Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
05 Nov 2018

Not Cheap, But Awfully Cool

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At Christie’s, and on-line auction November 8:

In Isaac Newton’s own hand:

In Latin, four full pages and three partial pages of text, on three bifolia, 203 x 155mm, the text on one page partially written in inverse orientation.

Notes on the Turba Philosophorum, one of the most influential of all alchemical texts, a Latin translation of an Arabic anthology of pre-medieval alchemical texts, whose origins may be seen in an attempt to apply Greek alchemy to Islamic science.

Estimate: GBP 80,000 ($100,800) – GBP 100,000 ($130,000).

15 Oct 2018

Sotheby’s Breaks All-Time Wine Price Record With 1945 Romanee-Conti

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Quartzy:

As Europe nursed its wounds right after the Second World War’s end in 1945, top Burgundy producer Romanee-Conti made just 600 bottles of dark red nectar before pulling up its vines for replanting.
Yesterday (Oct. 13), two of those 600 were sold in separate auction bids for a total of just over $1 million at Sothebys in New York. Three more bottles from the 1937 vintage went for a total of $930,000.

All five bottles beat the previous record for most expensive bottle of wine of any size, a $304,375 six-liter bottle of Cheval-Blanc 1947, sold in Geneva in 2010. (The records don’t include bottles auctioned for charity.) The two 1945 bottles also eclipsed the previous record for a standard-sized wine bottle—$233,000 at a Hong Kong auction in 2010.

The highest bid was for the first bottle from 1945, which went for $558,000. That’s 17 times more expensive than Sothebys’ upper estimate of $32,000. A few minutes later, the second bottle of 1945 sold for $496,000. Three magnums of the 1937 were then sold for $310,000 each, having been given an upper estimate of $40,000.

The total collection, from the personal cellar of wine producer Robert Drouhin, sold for $7.3 million. Nine of its 100 bottles went for six-figure sums.

The 1945 vintage is “rare and wonderful,” Serena Sutcliffe, head of Sothebys international wine department, wrote in the lot notes. “The best bottles are so concentrated and exotic, with seemingly everlasting power—a wine at peace with itself.”

RTWT

07 Oct 2018

$1.3M Banksy Artwork Self-Destructs at Auction Upon Sale

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Hyperallergenic:

A Banksy artwork “self-destructed” at a Friday night Sotheby’s auction in London.

“Girl with a Balloon” (2006) was the final lot of the evening sale at Sotheby’s and ended things off with an impressive final price of £953,829 (~$1,251,423), or £1,042,000 with buyer’s premium (~$1,367,104). Maybe people should’ve suspected something was suspicious when the artwork sold for the exact same figure as the artist’s previous auction record in 2008.

Robert Casterline of Casterline Goodman gallery was in attendance and told Hyperallergic what happened next. He explained there was “complete confusion” and an “alarm inside the frame started going off as the gavel went down.”

“[It] sold for over a million dollars and as we sat there…the painting started moving,” he said, and added that the painting’s frame, also made by Banksy, acted as a shredder and started to cut the canvas into strips. “[It was] all out confusion then complete excitement,” he explained.

Anny Shaw of the Art Newspaper spoke to Alex Branczik, the auction house’s head of contemporary art for Europe, who seemed as surprised as anyone. “It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” he said immediately after the sale. He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius,” he said, adding that he was “not in on the ruse.”

Shaw also reports that there was speculation “that the elusive artist had himself pressed the button that destroyed the work.”

But is the work destroyed? Or is it transformed? Even Branczik isn’t sure. “You could argue that the work is now more valuable,” Branczik said.

RTWT

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04 Oct 2018

1926 Bottle of Scotch Sold for $1,090,000

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AFP:

An extremely rare bottle of whisky was sold for a new world record at auction in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

The 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold at Bonhams for a total £848,750 (about $1.09 million, 947,000 euros) beating a previous bottle from the same cask that was sold in Hong Kong in May for £814,081.

Richard Harvey, a drinks expert at Bonhams, told AFP: “The buyer is from the Far East where there has been an enormous interest in whisky.

“Whisky bars are opening up in the Far East everywhere, so there is a huge interest,” he said.

In general, about “a third to 40 percent of our sales go out to buyers in the Far East,” he said.

Bonhams now holds the record for the three most valuable bottles of whisky ever sold at auction.

