Pair of Vincennes porcelain candleholders achieves $170K at Kinghams

Vincennes porcelain candlestick, which sold for £70,000 (£94,500, or $120,600 with buyer's premium) at Kinghams.

MORETON-IN-MARSH, UK — A pair of mid-18th-century Vincennes porcelain candleholders of distinctive conical form that were discovered in a Warwickshire, England property during the course of a routine valuation sold for a total of $170,560 at auction on May 24.

Offered at a sale held by Kinghams, the 4.25in-tall soft paste candleholders (here and here) were of unusual hyacinth vase form and decorated with continuous scenes reminiscent of those on Meissen porcelain of near-contemporary date.

One shows a scene of Moorish and European traders at a coastal encampment with ships in the distance. The other depicts a courting couple and an equestrian figure with an attendant in a landscape setting, also with ships in the background. Both had the incised mark AM to the underside, one that is documented in the collecting literature.

A candlestick of the same shape and size with similar scenic decoration and also marked AM is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, where it is cataloged as Vincennes and dating from circa 1745-1750. This is around six to twelve years before the factory relocated to Sèvres.

Kinghams decided to offer the candlesticks separately as consecutive lots. The first, the version painted with the trading scene, had sustained some damage, with cracks and a large chip to the rim, and was estimated at £2,000-£4,000 ($2,500-$5,100); while the second, in better condition, was estimated at £3,000-£5,000 ($3,800-$6,400).

There are some very keen collectors for this type of early French porcelain, and considerable pre-sale interest in both pieces emerged from across the globe along with numerous requests for condition reports. Some online bidders joined the fray, but the bulk of the competition came via the phones.

The more damaged of the two, offered first, ended up making the higher amount, probably due to the interesting nature of the decoration. It was finally sold for the substantial sum of £70,000 (£94,500, or $120,600 with buyer’s premium) to a US buyer. The second candleholder was carried off by a UK buyer at £29,000 (£39,150, or $49,963 with buyer’s premium).

Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze Bodhisattva on Lotus Base tops $400K at Concept Art Gallery

A Sino-Tibetan gilt-bronze figure of Maitreya with a Yongle mark, which sold for $330,000 ($402,600 with buyer's premium) at Concept Art Gallery.

PITTSBURGH — Concept Art Gallery enjoyed a sensational result in its June 8 sale. Estimated at $300-$600, a Sino-Tibetan gilt bronze bodhisattva hammered for $330,000 ($402,600 with buyer’s premium). Complete sale results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

The buyer will be hoping they have bought one of the celebrated series of bronzes cast in the imperial foundries during the reign of the Yongle emperor (1403-1424). The third ruler of the Ming dynasty maintained a very close affinity to Tibetan Buddhism and throughout his reign, and numerous Buddhist images made in Beijing were sent as gifts to high-ranking lamas and dignitaries. The remoteness of the Tibetan plateau, combined with the reverence in which these images were held, meant many pieces survived largely untouched prior to the Communist invasion of Tibet.

The subject of this piece, seated in dhayanasana on a double lotus throne, is Manjushri, the bodhisattva associated with the wisdom of Buddha who wields a sword to cut down ignorance and duality. It has a six-character Yongle mark inscribed just above the pedestal, and is engraved to the base with the protective visvavajra symbol.

Helping to fire interest in the piece was its provenance. It came for sale from the estate of Paul G. Benedum, Jr. (1931-2023), the son of Paul G. and Willeen Ludwig Benedum and the great-nephew of the legendary Pittsburgh oil man, Michael L. Benedum (1869-1959), who left a fortune exceeding $100 million.

The buyer’s premium was 22 percent.

One of two-known George Brown Excelsior tin paddleboat toys featured at RSL June 29

George Brown Company Excelsior Paddlewheel River Boat, estimated at $55,000-$75,000 at RSL.

WHITEHOUSE STATION, NJ — One of only two surviving examples of the George Brown Company Excelsior paddleboat toy arrives at RSL Auction Company on Saturday, June 29. The Banks and Toys of Summer catalog is now available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The toy comes to market as a single family-owned example. It was originally purchased directly from the Forestville, Connecticut toymaker by Rhode Island dry goods magnate Thomas Cosgrove (1805-1885) as a present for his grandson Richard McNeely Jr. (1863-1908) for Christmas in either 1872 or 1873. The boat was exclusively in McNeely’s possession, first as a child in Providence, Rhode Island; then briefly, as a working married man in Bronx, New York; and later as a prominent realtor in Bradley Beach, New Jersey. He died in 1908 after a day of furious gin-drinking and was found deceased inside a Manhattan hansom cab.

