J.B. Blunk’s sculptural walnut headboard stands 5 feet high. It has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

Rago to offer rare Blunk sculptural headboard June 12

J.B. Blunk’s  sculptural walnut headboard stands 5 feet high. It has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

J.B. Blunk’s sculptural walnut headboard stands 5 feet high. It has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – A masterwork by J.B. Blunk, rarely seen at auction, will sell on June 12, in Rago’s 20th/21st Century auction of decorative arts. The headboard sculpture, lot 1408 in the sale, is described in the catalog as follows:

“J.B. Blunk headboard, USA, 1971. Sculpted, cross-hatched, chiseled and honed American black walnut; Provenance: Nash Collection, Sausalito, Calif., 60 inches x 144 inches x 12 inches.” The estimate is $30,000-$40,000.

LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

J.B. Blunk (1926-2003) was born in the Midwest and attended UCLA, studying with the ceramist Laura Andreson. Following his service in the Korean War, Blunk went to Japan, where he met sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Through this acquaintance he continued his work as a ceramist under the apprenticeship of potters Rosanjin Kitaoji and Toyo Kaneshige. Blunk returned to the United States in 1954, settling in Inverness, Calif., on the coast of Marin County.

Though his body of work includes ceramics, jewelry, painting and large sculptures in bronze and stone, it is his work in wood, dating from 1962, for which he is best known. Called a master of the chain saw, Blunk’s craftsmanship in woodworking evokes comparison to California studio craftsman Arthur Espenet, Sam Maloof and John Stocksdale, as well as the Pennsylvanians George Nakashima, Phil Powell and Wharton Esherick. His circle included surrealist Gordon Onslow Ford, Jean Tinguely and Lee Mullican.

Blunk’s work draws on all these influences and more: the aesthetic of Japanese design, the natural world, Zen Buddhism, the anthropomorphic shapes and abstractions of Surrealism, ethnographic art and artifacts. It is sculpture always, functional when he so chose. In no way was Blunk concerned with boundaries.

In lot 1408, two massive slabs of American black walnut, likely from the same tree, are selectively smoothed, chiseled, chipped, hatched and honed. Placed at perpendiculars to form the headboard, the vertical slab animates into a massive head with winking visage and the horizontal, into its long and slender body. The scale is architectural. The effect at once modern and totemic, powerful and witty.

Those interested in Blunk’s work can find examples in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum and the University of California Santa Cruz, among other institutions. Rago also refers readers to the J.B. Blunk website: http://jbblunk.com.

“Rago’s has sold thousands of lots by great studio craftsman in the past 15 years – Nakashima, Esherick, Maloof, Powell, Evans. This is the first work by J.B. Blunk to make its way to our auction house, one of fewer than 20 pieces to ever come to auction,” said David Rago. “It’s a privilege to represent it.”

For details go to the website at www.ragoarts.com or phone 609-397-9374.

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


J.B. Blunk’s  sculptural walnut headboard stands 5 feet high. It has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

J.B. Blunk’s sculptural walnut headboard stands 5 feet high. It has a $30,000-$40,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Rago Arts and Auction Center.

This clockwork bell toy shows a rider waving a flag while standing on a parade vehicle. It sold at a 2010 James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine, for $7,475.

Kovels – Antiques & Collecting: Week of May 30, 2011

This clockwork bell toy shows a rider waving a flag while standing on a parade vehicle. It sold at a 2010 James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine, for $7,475.

This clockwork bell toy shows a rider waving a flag while standing on a parade vehicle. It sold at a 2010 James D. Julia auction in Fairfield, Maine, for $7,475.

This is the month we celebrate a holiday that goes back to 1868, after the Civil War. Flags were put on soldiers’ graves in the North, and Gen. John A. Logan of the Union Army declared May 30 to be “Decoration Day” for the nation. Twenty-seven states celebrated it that year. Next, it became a tradition to have a Decoration Day speech and events in cemeteries. In 1866, the South celebrated its own holiday remembering Confederate soldiers, and by 1916 it was held each year on June 3, the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Gradually the holidays merged and came to be called “Memorial Day.” Celebrations eventually honored soldiers who died in World War I and all the wars that have followed. The holiday was moved to a Monday in 1968 so a long weekend was available for family events, visits to graves of family members and soldiers, and parades, speeches and flag waving. There are other days that call for flags, including the Fourth of July, Presidents Day, Flag Day and Pearl Harbor Day.

