Picasso drawing stolen from San Francisco gallery

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Police are on the hunt for a man who walked into a San Francisco art gallery, grabbed a valuable pencil drawing by Pablo Picasso off the wall and fled in a waiting taxicab.

Police on Tuesday said the drawing, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, was taken from the Weinstein Gallery near Union Square.

The gallery says Picasso created the one-of-a-kind drawing titled Tete de Femme in 1965.

Officer Albie Esparza told the San Francisco Chronicle that police hope a member of the public might recognize the piece if someone attempts to sell it.

Other artists whose works are still on display at the gallery include Marc Chagall, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro.

Police described the suspect as a man in his 30s wearing loafers and dark glasses.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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One of two Spengler family watercolor birth records, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pair sold for $103,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Two watercolor birth records hit $103,500 at Evans auction

One of two Spengler family watercolor birth records, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pair sold for $103,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

One of two Spengler family watercolor birth records, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pair sold for $103,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. – A pair of Virginia watercolor birth records sold together for $103,500 at Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates’ 21st semiannual Americana & Fine Antiques Cataloged Auction on June 25.

Jeffrey S. Evans began the 758-lot sale at 9:30 a.m. and hammered down the final lot just short of nine hours later. Only five lots carried a “safety-net” reserve and all lots sold.

The Evans firm is renowned for handling important southern decorative arts, and Evans himself is one of the nation’s leading experts in material from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region.

This proficiency was evidenced by the five highest-selling lots in this auction all being of Virginia origin and selling in excess of their estimates. The extensive research conducted by Evans and his staff further enhanced the desirability of these lots as each catalog description contained detailed notes, references and an all-important provenance.

The sale’s most coveted lot was an important pair of circa 1800 Shenandoah Valley of Virginia watercolor and ink birth records (lot 272) for Joseph Stover Spengler (1790-1876) and his sister Margaret Spengler (1799-1848), of Strasburg, Shenandoah County. One certificate was signed “H.D. pinxit et scripsit.” Evans’ research attributed the pair to Heinrich Diefenbach (1771-1837), a Reformed minister who worked in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley from roughly 1799 to 1802. Diefenbach’s journal indicates that he produced three birth certificates for the Kiracofe family of Augusta County in 1802; however, the whereabouts of those certificates is unknown, making the Spengler records the first and only works ascribed to Diefenbach. The roughly 9-inch by 7-inch records had descended uninterrupted through six generations of the Spengler family inShenandoah and Rockingham counties.

Jeff Evans discovered the birth records during an estate appraisal for a Spengler family descendent in the early 1980s. Evans related, “I have lusted for this pair since the first day I laid eyes on them nearly 30 years ago.” Evans further explained, “I really never suspected that they would leave the family, but they became too much of a burden on the current owner from a preservation standpoint. The records received interest from several Virginia museums; however, the final bidding came down to two Virginia collectors and Pennsylvania dealer Kelly Kinzle, all bidding in house, with Kinzle ultimately winning the pair for $103,500 (all prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium), a record auction lot price for Virginia folk art watercolors.

Another hotly contested Shenandoah County object was a rare signed “Caleb Davis” Woodstock, Va., inlaid cherry tall-case clock (lot 352), dated 1804 and published on page 66 of The Clocks of Shenandoah by Philip Whitney. In researching the clock Evans discovered that it had descended in the Steel family of Newtown (now Stephens City) in southern Frederick County, Va., about 20 miles north of Woodstock. Mager Steele (born circa 1789) and his sons Mager Jr. (born circa 1843) and Milton (born circa 1845) were successful merchants in Newtown throughout much of the 19th century.

