ATLANTA – On the 1st of each month, ACN columnist Ken Hall gathers top auction highlights from around the United States and beyond. Here’s what made headlines since last month’s report:
WWII Purple Heart, $5,100, Mohawk Arms
The Purple Heart awarded to U.S. Cpl. Joseph E. Oleskiewicz, one of the “Filthy Thirteen” dropped into Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 during World War II, sold for $5,100 at Auction #72, an Internet and catalog auction that ended Dec. 5-6 at Mohawk Arms Inc., in Bouckville, N.Y. Also, a German Luftwaffe silver pokal (footed chalice) awarded to the Nazi flying ace Karl Nordmann realized $9,912; and a Civil War Confederate wooden canteen with iron bands and strap loops in good condition made $4,200. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Pair of Tiffany silver vases, $33,600, Nadeau’s Auction
A rare and monumental pair of Tiffany & Co. silver vases, 23 inches tall and Art Nouveau repousse, sold for $33,600 at a New Year’s Day Auction held Jan. 1 by Nadeau’s Auction Gallery in Windsor, Conn. Also, an 18K yellow gold Van Cleef & Arpels convertible duet pin, set with two large diamonds and 13 pearls, went for $36,000; a Patek Philippe men’s wristwatch, rectangular form and 18K gold, fetched $9,600; and a painting by Frederick H. Kaemmerer (Dutch, 1839-1902), titled Avery, hit $20,400. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Mills Violano Virtuoso, $34,100, Stanton’s Auctioneers
A Mills Violano Virtuoso, an automatic player single violin with automatic piano, sold for $34,100 at an auction of antique music machines and related items held Nov. 20-22 by Stanton’s Auctioneers in Charlotte, Mich. Also, a Cremona Orchestral “K” nickelodeon with excellent panels of stained and leaded glass breezed to $33,000; a Regina 27-inch “dragon front” automatic changing disc Style 8 music box with oak cabinet hit $17,600; and an Edison Class M Concert cylinder phonograph rose to $16,500. Prices include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
Mercantile Bank of India note, $18,270, Archives International
A 1948 Mercantile Bank of India (Hong Kong issue) $500 specimen banknote sold for $18,270 at an auction held Jan. 10 by Archives International Auctions (based in Fort Lee, N.J.) in Hong Kong. Also, a 1907 Deutsch-Asiatische Bank (Peking branch ) $1 banknote hammered for $16,750 (both lots were discovery notes, possibly unique); a 1932 $1 “Birds Over Junk” Chinese coin gaveled for $1,980; and a Chinese Hunan Government Bank 1906 error note, saying 5 “Teals” and not “Taels,” made $2,130. Prices include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
Georg Kolbe bronze nude, $56,120, Palm Beach Modern
A bronze nude rendering by German sculptor Georg Kolbe (1877-1947), 21 1/2 inches tall, sold for $56,120 at a modern design and luxury goods Auction held Jan. 17 by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Fla. Also, a 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible sped off for $43,920; a set of eight Afra & Tobia Scarpa “Pigreco” chairs hammered for $10,370; a Wendell Castle coffee table, “Parallelogram,” coasted to $19,520; and a White House book signed by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis brought $4,575. Prices include a 22 percent buyer’s premium.
1902 Marklin locomotive, $121,000, Noel Barrett
A Marklin locomotive with tender and two cars produced in 1902 to replicate the high-speed Stephenson’s Rocket (in service from 1829-1840) sold for $121,000 at an antique auction held Dec. 5-6 by Noel Barrett in New Hope, Pa. Also, a quarter-scale display model of a 1932 Hudson car, made for the New York Auto Show and one of only seven known, in all-original condition, sold for $29,040; and an original C.W. Parker striding carousel camel, the only one designed to move up and down, made $17,470. Prices include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.