For the next many years, the toy resided in the attic of the Bradley Beach residence. It was passed to Mary (Bessie) McNeely and her husband Stanley Harvey sometime in the 1930s. Soon thereafter, it went to their son Richard Harvey, who, for a short while in the 1960s, displayed it in the front window of the McNeely Realty Company in Bradley Beach. Upon his death in 2016, his widow Sheila and their daughter Anne Harvey have been the rightful owners of the Excelsior.

The Mississippi-style river boat is unquestionably one of the most significant American tin toys ever produced. Its sheer size and the complexity of its design with multiple decks, ornate trim, and its peerless use of stenciling and decals make it a visual wonder. The only other example known was in the folk art collection of renowned modernist sculptor Elie Nadelman. His entire holdings of folk art were acquired by the New York Historical Society in 1937. RSL estimates the Excelsior at $55,000-$75,000.

This sketch of the Excelsior, which will also be offered in the June 29 sale, was made for the George Brown Company. Edith and Barney Barenholtz were well-known toy collectors who in the 1960s discovered an antique book detailing items as made by the toy firm in the 1870s. This was the first glimpse toy collectors had into the complex world of tin toy manufacturing in the late 19th century. The framed sketch is estimated at $12,500-$17,500.

Laura Pels collection reveals a trove of Françoise Gilot works, slated for Freeman’s Hindman June 20-21

Françoise Gilot, 'The Model,' estimated at $40,000-$60,000 at Freeman's Hindman.

NEW YORK — Laura Pels (1931-2023) was a staunch supporter of the small American theater dramatic playwright, forging relationships with the likes of Harold Pinter and Arthur Miller. She ran the Laura Pels Foundation, which solicited and then selected plays for underwriting and production in New York, something she had done since divorcing her telecommunications executive husband, Donald Pels.

Her collection comes to market at Freeman’s Hindman in a two-session format slated for Thursday, June 20 and Friday, June 21. Just 116 lots will pass the block in the sessions, raising the quality of all presented lots to a high level. An additional sale from the Pels collection, showcasing her haute couture, will be held Tuesday, June 25. Catalogs for all three sale days are now open at LiveAuctioneers.

Laura Pels maintained a longterm friendship with French artist Françoise Gaime Gilot (1921-2023). Gilot was romantically connected to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and later married famed polio vaccine researcher Jonas Salk (1914-1995). The Freeman’s Hindman sale includes an amazing 15 examples of Gilot’s work, with a top-estimated lot being the circa-1979-1980 Mission Bay (Coastal View), estimated at $40,000-$60,000. The 26 by 32in was originally sold by the Sidney Janis Gallery during its An American Homage to Matisse exhibition in May and June of 1993.

The Model is a much earlier work dating to 1958, and was originally sold in Philadelphia in 1961 or 1962. At 16 by 13in, the oil on canvas shares the top slot with a $40,000-$60,000 estimate.

Perhaps the most intimate of all the Gilot works is a colored pencil on handmade paper poem that spells out ‘LAURA PELS’ as the initial caps on each line of verse. The undated but obviously treasured one-of-a-kind work is very modestly estimated at $1,000-$1,500.

Shimmering Splendor: Silver and Gold Auction set for New York June 19

Sterling silver Georg Jensen brooch, Design 20, estimated at $600-$700 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK – On Wednesday, June 19, beginning at 5 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will conduct a sale titled Shimmering Splendor: Silver and Gold Auction. Its 152 lots almost exclusively showcase those precious metals in pieces by brand-name jewelers and houses. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

It’s no surprise, then, given the sale title, that the trio of highlights all feature silver and gold. These include a large sterling silver pendant, made in 1939 by Svend Weihrauch for Frantz Hingelberg, estimated at $600-$700. Hingelberg was founded in 1897 in Arhus, Denmark; Weihrauch joined the firm in 1928 as its artistic director and workshop manager, and his leadership put it on the map. The pendant, which has a floral design, is described as being in ‘perfect condition’.

Representing the most popular colors in gold is a circa-1970s Cartier Trinity ring in size 6. The ‘Trinity’ name reflects the fact that the ring consists of three fused bands of 18K gold: one yellow, one white, and one rose. It carries an estimate of $1,500-$2,500.