Mager Steele had likely purchased the clock secondhand or accepted it on trade around 1838 and it had stood in the Steele home on Main Street until the 1970s when a selection of the home’s contents were carted off to New York City and sold at a Sotheby’s Arcade auction. Jeff Evans voiced great pleasure in successfully reconnecting the Davis clock with its Steele family provenance and associated historical context within the Shenandoah Valley. He was also elated to report that the Newtown History Center of the Stone House Foundation in Stephens City, Va., had placed the winning bid of $37,375 for the stately timepiece and that it would soon be installed in the center’s museum along with other Steele-family objects.

The clock was consigned from the collection of Dr. Charles and Elizabeth Umstott of Newport News, Va., who were not aware of the clocks association with the Steele family.

Also from the Umstott collection was an outstanding Rockingham or Shenandoah County, Va., sampler wrought by Levinea Campbell in 1824 (lot 257) that measured 17 1/2 inches by 16 1/2 inches and was in exceptional condition. Representing the earliest known example from the distinctive New Market “Yellow House” group, it had been published on page 88 of In the Neatest Manner: The Making of the Virginia Sampler Tradition by Kim Ivey, and exhibited at Colonial Williamsburg in 1997 and the Art Museum of Western Virginia in 1999. After spirited bidding the sampler sold to an advanced Virginia collector, one of seven phone bidders, for $34,500. Evans now holds the record for the first and third most expensive Southern sampler sold at auction (see the firm’s July 25, 2009 auction, lot 120 for the most expensive example).

Two other Southern samplers also drew strong prices – a 17-inch by 17-inch Alabama example inscribed “Clarissa B. Henry, Mobile, May, 1833″ that was in fine condition and appeared to have never been framed, sold for $13,800, while a 20-inch by 19-inch Martinsburg, Va. (now West Virginia) example dated Sept. 12, 1823 and wrought by 10-year old Elizabeth A. Sommerville, daughter of Capt. William Sommerville (1756-1826), RevolutionaryWar veteran and later postmaster of Martinsburg, sold for $6,900. Its colors were still excellent, but it did exhibit some staining to the foundation and was in need of conservation. Both of these latter samplers were recently discovered in the North and shipped to Evans in Virginia for research and sale.

The highlight from more than 120 lots of American folk pottery in the auction was an important circa 1810 Valley of Virginia attributed slip-decorated 12-inch earthenware pitcher (lot 1), probably made in Wythe or Smyth County., or possibly Augusta County. From a Shenandoah Valley private collection, the previously unrecorded pitcher had been purchased at an on-site farm auction in Augusta County in the 1980s. The kaolin-clay body of the pitcher featured a lead glaze over a yellow slip wash decorated with a bold slipped and brushed copper and manganese triple-tulip and urn on the front flanked by a stylized flower-star and upright ferns, all above multiple horizontal rings above the base. Evans went into detail outlining specific design, form and construction elements that the pitcher had in common with previously recorded “Great Road” wares illustrated in Great Road Style by Betsy White and numerous Alamance County, N.C., products of the Loy family illustrated in Ceramics in America 2010.

Evans also commented, “From a broader context this pitcher’s tulip-and-urn decoration relates to a large group of paint-decorated blanket chests from Wythe County, Va., and a counterpane with a Wythe Co. association that is currently on exhibit at the Dewitt Wallace Museum in Colonial Williamsburg.” In response to the pitcher’s possible Augusta County origin, Evans explained, “The distinctive star-flower, vertical ferns, and straight and wavy horizontal rings above the base are losely related to designs commonly associated with North Carolina earthenware in the St. Asaph’s tradition. The fact that Martin Loy, patriarch of the celebrated Loy family of Alamance Co. potters resided in Augusta County during the third quarter of the 18th century would suggest a possible familial or enduring craft association with a yet to be discovered Augusta County potter. In addition kaolin clay is abundant in Augusta County.” The pitcher was free of chips or cracks but did exhibit some glaze exfoliation primarily around the base. Evans opened bidding on the lot at $2,100 with an absentee bid and the advances came methodically until a prominent Virginia collector bidding by phone was triumphant at $14,950.