Toymakers, even in Victorian times, realized that a flag on a toy made it attractive to a child, so many flags were included in playthings. Althof Bergmann, a German toymaker, created a bell toy in 1875 that would charm anyone. Three people are riding a wheeled parade vehicle, and one of them is holding an American flag. When the toy was wound, it ran in circles or a straight line, the bell rang and the flag waved. It is a rare antique patriotic toy that expresses the spirit of flag-waving events.

Q: I found a collection of World War II paperback books that are sexually explicit. Nothing is left to the imagination. I was told they were given to our servicemen overseas. Is there a market for something like this?

A: The books you have were probably given to servicemen to explain the dangers of sexual activity in war zones. Erotica of all sorts sells, but there are laws or antique-show rules about how it is displayed, so it is rarely seen at shows or shops. Ask a local antiquarian bookseller how to sell this type of book in your area. If no one can help, try going online to antiquarian booksellers, shops or auctions that sell war memorabilia. It is part of our history and will be wanted by researchers. Many rare and artistic pieces of erotica, like early Japanese scrolls and prints that instruct new brides, are in museums and libraries today. And some things considered improper in the past are offered for sale today and do not offend anyone.

Q: I have a silk scarf my grandpa bought for my grandma while he was serving in the U.S. Navy at Gibraltar during World War I. It is decorated with a group of flags, including those of Britain, France and the United States, and the words “Gibraltar Present” embroidered above them. I would like to know how much it is worth and how to store it.

A: The greatest harm to a fabric can come from strong sunlight and dirt. Keep the scarf out of direct sunlight. To store it, wrap it in unbleached muslin or acid-free paper. Do not wrap it in old newspaper, which may leave permanent stains. Don’t store it in or on cardboard or unsealed wood. If the fabric is decorated with metal threads, it should not be washed. If it is dirty, it should be dry-cleaned. If you want to display the scarf, it can be mounted on acid-free backing or unbleached muslin and framed under glass. To remove wrinkles, iron on the wrong side with a warm iron. Value: about $50.

Q: I am in possession of an ancestor’s U.S. Navy honorable discharge papers dated Feb. 15, 1865. The papers are preserved in a sealed frame and have been displayed on a wall away from sunlight. The document is readable and is signed by my relative’s commanding officer and paymaster. Does this have value?

A: If Abraham Lincoln signed your ancestor’s discharge papers, they would have considerable value. Without Lincoln’s signature or that of a well-known commanding officer, the papers might sell to a collector for under $100. If you want to sell, you may want to ask your relatives if one of them would like to buy the papers – but, of course, that can lead to family squabbles. Your ancestor’s discharge date was about two months before the war ended, so there’s a story behind that. You can do a lot of research online about your ancestry and U.S. Naval history. You might learn something that will make you want to keep the papers.

Q: I have a Pearl Harbor pin that my uncle gave my grandma when he returned from serving in the Pacific during World War II. It is simply the written words “Remember Pearl Harbor” with a pearl attached. I was wondering what the value is.

A: Many different pins were made commemorating the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. “Remember Pearl Harbor” was a popular slogan. Some pins, like yours, include a fake pearl. Others say “Remember” above a large set pearl, then say “Harbor” below the pearl. The rebus is often puzzling to those who are under 50 years old. Collectors call jewelry like this – brought back by soldiers, sailors and marines for their wives, mothers or girlfriends – “sweetheart jewelry.” Pins usually sell for $40 to $50.

Tip: When cleaning silver, use plastic or cotton gloves, not rubber gloves. Rubber makes silver tarnish faster.

Terry Kovel answers as many questions as possible through the column. By sending a letter with a question, you give full permission for use in the column or any other Kovel forum. Names, addresses or email addresses will not be published. We cannot guarantee the return of any photograph, but if a stamped envelope is included, we will try. The volume of mail makes personal answers or appraisals impossible. Write to Kovels, Auction Central News, King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

CURRENT PRICES

Current prices are recorded from antiques shows, flea markets, sales and auctions throughout the United States. Prices vary in different locations because of local economic conditions.

