Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
19 Jun 2022

27-Year-Old’s Paintings Recently Sold for Seven Figures

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Anna Weyant.

As Spring Auction Sales reports come in, the art world is suddenly agog at Anna Weyant’s sudden ascent.

WSJ:

On the night artist Anna Weyant’s work debuted at Christie’s, the 27-year-old painter was too nervous to attend or even watch the livestream. Instead, Ms. Weyant holed up in her small Manhattan apartment and listened to a calming app on her cellphone until a friend texted with news.

“Summertime,” Ms. Weyant’s portrait of a woman with long, flowing hair that the artist had sold for around $12,000 two years before, resold for $1.5 million, five times its high estimate.

It has been a rocket-fueled rise to the top of the contemporary art world for Ms. Weyant—and far from her unassuming start in Calgary, Canada. Spotted on Instagram three years ago and quickly vouched for by a savvy handful of artists, dealers and advisers, Ms. Weyant is now internationally coveted for her paintings of vulnerable girls and mischievous women in sharply lit, old-master hues. Imagine Botticelli as a millennial, whose porcelain-skin beauties also pop one leg high like the Victoria Beckham meme or sport gold necklaces that read, “Ride or Die.”

Ms. Weyant’s oeuvre of roughly 50 paintings has already filtered into the hands of top collectors such as investor Glenn Fuhrman and plastic surgeon Stafford Broumand. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art recently exhibited her work in a group show, and former Venice Biennale curator Francesco Bonami said he predicts she will make her own Biennale appearance soon, which would be another career milestone.

As is, demand for her art outstrips her supply: The waiting list to buy one of her paintings, dealers say, is at least 200 names long. And last month she teamed up with the biggest art gallery of them all, Gagosian. … Read the rest of this entry »

16 Sep 2021

Emily Dickinson’s Hair

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Two locks of hair, one blond, one brown, allegedly from the head of Emily Dickinson are being offered for sale on Ebay for $450,000.

Were they stolen decades ago from The Evergreens by the poet James Merrill? See LithHub.

[A] bit of questionably obtained Dickinson memorabilia has been quietly traded among a group of literary men for years: locks alleged to be the poet’s hair (some of which are now for sale on eBay for the astronomical sum of $450,000).

How the poet—who chose to cloister her living body from all but a few visitors—would feel about pieces of it making the rounds is anybody’s guess. The dead cannot give consent. But the alleged Dickinson hair may have arrived on the market by a type of violation: theft. That’s the theory of Mark Gallagher, the English faculty member at UCLA who’s trying to sell the hair on eBay.

The story goes like this: While an undergraduate at Amherst College in the 1940s, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Merrill broke into the home (aka The Evergreens) of Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi. Merrill and two friends absconded with personal effects, including a small mirror, “tiny wine glass,” and a manuscript sheet—written by whom, it is unclear. The caper was recounted by Stephen Yenser in a 1995 issue of Poetry magazine dedicated to Merrill, who had died earlier that year. Yenser, Merrill’s literary executor and the now-retired founder of UCLA’s creative writing program, said he heard the tale from Merrill himself. In Poetry, he euphemized what was essentially burglary with terms like “borrowed” and “rescued,” writing that the trio “gained clandestine entry.”

The anecdote has been whispered among Dickinson scholars for years, according to University of Maryland English Prof. Martha Nell Smith, one of the nation’s foremost experts on Dickinson.

“I’ve long been convinced James Merrill did wander off with (steal?) some Dickinson items from the Evergreens, Martha Dickinson Bianchi’s home,” Smith wrote in an email.

Gallagher believes that Merrill must have also taken the hair during the alleged break-in at The Evergreens. Gallagher got his hands on the hair by way of the poet J.D. McClatchy, who, until his death in 2018, shared Merrill’s literary executorship with Yenser. McClatchy’s estate sale, where Gallagher purchased the hair, listed Merrill as the original owner.

Yenser, for his part, denies any nefarious origin for the locks. He says the hair came from an envelope found inside an 1890 edition of Poems by Emily Dickinson that belonged to Merrill, likely purchased from a rare book dealer.

Yet the envelope was labeled in cursive “For Mrs. Dickinson,” and the book in which it was found includes notes from Susan Gilbert Dickinson, according to Yale University, which now holds the volume and provided photos of the artifacts (below). Susan was Martha’s mother, and she and her husband Austin, Emily’s brother, lived at The Evergreens until their respective deaths in 1895 and 1913. Their daughter Martha then moved into the property and “preserved it without change, until her own death in 1943,” according to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, which controls The Evergreens. As far as Gallagher is concerned it’s quite possible Merrill took the book when he broke into the property.