The top lot among the furniture offerings was a fine circa 1775 Southside Virginia Chippendale walnut side chair (lot 355) that was nearly identical to the example in the Colonial Williamsburg collection illustrated on page 108 of Southern Furniture 1680-1830 by Ronald Hurst and Jonathan Prown. This example retained an outstanding historical surface and appropriate yellow pine slip-seat frame; it was consigned from a private collection and had been acquired from esteemed Maryland antiques dealer Milly McGehee. The chair’s classic grace and elegance and superb condition drew many suitors and in the end it sold to another Virginia collector bidding $17,250, possibly a record auction price for a Virginia side chair.

Another item of special note was a rare circa 1770 American silver dish cross (lot 439) marked for Thomas Shields (1743-1819) of Philadelphia, that descended in the Crenshaw family of Washington, D.C. One of only a handful of recorded 18th-century American dish crosses; it drew strong interest from private collectors and the trade, ultimately selling for $9,200.

A fine collection of Bennington and related pottery assembled by a Virginia man over the past 40 years also crossed the block. The top lot of this collection was a large-size – 10 3/4 inches high – flint-enamel book flask (lot 511) inscribed “Bennington Companion” on the spine and attributable to Lyman Fenton & Co., 1849-1858, which sold for $4,312.

More than 1,000 bidders participated in the auction from 25 different and the Evans staff had processed more than 9,000 bids for the single-day sale. Evans was upbeat after the auction and commented, “While there are still a large number of great bargains to be found in the current antiques market, especially in the furniture sector, we are encouraged by the steady increase in the number of bidders participating in our auctions. One of the big keys to our success is that we are able to secure desirable, fresh material for each auction, 99 percent of which is unreserved, and present it with very attractive presale estimates that reflect the current market trends.”

Asked to comment to the present state of the American auction market, Evans said, “Well-cataloged, regional material in good condition continues to sell for solid prices when it carries a conservative estimate. Today’s collectors seem to focus more on objects that display social or historical importance within a specific region or culture – relevance and context seem to be the new buzzwords of the American antiques market.”

The entire auction catalog with prices realized can be accessed at www.jeffreysevans.com. or www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates conducts monthly cataloged auctions in a wide range of categories, all of which are available for in-house, absentee and Internet live bidding. All events are held at the firm’s gallery at 2177 Green Valley Lane, Mount Crawford, VA 22841. Contact the auction house or check the firm’s website at www.jeffreysevans.com for additional information. Call (540) 434-3939 for additional information or email info@jeffreysevans.com.

altClick here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


One of two Spengler family watercolor birth records, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pair sold for $103,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

One of two Spengler family watercolor birth records, Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The pair sold for $103,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

 Caleb Davis, Woodstock, Va., inlaid cherry tall-case clock: $37,375. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Caleb Davis, Woodstock, Va., inlaid cherry tall-case clock: $37,375. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Shenandoah Valley of Virginia sampler, 1824: $34,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Shenandoah Valley of Virginia sampler, 1824: $34,500. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Valley of Virginia slip-decorated earthenware pitcher: $14,950. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Valley of Virginia slip-decorated earthenware pitcher: $14,950. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Southside Virginia walnut side chair: $16,250. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Southside Virginia walnut side chair: $16,250. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

 Philadelphia silver dish cross: $9,200. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc

Philadelphia silver dish cross: $9,200. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc

Bennington pottery large-size book flask $4,312. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Bennington pottery large-size book flask $4,312. Image courtesy of Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates Inc.

Artist Bogdanov's 2006 depiction of sauropods, including the Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, known for forming herds segregated by age. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Campaign to save Texas fossilized dinosaur tracks

Artist Bogdanov's 2006 depiction of sauropods, including the Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, known for forming herds segregated by age. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Artist Bogdanov’s 2006 depiction of sauropods, including the Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, known for forming herds segregated by age. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Let’s face it: Dinosaurs are old news, from millions of years ago. And therein lies the fascination.