  • Home Canners Text Book, World War II Victory Issue, copyright 1943 by Boston Woven Hose & Rubber Co., 5 x 8 inches, 64 pages, $40.
  • Schiaparelli neck scarf, concentric circles in pink, green and blue, white rolled stitched hem, 1950s, 24 x 25 inches, $45.
  • Log Cabin Bitters bottle, St. Drakes 1860 Plantation X, amber, 1865, 10 inches, $118.
  • White mochaware mug, trees on medium blue-gray slip ground, chocolate brown and white bands, green zigzag band, 1885, 5 inches, $145.
  • Pennsylvania cradle, mahogany, dovetailed, scroll-cut top, 1800s, 25 x 41 inches, $265.
  • Chasing Charlie board game, Charlie Chaplin being chased by racing car, Spears Games, England, 1920s, 8 x 12 inches, $380.
  • Sweet Caporal Cigarettes store door sign, cardboard, girl offering full pack of opened cigarettes, reverse side reads “Please Shut the Door,” circa 1910, 5 1/4 x 14 inches, $385.
  • Smokey The Bear string holder, painted plaster, hole in mouth for string, PB Studios, 1955, 6 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches, $460.
  • Mechanical bank, Pig in High Chair, place coin on tray, press lever, pig catches coin in his mouth, J. & E. Stevens, patented Aug. 24, 1897, 6 inches, $1,840.
  • Georg Jensen sterling silver tray, oval, beaded rim, ebony handles accented with reed and scroll design, marked, 1915-32, 23 3/4 inches, $6,200.

Keep up with changes in the collectibles world. Send for a FREE sample issue of our 12-page, full-color newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, filled with prices, news, information and photos, plus major news about the world of collecting. To subscribe at a bargain $27 for 12 issues, write Kovels, P.O. Box 8534, Big Sandy, TX 75755; call 800-829-9158; or subscribe online at Kovelsonlinestore.com.

 

 

© 2011 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.

Rare Leica camera snaps $1.3M at auction

VIENNA (AP) – An Austrian auction house says an 88-year-old Leica camera has sold for a record 1.3 million euros ($1.9 million).

WestLicht says the rare camera is part of a small series dating back to 1923 and was valued at up to 450,000 euros ($643,640).

It says the camera, which had a starting price of 200,000 euros ($286,000), went to a private Asian collector after a tense, 20-minute bidding process.

WestLicht claims Saturday’s auction makes the early Leica the most expensive camera ever sold.

____

Online: www.westlicht-auction.com

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-28-11 1718GMT

 

 

Hand-colored silk scroll with portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in court dress, by anonymous court artists, late Kangxi period, known as the Qing Dynasty's golden era. From The Palace Museum, Beijing.

China’s Forbidden City to lend works to Louvre

Hand-colored silk scroll with portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in court dress, by anonymous court artists, late Kangxi period, known as the Qing Dynasty's golden era. From The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Hand-colored silk scroll with portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in court dress, by anonymous court artists, late Kangxi period, known as the Qing Dynasty’s golden era. From The Palace Museum, Beijing.

BEIJING (AFP) – The Forbidden City, China’s ancient imperial palace museum, is to loan more than 100 works to the Louvre in Paris, some of which have never left China.

The group of about 130 artefacts includes arms, clothing, bronzes, pieces of jade, lacquerware, enamels, seals, ceramics and personal effects of the Ming and Qing emperors, offering a window on life at China’s imperial court.

The pieces are to feature in a major exhibition set to open later this year in Paris, according to organisers, who revealed the collection to reporters on Thursday and Friday.

It is the first time that such works will be on display at the Louvre, which does not have a Chinese art department. Some of the museum’s galleries will be modified to accommodate the collection.

Located in central Beijing, the Forbidden City was first built in the early decades of the 15th century and served as the imperial palace of China’s Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) Dynasties.

It was transformed into the Palace Museum in 1925 after the fall of the Qing.

The exhibition, “The Forbidden City at the Louvre,” will examine the parallel history of the two palaces – which were both home to kings and emperors and are now museums.

The show will be open from September 29 through January 9, 2012.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Hand-colored silk scroll with portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in court dress, by anonymous court artists, late Kangxi period, known as the Qing Dynasty's golden era. From The Palace Museum, Beijing.

Hand-colored silk scroll with portrait of the Kangxi Emperor in court dress, by anonymous court artists, late Kangxi period, known as the Qing Dynasty’s golden era. From The Palace Museum, Beijing.

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Underground Jerusalem brings tourists, tension

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

JERUSALEM (AP) – Underneath the crowded alleys and holy sites of old Jerusalem, hundreds of people are snaking at any given moment through tunnels, vaulted medieval chambers and Roman sewers in a rapidly expanding subterranean city invisible from the streets above.

