Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
11 Mar 2019

WWI Aerial Combat Trophy

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Hermann Historica GmbH
March 15, 2019, 1:00 PM CET
Munich, Germany

Lot 1178: First Lieutenant Hermann Kraft – a goblet of honour “Dem Sieger im Luftkampf”

Early silver issue with decorative hammer marks and the engraved dates of his first shootdown “30. Nov. 1915 Macquart b/Lille” underneath a scene of fighting eagles in relief on the obverse. The base ring with inscription “Dem Sieger im Luftkampf” (tr. “To the Victor in Aerial Combat”), the mark of fineness “800” with crescent moon and crown, and four ball feet underneath. The bottom punched with inscription “Chef des Feldflugwesens” (tr. “Chief of Field Aviation”) with Prussian eagle. Height 19.5 cm, weight 382 g. Comes with four photographs of Kraft, two picture postcards, a letter from the 8th Bavarian Reserve Division and a burial ground certificate with a photograph of a visit to the grave. Hermann Kraft (1889 – 1916), in 1915 lieutenant and observer with the Bavarian Field Flying Detachment 5, in 1916 observer of the squadron leader of Fighter Squadron 33, First Lieutenant Oskar Jilling, on 30 July 1916 both were killed in action at Vaux-Verdun. Very rare goblet with engraving of shootdown, in untouched condition, from family possession.

Quite an item! The bidding is already at €6,200.

20 Feb 2019

Nice Little Monet

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At Christie’s February 27th Sale:

Lot 11
— Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Saule pleureur et bassin aux nymphéas [Weeping willow and pond with water lilies]
stamped with signature ‘Claude Monet’ (Lugt 1819b; lower left)
oil on canvas
78 1/2 x 70 3/4 in. (199 x 180 cm.)
Painted in Giverny in 1916-1919.

Estimate “upon request,” meaning: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

03 Dec 2018

Found Object

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Atlas Obscura:

During the Bronze Age, around 4,000 years ago, in what is now Afghanistan, an artisan from the Indus Valley (or Harappan) civilization made a ceramic pot. The four-inch-tall vessel was distinguished by a doe-eyed antelope painted across its flank. We’ll never know who used it, or for what—at least before 2013.
That’s when Karl Martin, a valuer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire, England, purchased the pot at a car boot sale, a kind of English flea market. And why not? He got it and another pot for a total of £4—or, £1 for every thousand years since it had been made.
Of course Martin didn’t know at the time that he was buying an authentic artifact from one of the cradles of civilization. All he knew, he said in a Hansons release, was that he “liked it straight away,” so he gave it a place of honor in his household where he would see it every day. It was in the bathroom, where it held his toothbrush and toothpaste. There it sat for years.

And there it would have stayed, if not for the fact that Martin often encounters antiquities in his line of work. One day, he was helping a Hansons colleague unload some items headed for the block when he spotted some familiar-looking pottery, coated with patterns and animals like those on his toothbrush-holder. He brought his holder to the colleague, James-Seymour Brenchley, Hansons’ Head of Ancient Art, Antiquities & Classical Coins. Brenchley was able to link the pot’s painting style to that of other Indus Valley artifacts. He speculates that the pot had arrived in the United Kingdom via British tourists. Martin decided to put it up for auction at Hansons, where it sold this week for £80—“not a fortune,” Martin admits, but still a 1,900 percent profit, not adjusting for inflation.

RTWT

For £80 minus seller’s fee, I’d have kept it for my toothbrush.

20 Nov 2018

Your Library Needs This

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Christie’s — Sale 17162 — Russian Literary First Editions & Manuscripts: Highlights from the R. Eden Martin Collection, London, 28 November 2018.

Lot 68
DOSTOEVSKY, Fyodor (1821-1881). Brat’ia Karamazovy. [The Brothers Karamazov.] St Petersburg: Brothers Panteleev, 1881 [but December 1880].

Estimate
GBP 22,000 – GBP 30,000

(USD 28,754 – USD 39,210)

The first edition of Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, in a superb contemporary cloth binding – arguably the most attractive surviving copy of ‘the most magnificent novel ever written’ (Freud). Dostoevsky’s lifetime publications were typically issued in sober cloth bindings; this colourful and decorative binding is otherwise unrecorded and may have been commissioned by the publisher for presentation. Karamazov in any contemporary cloth is very rare; RBH and ABPC record only one: a set with only volume 1 bound in cloth (sold, Christie’s, 21 May 2014, lot 56). Kilgour 286.

Four parts in two volumes, octavo (210 x 143mm). With the half-titles and the final blank in vol. 1 (occasional light scattered spotting, mainly to the edges and some margins.) Contemporary decorative green cloth by V. Kiun with his printed label in the first volume; front covers with a large decorative block in gold, black and red incorporating the text ‘Sochineniia Dostoevskago’ [Works of Dostoevsky]; covers with a black foliate border; spines titled in gilt and tooled in gilt and blind; plain endpapers (negligible rubbing); custom brown morocco backed clamshell case. Provenance: ‘I 36’ (penciled press mark).

18 Nov 2018

$65,100 Worth of Steampunk Watch

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I buy things at auction now and then, and I consequently get loads of auction spam mail.

The lead item is sometimes visually intriguing enough that I cannot resist clicking on the link out of mere curiosity.

What, I wondered, was this particular watch being sold by a Swiss Auction House all about?

Ineichen Zürich AG, Zurich, Switzerland

November 17, 2018 Sale, Lot 289: VIANNEY HALTER Antiqua

Description: Case: Rose gold case; Dial: Hours and minutes silver dial, date display, silver-coloured month and year dial, silver weekday display; Movement: Automatic movement, Mov. no.: 8R, Case no. 99.8R.132, Cal. VH198, 43mm, black leather strap with pin buckle.

Sold yesterday for: CHF 52,500 ($52,500) + 24% Buyer Premium = $65,100.

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Why would anybody spend so much money on such a weird watch? GaryG explains.

[A]t first I’d be tempted to characterize the Antiqua as a “patronage” piece: one purchased in recognition of and in support of the great work of one of the most skilled independent watchmakers.

Upon reflection, however, I’m going to classify it as a member of the “investment” category: a watch that, regardless of its prospects for future financial appreciation, can be a foundational element of a carefully curated collection. For me, the Antiqua merits a spot in the watch box of any serious collector of independent watches, and I know that I’m certainly not alone in my view.

The truth is that I fell for the Antiqua when I first saw one more than a dozen years ago; while many of my friends will freely confess that at the time they were at first put off by its looks, I was smitten from the start. It took me a number of years to save up the money and find the right piece, but for me buying an Antiqua was just a matter of time.

I’ll start with one word: steampunk.

The steampunk ethic really appeals to me, and I appreciate Halter’s use of something he calls the Futur Anterieur (roughly, “the future as seen from the past”) as a guiding design principle. Because we cannot truly see the future, at any point in time we envision it through the lens of present-day items and technologies. As seen from the 1860s’ vantage point of Jules Verne, building a submarine or spaceship with heavy, riveted windows would have made perfect sense; and for the occupants of those vessels as imagined by Halter, a matching watch would be just the thing to have.

I think that it’s also fair to say that the Antiqua began the modern design movement in watches. A leading independent watchmaking impresario once told me that he considers the Antiqua “the missing link between traditional and contemporary watchmaking.”

I’m of like mind, and for this reason alone, for me the Antiqua is one of the few most important independent watches ever made.

RTWT

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!

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