Consider that along an ancient sea near present-day Fort Worth, two behemoth beasts, tipping the scales at a combined 26 tons or so, tramped through coastal mud, leaving enormous tracks – now celebrated around the world – and a dinosaur mystery that endures 112 million years later.

Housed in a small building outside the Texas Memorial Museum on the University of Texas campus, the fossilized tracks tell us that one dinosaur, a three-toed meat-eater, stepped inside the footprints of the other, a much larger plant-eater. From the impressions, scientists know they made the prints roughly around the same time.

Was the meat-eater stalking the other? Were they doing a prehistoric Texas two-step?

“We’ve got just enough of the story to spark a lot of questions,” said Ed Theriot, director of the Texas Natural Science Center, which encompasses the museum and research labs and collections at the Pickle Research Campus.

The tracks are gems because they are considered among the best-preserved ever found and because they include the first sauropod (plant-eater) tracks to be documented. But they are deteriorating. A new $1 million science center fundraising campaign aims to save them and move them inside the museum.

Known as the Glen Rose Dinosaur Tracks – for the present-day location about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth where they were discovered in 1940 – the imprints aren’t so much showing their age as they are showing the effects of the conditions in which they have been housed for 70 years.

Because the building that contains the tracks isn’t air-conditioned, nor suited for their preservation, moisture equivalent to seven gallons of water a day percolates through the trackway rocks, Theriot said. The moisture and fluctuating humidity are weakening the stone, causing flaking and crumbling.

In 2009, experts determined that the tracks lay on a cracked slab of cement that wasn’t reinforced and lacked a moisture barrier between the trackway stone and the ground.

“We want to keep it from becoming a catastrophe,” Theriot said. “There’s obviously problems.”

The science center wants “to go Cadillac on this,” Theriot said, not just solve short-term problems. If the campaign raises $1 million, the center intends to remove the rocks – actually, there are some 400 pieces that make up the trackway – clean the plaster that holds them together and chemically treat, reassemble and move them into a climate-controlled exhibit space inside the museum. There they can be preserved, better seen and used for education, Theriot said.

According to the science center, more than 85,000 people visit the museum’s exhibit hall each year, including 40,000 schoolchildren.

In its current location – a stone building with a small sign – the roughly 12-by-36-foot trackway can be seen through a glass front wall at about a 30-degree angle for most people, worse for children. Were it not for the sign inside, which briefly tells the dinosaurs’ saga, the tracks could appear to be merely dirt holes.

But “you can read that (sign) a hundred times” and not fully appreciate the story the tracks tell – of the dinosaurs’ behavior, their paths, the length of their strides and the size of their tracks, Theriot said. “Between the glare, the diffuse lighting, the angle and the (window) thumbprints and palm prints, you just don’t get the impact.”

The science center wants to display the tracks at a strongly tilted angle, affording everyone, including children, a better view.

Theriot said he could find no documentation explaining why the current site was chosen but noted that these were among the first sets of tracks of their kind ever found, and there likely was no real practical experience on which to base a decision.

“It would not be unreasonable to assume that footprints safe in the ground for 100 million years would be OK for a long, long time placed on top of the ground and in a covered building,” he said.

Debra Warren, who with her sons Brandon, 10, and Logan, 7, traveled recently from Spring Branch to visit the museum, said she didn’t know of the Glen Rose exhibit and only stumbled upon it, nor did she know that the tracks were deteriorating. She agreed that having the exhibit inside the museum would allow more people to appreciate the tracks.

“Unless the glass is kept in immaculate condition, you wouldn’t get as great a view as you would” in the museum, Warren said.

Still, she and her sons thought the prints were phenomenal.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” Warren said.

The prints befit what one would imagine from a sauropod dinosaur that scientists think was about 60 feet long and a therapod that was probably 30 feet long. Their strides were 9 to 10 feet long.