At street level, the walled Old City is an energetic and fractious enclave with a physical landscape that is predominantly Islamic and a population that is mainly Arab.

Underground Jerusalem is different: Here the noise recedes, the fierce Middle Eastern sun disappears, and light comes from fluorescent bulbs. There is a smell of earth and mildew, and the geography recalls a Jewish city that existed 2,000 years ago.

Archaeological digs under the disputed Old City are a matter of immense sensitivity. For Israel, the tunnels are proof of the depth of Jewish roots here, and this has made the tunnels one of Jerusalem’s main tourist draws: The number of visitors, mostly Jews and Christians, has risen dramatically in recent years to more than a million visitors in 2010.

But many Palestinians, who reject Israel’s sovereignty in the city, see them as a threat to their own claims to Jerusalem. And some critics say they put an exaggerated focus on Jewish history.

A new underground link is opening within two months, and when it does, there will be more than a mile of pathways beneath the city. Officials say at least one other major project is in the works. Soon, anyone so inclined will be able to spend much of their time in Jerusalem without seeing the sky.

On a recent morning, a man carrying surveying equipment walked across a two-millennia-old stone road, paused at the edge of a hole and disappeared underground.

In a multilevel maze of rooms and corridors beneath the Muslim Quarter, workers cleared rubble and installed steel safety braces to shore up crumbling 700-year-old Mamluk-era arches.

Above ground, a group of French tourists emerged from a dark passage they had entered an hour earlier in the Jewish Quarter and found themselves among Arab shops on the Via Dolorosa, the traditional route Jesus took to his crucifixion.

South of the Old City, visitors to Jerusalem can enter a tunnel chipped from the bedrock by a Judean king 2,500 years ago and walk through knee-deep water under the Arab neighborhood of Silwan. Beginning this summer, a new passage will be open nearby: a sewer Jewish rebels are thought to have used to flee the Roman legions who destroyed the Jerusalem temple in 70 A.D.

The sewer leads uphill, passing beneath the Old City walls before expelling visitors into sunlight next to the rectangular enclosure where the temple once stood, now home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-capped Dome of the Rock.

From there, it’s a short walk to a third passage, the Western Wall tunnel, which continues north from the Jewish holy site past stones cut by masons working for King Herod and an ancient water system. Visitors emerge near the entrance to an ancient quarry called Zedekiah’s Cave that descends under the Muslim Quarter.

The next major project, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority, will follow the course of one of the city’s main Roman-era streets underneath the prayer plaza at the Western Wall. This route, scheduled for completion in three years, will link up with the Western Wall tunnel.

The excavations and flood of visitors exist against a backdrop of acute distrust between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims, who are suspicious of any government moves in the Old City and particularly around the Al-Aqsa compound, Islam’s third-holiest shrine. Jews know the compound as the Temple Mount, site of two destroyed temples and the center of the Jewish faith for three millennia.

Muslim fears have led to violence in the past: The 1996 opening of a new exit to the Western Wall tunnel sparked rumors among Palestinians that Israel meant to damage the mosques, and dozens were killed in the ensuing riots. In recent years, however, work has gone ahead without incident.

Mindful that the compound has the potential to trigger devastating conflict, Israel’s policy is to allow no excavations there. Digging under Temple Mount, the Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg has written, “would be like trying to figure out how a hand grenade works by pulling the pin and peering inside.”

Despite the Israeli assurances, however, rumors persist that the excavations are undermining the physical stability of the Islamic holy sites.

“I believe the Israelis are tunneling under the mosques,” said Najeh Bkerat, an official of the Waqf, the Muslim religious body that runs the compound under Israel’s overall security control.

Samir Abu Leil, another Waqf official, said he had heard hammering that very morning underneath the Waqf’s offices, in a Mamluk-era building that sits just outside the holy compound and directly over the route of the Western Wall tunnel, and had filed a complaint with police.

The closest thing to an excavation on the mount, Israeli archaeologists point out, was done by the Waqf itself: In the 1990s, the Waqf opened a new entrance to a subterranean prayer space and dumped truckloads of rubble outside the Old City, drawing outrage from scholars who said priceless artifacts were being destroyed.

This month, an Israeli government watchdog released a report saying Waqf construction work in the compound in recent years had been done without supervision and had damaged antiquities. The issue is deemed so sensitive that the details of the report were kept classified.

Some Israeli critics of the tunnels point to what they call an exaggerated emphasis on a Jewish narrative.

