Auctioneer Martin Willis adds podcasting to his list of talents

Podcasters Phillis Kao and Martin Willis.

Appraiser and auctioneer Martin Willis has created a podcast exploring the world of antiques, collecting, and auctions. The podcast is available to listen to free of charge online at antiqueauctionpodcast.com. Willis is joined by his colleague, Phyllis Kao, a silver specialist who is also involved in the auction business.

In each episode Willis and Kao discuss a different topic related to the antique and auction world, and often interview key players in the business. In previous episodes, guests have included auctioneer/appraiser John McInnis and LiveAuctioneers’ Senior VP of Sales, Scott Miles.

During his guest appearance, Miles related the history of LiveAuctioneers.com and how it grew to become the Internet-live-bidding company of choice to more than 800 auction houses worldwide. Miles also discussed the industry-leading technological advancements that have come about at LiveAuctioneers in the past few years.

Willis and Kao welcome inquiries and suggestions sent via email to auctionpodcast@me.com.

Oregon museum lands important West Coast map collection

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) – Samuel Johnson is grinning like a Cheshire cat this week – and no wonder.

He has just learned that the Columbia River Maritime Museum has been chosen as the permanent home for a collection of maps, books and engravings valued at $1.2 million.

“It is truly a national treasure,”‘ said Johnson, who became executive director of the museum earlier this summer. “The guys at the Smithsonian would love to have this. It is an incredible addition to our collection.”

Henry Wendt of Friday Harbor, Wash., is a retired chief executive for a giant pharmaceuticals company. He and his wife, Holly, started buying maps and other historical artifacts in the early 1960s and whetted their appetite for exploration by sailing their 55-foot sloop up the coast from San Francisco to Alaska.

The Henry and Holly Wendt Collection includes 29 of the earliest maps of the north coast of North America with 11 illustrations and five books. The materials date from 1540 to 1802.

Such maps – with uncharted areas of the West Coast and what would become the Western states – spurred President Thomas Jefferson to send Lewis and Clark on their Voyage of Discovery.

During that era, the Pacific Coast was considered “the edge of the world” as European explorers sought new trade routes to the East, said Wendt. “These stories not only inform us about the exciting history of our country, but also appeal to the explorer in all of us,” he said.

Some of the documents, books and engravings refer to explorers like Sir Francis Drake, Captain Cook and Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. They span the European Renaissance to the Age of Enlightenment.

The materials were part of the 2007 exhibit, “Mapping the Pacific Coast, Coronado to Lewis and Clark,” which Johnson said was one of the most popular displays at the Maritime Museum. This traveling exhibit is at the Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut. After that, it will be shown at the Autrey National Center in Los Angeles, the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the National Maritime Museum in San Francisco.

Once those four exhibitions are completed, the maps will come to Astoria to be put on display in 2012.

The donation comes with a $250,000 endowment to help pay for the care of the collection and for related educational programs.

Johnson said the Wendts chose Astoria, in part, because of the professional and cordial manner in which they were treated by the staff. Also, the museum has accreditation from the American Association of Museums, which reviews issues like security and climate-control conditions.

“This gift is an invaluable contribution that builds on the strength of our collections as a nationally known institution specializing in the maritime history of the Northwest,” said Johnson.

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

AP-WS-08-30-09 1600EDT

 

Very rare and important Canada goose decoy, Massachusetts or Lower Susquehanna River, last quarter of the 19th century, 16 inches high, 10 inches wide, 30 inches long. To be auctioned Sept. 30, 2009 at Christie’s. Estimate $200,000-$400,000. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.

Updated: Rare American goose decoy to be auctioned in NYC

Very rare and important Canada goose decoy, Massachusetts or Lower Susquehanna River, last quarter of the 19th century, 16 inches high, 10 inches wide, 30 inches long. To be auctioned Sept. 30, 2009 at Christie’s. Estimate $200,000-$400,000. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.

Very rare and important Canada goose decoy, Massachusetts or Lower Susquehanna River, last quarter of the 19th century, 16 inches high, 10 inches wide, 30 inches long. To be auctioned Sept. 30, 2009 at Christie’s. Estimate $200,000-$400,000. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009.

NEW YORK (AP) – A rare, 19th-century hand-carved goose decoy that once plied Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River before being sold in Argentina, and considered by some to be a floating sculpture, is going on the auction block. It could bring in as much as $400,000.