So, was the meat-eater stalking prey?

“The therapod is the predator in this ecosystem, so perhaps it was,” said Pamela Owen, a paleontologist with the science center. “You do have that potential interaction because of that small amount of time (when the therapod and the sauropod left the tracks). That’s the closest we’re really going to get in getting some behavioral information.”

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


Artist Bogdanov's 2006 depiction of sauropods, including the Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, known for forming herds segregated by age. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Artist Bogdanov’s 2006 depiction of sauropods, including the Alamosaurus sanjuanensis, known for forming herds segregated by age. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A sauropod trackway, 2005 photo by Jens Lallensack, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

A sauropod trackway, 2005 photo by Jens Lallensack, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

King Philip III (El Rey Felipe III, 1598-1621) of Spain.

Colonial Williamsburg displays 17th C. Spanish king’s letters

King Philip III (El Rey Felipe III, 1598-1621) of Spain.

King Philip III (El Rey Felipe III, 1598-1621) of Spain.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) – Two letters from the early 17th century expressing Spain’s fears of the new English settlement at Jamestown are going on display at Colonial Williamsburg.

The letters written by Spanish King Phillip III were donated by best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell.

The Richmond-based writer has been an avid follower of the Jamestown Rediscovery archaeological project for many years. Cornwell acquired the historic letters several years ago at the New York auction of an old Spanish family archive.

Officials say the Spain was concerned the English would create a base in Virginia to attack Spanish ships in the Atlantic Ocean and raid as far as the Pacific Ocean as well.

The letters are on display at the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library.

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

AP-WF-07-02-11 1545GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


King Philip III (El Rey Felipe III, 1598-1621) of Spain.

King Philip III (El Rey Felipe III, 1598-1621) of Spain.

The Golden Dome, University of Notre Dame, in a picture taken by Ted Moseby in 2006 and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Notre Dame to turn vacant building into art center

The Golden Dome, University of Notre Dame, in a picture taken by Ted Moseby in 2006 and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

The Golden Dome, University of Notre Dame, in a picture taken by Ted Moseby in 2006 and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – The University of Notre Dame hopes to turn a vacant brick building on South Bend’s west side into an arts and culture center.

The South Bend Tribune reports the city’s redevelopment commission has approved a tentative plan to provide $930,000 toward repairing the building. Notre Dame will provide an additional $1.5 million.

South Bend community and economic development director Don Inks says the next step is to work out a memorandum of understanding between the city, South Bend Heritage and the university. The building is across the street from Indiana University South Bend’s Civil Rights Heritage Center and down the block from the Center for History and Studebaker National Museum.

The plan calls for using the building as a base for various community arts and cultural centers.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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

AP-WF-07-04-11 1222GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Golden Dome, University of Notre Dame, in a picture taken by Ted Moseby in 2006 and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

The Golden Dome, University of Notre Dame, in a picture taken by Ted Moseby in 2006 and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Cincinnati Art Carved sideboard with Benjamin Pittman carving, possibly made for exhibition. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Rare 1944 Martin guitar has lead at Cowan’s sale July 23

Cincinnati Art Carved sideboard with Benjamin Pittman carving, possibly made for exhibition. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Cincinnati Art Carved sideboard with Benjamin Pittman carving, possibly made for exhibition. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

CINCINNATI – Cowan’s Summer Fine and Decorative Art Auction to take place on Saturday, July 23, promises to be an exciting event. The 364-lot sale, to be held at Cowan’s sales room, will offer fine and decorative art items from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Highlights in the sale include a 1944 Martin D-28 herringbone guitar, and a Cincinnati Art Carved sideboard with Benjamin Pittman carving.

LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

Cowan’s will offer a George Jensen sterling coffee and tea service estimated to bring anywhere from $15,000 to $25,000. This coffee and tea service is made in the blossom pattern and includes a coffee pot, teapot, covered sugar, cream pitcher, milk jug and oblong tray, all of which have carved ivory side handles.