“The tunnels all say: We were here 2,000 years ago, and now we’re back, and here’s proof,” said Yonathan Mizrachi, an Israeli archaeologist. “Living here means recognizing that other stories exist alongside ours.”

Yuval Baruch, the Antiquities Authority archaeologist in charge of Jerusalem, said his diggers are careful to preserve worthy finds from all of the city’s historical periods. “This city is of interest to at least half the people on Earth, and we will continue uncovering the past in the most professional way we can,” he said.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-30-11 1610GMT

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

The Western Wall, located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount, is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983), Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, was auctioned on May 31, 2011 at Sotheby's Hong Kong gallery for HK$67.86 million (US$8.72 million). Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Hong Kong auction record for Chinese artist Chang

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983), Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, was auctioned on May 31, 2011 at Sotheby's Hong Kong gallery for HK$67.86 million (US$8.72 million). Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983), Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, was auctioned on May 31, 2011 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong gallery for HK$67.86 million (US$8.72 million). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

HONG KONG (AFP) – A collection of 25 works by Chang Dai-chien, one of China’s leading 20th century artists, sold at auction Tuesday for HK$680 million ($87.3 million) in just over an hour.

The top lot, Lotus and Mandarin Ducks, sold for HK$191 million to a telephone bidder, against a pre-sale estimate of HK$20 million, setting an auction record for the artist, Sotheby’s Hong Kong said.

Bidding for another work, Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, opened at HK$10 million but within seconds a telephone bidder offered HK$60 million “that took the whole room by surprise” and eventually acquired the painting for HK$67.86 million, Sotheby’s said.

“With intense bidding wars and stunning prices achieved for numerous works in just over an hour, I believe today’s highly anticipated sale… has left a lasting impression on those present in the room,” said C.K. Cheung, head of Sotheby’s Fine Chinese Paintings department.

Chang, who died in 1983, has been described as one of the most important Chinese artists of the 20th century and even been compared to Picasso.

Chinese art prices have rocketed in recent years, fueled by the country’s economic boom and its growing numbers of super rich.

Hong Kong has emerged as the world’s third-largest auction center after New York and London, thanks in large part to China’s rapidly growing number of millionaires.

Sotheby’s Hong Kong said its sales total for the first half of the year soared to HK$4.28 billion, more than double the HK$2.11 billion in the same period of 2010.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983), Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, was auctioned on May 31, 2011 at Sotheby's Hong Kong gallery for HK$67.86 million (US$8.72 million). Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

Zhang Daqian (Chang Dai-Chien, 1899-1983), Ancient Temple Amidst Clouds, was auctioned on May 31, 2011 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong gallery for HK$67.86 million (US$8.72 million). Image courtesy of Sotheby’s.

The Pyramid of Snofru in southern Egypt retains a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Alabama professor finds buried Egyptian pyramids

The Pyramid of Snofru in southern Egypt retains a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

The Pyramid of Snofru in southern Egypt retains a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said she used laser technology to discover 17 previously unknown Egyptian pyramids buried below the desert sands.

Settlement archaeologist and professor Sarah Parcak also identified more than 1,000 possible tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements underground by using a combination of GPS equipment and infrared technology.

“This shows us the possibility of what’s there,” said Parcak, who has been researching and excavating in Egypt for the last 11 years. “There’s all these people working in Egypt and they are always finding things … it really speaks to the possibility of discovery.”

Robert Littman, an Egyptologist at the University of Hawaii and a member of the Governing Board of the Archaeological Institute of America, said these discoveries were significant.

“There are 138 known pyramids in Egypt plus these 17 more that have been discovered. That is increasing the number by 15 percent overnight. It’s huge,” Littman says.

Researchers know where to look now and excavation has to be done to prove the structures are authentic, Parack said. Two of these structures have been validated so far, she said.

The technologies used in this discovery are not new, but they were combined in new ways.

“We do a survey of the total site, then use a GPS and take pictures and line it up with a satellite map and excavation maps,” Littman said. “The whole satellite survey is giving us a much bigger overview and has much broader implications.”

Littman said the team hopes new technologies can be used to help researchers in Egypt. The African country doesn’t tend to have as many excavation resources as Western archeologists, who have new techniques and technology.

“With this satellite mapping project, we are training young Egyptians and scientists to leave a legacy of both teaching and discovery directly with the Egyptian government,” Parcak says.

Parcak hopes this research can provide more information into Egypt’s past and ancient culture.

