January 12, 2005
Waterfowl decoys, long ago used by Native Americans who made them of reeds to lure ducks and geese into their nets, now trap much richer fare: Decoys attract about $12 million from collectors at auctions each year. The leading auction house for decoys, Guyette & Schmidt Inc., is moving its headquarters to St. Michaels on Maryland's Eastern Shore from Farmington, Maine, this month. The owners of the auction company, which sells $10 million worth of the decoys a year, said they were drawn by a warmer climate and lower taxes, but also the state's premier role in the craft.
January 8, 2000
A FEW DAYS AGO, I learned that one of upper Howard Street's leaders, auctioneer Barr Harris, was retiring, quietly, without fanfare. It's good news that his business will remain open, but I'll miss this unflappable gentleman. Barr Harris is the quintessential Baltimorean -- meaning he was born upstairs (delivered by a midwife) at the auction gallery, 873-75 N. Howard St. His father, a Russian immigrant named Jacob Harris, was a cabinetmaker who sold antiques. In 1950, Barr changed the place over to an auction house.
February 26, 2001
It's deja vu all over again on York Road. The Cockey homestead, sold at auction almost five months ago to a descendant of the original owner, goes back on the auction block Saturday. Same auction house, Alex Cooper Auctioneers Inc. Same starting price, $200,000. Same terms, a nonrefundable deposit of $20,000. Even some of the same bidders, based on the calls that broker Paul Cooper said he has received since the sale was advertised. But this time, it's doubtful that Joshua F. Cockey, great-great-grandson of the Joshua F. Cockey who built the house, will have a representative among the bidders.
September 22, 2002
A football used in the 1958 game in which John Unitas and the Baltimore Colts won their first National Football League championship sold for $30,000 to a lifelong New York Giants fan at a Towson auction yesterday. The buyer, Eric Inselberg, 31, has been collecting Giants souvenirs since he was 15. He came to Maryland from his home in northern New Jersey solely for the sports memorabilia auction, one of nearly 100 people who turned out at the Alex Cooper auction house to bid on items from the estate of a former Colts equipment manager.
April 22, 2013
The case of a small painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art decades ago took an unexpected turn recently when new questions were raised about a woman's claim that she bought it at a flea market. The holes in her story should cement the BMA's legal efforts to reclaim its property after all these years, but the strange tale also throws a fascinating light on the pitfalls that inevitably arise in any dealings with artworks of mysterious provenance.
September 27, 2012
A painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir that was recently rediscovered appears to have been stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art in 1951. As a result of the discovery, the FBI has begun an investigation, and an auction scheduled for Saturday morning in northern Virginia has been canceled. "Paysage Bords de Seine," a 6x10 inch view of the Seine River dating from 1879, attracted worldwide interest a few weeks ago, in part because of the romantic story behind the artwork's discovery.