The decoy was originally purchased by an American expatriate living in Argentina and then sold to a native of that country who was unaware of its origins.

The current owner, Maximo Kirton, e-mailed a photo of the Canada Goose decoy to Christie’s several weeks ago wondering what it might be worth. It sat on a shelve at the family’s sheep ranch in Patagonia, Argentina, for 10 years, and then on the mantel of his parent’s Buenos Aires home for another two decades.

To Kirton’s surprise, Christie’s told him the goose was a very unusual example of a working decoy from the late 19th century that could conservatively fetch between $200,000 to $400,000. Not only that, it was part of an extremely rare decoy rig that usually included at least six birds.

Making the discovery even more interesting was that three other birds from the same rig were found together in the 1920s or 1930s on the Susquehanna River, said Andrew Holter, Christie’s American furniture and decorative arts specialist.

“I nearly fainted,” said Kirton, a 32-year-old vintage car salesman in Buenos Aires.

Because they were utilitarian in nature, used to attract wild fowl, “their mere survival is extraordinary,” added John Hays, Christie’s deputy chairman.

The decoy will be sold on Sept. 30.

Carved from North American white pine, decoy No. 6 is painted at the base of its upright neck and in the groove of the body.

The other three are numbered 1, 2 and 3. No. 3 sold at Sotheby’s in 2000 for $233,000; No. 2 at Christie’s for $553,600 in 2007; and No. 1 is in private hands. The whereabouts of the others isn’t known.

The world auction record for any working or decorative duck decoy is $856,000, for a red-breasted Merganser hen in 2007, Hays said.

The one coming up for sale is known as a slot-neck goose, because the head dovetails into a hollow carved body. An unusual decoy element, the head slides off “because the hunters would travel with them” up and down the eastern flyway “and that would prevent the head and neck from breaking,” Holter said.

“These are highly prized by folk art collectors and working decoy collectors,” he said. “They’re a uniquely American art form … viewed as a floating sculpture.”

The dovetail neck construction was sometimes also seen in Massachusetts shore bird decoys. It was extremely difficult “to make it look seamless.”

The carver, who is not known, in this case was very adept. “It’s like a hand in a glove,” he said.

There is a V-shaped groove stamped into the underside of the decoy that accommodated a large brass cross that was inserted or removed for a stick or as a floater. The brass piece is missing.

The carving is similar on all four of the goose decoy. The Kirton piece has an incised floret of feathers at the base of the neck, a nostril on the upper beak and lifelike lips. It also has tack, rather than painted, eyes – a feature collectors look for.

“You don’t usually see this kind of detail on working decoy,” Holter said.

The item also has original oil-based paint and is in very good condition.

Kirton said the decoy was part of a package of items his father purchased from the American expatriate that included old English hunting shotguns that his father coveted.

“I knew it was nice. But I didn’t really know there were such collectors that would want decoys,” said Kirton, explaining that decoys are not used by hunters in Argentina.

But as soon as Kirton’s e-mailed photo hit Christie’s computer screen, Hays said he and Holter instantly recognized it for its rarity.

“It was a Roadshow-kind of moment,” he said.

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

AP-ES-08-28-09 1628EDT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


View of decoy’s neck and base in two parts. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.

View of decoy’s neck and base in two parts. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009.


View under base of decoy. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie's Images Ltd. 2009.

View under base of decoy. Copyrighted image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2009.

Car sellers file complaints against Kruse auction house

AUBURN, Ind. (AP) – An automobile auction house known for selling the roadster used in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and other classic cars is drawing complaints that it has not paid some sellers for months.

The Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana says it has received 21 complaints about Auburn-based Kruse International this year, up from seven in 2008 and just one in 2006.

Owner Dean Kruse says he owes payments to 66 consignors. He blames the late payments on cash-flow issues caused by buyers who haven’t paid him.

Kruse says many of the collectors buying cars are automobile dealers who also are facing financial problems.

He says he expects to catch up with payments after the company’s annual Labor Day auction.

