Category Archive 'Auction Sales'
27 Aug 2019

Rock Island Has Smith & Wessons

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Coming up September 6, 7, and 8: great Volcanics, a really cool Third Model Target complete with stock, a couple engraved by Nimschke, and a Kornbrath-engraved Registered Smith & Wesson to die for, and (for the icing on the cake) Elmer Keith’s own .38-44 with holster and Roper grips no less. If you recently won the lottery, you’re all set.

20 Jul 2019

The Last Walker Colt

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A great item, but so damn valuable that nobody will ever again drop the hammer, let alone shoot it.

25 Jun 2019

47 Moroccan Berber Belts

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Gros-Delettrez, Ethnographic & Indigenous Artifacts, June 28, 2019, 2:00 PM CET, Paris, France

Lot 57: Une exceptionnelle collection de 47 ceintures Berbères, Afrique du Nord — An unique collection of 47 antique Berber belts, North Africa, Moroccan Sahara

S’il est rare de rencontrer une de ces ceintures, en voir 47 réunies en une collection, cela nous semble unique. Certaines possèdent des fils métalliques dorés, d’autres, des fils métalliques argentés, d’autres sont toutes en laine, enfin d’autres possèdent des parties en coton. Usures mineures.
Milieu du XXe siècle
3 x 92 cm ou 3.5 x 97 cm de moyenne
It is unusual to find even one of these belts, but to see 47 united in one collection, seems unique. Some have gold wire, some silver wire, some are all wool, others have cotton parts. Minor wear.
Mid 20th century
1.2 x 36 inches or 1.4 x 38 inches on the average.

Starting bid €8,000 ($9115.60)

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Interesting visually, but just a bit expensive.

20 Jun 2019

Alleged Van Gogh Gun Sold at Auction

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Art News:

The rusty gun which Van Gogh probably used to shoot himself sold for €162,500 at a Drouot auction in Paris this afternoon. ArtAuction Rémy le Fur, which estimated the revolver at €40,000-€60,000, describes it as “the most famous weapon in art history”. The private buyer has not been named.

Although the seller has also not been identified by the auctioneer, she is believed to be Régine Tagliana, an artist and the daughter of Roger and Micheline Tagliana, who in 1952 had bought the café where Van Gogh lodged in 1890. The Tagliana family were given the gun in around 1960 by the farmer who had found it on his land, just behind the château in Auvers-sur-Oise. This is the village just north of Paris where the artist spent his final 70 days.

The auctioned Lefaucheux pinfire revolver is almost certainly the weapon used, although this cannot be conclusively proved. The type of weapon, its calibre, its severely corroded state and the location and circumstances of the find strongly suggest it is the gun. In the evening of 27 July 1890 Van Gogh suffered a gunshot wound while in a wheatfield and he then staggered back to the inn, dying two days later.

The discovery of the gun once again raises the question of whether Van Gogh committed suicide or was murdered. The 2011 biography by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith argued that he was killed by a local young man, René Secrétan, possibly by accident.

RTWT

Earlier post.

04 Jun 2019

Another Lewis Chessman

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Big news from the BBC:

A medieval chess piece that was missing for almost 200 years had been unknowingly kept in a drawer by an Edinburgh family.

They had no idea that the object was one of the long-lost Lewis Chessmen – which could now fetch £1m at auction.

The chessmen were found on the Isle of Lewis in 1831 but the whereabouts of five pieces have remained a mystery.

The Edinburgh family’s grandfather, an antiques dealer, had bought the chess piece for £5 in 1964.

He had no idea of the significance of the 8.8cm piece (3.5in), made from walrus ivory, which he passed down to his family.

They have looked after it for 55 years without realising its importance, before taking it to Sotheby’s auction house in London. …

Sotheby’s expert Alexander Kader, who examined the piece for the family, said his “jaw dropped” when he realised what they had in their possession.

“They brought it in for assessment,” he said. “That happens every day. Our doors are open for free valuations.

“We get called down to the counter and have no idea what we are going to see. More often than not, it’s not worth very much.

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness, it’s one of the Lewis Chessmen’.”

Mr Kader, Sotheby’s co-worldwide head of European sculpture and works of art, said the family, who want to remain anonymous, were “quite amazed”.

“It’s a little bit bashed up. It has lost its left eye. But that kind of weather-beaten, weary warrior added to its charm,” he said.

Despite not knowing its significance, the late 12th/early 13th Century chess piece had been “treasured” by the family.

The current owner’s late mother believed it “almost had magical qualities”.

A family spokesman said in a statement: “My grandfather was an antiques dealer based in Edinburgh, and in 1964 he purchased an ivory chessman from another Edinburgh dealer.

“It was catalogued in his purchase ledger that he had bought an ‘Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman’.

“From this description it can be assumed that he was unaware he had purchased an important historic artefact.

“It was stored away in his home and then when my grandfather died my mother inherited the chess piece.

“My mother was very fond of the Chessman as she admired its intricacy and quirkiness. She believed that it was special and thought perhaps it could even have had some magical significance.

