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Auctions: A collection of stickpins - there's a story here

Beginning with the sale on Monday of a century-old single-owner collection of stickpins, auctions next week will offer the playful rather than the pricey.

Beginning with the sale on Monday of a century-old single-owner collection of stickpins, auctions next week will offer the playful rather than the pricey.

Monday's sale of stickpins will be conducted by William H. Bunch Auctions & Appraisals beginning at noon at the gallery at One Hillman Drive, on Route 202 South in Chadds Ford. It precedes by a day Bunch's sale on Tuesday of 500 lots of silver, glass, china, porcelain, furniture, and 200 lots of fine art.

The approximately 200 pins are part of an early-20th-century collection amassed by A.M. Brinckle, a Philadelphia-based traveling salesman known as "the scarf pin man" according to images of news article clippings accessible with the catalog at (Both Monday's and Tuesday's sales will also be conducted on

Stickpins, back then called scarf pins, have gone the way of the bustle and spats. But Brinckle, who represented a Connecticut cut-glass company, had more than 1,000 pins. He wore them all the time, sometimes changing them four times a day.

His explanation: In an earlier life, while practicing law, he defended a man accused of murder who was identified by his scarf pin. The man was convicted and hanged. Brinckle told reporters he vowed never to be caught wearing the same scarf pin day after day.

Presale price estimates on Brinckle's alibi pins start at $20 to $40 for a sterling silver pin, with most expected to stay in the three-figure range. The exception is a yellow gold Egyptian Revival winged scarab bar pin expected to bring $600 to $1,200.

Tuesday's sale, also beginning at noon, has no such colorful backstories but does have some quality pieces, notably a 79-piece Tiffany gilt sterling "Kings" pattern flatware set ($6,000 to $9,000), a variety of Henkel Harris contemporary furniture, a Steinway Model O grand piano ($8,000 to $12,000) a Marti gilt bronze, Champleve, and Sevres French mantle clock ($18,000 to $25,000), five sculptures by the Mexican American artist Feliciano Bejar, including a steel and glass "Magicscope" ($6,000 to $12,000) and an oil-on-canvas depiction of rabbits and game birds - the spoils of a hunt - by the American painter George Cope ($30,000 to $40,000.)

Previews: Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, and 9 a.m. to sale time Tuesday. For further information, call 610-558-1800.

Freeman's holiday sale. Freeman's is getting into the seasonal spirit with a holiday sale of American, Continental, and Asian furniture and decorative arts beginning at 10 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at its gallery at 1808 Chestnut St. Most of the 720 lots should bring three- and four-figure prices to judge from the online catalog at (Online bidding is available through

Most are on the earnest side, beginning with 65 lots of sterling and plate that will open Tuesday's session of American and Continental items.

But some are both playful and affordable. A Millville style crimped-rose paperweight has a presale estimate of $150 to $250. A 1994 Paul Stankard honeycomb and crocuses paperweight should bring $2,000 to $3,000.

Among the Continental items are a bronze figure of Saturn, the Roman god of mortality, holding a sickle and scythe ($300 to $500). For an estimated bid of $200 to $300 you can get a circa 1800 English portrait (from the estate of Donald Staley) of a bewigged barrister and for $300 to $500 a real barrister's wig in its original toleware case lettered with the name A.B. Walford, Esq.

The 340 lots of Asian furniture and decorative arts offer snuff bottles, ivory carvings, bronzes, cloisonné, screens and related furniture, and celadon jades.

Previews: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Monday, and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. For further information, call 215-563-9275.

Arts at Alderfer. The big prices of the week are expected at Alderfer Auction & Appraisal's sale of decorative and fine art beginning at 1 p.m. Thursday at the gallery in Hatfield. The sale concentrates on paintings, notably a George Sotter winter landscape with a presale estimate of $60,000 to $80,000, but also features sterling, Asian arts, bronzes, and miscellaneous items.

Along with the Sotter, paintings include four Walter Baums, notably Winter Landscape, Sellersville ($8,000 to $12,000); three Bucks County scenes by the rising Tatiana Alexeeva, notably Lambertville Station from the Canal ($2,500 to 43,500); Washington Square, a winter scene by Guy Wiggins ($4,000 to $6,000); Les Fleurs, an oil on canvas by Maurice de Vlaminck ($5,000 to $10,000); a self portrait attributed to John Singer Sargent ($10,000 to $15,000) and, for fans of nostalgia, a summer landscape by Peggy Lee, best known as a singer and songwriter of the 1930s and 40s ($100 to $300).

Disparities don't stop there. A monumental gilt bronze-mounted Chinese cloisonné vase has a presale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000; a 42-inch tall pair of majolica Venetian jesters should bring a mere $1,500 to $2,500.

For an estimated $500 to $700, you can get a vintage Playboy Bunny costume, complete with ears and tail, worn in the 1960s by Allison McKay of the St. Louis Playboy Club.

Thursday's sale will be preceded on Wednesday by a 300-lot uncataloged discovery art auction beginning at noon, and a fine and estate jewelry sale at 5 p.m.

Previews: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 8 a.m. to sale time Wednesday and Thursday at the gallery at 501 Fairgrounds Rd. For further information, call 215-363-3023.