___

Information from: The News-Sentinel,
http://www.news-sentinel.com

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

AP-CS-08-29-09 1101EDT

Oil portrait of Indian chief by Henry C. Balink, signed, 24 inches by 28 inches, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Art treasures found in modest home lead off Mid-Hudson’s Sept. 5 sale

Oil portrait of Indian chief by Henry C. Balink, signed, 24 inches by 28 inches, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Oil portrait of Indian chief by Henry C. Balink, signed, 24 inches by 28 inches, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

CORNWALL-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Based in Orange County, N.Y., in the scenic riverfront village of Cornwall-on-Hudson, Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries is geographically surrounded by physical testaments of some of America’s earliest settlers. The village was founded by explorer Henry Hudson in 1609 – 11 years before the Mayflower dropped anchor at Plymouth Rock. In addition to historical homes, the gallery’s near-neighbors include the United States Military Academy at West Point, a mere five miles away.

With this setting in mind, one can only imagine the sorts of luxe antiques and fine art that must pass through Mid-Hudson’s doors on a regular basis, bound for the auction block. But sometimes an unexpected phone call can lead to a fine-art bonanza in the unlikeliest of places, as was the case with one particular estate that will be offered in Mid-Hudson’s Sept. 5 Labor Day Weekend Estate Auction.

“The majority to be offered came from one estate in the Bronx,” explained Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries’ owner and presiding auctioneer Joanne Grant. “It was a very nondescript house, but it was filled with wonderful things. The referral came to us from someone for whom we had done work before. The heir to the estate flew out from San Francisco. We worked quickly so he could return home as soon as possible, since that was his wish.”

A signed oil portrait of an Indian chief by Henry C. Balink, 24 inches by 28 inches, is an imposing entry in the sale. Born Hendricus Cornelis Balink on June 10, 1882 in Amsterdam, the artist was identified as a child prodigy. Balink went on to become an accomplished painter with an affinity for Native-American subjects. His colorful portrait of a chief wearing his feather bonnet is expected to make $4,000-$6,000 on auction day. “When you look at this picture, it speaks to you. You can see the quality,” said Grant.

An oil-on-panel painting titled Foset de St. Germaine, by Jean Francois Millet, measures 17¾ inches by 22 inches, and is signed on verso. Another key lot in the sale, it is estimated at $8,000-$12,000.

“There’s a wonderful group of 19th-century French bronzes, as well,” said Grant, “including a 25-inch-tall Carrier-Beleuse doré bronze titled Harmonie.” It retains an engraved plaque for Medaille D’Honneur Au Salon, and is expected to fetch $1,500-$2,000. A bronze of young Christopher Columbus, approx. 23 inches tall, is signed G. Monteverde (listed sculptor Giulio Monteverde, Italian, 1837-1917). With provenance through a Sotheby’s sale in London, it is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

The owner of the Bronx home must have entertained in grand style, setting the table with a 117-piece Tiffany & Co. sterling silver flatware set (estimate $4,000-$6,000). Executed in the 1884 Wave pattern, the heavy silver pieces weigh a total of 142.22 troy ounces. “It’s not only Tiffany but also an early, hard to find pattern,” Grant noted.

Sometimes it pays for an auctioneer to ask questions, as it can net big rewards. “As we were leaving the house, we asked if there was any costume jewelry, since there’s such a strong market at the moment for good, designer pieces,” said Grant. “The heir to the estate replied, ‘No, but we do have some fine jewelry we could show you.’ He put his hand into a bookcase and pulled out a bag filled with gold bracelets, rings, a topaz pendant (estimate $400-$600), and many retro things from the 1940s and ’50s.”

Grant said estimates have been kept reasonable and that there will be buying opportunities at all price points. “If you’re lofty with your estimates, you lose people,” she said. “Everything in the upcoming sale that came from the Bronx house is being auctioned with no reserves and no minimums. That’s a rare opportunity.”

View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Click here to view Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries’ complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Tiffany & Co. sterling silver flatware set, 1889 Wave pattern, 117 pieces, 142.22 troy ounces, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Tiffany & Co. sterling silver flatware set, 1889 Wave pattern, 117 pieces, 142.22 troy ounces, estimate $4,000-$6,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.


19th-century European bronze of young Christopher Columbus, approx. 23 inches tall, signed G. Monteverde (listed sculptor Giulio Monteverde, Italian, 1837-1917). Provenance: Sotheby's London. Estimate $2,000-$3,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

19th-century European bronze of young Christopher Columbus, approx. 23 inches tall, signed G. Monteverde (listed sculptor Giulio Monteverde, Italian, 1837-1917). Provenance: Sotheby’s London. Estimate $2,000-$3,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.


