Art found at Goodwill sells for more than $8,000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A 100-year-old Ellsworth Woodward painting found in Goodwill’s Nashville warehouse has been sold for $8,101.

Goodwill of Middle Tennessee spokeswoman Suzanne Kay-Pittman said Monday that someone in Boston bought the painting late Sunday on Goodwill’s online auction Web site.

She says Goodwill cannot yet release the buyer’s name.

Goodwill worker Susan McCullen says she was sifting through the warehouse when she saw the edge of a gold frame sticking out of a bin.

The original water color painting by 19th-century artist Woodward is of a wooden ship at an Italian port. A letter attached to the painting says its original price was $75 at the San Francisco Fair.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-01-26-09 1014EST 

Five men indicted for American Indian artifact looting

EAGLE BUTTE, S.D. (AP) – The pottery, stone knives, arm bands and other American Indian items sitting in a vendor’s booth or posted online look innocent enough, but the centuries-old artifacts taken from South Dakota’s rugged Missouri River banks don’t belong to the sellers.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicted five men, accusing them of looting or trading the ancient items.

The river’s banks are “supplying the rest of the country the artifacts they want for their collections,” said Richard Harnois, senior field archaeologist with the Army Corps of Engineers in Pierre. “There isn’t anywhere else in the country that is like this. You have a huge drainage system populated by people for 12,000 years and banks that are eroding.”

Federal laws prohibit the removal of human remains, funerary items and other sacred items from public and Indian land and bans anyone from knowingly buying those items. It is legal for landowners to take items from their own property.

“It sure seems to be the Missouri River trenches is the honey pot,” Harnois said.

“It’s just one huge artifact mine for some of these folks.”

 

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Archaeologists discover rare figurine in Jerusalem – a boxer?

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli archaeologists say they have discovered a rare 1,800-year-old figurine in a Jerusalem excavation.

Dating from the time of the Roman Empire, the five-centimeter (2-inch) marble bust depicts the head of a man with a short curly beard and almond-shaped eyes.

A statement Monday from the Israel Antiquities Authority says nothing similar has been found before in the country.

The archaeologists believe it could depict an athlete, possibly a boxer. They think it was used as a weight and might have belonged to a merchant.

It was found in the ruins of a building destroyed by an earthquake in the fourth or fifth century. The dig outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City also recently yielded a well-preserved gold earring inlaid with pearls and a trove of more than 250 gold coins.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-01-26-09 0830EST 

Ex-Tucson art museum worker investigated in theft

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) – A former employee of the Tucson Museum of Art is under investigation in connection with the theft of more than $300,000 from the institute.

Investigators with Tucson police and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office have records showing the employee, who was not identified, forged and cashed 209 checks to the museum totaling $323,356 over a 2 1/2-year period ending in November, according to a police affidavit.

The checks ranged from $600 to $1,900 and were cashed at two check-cashing businesses, according to the affidavit.
Investigators removed documents, bank statements, a computer, credit cards, casino players’ cards, receipts and cash from the employee’s home when they searched it Thursday, Assistant police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

He said the employee had worked for the museum in a financial capacity for 18 years and resigned late last year.
Villasenor said the museum contacted police on Dec. 17 after realizing that between $200,000 and $300,000 was missing.

Robert Knight, the museum’s executive director, said in a statement that the museum discovered the discrepancy during a full, independent audit of its books.

“The museum is confident that its supporters will understand that the organization – and by extension the community it serves – were the victims of a crime,” he wrote. “However, the museum is financially healthy and will not be deterred in continuing to provide quality art exhibitions and public programs to Southern Arizona.”

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Police say auctioned Wright-designed chair wasn’t stolen

RACINE, Wis. (AP) – Police say a chair designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright for a Racine office building hadn’t been stolen before showing up for auction on eBay.

An investigator reached that conclusion after tracing the chair’s history and learning it was rescued from a dumpster, used as garage furniture and turned down with a $25 price tag at two rummage sales.