A 1944 Martin D-28 herringbone guitar is estimated to sell for $30,000-$40,000. The guitar still retains its original keys. C.F. Martin & Co.’s primary factory is located in Nazareth, Pa., and is renowned for its high quality lines of guitars.

A Cincinnati Art Carved sideboard with Benjamin Pittman carving, possibly made for exhibition is estimated to bring $10,000-$15,000. It is a rare example of a Cincinnati Art Carved School piece bearing the personal stamp of the school’s founder.

Another great item in the sale is a copper panel by Maria Longworth Nichols Storer. The panel is American, circa 1913, and is embossed with fish and sea creatures with bejeweled eyes and is estimated at $5,000-$7,000. It is mounted in a wood frame, under glass, and rests on a small custom-made tabletop.

A monumental sideboard, atrributed to Alexander Roux, is expected to bring anywhere from $6,000-$10,000. This beautifully carved 19th-century American sideboard was manufactured by P. Mallard of New Orleans.

A Large KPM Porcelain plaque of Queen Louise is estimated to bring $6,000-$8,000. The plaque is German, 19th century, and depicts Queen Louise of Prussia.

A Queen Anne-style secretary bookcase is estimated to bring $8,000-$10,000. This bookcase is English 19th century and is in walnut with pine and oak secondary. Having dovetailed construction, the upper case opens to a fitted architectural interior, and the lower case opens to a fitted interior with a tooled leather writing surface.

A Picasso ceramic jug is estimated to sell anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000. This ceramic jug depicts a man and horse in black, white, blue and brown glaze and the base is marked “Edition Picasso 216/300.”

A Margaret Bourke-White photograph of the U.S.S. Akron airship is expected to bring $4,000-$7,000.

For details check Cowan’s website at www.cowanauctions.com or phone 513-871-1670.

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.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


Martin 1944 D-28 herringbone guitar. Estimate: $30,000-$/40,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Martin 1944 D-28 herringbone guitar. Estimate: $30,000-$/40,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Gerog Jensen sterling coffee and tea service. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Gerog Jensen sterling coffee and tea service. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Picasso ceramic jug. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Picasso ceramic jug. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Monumental oak sideboard. Estimate: $6,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Monumental oak sideboard. Estimate: $6,000-$10,000. Image courtesy of Cowan’s Auctions.

Hadrian's villa in its current state of ruin. Photo taken in spring of 2006 by Leoboudv, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Report says historic Hadrian’s villa at risk of collapse

Hadrian's villa in its current state of ruin. Photo taken in spring of 2006 by Leoboudv, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Hadrian’s villa in its current state of ruin. Photo taken in spring of 2006 by Leoboudv, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

ROME – Lack of money mean parts of Roman emperor Hadrian’s villa have had to be closed off to tourists because they are in danger of collapse, an Italian paper reported Wednesday.

The historic site at Tivoli, 24 kilometres (15 miles) from Rome, received only 370,000 euros (530,000 dollars) to maintain the villa and its grounds, Il Corriere della Sera reported.

But those responsible for the site, which spreads over 80 hectares (nearly 200 acres), say it needs at least 2.5 million euros, the paper said. They complained that over the past three years they had received only 1.5 million euros of the 6.7 million they needed.

As a result, they had had to close off more and more areas with metal barriers and signs warning of the risk of collapse.

The villa, known as the Villa Adriana, has been listed on UNESCO’s world heritage list since December 1999. Over the past 10 years however, it has lost 41.8 percent of its paying visitors: from 187,202 in 2000 down to 108,811 in 2010.

One expert, Federica Chiappetta, told the paper that as well as the state of the site, visitors had also been put off by the lack of information.

The villa was built between 117 and 138 AD on the orders of the then emperor, Hadrian.