And the final prize is a silver brooch by the venerable Danish silversmith Georg Jensen, which has an estimate of $600-$700. The undated piece, which has an Art Nouveau design of interlocking leaves, is identified as Jensen’s Design 20 and is stated to be in ‘excellent condition’.

Asian antique decorative arts, weaponry, sculptures and more come to Jasper52 June 18

Chinese Orange Silk Ground Elephant Panel, estimated at $350-$400 at Jasper52.

NEW YORK — Jasper52 debuts 130-plus lots of antique Asian decorative arts, weapons, sculptures, and much more with a new sale slated for Tuesday, June 18 at 2 pm Eastern time. The complete catalog is available for review and bidding exclusively at LiveAuctioneers.

First up is Taiping Youxiang, a late Qing dynasty Chinese orange silk panel depicting an elephant carrying a vase. Made with silk and gold threading, the 23.75-by-22in piece is estimated at $350-$400.

A netsuke is a miniature sculpture of a sort first made in 17th-century Japan. Jasper52 has as a featured lot a 19th-century Asakusa-school staghorn netsuke in the form of a bowl. Described in the lot notes as ‘one of the most elegant netsuke that I have had,’ it boasts superb precise carving, a warm brownish patina, brown lacquer on the inside, and is an early Himotoshi design. It carries an estimate of $363-$395.

A tsuba is a Japanese sword mounting or hand guard, which appears at the base of the blade. This 18th-century tsuba is fashioned in the shape of two confronting shu (Japanese flute instruments used in Shinto ceremonies, and consisting of bamboo reeds forming a circular wind chamber). It is estimated at $299-$325.

Portrait by Salvador Dali makes its auction debut June 20 at Clars

Salvador Dali, 'Portrait of Mrs. Luther Greene,' estimated at $700,000-$1 million at Clars.

OAKLAND, CA — Portrait of Mrs. Luther Greene by Salvador Dali comes to market for the first time as the featured lot in the Summer Fine Art sale on Thursday, June 20 at Clars. The catalog is now available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Luther Greene (1909-1987) had a fascinating dual career. In 1935, he began producing Broadway plays in New York, beginning with Ibsen’s Ghosts. In the mid-1950s, he branched out into the design of both rooftop and country gardens as a landscape specialist. Living in Manhattan in a basement unit, he built a grotto out of seashells during the course of two decades, just adjacent to his greenhouse. His New York Times obituary quotes him speaking about his landscape work: “‘I do just what I used to do in the theater. I get the most talented people I can find, get them to work together and hope to end up with a hit.”

Greene was married twice. His first wife Ellen (née Chamberlain) was obviously the apple of his eye. In 1942, Luther commissioned Salvador Dali (1904-1989) to create Portrait of Mrs. Luther Greene. Clars notes the portrait not only exemplifies Dali’s skilled, realistic interpretation of the subject in the foreground, but also has a classic surrealist Dali landscape in the background.

The 24 by 20in oil on canvas is accompanied by preliminary charcoal and ink on paper study sketches of Mrs. Greene by Dali, also dating to 1942. The work comes from a private collection by descent from the former Ellen Greene. It is listed in the Catalogue Raisonné of Paintings by Salvador Dali as catalog no. P 565, and it now carries an estimate of $700,000-$1 million.

Land- and water-speed record holder Donald Campbell’s Jaguar XK150 comes to Sworders June 18

Donald Campbell’s Jaguar XK150, estimated at £150,000-£170,000 ($191,000-$217,000) at Sworders.

STANSTED MOUNTFITCHET, UK – Donald Campbell’s Jaguar XK150 will appear at Sworders on Tuesday, June 18. The classic sports car, bought by the legendary British speed record breaker in 1958 as his regular runabout, is estimated at £150,000-£170,000 ($191,000-$217,000) as part of a stand-alone auction of classic cars. The car’s full history is confirmed by a Jaguar Daimler Heritage Certificate. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Campbell (1921-1967), the only person to hold both the land and water speed records, received his fixed-head coupe from the Jaguar factory in Coventry, England in June 1958. Finished in his favorite Cotswold Blue with gray upholstery, it came with numerous special factory options. It was used as his daily driver, although there is a rumor he did replace the engine — using the 3.4-litre power unit for a speedboat.