The chair was one of hundreds made for the Wright-designed S.C. Johnson headquarters in Racine. The company owner had asked Wright in 1936 to design the furniture.

On eBay, the chair ultimately was purchased for $12,000 by the owner of a design company in California.
The investigation stalled the deal. Wright Auction House owner Richard Wright said the sale now will go through.
___
Information from: The Journal Times, http://www.journaltimes.com

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-CS-01-23-09 1944EST

Salvador Dalí Photo by Carl Van Vechten taken November 29, 1939. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Update on seizure of suspected fake Dalis

Salvador Dalí Photo by Carl Van Vechten taken November 29, 1939. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

Salvador Dalí Photo by Carl Van Vechten taken November 29, 1939. Image courtesy Wikipedia.

MADRID, Spain (AP) – Spanish police said Thursday they had confiscated dozens of suspected fake Dali artworks that were to be put on sale in the southern town of Estepona.

In all, 81 pieces were seized, 12 of which might be genuine pieces designed by Salvador Dali and are very similar to pieces listed on Interpol and Spanish police records as having been stolen in Belgium, France and the United States, a police statement says.

The art included sculptures, lithographs, bas-reliefs, cutlery and textile pieces.

Police said one piece, a suspected fake Dali sculpture of an elephant with an obelisk-type saddle that measures some 10 feet (3 meters) in height, was to have been sold for euro1.2 million ($1.5 million).
Police said they would check with the Gala Salvador Dali Foundation, in Spain’s Catalonia region, to see if any of the confiscated pieces are genuine.

“The immense majority of the pieces are fake,” an official at the National Police headquarters in Madrid told The Associated Press. “But we particularly need to check the serial numbers of the 12 pieces that might be the stolen ones with the Dali Foundation.”

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This figurine depicts Frederick Cook and Robert Peary clinging to the world while searching for the North Pole. The 1910 bisque vignette was made by Gebruder Heubach, a German firm. It sold at a Theriault's auction in 2008 for $1,120.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of Jan. 26, 2009

This figurine depicts Frederick Cook and Robert Peary clinging to the world while searching for the North Pole. The 1910 bisque vignette was made by Gebruder Heubach, a German firm. It sold at a Theriault's auction in 2008 for $1,120.

This figurine depicts Frederick Cook and Robert Peary clinging to the world while searching for the North Pole. The 1910 bisque vignette was made by Gebruder Heubach, a German firm. It sold at a Theriault’s auction in 2008 for $1,120.

Was it Robert Peary or Frederick Cook who first reached the geographic North Pole?

Collectors who try can learn many stories about the past through the collectibles of bygone eras. An originally inexpensive 1910 figurine showing Peary and Cook clinging to a globe is a clue to the pair’s history. Cook claimed he reached the pole on April 22, 1908. Peary claimed he made it there on April 7, 1909. Both stories are doubted today.

Later expeditions and investigations showed that some of the records and memories of the Inuits on the original expeditions were false. And the two explorers themselves appeared to be untrustworthy. Cook claimed his records of the expedition were lost. He also claimed to have climbed to the top of Mount McKinley, but later evidence showed he did not reach the summit. He was convicted and imprisoned for using the mails to defraud investors in an oil venture. Peary made false claims of discoveries in an 1898 expedition. In 1907 he said he discovered far-north Crocker Land, but later explorers proved the land did not exist. He was also faulted for mistreating the Inuits and for fathering a boy with a young Inuit girl.

There is still controversy concerning the two men, but the figurine makes it clear that in 1910 there was great interest in the explorers, the North Pole and the truth. Today credit for the first undisputed sighting of the North Pole usually goes to the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who flew over the pole in May 1926.

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Keith Spurgeon’s Senegal parrot, Mosby, inspired the new company’s name. Courtesy Mosby & Co.

Keith Spurgeon establishes new auction house, Mosby & Co.

Keith Spurgeon’s Senegal parrot, Mosby, inspired the new company’s name. Courtesy Mosby & Co.

Keith Spurgeon’s Senegal parrot, Mosby, inspired the new company’s name. Courtesy Mosby & Co.