UNESCO calls it “a masterpiece that uniquely brings together the highest expressions of the material cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world.”

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


Hadrian's villa in its current state of ruin. Photo taken in spring of 2006 by Leoboudv, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Hadrian’s villa in its current state of ruin. Photo taken in spring of 2006 by Leoboudv, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

1953 Spohn roadster. Image courtesy of Clars.

Clars to roll out high-powered car collection July 12

1953 Spohn roadster.  Image courtesy of Clars.

1953 Spohn roadster. Image courtesy of Clars.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Clars Auction Gallery is gearing up for an exciting classic vehicles auction to be held on Tuesday, July 12, featuring the life-long collection of a major San Francisco Bay area “mobile” aficionado. In all, nearly 100 vehicles will be offered on behalf of the bankruptcy trustee. LiveAuctioneers will provide Internet live bidding.

Spanning over eight decades of vehicle makes and manufacturers, domestic and foreign, this collection is one not to be missed. The sale’s headliners include a spectacular 1929 Cadillac Series 341-B Roadster, a cool 1953 Spohn Roadster and a sexy 1931 Stutz Model MB convertible. This is just a taste of the wealth of classic cars to be offered. Further highlights include a 1934 Cadillac Series 452-D limo and a rare 1924 Locomobile Touring car. Flashing forward to the more contemporary models to be offered finds a 2002 Bentley Continental R and 1996 Jaguar XJS convertible. But there’s far more than cars.

This private collection also features vintage motorcycles, trailers and trucks. A 1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge trailer will be offered, as will a 1935 and a 1936 Curtiss Aerocars 26-foot trailer; and a 1935 24-foot Travel Coach that was used in the movie Aviator. A 1940 Monk boat with floating boathouse (in Seattle) is among the unusual “mobiles” in this great collection. There’s even a 1958 Mack fire truck.

In addition, there will be a large amount of vintage cars, trucks and trailers in various stages of restoration to catch the attention of parts collectors.

The auction will be held at Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, California. For additional information on any lot in the sale, call 510-428-0100.

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.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE


1929 Cadillac Series 341-B roadster. Image courtesy of Clars.

1929 Cadillac Series 341-B roadster. Image courtesy of Clars.

1931 Stutz Model MB convertible. Image courtesy of Clars.

1931 Stutz Model MB convertible. Image courtesy of Clars.

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge trailer. Image courtesy of Clars.

1937 Pierce Arrow Travelodge trailer. Image courtesy of Clars.

The S.S. Admiral retained its signature Art Deco look from a 1930s makeover. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Famous St. Louis excursion boat being scrapped

The S.S. Admiral retained its signature Art Deco look from a 1930s makeover. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The S.S. Admiral retained its signature Art Deco look from a 1930s makeover. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

ST. LOUIS (AP) – A century-old riverboat-turned-casino that folded under withering competition from the St. Louis region’s growing array of gambling sites is headed to a scrapyard, piece by piece.

Crews are dismantling the S.S. Admiral along the Mississippi River at St. Louis, months after a would-be auction failed to attract what the owner considered serious bids for the vessel that until last summer was The President Casino.

Gateway Marine Services’ Bill Kline told the Belleville News-Democrat that about a half dozen of his company’s workers are using saws, cutting torches and other tools to pick apart the once-shimmering, floating giant with an Art Deco look.

“The boat’s being recycled,” Kline said, noting that the dismantling must be done meticulously. “Old boats tend to be like an archaeological dig. The materials are in layers, so you have to be very conscious of flammable material. So you can’t just break out the torches and go at it.”

The work on the river’s Missouri side, beneath the Martin Luther King Bridge linking the state with Illinois, will take about a month before the boat will be taken to Alton, Ill., just north of St. Louis for completion.

Kline called the Alton site preferable, given that it has better access and the location of locks and a dam there mean the river conditions don’t vary as much.