“We have made a lot of assumptions of how the Egyptians lived and worked and sustained themselves,” Parcak said.

Parcak set up a remote sensing lab in her UAB lab, where she trained students to help contribute and process the research coming from Egypt.

“This data gives a good baseline of environmental changes and populations in Egyptian history. We know so much about ancient Egypt but perhaps now we can look at broader settlement and environmental factors and data,” Parcak says.

Egyptian culture and government make it difficult to initiate new digs, in part because it slows development.

“The greatest threat to these antiquities is people,” says Littman.

Parcak’s research will be shown next week in the BBC documentary Egypt’s Lost Cities. The Discovery Channel will air a version of her findings in the Unites States later this summer.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-27-11 0006GMT

 


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Pyramid of Snofru in southern Egypt retains a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

The Pyramid of Snofru in southern Egypt retains a significant proportion of its original smooth outer limestone casing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Caption: Jim Tressel at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Ohio State coach resigns amid memorabilia scandal

Caption: Jim Tressel at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Caption: Jim Tressel at the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A tattoo parlor owner who bought Ohio State football memorabilia was charged Friday in federal court with drug trafficking and money laundering, though his attorney said there’s no connection with the scandal unfolding over the sale of the items. Yet, on Monday the scandal prompted Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel to resign.

Edward Rife will plead guilty to the charges and cooperate with authorities, documents filed in U.S. District Court indicated. The charges and Rife’s plea agreement don’t mention the sale of the memorabilia.

Rife, 31, will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 200 pounds of marijuana, and one count of money laundering, the documents showed. He could face a prison sentence of 20 years although would likely receive much less under federal sentencing rules.

The money laundering charge alleges Rife paid $21,500 for a 2005 Nissan Infinity QX56 with money earned through the alleged drug transactions, according to the documents filed Friday.

Five players, including star quarterback Terrelle Pryor, have been suspended for the first five games this fall for accepting improper benefits from Rife totaling between $12,000 and $15,000.

Coach Jim Tressel had been suspended and is still being investigated for knowing of his players’ involvement with Rife and not reporting it to the NCAA or his superiors for more than nine months.

Rife’s lawyer said Friday his client is taking responsibility for past mistakes.

“His criminal allegations and what are going on in federal court really has little or nothing to do with the Ohio State football players,” added attorney Stephen Palmer. “He’s dealing with a very troubling time anyway and to have the heat from the Ohio State situation come down on him has been terrible.”

Rife remains a fan of the Ohio State football program, Palmer said.

“He didn’t want any harm to come on any players or the university or the program or coach Tressel or anyone,” Palmer said. “If he’s responsible for anything, it’s being a quality Ohio State fan.”

Neither the U.S. Attorney’s office nor the Internal Revenue Service, which investigated the money laundering charge against Rife, would comment.

Although Rife’s guilty plea doesn’t mention Ohio State or the players’ suspensions, OSU first learned of the memorabilia sales through the federal investigation into Rife.

Tressel received an email in April 2010 from a Columbus lawyer, Chris Cicero, who was a former Ohio State walk-on and letterman in the 1980s. He told Tressel that at least two current Buckeyes players had sold signed Ohio State memorabilia to Rife, who ran a local tattoo parlor. Cicero also said that they had received free tattoos.

Cicero said that Rife was the subject of a federal drug-trafficking investigation.

The two players were later revealed to be Pryor and wide receiver DeVier Posey. In an email response the same day, Tressel wrote, “Thanks. I will get on it ASAP.”

Tressel later said that he felt bound by a vow of confidentiality to not disclose anything about the email, even though there is nothing in it about remaining quiet. He and Cicero traded emails twice more, with more information given to Tressel about the infractions. Cicero said he had even spoken to Rife for 90 minutes.

Athletic director Gene Smith has said Tressel never notified him, his Ohio State bosses or anyone in the university’s compliance department. He also did not contact the lawyers on staff about the situation, though he did forward the original email to Ted Sarniak, a businessman and mentor of Pryor in his hometown of Jeannette, Pa.

Tressel signed an NCAA form in September in which he said he had no knowledge of any rules violations. When the U.S. Attorney’s office came to Ohio State in December to tell of its investigation that uncovered memorabilia in Rife’s possession, the school began an investigation of its own. During interviews that month, Tressel did not disclose what he knew at any time.