FREDERICK, Md. – Veteran antique toy dealer and previous auction company co-owner Keith Spurgeon has formed a new auction house venture, Mosby & Co., specializing in antique and vintage toys, and pop culture memorabilia of all types. Based in Frederick, Md., Mosby & Co. Auctions will conduct its first major sale in mid May.

Spurgeon plans to produce two major cataloged auctions per year. All will be absentee-style auctions, with bids accepted exclusively by phone, fax, Internet and mail.

Originally from northern Virginia, Keith Spurgeon has had a 25-year involvement with antique toys, starting as a collector and evolving into a knowledgeable and well-respected dealer. He has been a regular on the antique toy show circuit for 20 years, developing a particular expertise in 1930s Disney and comic character toys.

In 2006, Keith Spurgeon co-founded Old Town Auctions with Matt Protos. The company held several successful live auctions in Maryland.

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George Ohr teapot, Gift of Robert A. Ellison Jr. to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gift from Robert A. Ellison Jr. transforms Met’s art pottery collection

George Ohr teapot, Gift of Robert A. Ellison Jr. to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

George Ohr teapot, Gift of Robert A. Ellison Jr. to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

NEW YORK – The Metropolitan Museum of Art has accepted the promised gift of 250 exceptional examples of American art pottery from the collector Robert A. Ellison Jr., it was announced at the museum’s Board of Trustees meeting on Jan. 12. The collection-which spans the years 1876 through 1956 and represents all regions of the nation-ranks among the foremost of its kind, and will be unveiled on the mezzanine level of the Museum’s Charles Engelhard Court when the second phase of the newly renovated American Wing opens on May 19, 2009.

Thomas P. Campbell, Director of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, commented: “I am delighted to announce Robert Ellison’s generous promised gift of American ceramics. To be shown publicly for the first time this spring in an exhibition space dedicated to the material, these superb works reveal the 80-year history of the artistic pottery movement in the United States, from its start around the time of the nation’s centennial to the mid-1950s, when the contemporary pottery movement began. Individually, each is a wonderful object; shown together, they delight the eye and will surely stimulate new interest in American ceramics among the general public and specialists. It gives me particular pleasure to note that the inaugural presentation of this important new acquisition-a truly transformative addition to our collection of American decorative arts-will be part of the celebration surrounding the re-opening of much of The American Wing.”

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One of the top lots in Malter Galleries' auction Feb. 15 is this Egyptian wood mask from 664-525 B.C. It is estimated at $6,000- $8,500. Image courtesy of Malter Galleries Inc.

Malter Galleries’ Ancient Art auction will turn heads Feb. 15

One of the top lots in Malter Galleries' auction Feb. 15 is this Egyptian wood mask from 664-525 B.C. It is estimated at $6,000- $8,500. Image courtesy of Malter Galleries Inc.

One of the top lots in Malter Galleries’ auction Feb. 15 is this Egyptian wood mask from 664-525 B.C. It is estimated at $6,000- $8,500. Image courtesy of Malter Galleries Inc.

ENCINO, Calif. – Malter Galleries Inc. will present an Ancient Art from Around the World Auction Feb. 15. The sale will consist of 382 lots of ancient glass, pottery, stone and metalwork.

“They’re all small nice collectibles. I know the provenance on most of them,” said Michael Malter, president of Malter Galleries. “The strongest areas are Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Pre-Columbian. The auction has a nice representation of those areas.”

One of the choice items in the sale is an Egyptian gilt wood mask from the XXVI Dynasty, circa 664-525 B.C. The 10-inch-tall mask carries a $6,000-$8,500 estimate.

“It’s just a nice displayable piece,” said Malter. “Most of the items that we have tend to be on the smaller size. I’m not set up for large items.”

Two choice lots are carved chlorite stone heads from 10th-12th century India. One is an 8 3/4-inch head of Bodhisattva, which is expected to bring $4,000-$5,500. The other is a 12-inch bust, Pala, which is estimated at $2,500-$3,500.

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