RTWT

04 Sep 2021

Oppenheimer Early Meissen Collection

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Sotheby’s will shortly be auctioning a really remarkable collection of the earliest hard-paste porcelain made in Europe, by the Meissen factory in Saxony created by Augustus the Strong.

Museum quality stuff worth a look.

28 Aug 2021

Johnny Ringo’s Colt Sold Yesterday For $362,812

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Bonham’s
The Early West
The Collection of Jim and Theresa Earle
27 Aug 2021, 12:00 PDT
Los Angeles

Lot 12: JOHNNY RINGO’S COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER FOUND HELD IN HIS HAND WHEN HE WAS FOUND DEAD AT TURKEY CREEK.

Serial no. 222 for 1874, .45 caliber, 7 1/4 inch barrel with single line address. Doughnut ejector. US mark on left side of frame (partially defaced), Inspectors marks on barrel. Serial number partially visible on frame and triggerguard. Number on cylinder defaced. Condition: Good. Generally no finish with traces of blue on ejector housing balance a brown patina. Toe of left grip missing. Worn grips with no visible inspectors marks. Cylinder possibly replaced. Barrel shortened through wear. A very early martially marked single action.

Provenance: Johnny Ringo, found in his hand in Morse Canyon (mentioned by serial number, containing five cartridges, in inquest document, “Statement for the information of the Coroner and Sheriff of Cochise County, A.T.,” 1882); by descent to Mrs. Prigmore; to Allen Erwin (bill of sale, signed by Erwin and by Mrs. Prigmore’s son Donald Wilson, on her behalf); by descent to Francis Huffstadter (signed Power of Attorney, May 2, 1979; sold European and American Firearms, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Los Angeles, 1980, to Jim and Theresa Earle.

Literature: Burrows, Jack, John Ringo: The Gunfighter Who Never Was, Tucson, 1980, p 101; Wilson, R.L., The Peacemakers, New York, 1992.

Sold for US$ 362,812 inc. premium.

27 Aug 2021

Al Capone Colt Model 1911

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A Century of Notoriety: The Estate of Al Capone
October 08, 2021 06:00 PM PDT Gallery

Al Capone’s “Favorite” .45 Auto
Colt Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol. Partial serial number C 837. Cal .45 refinished at the time of engraving.

Provenance: Al Capone to Mae Capone to Sonny Capone to his daughters, uninterrupted.

Starting Price: $50,000
Estimate: $100,000 – $150,000

Fine engraving, excellent Sambar stag grips, and customized for target shooting. A gentleman’s gun, rather than a ganster’s.

02 Aug 2021

Another Rare Coin First Found by British Metal Detectors

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The Gold Penny or Mancus of 30 Pence, was struck during the time of Ecgberht, King of the West Saxons between 802 and 839.

Evening Standard:

An Anglo-Saxon coin discovered by a metal detectorist is set to fetch up to £200,000 [$277,791.37] at auction.

It was unearthed by a metal detectorist at West Dean, on the Wiltshire and Hampshire border, in March 2020.

Experts say it is the only late Anglo-Saxon gold coin in private hands, with eight other specimens held in institutions – seven at the British museum.

The coin, which weighs 4.82g, is expected to fetch between £150,000 and £200,000 at a sale of coins and historical medals by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb on September 8.

This coin probably represents a mancus, a gold denomination that first appeared in central and northern Italy, but was current in England already before the year 800.

RTWT

01 Aug 2021

Gary Cooper’s Griffin & Howe Custom Rifles

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Auction Date: September 11, 2021

Lot 1407: Gary Cooper Griffin & Howe .30-06 Sporting Rifle with Scope

Documented Griffin & Howe Bolt Action .30-06 Sporting Rifle with Zeiss Scope, and Silver Plaque Inscribed with Initials Attributed to Gary Cooper, Famed American Actor and Sportsman.
Estimated Price: $12,000 – $18,000

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Lot 1408: Gary Cooper Griffin & Howe Scoped 1903 Bolt Action .22 Hornet

Griffin & Howe Bolt Action .22 Hornet Sporting Rifle with Zeiss Scope, Large Movie Poster, and Silver Plaque Inscribed with Initials Attributed to Gary Cooper, Famed American Actor and Sportsman.
Estimated Price: $9,000 – $14,000

24 Jul 2021

Elmer Keith’s No. 5 Revolver

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Rock Island Auction, September 11, 2021
Lot 1270: Elmer Keith’s Custom Colt Single Action Army Target Revolver

Estimated Price: $65,000.00 – $130,000.00
Caliber: 44 Russian & 44 S&W special

Historic Elmer Keith’s “OLD NUMBER 5 COLT REVOLVER”, Well-Documented Engraved and Inscribed Custom Croft/Sedgley No. 5 Colt Flattop Target Style Single Action Revolver with Relief Carved Grip, Tooled Holster, and Documentation.

