The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of December 5 to December 12, 2019


Antique and Auction News

Christmas Tree

My antique and auction news column from a month ago focused on recent finds of antiques and other treasures. I’ll share antique auction news in this column.

A rare painting of Mozart sold well above estimate at a recent auction. Reuters reports that it was painted by Italian painter Giambettino Cignaroli in 1770. It depicts Mozart as a teenager, wearing a white wig and red coat and playing the harpsicord. There is musical score visible on the side of the frame. It is only known from the painting and is believed to have been written by Mozart himself. The painting was estimated for between 800,000 to 1.2 million Euros but brought 4 million Euros ($4.4 million U.S.).

Some valuable pieces of Hollywood memorabilia will go on the auction block on December 16th. A jacket worn by William Shatner when he played Captain Kirk in “Wrath of Khan” will be one of the items being auctioned. It has a pre-auction estimate of $80,000 to $100,000. The cape worn by Christopher Reeve in the 1978 Superman movie will also be going to auction this month according to the New York Post. It was one of six capes made for the movie. It is estimated to sell for $100,000 to $200,000. A smoking pipe from “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” will also be auctioned. It was used by Sir Ian Holm when he played the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. It also has a $100,000 to $200,000 estimate.

The New York Times reported that the bat Babe Ruth used to hit his 500th home run is being auctioned this month. Ruth had gifted it in the 1940’s to Jim Rice who was the mayor of Suffern, NY. After the mayor and his wife passed away the bat was handed down to the couple’s only son Terry. He was afraid to display the valuable bat or even to let anyone know he owned it. It is conservatively estimated to sell for at least $1 million. The bat that Ruth used to hit his first home run sold for $1.26 million in 2004.

A near mint copy of the first Marvel comic book from 1939 recently sold at auction. It was in fantastic condition grading a 9.4 out of 10. Fox News reported that it was originally purchased by a mail carrier at a Uniontown, PA newsstand in 1939 “who made a practice of buying the first issue of comic books and magazines.” It changed hands a few times before going to auction where it sold for $1.26 million.

Space photography is being offered in an auction ending this week. The New York Post reported that UFO images are featured in some of the photographs. One of the lots has an image used in the “I Want to Believe” poster featured in the first three seasons of “The X-Files.” That image is included in an auction lot of “seven vintage chromogenic prints.” The pre-auction estimate for that lot is $6,000 to $9,000, which may be a little pricey but isn’t completely out of this world.

We are still accepting quality consignments for our January 30th live auction in Worcester. Other events are also being scheduled. Please see for details on the January auction and other events.

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111),


Selecting and Caring for Your Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree
photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC

The holiday tree is the center of many family celebrations. Ornaments collected over the years decorate the boughs while brightly wrapped gifts are carefully placed underneath.

But the hunt for the perfect tree can be an important part of the tradition. Many try to find the right size and shape for the space allotted, a fragrance the whole family prefers and good needle retention for long lasting beauty. Load the family into the car or walk to the corner Christmas tree lot and let the hunt begin.

Size and shape are important. Your tree needs to fit but finding a fresh tree to last through the holidays is equally important. Here are a few tips to help you find the right tree and keep it looking its best throughout the holidays.

Buy local. You’ll support local Christmas tree growers and reduce the risk of spreading unwanted pests into your landscape when purchasing locally grown trees. Your local University Extension Service and Department of Natural Resources will provide updates on any threats.

Select the right variety. Family tradition may dictate your tree choice. Many prefer the fragrance of balsam fir and the needle retention of other firs like Fraser, white, Grand and Noble. Though not a true fir, Douglas fir needles have a wonderful aroma when crushed. White pines lack the fragrance that many prefer. Its pliable branches only support lightweight ornaments, but the soft needles have less bite than the popular Scots or Scotch pine. This evergreen has stiff branches that support heavier ornaments and its needles hold even when dry.

Check for freshness. A fresh tree will last throughout the holidays. Run your hand along the stem. The needles should be pliable, yet firmly attached to the branch. Avoid trees with lots of moss, lichens, vines, broken branches and other signs of poor care.

The right fit. Look closely at the overall shape and size of the tree. Stand the tree upright to make sure it will fit in the allotted space. Check the trunk. It should be straight and the base small enough to fit in your tree stand.

Make a fresh cut. Remove at least an inch from the base of the trunk before setting it in the stand. Straight or diagonal cuts work equally well. A diagonal or V-shaped cut may make it difficult to properly support the tree in the stand.

Proper watering is key. Fill the stand with water and check it often. Fresh trees can absorb as much as 2 quarts of water in the first 24 hours. Keeping your tree stand filled with water is the best way to keep your tree looking its best throughout the season.

Once your tree is in place you can add lights and decorations. Then be sure to take time throughout the busy holiday season to sit down, relax with your favorite winter beverage and enjoy the beauty of your Christmas tree.

Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses How to Grow Anything DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing writer for Birds & Blooms magazine and her website is