Oil-on-panel painting titled Foset de St. Germaine, by Jean Francois Millet, signed on verso, 17¾ inches by 22 inches, estimate $8,000-$12,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Oil-on-panel painting titled Foset de St. Germaine, by Jean Francois Millet, signed on verso, 17¾ inches by 22 inches, estimate $8,000-$12,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.


Japanese enameled vase with elephant handles, 13 inches tall, estimate $200-$300. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Japanese enameled vase with elephant handles, 13 inches tall, estimate $200-$300. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.


19th-century Carrier-Beleuse dore bronze titled Harmonie, 25 inches tall, with engraved plaque for Medaille D'Honneur Au Salon. Estimate $1,500-$2,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

19th-century Carrier-Beleuse dore bronze titled Harmonie, 25 inches tall, with engraved plaque for Medaille D’Honneur Au Salon. Estimate $1,500-$2,000. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.


14K gold pendant with large topaz, estimate $400-$600. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

14K gold pendant with large topaz, estimate $400-$600. Courtesy Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries.

Owner of Ritchie’s Auctioneers retools business with leaner budget, staff

TORONTO (ACNI) – Following recent published reports of staff upheaval, a seemingly closed gallery and “nervous consignors,” the owner and CEO of Ritchie’s Auctioneers, Ira Hopmeyer, has spoken at length to Auction Central News, countering what he describes as “sour grapes,” and “misconstrued information from sore losers that was conveyed to the media.”

Hopmeyer, who bought Ritchie’s Auctioneers 15 years ago, is involved with several other businesses, either as an owner or investor. He said he took the initiative to assume control at the auction house after certain events took place that he says occurred without his knowledge.

Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009, that a small contingent of consignors had congregated in Ritchie’s parking lot the day before, hoping to collect either unsold items or money owed to them by the auction house. Instead, the Globe and Mail newspaper said, they found an unattended gallery and a sign on the door advising that the company was on “summer holiday” until Aug. 17. The sign also indicated that the auction scheduled for that day had been postponed.

Further, the article stated that 27 employees had been laid off for financial reasons not long after Sotheby’s Canada’s abrupt dissolution of a nearly 8-year partnership with Ritchie’s, and that the company’s president and chief operating officer, Stephen Ranger, had resigned.

Hopmeyer told Auction Central News, “Yes, former management laid off some staff, and yes, Ranger had resigned previous to the layoffs. He had tried to increase his stake in the company and made an offer that was not accepted. He then made a second offer for a lesser share that was accepted, but he later reneged…He wanted [the increased stake] for nothing. I’m not interested in giving it away.”

In an Aug. 13, 2009 blog posting attributed to Stephen Ranger, Ritchie’s former president writes in part: “The central problem was a liquidity issue that I as a former minority shareholder had no control over, none…Anyone out there who actually believes that I didn’t try repeatedly to fix this situation should examine the logic. Why would someone with as much time, energy and commitment to this business leave if I hadn’t exhausted every avenue to try and make it right? There have been no underhanded machinations here. Everyone knows at this point that I tried repeatedly to buy this business, to fix it, to salvage it, but ultimately could not.”

Hopmeyer – who acted as interim president from 1999 until “2004 or 2005” – said he considers Ranger to have been “very competent with the auction part” of Ritchie’s operation, “but not the business part.”

On Aug. 3, Hopmeyer stepped in to assume the executive management reins at Ritchie’s. He said a trimmed-down team of “loyal employees” has been reinstated to pick up where they left off before the shakeout.

Hopmeyer said he has been at the gallery “24 hours a day,” fielding calls, reassuring consignors, and reviewing previous expenditures as he tightens up the going-forward operating budget.

“It’s all part of business,” he told Auction Central News. “The overhead had gotten out of control. We’re not a New York or London auction house. There will be no more fancy cocktail parties, flying around the country or paying outside consultants exorbitant amounts of money. Now we are concentrating on our future auctions. We’ve been in negotiations and have secured consignors. Everything was delayed for about two weeks, but we’ll have our next sale the third week of September.”

Because of the current economic climate, Hopmeyer says he expects Ritchie’s to be “busier than ever, and we’re preparing for that. Especially during a recession, we provide a necessary service.”

In an effort to maintain transparency and allay misapprehensions, Hopmeyer has been posting updates on Ritchie’s Web site. In his most recent posting, he writes: “Change of management, accounting and company infrastructure have delayed the autumn auction schedule…[we are] work(ing) quickly to resume normal operations and continue to provide the best and most trusted auction services in Canada.”