“For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been carefully wrapped in a small bag. From time to time, she would remove the chess piece from the drawer in order to appreciate its uniqueness.”

The Lewis Chessmen set includes seated kings and queens, bishops, knights and standing warders and pawns. Some 82 pieces are now in the British Museum and 11 pieces held by the National Museum of Scotland. As well as the chess pieces, the hoard includes 14 “tablemen” gaming pieces and a buckle.

Since the hoard was uncovered in 1831, one knight and four warders have been missing from the four combined chess sets.

The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword and the equivalent of a rook on a modern chess board, which “has immense character and power”.

The discovery of the hoard remains shrouded in mystery, with stories of it being dug up by a cow grazing on sandy banks.

It is thought it was buried shortly after the objects were made, possibly by a merchant to avoid taxes after being shipwrecked, and so remained underground for 500 years.

Mr Kader, who has kept the discovery under wraps for six months while authenticating the find, said: “We can safely say that a million pounds will transform the seller’s life.”

He added: “There are still four out there somewhere. It might take another 150 years for another one to pop up.”

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Sotheby’s write-up.

15 Apr 2019

If You Happen to Have All the Tea in China…

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How on earth did it survive in that condition all these years?

11 Apr 2019

Gun That Killed Van Gogh? Maybe, Maybe Not, Too

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The 7mm Belgian pinfire revolver that might have shot van Gogh.

Hyperallergic reports on an intriguing opportunity to buy a junk gun that just

    might

have an important historical connection. On the other hand, some drunken clochard might simply have lost it sleeping in the field.

Any shmoe with a spare $25-$100 million dollars can land themselves an original Vincent Van Gogh painting, but this June, only one lucky bidder can go home with a singular piece of art history: the gun that was allegedly used by the eccentric painter to kill himself. As reported by the Associated Press, a 7mm pocket revolver found in a field in the northern French village of Auvers-sur-Oise — where Van Gogh is believed to have shot himself in the chest on July 27, 1890 — will go up for auction in Paris at the Drouot auction center, on June 19.

“The gun offered in this sale was found in this field by a farmer around 1960 and was handed to the current owner’s mother,” said the auction website. “Writer Alain Rohan investigated this case and wrote the book Did we find the suicide weapon? in 2012. Several pieces of evidence show it must be Van Gogh’s suicide gun: it was discovered where Van Gogh shot it; its caliber (7 mm) is the same as the bullet retrieved from the artist’s body as described by the doctor at the time; scientific studies demonstrate that the gun had stayed in the ground since the 1890s and finally, it is a low power gun so it could explain why Van Gogh didn’t instantly die after shooting it.”

The painter died two days later of his apparently self-inflicted injuries — although another recent theory is that Van Gogh did not inflict this wound himself.

“Another theory about Van Gogh’s death appeared in 2011,” says the Drouot website, referencing a controversial biography, Van Gogh: The Life, by authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, which makes several dramatic revisionist claims, based on 10 years of study with more than 20 translators and researchers. “According to [two] American researchers, the artist didn’t kill himself. He would have been the victim of an accident. [Two] young boys were playing with a gun next to him when one of them pressed the trigger by mistake and wounded him. However, even if this assumption is right, the weapon could still be the one that killed Van Gogh. The gun would have been left in the field.”

Either way, the gun was included in a 2016 exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, On the Verge of Insanity: Van Gogh and his Illness, which deals with multiple aspects of the painter’s notoriously troubled mental health, and is expected to fetch €40,000–60,000 (~$45,000–67,000) at auction. It certainly represents a unique offering for obsessive Van Gogh fans, gun collectors, and historical true crime enthusiasts.

08 Apr 2019

Neat, But Expensive

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A tumbler formed from a rubel coin with gilt interior, engraved:

“Der Russe ward bey Zorndorff geschlagen
Ich aber als Beut davongebracht
Aus Rubel bin ich ein Tummel gemacht
Zum Guten Trunck es kanns ein jeder wagen
Der nur Preussens Friederich und seine Taht verehrt
Der sein eigenes heil, des wirthes wohl begehrt.”

“The Russian was beaten at Zorndorff
But I brought it away as booty
I have made a tumbler out of a ruble
With this good drinking vessel everybody can
The great Prussian Friederich and his deed celebrate
And pledge his health, the worthy and admired.”

dated “25 August 1758”. The beakers are an eloquent testimony to a historic encounter during the Seven Years’ War: In the Battle of Zorndorf on 25th August, 1758, the Prussian troops beat the Russian army and succeeded in capturing a part of their war funds. Subsequently, a number of those Rubel [ruble] coins were embossed to little beakers commemorating Prussia’s military victory.

Dimensions: H 3.5 cm, weight 22 g.

Artist or Maker: marks of Johann Friedrich Wagenknecht, circa 1758.

Sold on Saturday for €7000.


Carl Röchling, Friedrich II. in der Schlacht bei Zorndorf 1758, 1911.

30 Mar 2019

Most Expensive Firearm Auction Sale Price of All-Time?

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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.

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