Saturday, November 08, 2014

Auctions Around The World - Fall 2014

1. DALLAS, TX.- A rare and early working model of Eli Whitney's revolutionary Cotton Gin, a cornerstone of museum exhibits from Michigan to Georgia, is expected to sell for $10,000+ in Heritage Auctions' Nov. 8 Americana & Political Signature Auction in Dallas. From a direct rice paper printing of The Declaration of Independence (est. $12,000+) to an original blueprint for Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece "Fallingwater" (est. $12,000+), the auction spans 200 years of American ingenuity, politics, and culture.
 "The phrase "museum quality" is tossed around quite liberally these days, so we are pleased to present items that have quite literally been displayed in museums for decades," said Tom Slater, Director of Americana for Heritage.
The evocative cotton gin dates to the early 1800s and spent more than 60 years in the Atlanta Museum before appearing in the important exhibition "Slavery on Trial-the Long Road to Freedom" at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

2. DENVER, PA.- Geological treasures of every imaginable color and origin will take the spotlight on Saturday, November 8, as Morphy’s presents an eye-filling 116-lot auction of rare minerals. In addition to gallery bidding, all forms of remote bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet.
The anticipated top lot of the sale is Lot 10, a spectacular 257-gram Tanzanite crystal. Found in the Merelani Hills region near Arusha, Umba Valley, Tanzania, the intense blue-purple specimen is a true rarity with perfect proportions culminating in a sharp, chiseled determination. Previously in a private collection assembled by a gem broker in Arusha, this crystal was sold to an investor a few years ago.
“Tanzanite crystals only come from one place in the world, a mine complex that is already past the 1.5-
kilometer depth mark,” said Morphy Auctions president, Dan Morphy. “The mine is still going, but there’s a limit, and access to Tanzanite crystals like the one in our sale will eventually end.” Measuring 10.9 by 4.7 by 3.5cm, the crystal is estimated at $100,000-$125,000.
Another geological beauty that’s expected to land in the money is Lot 102, an important, 100-percent natural gold specimen from Boise County, Idaho. It was found with a metal detector in 2008 at the old dumps of Belshazzar Mine. “Crystallized gold from this locality was barely known until this find,” Morphy noted. After this particular specimen’s discovery, the Belshazzar Mine area became known as one of the top US locales for gold in crystal form. The piece has been assayed by specific gravity at 19.35 ounces of pure gold content out of 24.56 ounces of total weight, including the matrix rock. Of investment grade and measuring 10.8 by 7.7 by 6.7cm, it is expected to sell for $80,000-$110,000. ... more

3. LONDON.- Christie’s announces a new approach to buying: Christie’s Buy or Bid. This November, alongside the usual auction calendar, Christie’s South Kensington presents a hand selected group of items that will be available to purchase at a fixed price for a fixed period. Shoppers have the opportunity to acquire their Christmas presents in the Old Brompton Road saleroom or online between 14 November and 3 December. Anything which is not snapped up during this initial period will go into the 9 December Interiors auction where they will be priced with auction estimates. Christie’s Buy or Bid will showcase a unique and eclectic collection of 42 lots, handpicked by our specialists to make for personal presents or simply a new addition to the home. Fixed prices for the Christie’s Buy or Bid selection start at £1,040, ranging up to £13,000, and items bought ahead of the auction can be specially gift- wrapped for buyers to take home ready for the holidays. The wide range of gifts includes everything from paintings and sculpture, to jewellery, to an Art Deco chromium plated coffee machine and a 1962 pinball machine.
A Group of Papua New Guinea Chloromelanite Ceremonial Stone Adze Blades or Obligation Stones Buy Purchase Price: £6,500 Bid Auction Estimate: £4,000-5,000
• An Art Deco Chromium plated Coffee Machine by Victoria Arduino Buy Purchase Price: £13,000 Bid Auction Estimate: £8,000-10,000
• An Electro-Mechanical Star Jet Pinball Machine made by Bally, 1962 Buy Purchase Price: £10,400 Bid Auction Estimate: £6,000-8,000
• An 18ct white gold and diamond 'Possession' ring, by Piaget Buy Purchase Price: £3,900 Bid Auction Estimate: £2,500-£3,000
• A pair of Tamil Nadu gold earrings, South India, 19th century Buy Purchase Price: £3,250 Bid Auction Estimate: £2,000-2,500
• A 'Tubogas' quartz wristwatch, by Bulgari Buy Purchase Price: £5,200 Bid Auction Estimate: £3,000-£4,000
• A Large Moroccan Ammonite from the cretaceous (145-65 MYA) Buy Purchase Price: £2,080 Bid Auction Estimate: £1,200-1,600
• A pair of fossilised giant deer or 'Irish elk' antlers circa 10,500-5,700 B.C. Buy Purchase Price: £10,400 Bid Auction Estimate: £6,000-8,000
• A Swiss gilt-brass Atmos clock, Jaeger Lecoultre, Switzerland Second half 20th century Buy Purchase Price: £1,040 Bid Auction Estimate: £500-800