Description:
This incredible revolver was one of Elmer Keith’s (1899-1984) favorite revolvers and was custom built for him while he was still a young man early in his famous career as an expert marksman. Keith owned and shot a great many revolvers, including others sold by Rock Island Auction, but none is as unique or as famous as this one. The revolver is chambered for .44 S&W Russian or .44 Special. The latter was one of Keith’s favorites, and his experimentation with the .44 Special led to the popular .44 Magnum. The revolver is pictured on page 103 of Keith’s popular book “Sixguns” and listed as “No. 5 S.A. Colt, converted by Sedgley to author and Harold Croft’s design flat-top target” and also on page 169 being worn by Keith in the included holster with the caption: “Keith wearing George Lawrence belt and holster designed by Keith. S.A. Colt number 5.” A picture of Croft and Keith in Durkee, Oregon, in August 1928 is on page 126 and shows Croft showing Keith one of his custom revolvers. Keith’s revolver is also pictured in the included copy of “Gun & Ammo” from December 1967 in the article “Seein’ Sixgun Sights” by Keith. The most significant documentation for the revolver is the article “The Last Word” by Elmer Keith in the April 1929 issue of “The American Rifleman.” He notes, “My good friend, S. H. Croft, put in a lot of time, thought and money improving the S. A. Colt. Mr. Croft has designed the changes necessary to convert an ordinary S. A. Colt into the finest trigger single-action imaginable, either in the Featherweight model, or, at my suggestion, in a heavy, all-around 6-gun.” He notes that Croft used the Bisley back strap bent to the same angle as the regular S.A.A. and paired it with a S.A.A. guard and front strap. Keith states, “after playing with Croft’s guns a while I decided to have one of my S.A.A. guns worked over to incorporate some of Croft’s improvements, with a few ideas of my own thrown in.” The full details are worthy reading in the article. Keith indicates that Croft supervised the overall job and he and Neal K. Houchins of Philadelphia made the sights and the latter also fitted the barrel close to the cylinder. Keith wanted “a cross pin put through the front-sight band, and a set screw put in the rear of the flat-top frame and bearing against the rear-sight base, to lock the sight against a possible blow.” R.F. Sedgley modified the frame with a flat top that extend back over the top of the hammer, fit the new base pin and catch, made the No. 3 type grip frame, welded the base onto the S.A.A. hammer to fill the longer cut in the top of the Bisley back strap, manufactured the wide trigger, and made and fitted the new mainspring. On the latter, Keith wrote: “The Croft-Sedgley spring is without a double the fastest in action of any S.A.A. spring, and should improve the S.A. greatly for target shooting. . .” The hammer had already previously been fitted with a Bisley style spur by J. D. O’Meara for Keith “by dovetailing and brazing in the Bisley thumb piece.” Keith states, “We decided to call this gun model No. 5.” It was tuned to an approximately 3 1/2 pound trigger pull. “To my notion this is the finest and best Colt in existence. I know there are many with inlay work and finer finish, but they lack Croft’s many improvements, which are to me worth far more than all the inlay work, as they are a real help landing a bullet where I wish it to go. For general excellence of grip, balance, sights, trigger and hammer, I do not think this gun can be improved upon. Last spring I killed with this gun over 59 magpies, around two dozen crows and hawks, six horned owls, and a bobcat, to say nothing of over a hundred blacktail jack rabbits and a few woodchucks.” He later indicates he even shot this revolver at animals hundreds of yards away. He indicates the grips were replaced by him after the custom work and notes that the carving serves to fill the palm of the hand. The exact age of the frame on this fabulously customized and engraved revolver is not clear. In place of the usual serial number on the frame, this revolver is marked “M5.” The revolver a barrel turned down and fitted with an adjustable target front sight, an interesting cylinder pin release switch and pin with large grasping finial, a flat top frame with an adjustable notch rear sight, a Bisley style hammer, modified grip frame, and different mainspring. It is engraved with extensive floral engraving with serrated backgrounds. The top strap has the Masonic square and compass. The barrel has “RUSSIAN AND/S&W SPECIAL 44” in a panel and the one-line Hartford address on top. The left side of the frame has the two-line patent marking and circled Rampant Colt trademark. The back strap is inscribed “ELMER KEITH” down the back and “DURKEE, OREGON” on the butt. Includes a George Lawrence Co. 5 1/2 russet leather holster tooled with floral patterns. Provenance: Elmer Keith Estate Collection, Private Collection.