Martin Green, a Bonhams whisky specialist in Edinburgh, said: “It is a great honour to have established a new world record, and particularly exciting to have done so here in Scotland, the home of whisky.”

The whisky was distilled in 1926 and kept in a cask until it was bottled in 1986.

Just 24 bottles were produced with labels designed by two famous pop artists — 12 by Peter Blake and 12 affixed with the Valerio Adami label which features on the bottle sold in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

It was bought by the vendor direct from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994 and was part of a wider collection from the same owner offered in the sale.

It is not known how many of them still exist but one is thought to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and another is believed to have been opened and drunk.

Bonham’s 3 October 2018 Whisky Sale

15 Aug 2018

19th Century Rococo

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Late 19th Century Meissen Figural Group of Venus Attended by Putti and borne by Naiads Emerging from the Waves.

Royal Antiques Collectibles Auction, Aug 16, 2018, Lot 0015, Estimate: $3000-$6000 –Opening bid: $2500.

The flowing water depicted in porcelain is absolutely dazzling. Venus looks decidedly Saxon.

17 Jul 2018

Buffalo Bill’s Army Colt & Winchester ’73

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New Frontier Auction, July 21, 2018, 3:00 PM MST, Loveland, CO,

Lot 249: Buffalo Bill Cody’s Colt 1860 Army
Estimate: $50,000 – $80,000

This Colt revolver comes with approximately 15 pages of documentation and provenance, and additional research done by noted expert R.L. Wilson. Lineage on this revolver attributes only four previous owners. Mr. Wilson wrote a definitive book on Buffalo Bill memorabilia of which this was an item of focus. The revolver is a standard Model 1860 Colt Army, shipped in 1868, with factory nickel finish. All legends are sharp. The rebated roll-engraved Naval cylinder scene is nearly 100%. Frame and barrel markings are sharp. It retains its original nipples. This is a full plated example, which includes hammer and trigger, and retains 80%-85% of its original bright nickel finish. All matching numbers, even including the wedge. The ivory grips show wonderful aged color, and are well-fitting. The backstrap is professionally engraved “TO W.F.C. THE SCOUT”. Wilson reiterates the propensity to nickel and ivory handguns by Buffalo Bill. He points out several nickel and ivory Colt 1860 Army models in the same Civil War Ledger book No. 3 with the same proximity of serial numbers. Mr. Wilson’s documented ownership lists collector James Aplan as purchasing this revolver in 1994 from Mr. David Molleck along with a Buffalo Bill trunk that came from Mr. S.R. Randolph, who owned a bar/ museum on Lookout Mountain, Colorado near the gravesite of Buffalo Bill. According to Randolph, these items were obtained from Johnny Baker, the adopted son of Buffalo Bill. The information comes with an old copy of photograph of S.R.Randolph at Lookout Mountain with trunk, letter from James Aplan, documented history, and a 1993 letter from S.R. Randolph stating he obtained said revolver from Johnny Baker, and is listed by serial number. Included also is an early photograph of Buffalo Bill in his scout attire with cohorts, showing nickel and ivory Colt Army in his belt. While numerous pictures exist of Buffalo Bill sporting a nickel Colt and its presentation to Cody, along with the wonderful all original condition and special order finish and ivory grips of the revolver, makes this a very historical and extremely early weapon belonging to the iconic William F. Cody.

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Along with, Lot 250: W.F. Cody’s Presentation 1873 Winchester in .38 Winchester
Estimate: $30,000 – $50,000

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He could be holding the same rifle.

02 Jun 2018

Cheaper Than a Rolex

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Bukowskis, June 7, 2018, 1:00 PM CET, Stockholm, Sweden, Important Spring Sale 609 – Day 1,

Lot 194: HENRI DE BARY, POCKET WATCH, SILVER, PROBABLY LATE 17TH CENTURY
HENRI DE BARY, POCKET WATCH, SILVER, PROBABLY LATE 17TH CENTURY
Est: kr30,000 – kr40,000 [$3666 – 4888]
Starting bid: kr24,000 [$2932.80]

Description: Verge escapement, keywound, three sub dials for time, date and lunar date and three windows showing moon phases, months and the zodiac, engraved signature and 265, 50 mm, outer case 57,5 mm

Condition Report: One hand missing

And more complications than a Patek Philippe!