During his ownership of the car, Campbell raised the world water speed record three times, the last time to 275 mph in 1959. During his celebration of achieving this feat, he met French nightclub singer and dancer Tonia Bern, and after a whirlwind romance, the pair married and took the Jaguar on their honeymoon.

The car was famously photographed alongside Bluebird K7, the jet-powered hydroplane in which Campbell set seven world water speed records between 1955 and 1967, in a publicity shot on the slipway at Aix-les-Bains on the Lac de Bourget in France while K7 was making some demonstration runs.

In 1963, Donald Campbell sold the XK150 (a total of 4,445 of this model were made by Jaguar between 1957 and 1961) to fellow car enthusiast Michael Brooks, who fitted it with a D-type cylinder head for racing with some success. Relatively little is known of the car’s history between 1964 and 1997, when it was acquired in a dilapidated state. The restoration work was carried out by the Norfolk Jaguar racing family Henry Burton and his son Peter, and the interior work was completed in 2001 by G & G Sergent.

The current owner, an ardent Campbell enthusiast, purchased the car in 2013 from the Chelmsford, England dealership J D Classics. Occasionally shown at rallies and club events, it was featured in Jaguar Enthusiast magazine following the 2017 Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb, which celebrated the life of Sir Donald Campbell with Campbell family members and other Campbell vehicles.

The original numberplate, DC 7, was retained by Campbell, but the car occasionally displays the plate for historical reasons.

1950s Chevrolet ‘OK’ Used Cars Single-sided Porcelain Neon Sign leads our five lots to watch

Chevrolet ‘OK’ single-sided porcelain neon sign, estimated at $250-$25,000 at Check The Oil Promotions June 22.

1950s Chevrolet ‘OK’ Used Cars Single-sided Porcelain Neon Sign

MASSILON, OH – Beginning in the 1920s, the Chevrolet division of General Motors began using a stylized ‘OK’ script sign to market dealers’ used car inventories. The ‘OK’ branding ensured all used cars were ‘six ways better’:

  1. Thoroughly Inspected
  2. Reconditioned for Safety
  3. Reconditioned for Performance
  4. Reconditioned for Value
  5. Honestly Described
  6. Warranted in Writing

The ‘OK’ symbol was used well into the 1970s, when it was finally replaced by ‘GM Certified.’ Check The Oil Promotions has a 1950s-era single-sided porcelain ‘OK’ neon sign measuring 24in in diameter in its Saturday, June 22 Annual CTO Premium Petroliana & Advertising sale. With fully operational neon and still bearing its Ohio Thermometer Company Neon Division badge, the lot is already garnering bids ahead of sale day. It carries a wide-ranging estimate of $250-$25,000.

1953 Inscribed Presentation First Edition of the Debut James Bond Novel, ‘Casino Royale’

Inscribed 1953 presentation first edition of the debut James Bond novel ‘Casino Royale’, estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($38,000-$64,000) at Lyon & Turnbull June 19.
Inscribed 1953 presentation first edition of the debut James Bond novel ‘Casino Royale’, estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($38,000-$64,000) at Lyon & Turnbull June 19.

EDINBURGH, UK – Lyon & Turnbull’s Wednesday, June 19 sale of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs is led by a fine presentation first edition of the inaugural James Bond novel.

The 1953 copy of Casino Royale, complete with the first-issue dust jacket, is inscribed on the front free endpaper ‘To I. S. M., who’s staunch keeping of the night watches freed the author for this extra-mural opus, Ian Fleming, April 1953′.

Ion Smeaton Munro (1883-1970) was Fleming’s night editor at Kemsley Newspapers, owner of the Sunday Times of London, where he worked as foreign manager after demobilization from the military in 1945. With Monro’s help, Fleming negotiated a contract that allowed him three months’ holiday a year, which he spent at his Jamaican retreat, Goldeneye, developing his writing career. 

Monro was himself a soldier-adventurer much in the mold of the fictional Bond, and he wrote two books about his experiences in Italy during the Second World War. A copy of a letter of thanks written by Fleming to Munro on Munro’s departure from Kemsley Newspapers is included with the lot, which is estimated at £30,000-£50,000 ($38,000-$64,000).

Tunic from the Wari Culture, Dating to Between the 7th-9th Centuries

A tunic from the Wari culture in what is now Peru, dating to between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, estimated at $20,000-$40,000 at Material Culture June 18.
A tunic from the since-disappeared Wari culture in what is now Peru, dating to between the 7th and 9th centuries AD, estimated at $20,000-$40,000 at Material Culture June 18.

