uctioneer Franklin Greenberg recalls
the scene: Two well-heeled ladies
were sitting at opposite ends of the
same row at a live auction several
years back. A Chinese ivory-jade panel
worth around $500 went on the block. A
hand shot up, followed by another across
the room. Simmering looks flew back and
forth. Pretty soon, the women were furi-
ously outbidding each other for the item,
offering outrageous sums for it.
When one of them ran out of money or
staying power, the triumphant bidder
walked away with an exceedingly expen-
sive decorative panel.
"I thought it was a joke at first. Then I
realized there was a vendetta going on,"
At another auction some years ago, a
novice bidder so badly wanted a pair of din-
ing-room chairs that she began to bid
against herself. After the second time,
Greenberg stopped everything and gently
told her that if she upped herself again,
he'd take her bid an she'd take home some
mighty costly chairs.
The moral of the story: Be competitive,
but don't lose your head.
Greenberg, of Oak Park, has been in the
business for some 26 years, first in New
York City, then at a now-defunct Bloom-
field Hills-based auction house, and cur-
rently with Les Goodman at the Royal Oak
Auction House and Gallery, Royal Oak's
first permanent auction house.
At noon Sunday, he and Goodman will
conduct a live auction of thousands of items.
They range from a Beatles throw pillow to
a 1941 pen-and-ink drawing by Jacques
Villon to a collection of antique tin litho fric-
tion cars to antique beaded purses to mod-
ern furniture to the most spectacular item,
THE D E TRO I T
Bargain hunters and
collectors may find what
they're looking for at
two auctions this week.
It's almost impossible
JULIE EDGAR STAFF WRITER
a solid onyx and bronze Tiffany
clock from the early 1900s. That
will probably go for between $8,000
and $10,000, Goodman says.
It's not Jackie 0. at Sotheby's,
but then, few people who attend-
ed that walked away with a bar-
"People vastly overpaid for
items, but they were thrilled to be
there, to buy items of a famous per-
son. There's always the thrill and
challenge, even in a small auction
house," Greenberg says.
Sunday's auction will be a de-
parture from the norm, says Good-
man, who likes the "adrenaline" of
a good auction.
'We'll serve wine and hors d'oeu-
vres. People will have a good time,"
he says. He expects about 200 peo-
After running Decorative Arts
20th Century Modern in Royal
Oak for 13 years, Goodman, of
Farmington Hills, outgrew the
shop and moved into the new quar-
ters a few blocks east of Main
Street. The items to be auctioned
will be displayed in the main
gallery of the 11 Mile Road store,
which specializes in contemporary
20th-century furniture by the likes Pop culture artist Charles Fazzino is known for his whimsical commentaries on life illustrated by his 3-D serigraphs.
of Charles Eames, Herman Miller, One of his New York scenes will be auctioned off at the Fanclub Foundation for the Arts Fund-Raiser.
George Nelson and Heywood-
At the behest of her fiance, radiologist dozen animation cels featuring Woody
Wakefield. Most of his regular inventory,
including curvy, furry and boldly colored Mark Bernstein, whom she met at last Woodpecker and his girl Winnie, Felix the
chairs, couches, ottomans, lamps, tables, year's spring fund-raiser, art dealer/ Cat and the Pink Panther, along with
cabinets, bureaus and the like, are not up collector Tracey Conn donated works for adorable Warner Brothers stuffed animals,
Thursday's auction that run the gamut signed earrings and a 3-D serigraph by
for auction but are on display.
from pop art to cultural memorabilia.
Charles Fazzino, an autographed photo-
Conn, of West Bloomfield, chose a half- graph of sculptor Bill Mack and auto-
idders seeking a worthy cause and a
serious bargain may want to bid
silently on a bottle of fine wine or a
charming animation cel of the Pink
Panther playing pool, for instance. The
place is the Fanclub Foundation for the
Arts' 20/30 League's second annual spring
Auctioneer Franklin Greenberg is unaware of any definitive book on auction
fund-raiser on Thursday, May 23.
etiquette. But he's got a few suggestions of his own, culled from a quarter
Fanclub Foundation for the Arts rais-
century on the circuit:
es money for established cultural organi-
zations in the city that need a boost. This
• Never make obscene gestures to an auctioneer. "It hurts his feelings."
year, it made grants to the Hilberry The-
• Ask questions about the desired item if you haven't viewed it first.
atre, Orchard's Family Services Summer
Arts Program and Birmingham-Bloom-
• Don't bid against yourself unless there's a counter-bid.
field Art Association.
The 20/30 League is a division of the
• Resist getting swept up in the fervor of the auction, lest you buy something
Foundation that was formed to attract
you really don't like or need.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, IT'S A WONDERFUL TOWN!
The Art of Auctions