21 Jun 2021

Napoleon’s Campaign Drinking Glass

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Sat, Jun 19, 2021 10:00 AM EDT
Alex Cooper Auctions
Lot 1500 Details
DESCRIPTION
Circa 1800-1810; cut and faceted crystal cup by Montcenis, with etched Napoleonic cypher, 3 3/4 in. H., 3 in. Diam. with brown fitted kid leather cylindrical case with gilt bees and cypher on lid, having green velvet interior, 4 1/4 in. H., 3 3/4 in. Diam. Consignor states was purchased by General John M. Schweizer Jr. USAAF, in German antique store in 1953, and authenticated by the Louvre in 1956. Goblet is same as example on Napoleon.org website with slight size difference. Leather case is same as one displayed at Fondation Napoleon in October of 2018 and gobelet is very similar.

Sold for $3520 (with 28% Buyer Premium).

I did not win.

19 Apr 2021

“The English Gentleman”

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A Yale classmate recently sent me a link to this book coming up for auction at Swann: Lot 0021: Richard Brathwait (1588?-1673) The English Gentleman.

We both thought the frontispiece, showing the English Gentleman in Youth, during his Education, his Recreations, Vocation, Disposition, &c., His “Hope in Heaven, but His Feet on the Ground” attired in Carolingian fashion delightful.

I would certainly have purchased this curiosity if it were not horribly expensive. Alas! it went for $1700, with Buyer Premium: $2210. The book is quarto sized, and I fear a lot of people like framing and hanging that amusing and evocative frontispiece.

I looked for a free ebook, but was disappointed. There isn’t one.

HT: Tom Weil.

12 Apr 2021

Alexander Hamilton’s Martial Pistols

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Carried by Phillip Schuyler in the French and Indian War, then given by Schuyler to his son-in-law Alexander Hamilton circa 1780.

Rock Island is predicting a new record firearms price.

30 Mar 2021

Nice Object

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I receive a lot of email notices of auction sales. This morning an email circular from Christie’s had this fragment of a leopard serving as the illustration at the top. I liked it enough that I decided to look, unlikely as the chance would be, just in case it might be selling for only a few hundred dollars. I thought Karen would enjoy owning it as a decorative bibelot.

Clicking on the image, though, only took me to a sanctimonious pledge about carbon neutral auctioneering. Pah!

So I decided to capture the image and give it a search.

And I found it, as you see below.

I must admit: I have expensive tastes.

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Via Alain R. Truong:

Lot 33. A Mesopotamian inlaid limestone leopard, Late Uruk – Jemdet Nasr period, circa 3300-2900 B.C.; 2 ¼ in. (5.8 cm.) high. Estimate GBP 150,000 – GBP 250,000. Price realised GBP 212,500.

Provenance: Private collection, New York, 1960s.
with Mathias Komor, New York.
Leo Mildenberg (1913-2001) collection, Zurich, acquired from the above in the mid-1970s.
A Peaceable Kingdom: The Leo Mildenberg Collection of Ancient Animals; Christie’s, London, 26-27 October 2004, lot 153.

Exhibited: The Cleveland Museum of Art, Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, 21 October-29 November 1981.
Munich, Prähistorische Staatssammlung; Mannheim, Reiss-Museum; Jerusalem, Bible Lands Museum; Bonn, Akademisches Kunstmuseum; Stendal, Winckelmann-Museum, Out of Noah’s Ark: Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, 11 October 1996-28 June 1999.

Published: A. P. Kozloff, ed., Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Cleveland, 1981, no. 2.
P. E. Mottahedeh (ed.), Out of Noah’s Ark, Animals in Ancient Art from the Leo Mildenberg Collection, Bible Lands Museum, Jerusalem, 1997, no. 91.

Note: This Sumerian leopard with a ‘beauty spot’ (the remains of an ‘Egyptian blue’ inlay) on his cheek was affectionately named “Omar” by Mildenberg after the film star, Omar Sharif.
Only the upper section of the leopard is preserved, finely carved in the round in the heraldic rampant pose. While the body is shown in profile, the head is turned towards the viewer, snarling.
The mottling of the fur is rendered with a series of drilled holes, once inlaid with Egyptian blue (of which only one survives). The use of this typically Egyptian pigment is documented in Egypt from the Predynastic period, while contemporaneous similar-looking blue stones in Mesopotamia have been traditionally described as lapis lazuli. This single surviving inlay then represents one of the earliest appearances of Egyptian blue in the region.
According to Kozloff, the animal represented might be the Arabian leopard, now critically endangered and once found throughout the Arabian peninsula and the Sinai.
The use of coloured inlays to add detail to sculptures is well documented in Sumerian art. For a finely carved limestone bull showing drilled holes for now-lost inlays and also dated to the Jemdet Nasr Period, cf. Sumer. Assur. Babylone. Catalogue of the exhibition at the Musée du Petit Palais, 24 March – 14 June 1981, Paris, 1980, p. 38, no. 41.

Christie’s. Antiquities, London, 3 July 2019

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