4. NEW YORK, NY.- The History of Science auction at Bonhams New York ended with the sale of the Apple-1 computer, which sold for $905,000, almost twice its high estimate, making it the world’s most valuable relic from the computer age.
The winning bid went to a smiling representative from the Henry Ford Museum who triumphantly raised the paddle after battling it out with another interested party on the phone.
Cassandra Hatton, the senior specialist in charge of the auction comments on the success of the sale of the Apple-1, “The provenance on the Apple-1 is excellent and the condition is outstanding, so it was not surprising that it did so well. We are thrilled to have broken the world record for its sale, and are even more thrilled that it is going to a wonderful new home at the Henry Ford Museum.”
In addition to the beautifully intact motherboard, this Apple-1 comes with a vintage keyboard with pre-7400 series military spec chips, a vintage Sanyo monitor, a custom vintage power supply in wooden box, as well as two vintage tape-decks. The lot additionally includes ephemera from the Cincinnati AppleSiders such as their first newsletter “Poke-Apple” from February of 1979 and a video recording of Steve Wozniak’s
keynote speech at the 1980 “Applevention.”
The Apple-1 is widely acknowledged as the herald of the personal computer revolution, being the first pre-assembled personal computer ever sold. This example is one of 50 hand-built for the ByteShop by Steve Wozniak in the summer of 1976 in Steve Jobs’ garage (or possibly his sister’s bedroom). At the time, only a handful of people could conceive of how a personal computer might be considered useful, let alone desirable. Now, not even 40 years later, it boggles the imagination to think of life without them.

5. DALLAS, TX.- A San Ildefonso Polychrome Plate, by famed potter Maria Martinez and her son, Popovi Da, circa 1966, may sell for $20,000+ in Heritage Auctions' Nov. 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction in Dallas.
"The work of Maria Martinez and Popovi Da is the most sought after of all San Ildefonso pottery," said Delia E. Sullivan, Director of American Indian Art at Heritage. "That this plate is a polychrome example, rather than the usual black-on-black, sends the value soaring. It’s really something quite special. Like this plate, the fall auction is filled with finds that stand out for their artistic merit as well as for their historical interest."
The auction holds fine American Indian art objects from every corner of North America. A brilliant Sioux Beaded Hide Dress, circa 1900 (est. $6,000+), fashioned from two skins and embellished with glass beads, is offered with provenance relating to a noteworthy Winnebago Appliqued Ribbon-work Outfit (est.
$1,500+). The current owner's step-mother danced in the Winnebago outfit at the Wisconsin Dells, while the Sioux dress was owned by an elder member of the family. A stunning Acoma Polychrome Jar, circa 1890, has provenance from the collection of Earl and Ann Morris, who were early anthropologists in the Southwest (est. $5,000+). A beautifully-composed Alaskan Eskimo Carved Wood Mask, probably from King Island (est. $1,000+), is also on offer.
An exceptional Pre-Columbian Shark Pendant/Brooch, circa 600-1100 AD (est. $10,000+) was cast in solid gold using the ancient lost wax process. The realistic and fine shark form — quite rare among Pre-Columbian gold figures — highlights a gold collection that also includes a Prancing Canine; a Composite Creature, each circa 400-1100 AD; and a large Veraguas Standing Figure, circa 900-1100 AD (all est. $5,000+ each). Among the Pre-Columbian pottery, an Expressive Maya Stucco Head, circa 600-800 AD (est. $8,000+), is a stand out.

