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Early 20th Century Design

Charles P. Limbert Co., shade attributed to Forest Emerson Mann
table lamp, #7

Toomey & Co. Auctioneers is well known for its expertise in early 20th century design. In the 1980s, the company was at the forefront of the revival of the American Arts & Crafts Movement under the former Treadway Toomey Auctions partnership. In addition to Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers has extensive knowledge regarding works by architects from the Prairie School, as well as material from the Art Deco period.

We have conducted numerous auctions of early 20th century design from prestigious collections. In May 2012, we sold La Hacienda: The John L. Jerome Collection, which was the most important collection of early Gustav Stickley pieces ever sold at auction. The collection of Robert and Elaine Dillof was sold in December 2014 and is considered today to be the most important single-owner sale of Arts & Crafts furniture and decorative arts to date. In June 2015, we handled selected works from the Roy and Sarita Warshawsky Collection. This included a rare Art Nouveau hair comb by René Lalique that sold for $205,500, the highest price ever achieved at auction for a Lalique comb.

Presented below is a virtual print catalog showing various Prairie School and Arts & Crafts design works by distinguished makers such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley from an Important Private Collection that Toomey & Co. offered in 2017. Use the arrows to navigate and click on the square brackets for full-screen browsing. While many items in this catalog have sold already, the remaining selection is available for direct purchase through Toomey+, our online marketplace.

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Contact a Specialist

John Walcher, Senior Specialist, Vice President, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers

John P. Walcher

Vice President
Senior Specialist

[email protected]


John P. Walcher, a Vice President of Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, is a Senior Specialist in the Early 20th Century Design Department and joined the company in 2013. John was raised in Springfield, Illinois and holds a degree in Biology from Western Illinois University. Prior to and since joining the company, he has assisted with numerous consignments from important private collections, estates, and institutions.

While at Toomey & Co., John has helped oversee many important collections including: the Robert and Elaine Dillof Collection, the Warshawsky Collection, the Estate of Candice B. Groot, the Estate of Robert E. Beck, the collection of Governor Jim Thompson, and the Estate of Robert E. “Butch” McGuire, among others. He also managed the sale of deaccessioned objects from the Art Institute of Chicago.

John has been in the auction industry since 2000 and long held a passion for the fine and performing arts. He is currently a member in the following organizations: Sustaining Fellows at the Art Institute of Chicago, Antiquarian Society at the Art Institute of Chicago, New York Silver Society, Irish Georgian Society, Joffrey Auxiliary Board (chairman emeritus), Advisory Board of Common Threads, Central Illinois Numismatic Association (life member), and the Illinois State Museum Society (life member).

In addition to being a Vice President and Senior Specialist, John is a licensed auctioneer and acts as the primary auctioneer for Toomey & Co. He also regularly assists many charitable organizations by offering his services as a professional auctioneer.

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Riley Humler, Director of Ceramics, Toomey and Co. Auctioneers

Riley Humler

Director of Ceramics

[email protected]


Riley Humler has been a dealer and collector of American and European Art Pottery for more than 35 years. He was Gallery Director of Cincinnati Art Galleries and coordinated the Art Pottery and Art Glass Auctions there for over 20 years. In 1991, Cincinnati Art Galleries, owned by Randy and Michelle Sandler, purchased the over 1,600-piece Glover Collection, containing a trove of rare and majestic examples of Rookwood Pottery. Under Humler’s direction, the three-day auction for the Glover Collection on June 7-9, 1991 set several new records for Rookwood Pottery and American pottery in general.

In subsequent years, additional pottery auctions were held and more records set: $90,750 for a Rookwood Iris Glaze plaque with ships; $121,000 for a large Cowan Pottery Jazz bowl; and $350,750 for a Rookwood Black Iris vase by Kataro Shirayamadani featuring cranes with electroplated silver and copper. Since 1996, Humler has also served as an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow and he frequently lectures on subjects related to American Art Pottery, especially Rookwood. He is the current Vice President of the American Art Pottery Association (AAPA) and a frequent contributor to the AAPA’s Journal.

In 2009, the Sandlers decided to focus on the operation of Cincinnati Art Galleries and allowed Humler to establish an association with the Rookwood Pottery Company, moving the auction into their location in Cincinnati’s historic Findlay Market district. Originally branded as The Auctions at Rookwood in June 2010, the firm later came to be known as Humler & Nolan. After many successful sales, Humler & Nolan held its final auction, Rookwood XXX, on June 20-21, 2020.

A Louisville native, Humler has been married for 35 years and is the father of five children and the proud grandfather of nine. He resides in Cincinnati but will work closely with Toomey & Co.’s team in Oak Park, Illinois, just west of Chicago.

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