out on some valuable antiques which the company also offers. For example, in June 2010, the auctioneer's Rare Toy and Doll Division set the new World Record for a single toy at auction when a small tin Santa in sleigh pulled by goats listed at $100,000 to $200,000, brought $161,000.

Likewise their Glass and Lamp Division's Fall Auction grossed nearly $2m dollars. A beautiful floor model, Tiffany Lamp, estimated at $125,000 to $175,000, realised $172,500.

This week, there are some truly beautiful items going under the hammer as part of the company's Winter Antiques and Fine Art Auction.

In particular, there is a rare and important Cushing & White steam locomotive and tender weathervane with painted surfaces from the third quarter of the 19th century.

This recently discovered labelled example of sheet tin, zinc and copper was discovered in an East Coast Estate. It retains remnants of early painted surface.

It is modelled with precise details including steam whistle and bell, headlamp, water tube, moulded star decorations, twisted wire guides and more with mounted on rods serving as track and centring the original mounting rod.

On the proper right side of the coal tender is mounted the oval brass maker's plaque which reads "CUSHING & WHITE" above an oval cartouche with indecipherable markings beneath which is impressed "WALTHAM MASS.".

Similar weathervanes may be found in the Collection of Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, another example is pictured in Treasury of American Design. The museum interest indicates its strength as an investment.

Cushing Locomotive
Cushing Locomotive ($35,000-$65,000)
(Click to enlarge)

Additionally, a full bodied copper and iron locomotive with vertigree surface was last sold August 4th - 6th, 2006 at Northeast Auctions, as part of the Susan and Raymond Egan Collection.

When discovered, the locomotive and tender were with several original but disconnected pieces, dents and separations, much of which have been reattached. There are some minor losses and very old imperfections, all of which were untouched to keep the weathervane as virgin and original as possible.

The very old worn painted surface has existed for a very long time, perhaps before the turn of the century. A truly exciting discovery with an undisturbed surface, it is expected to sell for $35,000-$65,000 in the auction which takes place in Maine and online on February 4, 2011.


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