Phillips de Pury forms partnership with Russian luxury goods firm Mercury Group

LONDON – Phillips de Pury & Company, the international contemporary art company, has entered into a strategic partnership with leading Russian luxury company Mercury Group, with immediate effect. Mercury Group will acquire control of the company from the partners of Phillips de Pury & Company and Simon de Pury will remain Chairman and an important shareholder in the company.

Simon de Pury, Chairman of Phillips de Pury & Company said: “We have seen tremendous growth in the company over the last four years and this partnership with a major player in the luxury sector will allow us to provide a unique platform to new and fast-growing markets. Russia has clearly emerged as an important art market and there is no doubt that my vision for the company and Mercury Group’s vision are aligned. This is a fantastic opportunity for the global reach of Phillips de Pury & Company to become even stronger. We now look forward to the future with a significantly enhanced capital base and exciting growth prospects.”

Preliminary discussions between Phillips de Pury & Company and Mercury Group began in July 2007 and have now concluded just over a year later, with a comprehensive agreement to further the scope of the business. Phillips de Pury & Company has seen continued success in the sale of contemporary art, design and photography, reporting 80% growth from half year 2007/2008 in sales volume in contemporary art auctions alone. Phillips de Pury & Company operates across four selling platforms: auctions, private treaty sales, selling exhibitions and building private collections in the collecting categories of contemporary art, photographs, design, editions and jewelry.

Mercury Group is Russia’s largest luxury retail company whose holdings include The Tretyakov Projezd, the Barvikha Luxury Village and TSUM department store, high-end retail properties in the Moscow area that house fashion and jewelry brands such as Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Rolex and Graff as well as showrooms for Ferrari, Maserati and Bentley.

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Mata Ortiz pottery. Image courtesy R.G. Munn Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.com Archive.

Mid-century Mexican potter’s vision puts Mata Ortiz on the map

Mata Ortiz pottery. Image courtesy R.G. Munn Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.com Archive.

Mata Ortiz pottery. Image courtesy R.G. Munn Auctions and LiveAuctioneers.com Archive.

SIERRA VISTA, Ariz. (AP) – In about 1955, a teenage Mexican boy named Juan Quezada found a cave near the village of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua in Mexico, containing some ceramic pots created by the ancient Paquime Indians.

He started to experiment with locally available materials to try to re-create the pottery. In 1971, after about 16 years of work, he figured out how to do it. He later taught the skill to his extended family members.

Gradually, more people learned, and today there are hundreds of artists in Mata Ortiz, located about four hours by car southeast of Bisbee, Ariz., who make exquisite handmade pottery appreciated by collectors worldwide.

In January 1976, an American named Spencer MacCallum went to a secondhand shop in New Mexico and saw some pottery for sale. He was fascinated by its quality.

The pieces were not signed. MacCallum wondered where they came from, and, more importantly, who made them. So, he traveled in search of the potter in March of that year. He showed people photos of the pottery and was directed to Quezada in Mata Ortiz.

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Starring in James Julia’s summer auction was this awe-inspiring life- size figure of the Goddess of Liberty, which sold for $143,750. Image courtesy Julia Auctions.

Julia’s hails $5 million sale as the best summer affair yet

Starring in James Julia’s summer auction was this awe-inspiring life-  size figure of the Goddess of Liberty, which sold for $143,750. Image courtesy Julia Auctions.

Starring in James Julia’s summer auction was this awe-inspiring life- size figure of the Goddess of Liberty, which sold for $143,750. Image courtesy Julia Auctions.

ROCKLAND, Maine – James D. Julia’s spectacular antiques and fine art auction at the Samoset Resort has long been a favorite of the summer auction season. This year the Fairfield, Maine, auction company’s three-day extravaganza, Aug. 26-28, featured more than 1,700 lots with sales topping $5 million, making it their biggest summer antiques auction to date.

Bidders in attendance were treated to the breathtaking display in the posh ballroom and adjoining halls of Maine’s most luxurious resort. The sale featured nearly 750 pieces of fine artwork, high style Victorian contents of a Gulf Coast mansion, early American furniture, folk art, pottery, and fine antiques of every kind from some of the finest estates and collections to hit the auction block in many years. Included were the contents of the Richard Paine estate of Seal Cove, Maine, whose auto museum was a world-renowned attraction. His tremendous collection of folk art included a variety of rare weather vanes highlighted by one in the form of a full-bodied standing mule, which carried a $20,000-30,000 estimate. Circa late 19th century, this possibly unique form was a must have for two phone bidders who refused to let it go without a fight. Only one could be victorious, and that is the one who was willing to pay $117,300.