___

AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-27-11 1545GMT

Hans Coper, angular stoneware vase, circa 1958, est. NZ$5,000 - $8,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

Studio ceramics, photos on tap at ART+OBJECT sale June 8-9

Hans Coper, angular stoneware vase, circa 1958, est. NZ$5,000 - $8,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

Hans Coper, angular stoneware vase, circa 1958, est. NZ$5,000 – $8,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – The New Zealand-based auction house ART+OBJECT will soon be offering two first-class international collections with impeccable provenance. LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

First up on June 8 is the collection of British/New Zealand architect Martin Hill (1925-2006) who arrived here in 1952 with a collection of British and Continental ceramics by leading practitioners Dame Luce Rie, Hans Coper, Bernard Leach and Michael Cardew.

On June 9 ART+OBJECT will offer the collection of kiwi cinematographer Michael Seresin, who over a number of decades assembled a superb collection of vintage 20th-century photographs by Andre Kertez, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt, Brassai, E.J. Bellocq, Mario Giacomelli, W. Eugene Smith, Baron Adolph de Meyer, Manuel Alvarez Bravo and Eugene Atget and many other highly collectable photographers. The collection spans the early 20th century to the 1960s.

Hamish Coney, managing director of ART+OBJECT, said that such collections are rarely found in New Zealand. “Usually collections of this caliber would be offered in London or New York and local collectors would miss the pleasure of viewing, enjoying and bidding on these in the flesh. ART+OBJECT is thrilled to be able to offer these superb collections here and invite international collectors to participate via LiveAuctioneers.com. We will be making sure we can accommodate their condition report and information requirements,” said Coney.

The Martin Hill Collection of international Ceramics began in the Arts and Crafts village of Ditchling, Sussex where the architect grew up in the 1930s. Ditchling, founded by well known artist and typographer Eric Gill, holds a seminal position in the British Arts and Crafts movement in the early 20th century. In this environment the Hill family came into contact with artists such as Frank Brangwyn and the work of leading studio potters Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada and Michael Cardew was seen, discussed and in some cases acquired.

The collection contains what the auction house describes as museum quality examples of the work of Lucie Rie, Hans Coper, Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada and the influence of this collection on the development of New Zealand studio pottery was significant, according to Coney. “This collection was well known in international circles in the 1960s. Bernard Leach on his visit to New Zealand in 1962 made a point of inspecting Martin Hill’s collection,” he said.

Michael Seresin is perhaps best known as an international cinematographer on such films as Bugsy Malone, Angela’s Ashes, Midnight Express and Harry Potter the Prisoner of Azkaban. His career spans some 35 years and numerous major motion pictures. His decades-long collaboration with director Alan Parker has resulted in many classics including Birdy, The Life of David Gale, Fame and Angel Heart.

For many years Michael Seresin has been a collector of vintage 20th-century black and white prints. Over the decades his keen eye has appreciated and located some of the foundation images of art photography by leading practitioners.

The entire collection toured New Zealand public galleries in 2005 under the title “Another View.” Coney describes the collection as a near archive collection of the major figures of 20th-century art photography. “Photography has been one of the star performers of the New Zealand auction scene in the last three years. Just like the Hill collection it is a rare occasion for a collection of such pedigree and rarity to be offered in New Zealand,” said Coney.

For details contact Hamish Coney, Managing Director, ART+OBJECT, 3 Abbey St., Newton, Auckland, New Zealand. Tel: +64 9 354 4646 email hamish@artandobject.co.nz.

View the fully illustrated catalogs and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


André Kertéz (1894 – 1985), Satiric Dancer, gelatin silver print, signed and dated 1926 verso, 240 x 194mm, est. NZ$7,000 - $10,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

André Kertéz (1894 – 1985), Satiric Dancer, gelatin silver print, signed and dated 1926 verso, 240 x 194mm, est. NZ$7,000 – $10,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

E. J Bellocq (John Ernest Joseph Bellocq 1873 – 1949), Prostitute, Storyville, New Orleans, circa 1912, gold-tone P. O. P. print, original blind stamp applied verso reads Photograph by E. J Bellocq.  New Orleans circa 1911 – 1913.  Collection Lee Friedlander and is signed by Lee Friedlander, 228 x 165mm, est. NZ$7,000 - $14,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

E. J Bellocq (John Ernest Joseph Bellocq 1873 – 1949), Prostitute, Storyville, New Orleans, circa 1912, gold-tone P. O. P. print, original blind stamp applied verso reads Photograph by E. J Bellocq. New Orleans circa 1911 – 1913. Collection Lee Friedlander and is signed by Lee Friedlander, 228 x 165mm, est. NZ$7,000 – $14,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

Dame Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, six piece coffee set, circa 1960, est. NZ$8,000 - $12,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

Dame Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, six piece coffee set, circa 1960, est. NZ$8,000 – $12,000. Image courtesy of ART+OBJECT.