Hopmeyer said he intends to remain in his current, hands-on executive post until “an appropriate new president” can be found. “I’m in no hurry,” he added. “I’m kind of liking it. On a daily basis, my accountants give me the bills, and I handle each one personally. It’s a learning curve for me.”

Hopmeyer said that anyone wishing to collect auction purchases should call 416-364-1864.

Copyright 2009 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

*   *   *

About Ritchie’s:

Originally established as a trading company in 1868, Ritchie’s entered the auction arena in 1967. Headquartered in Toronto, Ritchie’s maintains an auction agenda of more than 20 sales per year, with its specialties including fine art, decorative art, fine furniture and jewelry.

#   #   #

The foremost carpet in the sale is this palace-size 17th-century Indo-Persian with elegantly drawn compartments around the perimeter. In a rich array of colors with silk-wrapped selvedge, it is projected to bring $40,000 to $80,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Museum collections star in Brunk Auctions’ Sept. 12-13 sale

The foremost carpet in the sale is this palace-size 17th-century Indo-Persian with elegantly drawn compartments around the perimeter. In a rich array of colors with silk-wrapped selvedge, it is projected to bring $40,000 to $80,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

The foremost carpet in the sale is this palace-size 17th-century Indo-Persian with elegantly drawn compartments around the perimeter. In a rich array of colors with silk-wrapped selvedge, it is projected to bring $40,000 to $80,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Instead of “cutting to the chase,” Brunk Auctions’ September 12-13 sale is expected to begin with a chase. Lots 1 through 34 are rare Oriental carpets deaccessioned from North Carolina’s famous Tryon Palace after 30 years in storage. They have generated enormous interest among antique rug collectors and within the textile trade. There’s sure to be aggressive competition for these fresh-to-the-market rarities. Internet live bidding will be provided by LiveAuctioneers.com.

Purchased in the 1950s and ’60s from textile experts such as Vojtech Blau, French & Company, and others of equal reputation, many of the carpets were installed in the reconstructed North Carolina Capitol building when it opened in 1959. They were removed from exhibition after it was learned that no carpets of any type were part of Tryon Palace’s 18th-century décor. The 34 carpets, some dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, have been in storage ever since.

Even among rarities, two carpets stand out. A 30′ 10″ by 11′ 11″ Indo-Persian carpet dates from the Safavid period (16th to 17th centuries) in Persia. Tryon Palace purchased it in 1958 from French & Company, New York City. It has a presale estimate of $40,000 to $80,000. Also purchased from French & Company is a 21′ 7″ by 11′ 6″ Ottoman carpet, probably from 17th-century Cairo. Its presale estimate is $30,000 to $60,000. Both carpets were produced for the royal court.

Presale estimates on the remaining 32 Tryon Palace carpets range from $400 to $800 for a late 20th-century Mahal (10′ 9″ by 13′ 8″) to $15,000-$25,000 for a late 19th-century pictorial Motasham Kashan (10′ 6″ by 13′ 6″).

Two other North Carolina museums joined Tryon Palace in consigning deaccessioned items to this sale.

The Hickory Museum of Art is the second-oldest art museum in North Carolina. Its focus is 19th- and 20th-century art. Since 2000, the museum has deaccessioned many of its European and Asian holdings to focus the collection on American art. The 112 objects in this sale – British, German, Italian, Mexican, French and Spanish paintings and Asian art and ceramics – represent a continuation of that effort.

Among the 16 portraits consigned by the Hickory Museum, two by Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, 1769-1830) are clear standouts. The auction history for the 1811 portrait of Mrs. Thomas Babington includes a 1901 sale at Christie’s and a 1973 sale at Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles. On verso is an inscription giving information of the portrait’s date, subject and artist. The oil on canvas portrait measures 30-1/8″ by 25-3/8″ and is in a Maratta frame favored by Lawrence. The measurements for the oil on canvas half-portrait of James Hamilton, Marquess of Abercorn, are nearly identical to Mrs. Babington (30-1/8″ by 25″). Each portrait is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.

Although the Hamilton portrait is unsigned, there is photograph of it in London’s National Portrait Gallery and it is mentioned in the complete catalog of Lawrence’s work. Brunk Auctions Fine Art Specialist Laura Crockett compared the crackle pattern of the Hickory Museum portrait with the London photo and they matched. “It was a neat find,” said Crockett.