25 May 2018

Garryowen!

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George Armstrong Custer, Carte de Visite by Goldin. Taken in May 1865, just after the conclusion of the war. Custer was in Washington for the Grand Review celebration.

Tom Slater, in the latest Heritage email, introduces the upcoming June 9th GEORGE ARMSTRONG CUSTER AND THE PLAINS INDIAN WARS Auction at Heritage Auctions:

For Garryowen And Glory!

Those were the prophetic closing words of the regimental song of George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry. As a boy growing up in the days of black-and-white TV my favorite “old movie” was They Died with their Boots On, starring the incomparable swashbuckler Errol Flynn as G. A. C. I watched it countless times. Who could forget the catchy tune played over and over during the film, or the image of Custer, the last man standing, blazing away, six-gun in each hand, as he was ridden down by a horde of Indians? Eventually I would have to unlearn most of the contrived “history” related in the movie, but my disillusionment did little to discourage my fascination with the saga of Little Bighorn and Custer’s Last Stand.

Barely 200 men perished with Custer, a seemingly insignificant number when compared to the tens of thousands of casualties in other American battles. Why does the Little Bighorn saga still hold such fascination nearly a century and a half later? Undoubtedly, part of the allure lies in the fact that Custer was a genuine American hero long before the events of 1876. The youngest man to be made general during the Civil War, he was famous for his exploits as a cavalry commander — as well as for his golden locks and flamboyant dress. After finishing dead last in his West Point class, Custer certainly made his mark. During the decade before Little Bighorn he led the 7th Cavalry as they fought Indians and explored new territory with the Yellowstone and Black Hills Expeditions. By the time of the disastrous battle in 1876 he was a celebrity and a household name.

Further adding to the drama was the possibility that personality traits and conflicts played a role. Was Custer brash and irresponsible in rushing to attack the large Indian encampment, or was he simply acting on what he thought was reliable military intelligence? Was the failure of Capt. Frederick Benteen to come to Custer’s aid a sound military decision, or was he influenced by his well-known personal distaste for his commander? Was Major Reno’s retreat after initially assaulting the village an example of cowardice, or an unavoidable response in the face of unanticipated, overwhelming resistance?

Lastly, there was the epic significance of a number of Plains tribes and bands coming together for one last, great celebration of their vanishing way of life, and to make a final valiant stand against the inevitable encroachment of “civilization.” It is now known that the Indian camp was aware of the soldiers’ approach, but failed to scatter as had been their tactic in the past. Rather they waited almost passively for the great confrontation, knowing full well that, even if they managed to win the battle, they had already lost the war.

It is our great honor to bring to you on June 9th an amazing auction focused on those historic events and the personalities associated with them, titled “George Armstrong Custer and the Plains Indian Wars.” We are especially gratified to present the important artifacts and relics amassed by Glenwood J. Swanson, the highly respected Custer collector and scholar whose items make up a large portion of the auction. Glen is particularly appreciated for his ongoing support of archeological endeavors at the Custer Battlefield and for his landmark book, G. A. Custer His Life and Times, published in 2004. Lavishly illustrated, largely with items from his own collection, this book gives wonderful insights into Little Bighorn and the men who fought there.

01 May 2018

Coming in July

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Elmer Crowell, Black Duck.

Copley’s 2018 Sporting Sale, July 19-20.

05 Apr 2018

Augustus II Coronation Plate

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Soup plate from the Coronation Service of Augustus II “the Strong”, King of Poland 1697-1706, 1709-1733, bearing, quartered, the arms of Poland and Lithuania.

Hampel Fine Art Auctions, April 12, 2018, 10:00 AM CET, Munich, Germany, Lot 332: Estimated price: €3,000 – €5,000.

Augustus sheltered the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger, after he escaped captivity at the hands of Frederick I of Prussia, but then imprisoned him himself in order to force him to produce gold.

Efforts at producing gold proving unsuccessful, Augustus put Böttger to work on discovering the secret of Chinese porcelain. The correct method of producing hard-paste porcelain was discovered in 1708, leading to the establishment of the famous factory in Meissen in 1710. Böttger died in 1719.