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Peanuts creator Charles Schulz drew this Sunday comics page in May 1953. Done in pen and ink, the strip sold for $67,800 at Philip Weiss Auctions. Image courtesy Philip Weiss Auctions.

3 ‘Peanuts’ strips fetch $110,740 at Philip Weiss Auctions

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz drew this Sunday comics page in May 1953. Done in pen and ink, the strip sold for $67,800 at Philip Weiss Auctions. Image courtesy Philip Weiss Auctions.

Peanuts creator Charles Schulz drew this Sunday comics page in May 1953. Done in pen and ink, the strip sold for $67,800 at Philip Weiss Auctions. Image courtesy Philip Weiss Auctions.

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – An original “Peanuts” Sunday page, rendered in pen and ink in May 1953 by the late comic illustrator Charles Schulz, soared to $67,800 at a multi-estate sale Sept. 13-14 at Philip Weiss Auctions. The eight-panel strip showed Charlie Brown and Snoopy playing fetch. In addition, two daily “Peanuts” strips sold for $21,470 each, bringing the three-strip total to $110,740.

All things considered, this sale was way better than I expected, with lots of surprises along the way,” said owner and auctioneer Philip Weiss. “I didn’t expect this level of activity – it was very exciting. Toy trains, comic books and animation art, in particular, did very well.”

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Image courtesy Be-Hold Inc.

Exciting photographs, daguerreotypes to modern, to be sold at Be-hold Oct. 30

Image courtesy Be-Hold Inc.

Image courtesy Be-Hold Inc.

NEW YORK – Powerful and revealing images documenting war will be front and center at the 52nd Be-hold catalog/internet auction of photographs that will take place Thursday, Oct. 30, starting at 2 p.m. Eastern.

A large series of photographs dealing with 20th century wars will be offered. Some of the material is disturbing, yet these photographs show how art and documentation are closely entwined. A major group of offerings deals with Vietnam. These are grouped chronologically, from the end of the French involvement up to the aftermath in Cambodia. Most of the images are press photographs, with the original “slugs” attached that provide important context. The photographers are often credited. Photographs by some of the major photographers such as Sean Flynn, Kyoichi Sawada, Philip Jones Griffith and Don McCullin will be offered individually.

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First Dodge Daytona shipped from Detroit in 1969. Image courtesy Gordon Estate Services.

Gordon Estate Services to auction first 1969 Dodge Daytona shipped from Detroit

First Dodge Daytona shipped from Detroit in 1969. Image courtesy Gordon Estate Services.

First Dodge Daytona shipped from Detroit in 1969. Image courtesy Gordon Estate Services.

KINGSTON, Ontario, Canada – The first 1969 Dodge Daytona muscle car ever shipped from Detroit will be sold at auction by Gordon’s Estate Services. Online bidding began on Friday, Sept. 26. The live/online auction will start on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 8:30 a.m. The Dodge Daytona ushered in the NASCAR “aero car” era and was the first vehicle to shatter the 200 m.p.h. lap speed barrier.

The car to be sold – one of only 10 Special Editions in existence – has remained in the care of its enthusiastic owner, Dr. John Chesebrough, since he purchased it off the Kingston Dodge lot in 1970. The vehicle has only 34,000 miles on the odometer and is in all-original condition, except for a 1971 factory warranty repaint. It has all of the Special Edition features and the original numbered parts.

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Blenko Vase designed by Matt Carter. Catherine Saunders-Watson Collection.

Blenko Glass president, two other execs leave in shakeup

Blenko Vase designed by Matt Carter. Catherine Saunders-Watson Collection.

Blenko Vase designed by Matt Carter. Catherine Saunders-Watson Collection.

MILTON, W.Va. (AP) – Blenko Glass President Richard Blenko and two other executives have left the West Virginia glassmaker in a company shakeup.

Blenko announced Tuesday that it made management and organizational changes “in response to changing market conditions.”

Richard Blenko is the great-grandson of Blenko founder William J. Blenko. He joined the company in 1976.

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Image courtesy Case Antiques.

John Lowe jar sets auction record for Tennessee pottery

Image courtesy Case Antiques.

Image courtesy Case Antiques.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A recently discovered jar by potter John Alexander Lowe set a record for Tennessee pottery at a Case Antiques Auction on Sept. 27. Estimated at $12,000-$18,000, the redware jar soared to $63,000, inclusive of 12.5 percent buyer’s premium, selling to a collector in the room.

Gallery owner John Case said that state archaeologists dug up pottery shards bearing Lowe’s name at a site in Greene County, Tenn., several years ago. However, the circa 1860 jar, with extruded handles, incised decoration at the handle attachments and stamped name circling its shoulders, is the only known intact piece of Lowe’s pottery to ever surface. The six underbidders on the Low jar included the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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