Founded in 1965, the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) features architecture, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, needlework, paintings, prints and other decorative arts made and used by the early settlers of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Among the 167 articles consigned are domestic tools such as a yarn reel, flax breaker and bobbin winder. Most of what MESDA consigned is Southern furniture.

Possibly the most unusual MESDA furniture lot is a circa 1770 Virginia Chippendale spice chest. Its figured walnut door opens to reveal 10 interior drawers, five of which extend the entire width of the chest (17¼ inches). The skirt and bracket feet are original; hinges and locks are replaced. Its pre-sale estimate is $4,000-$6,000.

From Piedmont, N.C., MESDA consigned a 1760-1780 yellow pine Chippendale chest of drawers with eight graduated drawers. Sides are single boards; its dovetailed bracket feet are original. There are traces of early red and black paint throughout. Like the spice chest, its estimate is $4,000-$6,000.

“It is hard to narrow this sale down to a few key lots,” said Principal Auctioneer Bob Brunk. Look for multiple phone bids from across the country on a 1760-1780 Boston Chippendale game table (est. $30,000-$50,000), six 17th- or 18th-century Flemish Old Master panels (est. $30,000 – $50,000), “The Brook,” an oil on canvas by Walter Emerson Baum (est. 15,000-$25,000), and a pair of 1771-1772 George III candle vases by Matthew Boulton (est. $25,000-$35,000).

For more information on the Sept. 12-13 sale, call 828-254-6846. View the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Click here to view Brunk Auction’s complete catalog.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Estimated at $30,000 - $60,000 is this 17th-century Ottoman-style carpet with a blue, red and gold central medallion. The corners contain a quarter arc with the central medallion design repeated, a 17th-century Persian design element. Other features, notably the use of red and green, suggest a strong Egyptian influence. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Estimated at $30,000 – $60,000 is this 17th-century Ottoman-style carpet with a blue, red and gold central medallion. The corners contain a quarter arc with the central medallion design repeated, a 17th-century Persian design element. Other features, notably the use of red and green, suggest a strong Egyptian influence. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.


Accompanying this circa 1811 portrait of Jean Babington is an appraisal from Newhouse Galleries, dated December 22, 1982. Mrs. Babington is arrayed in a white empire gown with her hair wrapped in a scarf. Her Thomas Lawrence portrait is expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Accompanying this circa 1811 portrait of Jean Babington is an appraisal from Newhouse Galleries, dated December 22, 1982. Mrs. Babington is arrayed in a white empire gown with her hair wrapped in a scarf. Her Thomas Lawrence portrait is expected to sell for between $20,000 and $30,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.


Unsigned, but attributed to Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, 1769-1830) is this half-portrait of James Hamilton, Marquess of Abercorn, in his earl’s robes. The frame is early 20th century carved and gilt wood. Consigned by the Hickory Museum of Art, the oil on canvas is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Unsigned, but attributed to Sir Thomas Lawrence (British, 1769-1830) is this half-portrait of James Hamilton, Marquess of Abercorn, in his earl’s robes. The frame is early 20th century carved and gilt wood. Consigned by the Hickory Museum of Art, the oil on canvas is expected to bring $20,000 to $30,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.


This circa-1770 Chippendale spice chest in walnut with poplar secondary was originally purchased in Petersburg, Virginia. The 23¾ inch by 17¼ inch by 9½ inch chest is estimated to bring $4,000 to $6,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

This circa-1770 Chippendale spice chest in walnut with poplar secondary was originally purchased in Petersburg, Virginia. The 23¾ inch by 17¼ inch by 9½ inch chest is estimated to bring $4,000 to $6,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.


There is no secondary wood on this all-pine, finely constructed North Carolina Chippendale chest of drawers. Attributed to the Piedmont area of the state from 1760-1780, the 42 inch by 32 inch by 19½ inch chest should bring between $4,000 and $6,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

There is no secondary wood on this all-pine, finely constructed North Carolina Chippendale chest of drawers. Attributed to the Piedmont area of the state from 1760-1780, the 42 inch by 32 inch by 19½ inch chest should bring between $4,000 and $6,000. Image courtesy Brunk Auctions.

Iraqi authorities investigate alleged stolen Picasso

BAGHDAD (AP) – An Iraqi judge says authorities are investigating a man accused of trying to sell an allegedly stolen painting by Picasso.