Tibetan thangka, $18,800, Michaan’s
An 18th or 19th century Tibetan thangka featuring a Medicine Buddha sold for $18,800 at a New Year’s Estates Auction held Jan. 4 by Michaan’s Auctions in Alameda, Calif. Also, a custom-made sapphire, diamond and 18K white gold ring and earrings set brought $5,605; an Indian carpet gaveled for $3,245; an original pen and ink Charles Schulz drawing for the musical score of Charlie Brown by Roger Bullock achieved $2,360; and a New England walnut painted creamery retail cupboard realized $1,416. Prices include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.
Sevres portrait tea service, $17,035, Kaminski Auctions
A complete Sevres portrait tea service composed of 11 pieces on a cobalt blue background with finely detailed portraits sold for $17,035 at a New Year’s sale held Dec. 28 by Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Mass. Also, a painting by Le Pho (Vietnamese, 1907-2001), titled Roses Tremieres, hammered for $13,200; an Italian carved gilt mirror with beveled glass and intricately carved frame hit $15,600; and a bronze sculpture on a marble base by Demetre Chiparus (Romanian, 1886-1947), titled Ayouta, made $13,200. Prices include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.
Titanic survivor letter, $11,875, RR Auction
A three-page letter handwritten by Titanic survivor Lady Duff-Gordon, dated May 27, 1912, penned on her personal stationery and signed “Lucy Duff Gordon,” sold for $11,875 at an auction held Jan. 22 by RR Auction, based in Boston. Also, punk rocker Johnny Ramone’s 1965 Mosrite Ventures guitar fetched $71,875; an Apollo 11 Robbins medal originating from the family of Neil Armstrong rose to $56,250; and a letter from Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia to a Vogue cover model brought $32,500. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Chippendale desk, $665,000, Christie’s
Chippendale carved cherry wood desk-and-bookcase made circa 1765 in Lancaster, Pa., sold for $665,000 at an American furniture, outsider and folk art auction held Jan. 23 by Christie’s in New York City. Also, a Major Luther Metcalf Federal brass-mounted inlaid mahogany tall-case clock, made in 1796 in Medway, Mass., went for $329,000; a Chippendale figured mahogany serpentine front chest-of-drawers (Mass., circa 1765-1785) realized $209,000; and a Queen Anne turret-top card table (circa 1740-1760) hit $149,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
1793 U.S. copper penny, $2.35 million, Heritage
A United States copper penny (or one-cent piece) sold for $2.35 million at a numismatic auction held Jan. 7-12 in Orlando, Fla., by Heritage Auctions, based in Dallas, Tex. The coin is nicknamed the “chain cent” because the design on the back shows 15 linking rings, symbolizing the 15 U.S. states at the time. It is rare because the design changed soon after its striking, in March 1793, because too many people thought the chains suggested slavery. The coin first appeared at auction in 1876, when it sold for $76. The recent price includes a 17.5 percent buyer’s premium.
Pooh illustration, $471,750, Sotheby’s
E..H. Shepard’s original ink drawing of Christopher Robin, Piglet and Pooh on the famous “Poohsticks” bridge from the book Winnie the Pooh sold for $471,750 at an auction held Dec. 9 by Sotheby’s in London, England. It was a new world record price for any book illustration at auction. First published in A.A. Milne’s celebrated The House at Pooh Corner in 1928, the drawing is one of the most famous book illustrations of the 20th century. It had been in a private collection for the last 40 years. The price includes a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Diamond and emerald ring, $11,250, Schwenke Auctioneers
A European 18K gold cut diamond and emerald ring, size 7, with paired diamonds one carat each and an emerald center stone also about one carat, sold for $11,250 at the annual Holiday Fine Estates Auction held Dec. 7 by Schwenke Auctioneers in Woodbury, Conn. Also, a Martele sterling silver monogrammed centerpiece bowl, with the mark of Gorham Mfg. Co. (Providence, R.I., 1913), rose to $7,500; and an English bone or ivory chess and checkers set made by G. Merrifield (1819-1855) hit $5,000. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
Chinese celadon vase, $35,700, Clars Auction Gallery
A Chinese Longquan-type celadon vase from the estate of U.S. Navy Capt. Edward S. Pearce sold for $35,700 at an estates auction held Jan. 17-18 by Clars Auction Gallery in Oakland, Calif. Also, one lot of three 19th century Royal Worcester urchin and dolphin compotes went for $10,115; a color woodblock print titled Nude (1950), by Kiyoshi Saito breezed to $14,280; a 19th century Continental pietra dura side table made $7,700; and a circa-1890 French gilt bronze lighthouse clock and barometer rose to $7,100. Prices include a 19 percent buyer’s premium.