PHILADELPHIA – Material Culture’s Fine Rugs, Kilims and Trappings two-day sale on Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18 features an ancient Peruvian tunic created for a high-status individual.

From the lost Wari culture that inhabited Peru in the 7th to 9th centuries AD, the tunic features a wine-colored ground split by two prominent design stripes, each showing repeated serial images of twin interlocking stepped latch hooks. This is accompanied by profile warrior heads wearing simple caps displaying faces in the Wari style, featuring a split eye, a square nose, and a deep, prominent mouth. These two motifs are shown in the same form in 80 boxes.

A tour de force of textile fabrication, the tunic conveys the wearer’s exceptional nature. Despite some damage, it is well-mounted, and the colors remain fresh and vibrant. It is estimated at $20,000-$40,000.

Irish Belleek Thorn Pattern Tea Set

First Period Belleek tea set in the Thorn pattern, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Woody Auctions June 22.
First Period Belleek tea set in the Thorn pattern, estimated at $2,000-$3,000 at Woody Auctions June 22.

DOUGLASS, KS – This Belleek tea set, with its spider webs and hawthorn branches, represents the Irish factory in County Fermanagh at its Aesthetic Movement best.

The design, properly known as the Thorn pattern, was made in a number of colorways during the so-called First Period of production (1863-1891). Described by Woody Auction as ‘one of the finest Belleek tea sets we have ever sold’, it has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 as part of the Saturday, June 22 sale titled Online Only Belleek & Much More!

Thomas Sanchez’ ‘On Marriage’, 1624 Edition

1624 edition of ‘On Marriage’ by Thomas Sanchez, estimated at $950-$2,000 at Schlib Antiquarian Rare Books June 23.
1624 edition of ‘On Marriage’ by Thomas Sanchez, estimated at $950-$2,000 at Schilb Antiquarian Rare Books June 23.

COLUMBIA, MO – Originally released in 1602, On Marriage was the work of Thomas Sanchez (1550-1610), a theologian and Jesuit who sought to establish that matrimonial law was separate and distinct from general contract law.

Unfortunately, Sanchez went far into the weeds of his subject matter – so much so that it became filled with all sorts of sex-related taboo topics and was placed on the Index, a notorious list of prohibited books maintained by the Vatican.

Schilb Antiquarian Rare Books has a 1624 edition of Sanchez’ book as a featured lot in its Rare Books With No Reserve sale scheduled for Sunday, June 23. The two-volume set is estimated at $950-$2,000.

Yonezawa Atom Jet roared past estimates to triumph at Milestone

Yonezawa Atom Jet toy car, which sold for $22,000 ($26,400 with buyer’s premium) at Milestone.

WILLOUGHBY, OH — As anticipated, the Yonezawa Atom Jet futuristic race car toy blew out its average estimate of $10,000-$15,000 to hammer for $22,000 ($26,400 with buyer’s premium) as part of Milestone Auctions‘ second dispersal of the massive Elmer’s Toy Museum collection May 11. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Released in 1954, Yonezawa’s Atom Jet friction-powered car measures nearly 30in in length and features terrific tin lithography. Its cockpit cover resembles that of a B-29 and includes a driver who could have been an extra on Tatsunoko’s 1960s Speed Racer television series. Opening at $5,000, the price continued to climb until the final hammer.

Early in the prewar period, The Lionel Corporation wandered outside its traditional line of electric trains to offer an early version of slot car racers, the nos. 80 and 81 cars with a guided track. They also offered a no. 84 set with two cars and ample track to race them side by side. Today the cars and track are difficult to find, though they were reproduced in the 1980s by Lionel Trains Inc. and Mike’s Train House. Elmer’s collection sold off a no. 80 and a no. 81, both with original packaging and track. Number 81 won the race at $9,000 ($10,800 with buyer’s premium), while no. 80 was close behind at $8,750 ($10,500 with buyer’s premium).

From 1900 to 1905, the Gordon Bennett Cup featured the world’s finest race cars and drivers. Held in various European locations, the Cup was sponsored by New York Herald publisher James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (1841-1918). Numerous toy companies sought to capitalize on this early racing hysteria, including Nuremberg, Germany-based Issmayer. Bidders ran up the lithographed tin toy with two racing drivers in excellent condition. Estimated at $4,000-$6,000, it hammered for $8,250 ($9,900 with buyer’s premium).