The Naked Woman was seized near the southern city of Hillah Tuesday after the man tried to sell it for $450,000. It’s unclear if the painting is a genuine Picasso, although Iraqi police say it is.

Judge Aqeel al-Janabi said Thursday the painting will go to Baghdad after the investigation.

Authorities said it was looted from Kuwait during Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion. It allegedly bears both Picasso’s signature and the words “The Museum of Kuwait.”

The London-based Art Loss Registry says it has no record of any paintings missing from the Kuwait National Museum, and no record of this particular painting as missing.

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

AP-CS-08-27-09 0741EDT

‘Moon rock’ in Dutch museum is just petrified wood

AMSTERDAM (AP) – The Dutch national museum says one of its prized possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is just a piece of petrified wood.

The museum acquired the rock after the death of a former prime minister. He got it in 1969 from the U.S. ambassador during a visit by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

The former ambassador, J. William Middendorf of Rhode Island, tells Dutch NOS news that he got it from the U.S. State Department, but couldn’t recall the exact details.

An expert saw it on display in 2006 and told the museum it was unlikely NASA would have given away any moon rocks three months after Apollo returned to earth.

A museum spokeswoman said Thursday that geologists have identified it as petrified wood worth no more than $70.

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

AP-ES-08-27-09 0959EDT

The Four Corners region is in the red area on this map. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Colorado man indicted in artifacts looting case, new details emerge

The Four Corners region is in the red area on this map. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The Four Corners region is in the red area on this map. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A Colorado man who sold American Indian relics on the Internet is the latest person charged in a far-reaching federal investigation into the looting of ancient Southwestern artifacts.

A federal grand jury in Denver indicted Robert B. Knowlton, 66, late Tuesday. The Grand Junction man is charged with four counts of illegally selling archaeological artifacts and one count of transporting them from Colorado to Utah.

Knowlton is the 26th person charged as part of a federal sting spanning more than two years in the Four Corners region. He’s accused of selling and mailing three items last year taken from federal land: a pipe, a Midland knife point and a Hell Gap knife.

Knowlton – who ran an Internet-based business called Bob’s Flint Shop – met at least twice in 2008 with an artifacts dealer working undercover for the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, according to a search warrant affidavit.

On one of those visits, Knowlton said his collection included about 3,700 artifacts with a retail value of a half-million dollars or more, documents said.

He told the informant he bought the Midland knife point from a “park ranger” who said he found it after a fire on U.S. Forest Service land near Telluride, records say. He said he bought “a lot of stuff” from the ranger.

The Hell Gap knife came from an area near a southern Utah airport, Knowlton told the informant.

The two settled on $8,600 for several items, including the three mentioned in the indictment. The informant pulled out a stack of $100 bills and asked if cash was OK.

“Knowlton said ‘I like that I don’t have to tell nobody,'” according to the affidavit.

He agreed to mail the three items to Utah. Once they arrived, the informant turned them over to federal authorities, according to the affidavit.

Federal officials later determined the three items came from federal land.

Knowlton hasn’t been arrested. Federal officials say he’ll get a summons to appear in federal court on Sept. 14.

Knowlton couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday and it wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney.

The charges come a week after a Durango, Colo., antiquities dealer named Vern Crites surrendered his vast collection of artifacts after being named in federal charges earlier this summer.

Of the 25 people previously charged, a mother and daughter from southern Utah have pleaded guilty, two others – including a prominent Blanding, Utah doctor – committed suicide and others have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

The operation is the first to deeply penetrate the large-scale black market for Indian artifacts illegally taken from federal or tribal lands.

The sting relied heavily on the informant, who was equipped to provide federal agents with wireless video feeds from homes and shops where he ultimately spent more than $335,000 on bowls, stone pipes, sandals, jars, pendants, necklaces and other items.

While the underground market assigns monetary value to the items, federal officials have said many of the artifacts are priceless.

“The true value of cultural resources lies in their context, as well as the sacred and scientific meanings such archaeological artifacts provide us as a people,” Jeanne M. Proctor, the BLM’s top law enforcement officer in Colorado, said in a statement Wednesday.

If convicted, Knowlton faces up to two years in federal prison and a $20,000 fine for each count of selling and transporting an archaeological resource. If convicted of the charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, he could get up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal officials.

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

AP-WS-08-26-09 1409EDT