Lincoln collection, $803,889, Heritage
The Dow Collection of Abraham Lincoln assassination memorabilia sold as individual lots for a combined $803,889 at an Historical Americana Auction held Jan. 24 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The display of photos and autographs related to Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed Booth. Included were four paintings created for a carnival side show displaying mummified remains – supposedly Booth’s – and a letter written in 1861 by Booth. The price includes a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
N. C. Wyeth painting, $435,750, Freeman’s
A painting by N. C. Wyeth titled I Stood Like One Thunderstruck, Or As If I Had Seen an Apparition, sold for $435,750 at an American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionist sale held Dec. 7 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, Daniel Garber’s The River Road realized $327,750; Garber’s Up Jericho went for $207,750; George William Sotter’s The Hill Road, Winter gaveled for $147,750; and N.C. Wyeth’s And No Sooner Had He The Arms In His Hands … went to a determined bidder for $267,750. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
1891 Russian icon, $250,000, Jackson’s
A Russian icon dated 1891, 12 inches by 10 inches, depicting three saints and signed by court iconographer Josif Chirikov, sold for $250,000 at an auction held Nov. 18-19 by Jackson’s International Auctioneers & Appraisers in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Also, an oil on board showing a festive Indian encampment by American artist Laverne Nelson Black (1887-1938) rose to $115,000; and a 39-inch-by-32-inch oil on canvas by Le Pho (French/Vietnamese, 1907-2001), of two women drinking tea, made $40,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Indian raven rattle, $62,500, Bonhams
A Northwest Coast raven rattle sold for $62,500 at a Native American Art Auction held Dec. 8 by Bonhams in San Francisco. Also, a Santa Clara carved blackware jar, 2006, by Tammy Garcia went for $47,500; a San Ildefonso polychrome turtle by Tony Da made $27,500; a Chilkat blanket realized $35,000; a Cape Dorset dancing bear sculpture by Pauta Saila rose to $18,750; a bronze sculpture by Allan Houser, titled Mother’s Blessing, went for $35,000; and a Roxanne Swentzell ceramic sculpture hit $25,000. Prices include a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Chippendale-style chest, $10,800, Capo Auction
A Chippendale-style mahogany chest of drawers with a serpentine fronted top over four drawers sold for $10,800 at a Holiday Auction held Dec. 13 by Capo Auction in Long Island City, N.Y. Also, a pair of Meissen porcelain urns, 15 1/2 inches tall, each having snake-form handles and classical scene decoration on a cobalt ground, garnered $7,800; a lithograph on paper by Thomas Hart Benton (American, 1889-1975), titled Haystack (1938), made $1,320; and a dazzling Mughal Filigree pendant necklace hit $6,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Erte bronze sculpture, $2,875, Direct Auction
An Erte bronze sculpture of a woman, 21 1/2 inches tall, sold for $2,875 at an auction held Nov. 4 by Direct Auction Galleries in Chicago. Also, a 1970 Steinway & Sons 5 1/2 foot baby grand piano played a sweet tune for $6,095; an 18K white gold women’s ring with 18.56-carat tanzanite and one carat weight diamonds sold for $2,875; a handsome Herschede nine-tube grandfather clock chimed on time for $1,495; and an oil on canvas painting by John Kelly Fitzpatrick (Alabama, 1888-1953) fetched $4,370. Prices include the buyer’s premium.