Rare and beautiful Simon & Halbig black character doll, 15 inches, in original sailor dress, est. $6,000-$8,000. Morphy Auctions image.

D.C.-area collector’s all-bisque dolls star in Morphy’s June 11 sale

Rare and beautiful Simon & Halbig black character doll, 15 inches, in original sailor dress, est. $6,000-$8,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Rare and beautiful Simon & Halbig black character doll, 15 inches, in original sailor dress, est. $6,000-$8,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – A long-held Washington, D.C.-area collection that includes superb all-bisque, French fashion and character dolls serves as the centerpiece for Morphy Auctions’ June 11 Fine Doll sale, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. The 300-lot collection belonging to Helen Burton of Arlington, Va., comprises approximately 75% of the auction inventory, and according to Morphy’s doll specialist and cataloger Jan Foulke, the contents are highly select.

“Helen has always been very discriminating in her buying, and it is a very clean, well-cared-for collection,” said Foulke. “She looked for dolls that were a little bit different – that had an unusual mold number or something else to distinguish it.” Foulke noted that the collector also favored Gebruder Heubach dolls.

The all-bisques in the collection include both French and German examples, some with jointed elbows and knees. Additionally, the collector acquired French fashion dolls. One of the treasures in this category is a Bru fashion doll with jointed wood arms, which comes complete with its original box.

While collecting French fashion dolls, Helen Burton also acquired many exquisite accessories to accompany them. These accessories include: gloves, valises, fans, stationery, lorgnettes, books with ivory covers, photo albums, perfume bottles and even miniature boxed games made of ivory. “It’s a beautiful selection that contains some very hard-to-find items,” said Foulke.

“Helen has always liked for her dolls to be fully, correctly dressed,” Foulke continued. “If they were not fully dressed, she would make the clothes herself. They were always very authentic and beautifully done.”

Several French bebes will be offered in the auction, as well. All are in original condition, including a Jumeau that retains its original box.

Among the most prized items in the collection are a black bisque Simon & Halbig #1358 – which is a premier example amongst black dolls – and a very rare circa-1830s papier-mache doll with a molded bonnet and glass eyes.

Among the German character dolls are a rare Heubach with molded bonnet, several Heubach pouty characters, and an elegant Heubach lady that is rather difficult to find. Another coveted character doll is the N & T girl with molded hair that Foulke says is “a very large size – I’ve never seen one in this size before.” Also to be auctioned are a Dressel pouty character and a Kley & Hahn #546 character with glass eyes.

Another auction highlight is a rare, circa-1850s German china doll with glass eyes.

Two-faced rarities include a Kling lady doll whose painted-on eyes render the impression of being asleep on one side and awake on the other; and a large Max Schelhorn “crying” doll.

The Burton collection also features a pair of highly desirable wax dolls of the French juvenile-literature characters Jean Qui Rit and Jean Qui Pleure – “Jean Who Laughs” and “Jean Who Cries.” The duo will be sold together with a storybook containing the tale of the two boys. Similarly, the collection contains a pair of bisque busts replicating the same characters.

Other wax dolls in the collection include a lady with molded gloves and a boy doll in sailor’s costume. “The little buy is possibly supposed to be one of the grandsons of Queen Victoria,” said Foulke.

Also included is an extensive array of sewing items: antique sewing kits and a few very lovely doll-size sewing cases on legs. One is a 19th-century wood case that opens up like a desk, while the other is of wicker.

A second collection consigned to the June 11 sale consists of American cloth dolls. Three of the highlights are an Izannah Walker doll, a black stockinette and an Alabama Baby. A third consignor was the source for a collection of charming R. John Wright dolls, including an elusive Teddy Roosevelt.

The auction offering is rounded out by a group of 1870s-era Peterson’s fashion magazines, figurines, a few piano babies and several small mechanical dolls.

Morphy’s Saturday, June 11, 2011 Fine Doll auction will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time. For information on any item, call Morphy’s associate Serena Myers at 717-335-3435 or email serena@morphyauctions.com.

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

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altView the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.