6. NEW YORK - Wall Street Journal - It may be autumn, but Christie’s got a dose of “Spring” when it sold Édouard Manet’s wispy view of a woman sporting a bonnet and parasol for $65.1 million in New York on Wednesday—nearly doubling its high estimate and breaking the artist’s auction record.
Manet unveiled the 1881 work to great acclaim at Paris’s taste-making Salon in 1882. He intended the work to form part of a four-part series on the seasons, but the artist died two years later, before he could finish “Autumn.” He was 51 years old.
Stories often help sell paintings, and “Spring” enjoyed a colorful afterlife, bought in 1909 by Col. Oliver Payne, an Ohio oil magnate who famously owned a 300-foot-long steam yacht named Aphrodite. The colonel’s heirs sold the Manet on Wednesday; the buyer, a young man with a faux-hawk hairdo and a red necktie, works for Otto Naumann, an old-masters dealer in New York. The gallery was bidding on behalf of an anonymous client.
  An employee stands by Fernand Leger's painting "The Constructors, with Tree" on Oct. 14 at Christie's Auction House in London.  Luke MacGregor/Reuters
Sizzling provenance couldn’t save Fernand Leger’s scene of a construction crew working beside an aloe plant, however. Christie’s failed to find a buyer for “The Constructors, with Tree,” despite its $16 million low estimate. The 1949-50 work’s prior owners included casino magnate  Steve Wynn  and Chicago’s Sara Lee Corp., but when the Leger went up for bid on Wednesday, the house’s Rockefeller Center salesroom fell still. Before the sale, Christie’s had offered the work a guarantee, a financial mechanism in which it pledges to buy a work if no one else does... more

7. NEW YORK - Wall Street Journal - Sotheby’s  got New York’s fall auctions off to a rollicking start with a sale of Impressionist and modern art on Tuesday that totaled $422.1 million, the highest in the 270-year-old company’s history.
Leading the charge was Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti’s 1951-52 bronze “Chariot”—depicting a finger-thin woman riding atop a chariot—that sold to a telephone bidder for $101 million.
Collectors and dealers in Sotheby’s York Avenue salesroom gasped when auctioneer Henry Wyndham kicked off the bidding for the work at $80 million,?and quiet pervaded the early moments of the bidding. Sotheby’s had staked its own money to guarantee that the work would sell, a risky strategy, but it paid off when a telephone bidder swooped in at the last minute and placed a single, winning bid. The work had been
estimated to sell for $90 million or more.
The “Chariot” now ranks with Edvard Munch’s $120 million “The Scream” as one of the most expensive artworks ever sold at auction, but the record for a Giacometti still belongs to the artist’s “Walking Man I,” which sold for $104.3 million four years ago. The “Chariot” buyer remains anonymous, but the specialist handling the winning bid typically represents American collectors.
Elsewhere in the sale, three bidders chased hard after Amedeo Modigliani’s “Head,” a 2-foot-tall stone bust of a woman with the artist’s signature elongated face. The winning telephone bidder paid $70.7 million, a record high for the artist. The dozen sculptures in Sotheby’s sale claimed nearly half the sale’s overall total—a sign that Impressionist and modern collectors continue to elevate the value of three-dimensional objects to the blue-chip status of paintings.... more

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