11 Feb 2018

Nietzsche’s “Untimely Meditations” with Author’s Autograph

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Heritage Auctions, 2018 March 7 Rare Books Signature Auction – New York #6186:

Friederich Nietzsche’s Untimely Meditations, 1874, an early work by this major philosopher with author’s presentation inscription.

Opening bid: $15,000 (plus 25% buyer premium.)

Friedrich Nietzsche. Unzeitgemässe Betrachtungen. Zweites Stück: Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Historie für das Leben. [Untimely Meditations, Part II]. Leipzig: E. W. Fritzsch, 1874. First edition of the second work (of four completed) in Nietzsche’s Untimely Meditations series, this being on the subject of history; association copy, inscribed by the author on the front wrapper to Wilhelm Vischer Bilfinger who appointed Nietzsche, sans dissertation, to the First Chair of Philology at the University of Basel: “Herr Rathsherr Prof. Dr. Vischer / in treuer Gesinnung und mit / der Bitte um Wohlwollen und / Nachsicht überreicht vom / Verf.” Octavo (8.75 x 5.5 inches; 223 x 140 mm.). 111, [1, printer’s note] pages. Twentieth century green cloth, spine lettered in gilt; edges sprinkled gray; patterned endpapers; publisher’s bluish green wrappers laid down and inserted. Spine gently leaning, spine ends and corners very lightly worn; boards very slightly splayed with a touch of soiling. Front endpaper with some light pencil erasure causing some minimal bruising; wrappers very lightly soiled; front wrapper with a couple horizontal closed tears, expertly mended when laid down, just a single letter of the inscription affected (the “N” in “Nachsicht”); rear wrapper with some paper filled in in the gutter margin; title-leaf faintly browned; text-block with some trace foxing. Near fine. Dr. Vischer died shortly after publication, in July of 1874, making this an early presentation. Carl Pletsch. Young Nietzsche. New York: 1991. pp. 99-100. From the Marilyn R. Duff Collection.

19 Jan 2018

Lost Rembrandt Found in New Jersey Estate Sold for Over $1 Million

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FoxBusiness.com:

Nobody expects to find a Rembrandt sitting under the ping-pong table in the basement. So the Landau brothers, natives of Teaneck, N.J., felt perfectly comfortable skipping their own estate auction. …

Their inheritance tale started typically: Back when Ned, Roger and Steven Landau’s grandparents died, their mother cleared out their house, keeping some items that might go well in her dining room – like his silver tea set and a couple of old paintings. Then mom died in 2010, and her three sons repeated the drill.

“We had a garage sale, but there were a few things like the china and silver that looked very nice and we thought, well, we don’t really want to just give them away,” Ned tells Colby in the program.

One item that again made the cut was a small painting that had always creeped out Ned.

“It was of a woman passed out in a chair, and two men trying to revive her. As a kid I thought, ‘why did we have a painting like that in our dining room?’” he says.

Mom’s nice stuff went straight into Roger’s basement. Though the boxes made it hard to play ping-pong, Roger procrastinated another four years before calling the estate sale guy up the parkway, John Nye. Nye valued the silver pieces at a couple of thousand dollars, and each of three paintings at a few hundred. Like Ned, Nye wasn’t impressed by the picture of the men reviving the woman with smelling salts: “It had varnish that had cracked and paint loss. Not a beautiful painting and the people in the picture were not beautiful people. It was remarkably unremarkable.”

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Kovels:

A painting offered in an estate sale by John Nye in New Jersey was appraised for $500 to $800. It had been stored for five years before the family finally got around to selling items from their mother’s estate in 2015. It created an amazing sale when it sold for over $1 million. … The painting was left by a mother to her three sons in 2010. It had been left to her by her parents and she hung it in her dining room. The boys had always thought the picture of two men trying to revive a fainting woman was “creepy.” But it was actually a Rembrandt painting from the 1600s, part of a series of paintings of the Five Senses. This one was “The Unconscious Patient (An Allegory of the Sense of Smell).” The other four are in museums. The boys didn’t even go to the sale since there were so few of their item being sold. The auction went as expected until bidding for the picture went from $250 up to $800. Then came a surprising $5,000 from a bidder in France, and then a higher bid from Germany. The bidding war went from $80,000 to $450,000, then finally ended at $1.1 million (including buyer’s premium). The boys didn’t get the news for a few days because it was a Jewish holiday and they didn’t answer the phone.

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