Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 2011 Auction sales

Skinner's Boston: American Indian and Ethnographic Art - January 15, 2011
Taking the long view the Loango tusk from lot 254 was a good buy at $2,963 even though it probably dated 40
years later than what was quoted in the catalog. The 5 1/2 inch janus New Guinea mortar from lot 305 was
also a goo buy at $1,185. The fifteen ledger drawings by Arapaho artist Mad Bull in 1883 or 1884 sold for
$62,805 in lot 379 are very fine and in my judgment should have sold higher. Finally an early style 3rd phase
Navajo blanket in lot 566 estimated at $5,000 to $7,000 sold for $213.300. This is strange. The condition on
this piece was very poor and because they placed a question mark in the description Skinners apparently was
unsure as to whether the red was cochineal. So far nobody that I have talked to understands why this blanket
sold for this price. Suffice it to say that two people wanted it and that for the moment is all that can be said.

Christies New York: Native American Art - January 18, 2011 - The sale total is $1,116,188 with 82 lots bought in out of 147. For whatever reason either estimates that were too aggressive or a rainy cold day in New York this was not a good event for Christies. Some fine objects were bought in.  The sale was literally saved by two lots that almost brought in half the gross sales. The Wind River Shoshone painted elk hide in lot 121 sold for $146,500 with the commission and the Great Lakes 18th century hide shirt from lot 83 sold for $362,500 for a 2 lot total of $509,000.  Undoubtedly the after sales sales will be brisk as the auction house tries to improve their position and buyers scramble for even better deals.

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