At tens of thousands of square feet, the vessel was billed in the auction postings as the world’s biggest inland entertainment vessel.

Built in 1907 as a Mississippi-crossing ferry, the boat was lengthened by 70 feet in the 1930s and converted into what was then the only air-conditioned excursion boat, according to the eBay listing.

The President was among Missouri’s first casinos after the state legalized casino gambling in 1993. But over time, the vessel permanently moored near the equally glistening Gateway Arch became by far the St. Louis area’s smallest casino and was hampered by its age, size and location.

Flooding over the past several years frequently forced it to close temporarily, and its business suffered as more modern, fancier casinos cropped up around St. Louis. In December 2007, Pinnacle opened a massive downtown casino called Lumiere Place just a few hundred yards from the President, hastening the boat’s demise.

And in March of last year, Pinnacle opened its River City Casino in south St. Louis County

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

AP-WF-06-30-11 1733GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


The S.S. Admiral retained its signature Art Deco look from a 1930s makeover. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The S.S. Admiral retained its signature Art Deco look from a 1930s makeover. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NASA photograph of Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NASA sues ex-astronaut Mitchell over moon camera

NASA photograph of Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

NASA photograph of Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

MIAMI (AP) – NASA is suing former astronaut Edgar Mitchell to get back a camera that went to the moon on the Apollo 14 mission – a historic device Mitchell apparently tried to sell recently at an auction.

The lawsuit filed in federal court contends that the 16mm Data Acquisition Camera is NASA’s property and there are no records showing it was transferred to Mitchell. NASA calls Mitchell, one of only 12 humans to walk the lunar surface, “a former NASA employee who is exercising improper dominion and control” over the camera.

“The United States has made numerous requests to defendant and defendant’s counsel for return of the NASA camera to no avail,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Macchiaroli wrote in the lawsuit filed Thursday.

“All equipment and property used during NASA operations remains the property of NASA unless explicitly released or transferred to another party,” Macchiaroli added.

Mitchell, 80, has a home in the Lake Worth, just south of West Palm Beach, but a phone listing for him was disconnected. His attorney did not immediately respond to a phone message and email. A message was also left with the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which Mitchell founded in 1972 as an organization dedicated to exploring mysteries of the human mind and universe.

NASA contends in the lawsuit that it learned in March that the British auction house Bonhams was planning a “Space History Sale” that included an item labeled “movie camera from the lunar surface.” Bonhams also provided a more detailed technical description and four photos of the camera.

The item, according to the auction house description, “came directly from the collection of Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell.” The camera was one of two that went to the moon’s surface on the mission, during which Mitchell and Alan Shepard spent about nine hours collecting 95 pounds of lunar samples.

One of their achievements was showing that astronauts could walk long distances safely. They covered about two miles on one of their expeditions. Perhaps more famous was Shepard’s attempt at swatting a golf ball on the moon, and Mitchell made a “javelin” throw by tossing an unneeded metal rod.

Mitchell also made news by attempting to communicate using telepathy with friends on Earth during the mission. He is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and other awards.

Since his retirement, Mitchell has devoted much of his life to exploring the mind, physics, the possibility of space aliens and ways of linking religion with scientific fact.

“He has devoted the last 38 years to studying human consciousness and psychic and paranormal phenomena in the search for common ground between science and spirit,” reads a biography on Mitchell’s Internet site.

Mitchell’s site says that he makes between 10 and 20 speeches a year and regularly appears at scientific and other conferences around the world. He also sells autographed photos of himself on the site and has links to articles he has written.

No immediate court dates were set for the lawsuit, which asks a judge to declare the camera U.S. property and prevent Mitchell from selling it. It also asks that Mitchell be forced to pay all legal and court fees arising from the case.

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Edgar Mitchell Web site: http://www.edmitchellapollo14.com/

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

AP-WF-07-01-11 1621GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE


NASA photograph of Edgar Mitchell, Apollo 14 lunar module pilot. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.