Group of four bleu de Huế porcelain bowl realized $5K at Showplace Auctions

Tamara de Lempika

NEW YORK – Vietnamese buyers have sent the best works of art from the Nguyen (1802-1945) dynasties to new price levels in recent years. A particular area of collecting focus is the bleu de Huế porcelain that was made in China to Vietnamese designs.

Some of these pieces (named after Huế, the Nguyen capital) include the bespoke marks of royal family members and court officials. An influential exhibition entitled Signed Porcelains from the Lê, Trinh and Nguyen Dynasties was held at the Museum of Royal Antiques of Hue in 2018.

Estimated at $300-$500, a set of four bleu de Huế tea bowls sold for $5,000 at Auctions at Showplace on August 6. Decorated with chrysanthemum blooms and birds on branches, they had a series of inscriptions to the exterior and a four-character mark to the base. All had the protective silver rims of the type that became popular on Vietnamese porcelain in the late 19th century.

Many of these pieces came to Europe and America in the years under French colonial rule. However, these four bowls had a provenance to Le Lieu and Malcolm Browne (1931-2012), the photojournalist who took the 1963 award-winning photograph of the self-immolation of Buddhist monk Thic Quang Duc.

A four-gallon crock by J&E Norton of Bennington in the manner of John Hilfinger earned $8K at Casco Bay Auctions

A four-gallon crock by J&E Norton of Bennington in the manner of John Hilfinger sold for $8,000 at Casco Bay Auctions

FREEPORT, Maine – Estimated at $300-$500, a four-gallon crock by J&E Norton of Bennington, Vermont earned $8,000 at Casco Bay Auctions on August 5.

It was a healthy price for a piece that had condition issues, including a substantial break to the reverse, but the whimsical decoration of a stylized peacock had charm in folk-art spades. It may suggest the hand of the Württemberg, Germany immigrant John Hilfinger — who worked in the Norton family pottery in Bennington between 1855 and 1864 when he enlisted in the Union army.

A Warhol-inspired Souper Dress brought $6K at Leland Little

Tamara de Lempika

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – Inspired by Andy Warhol’s Pop Art of the early 1960s, the Souper Dress was sold by the Campbell’s Soup Company of New Jersey in the late 1960s as a fashion statement and advertisement. Disposable screen-printed paper dresses were in style at the time, and customers could acquire a Souper Dress by redeeming several soup can labels and paying a small fee.

The dress could be cut to the appropriate hem length using the yellow stripes at the bottom, but this example retains its stripes and does not appear to have been hemmed. It appeared at Leland Little‘s July 27 Summer Modern and Contemporary Auction, where it brought $6,875.

‘Pre-Moon’ Omega Speedmaster Ref 105.003 made $14K at Cheffins

‘Pre-Moon’ Omega Speedmaster Ref 105.003 sold for £11,205 at Cheffins

CAMBRIDGE, U.K. – An Omega Speedmaster Ref 105.003 attained £11,205, or about $14,200, at the Jewellery, Silver & Watches auction at Cheffins on August 17. Made around 1967, the so-called ‘Pre Moon’ watch came in its original red and gold tooled case with a booklet, a card dated 15/7/69 and the original warranty certificate from the retailer. The estimate was $6,000-$8,000.

The 105.003 and prior issues are known to collectors as ‘Pre-Moon’ Speedmasters as their manufacture predates the Moon landings. This model was later given the nickname the ‘Ed White’ as he wore one, strapped to the outside of the left-side sleeve of his G4C space suit, when completing the first space walk by an American on June 3, 1965. It was the first time a Speedy had been exposed to the vacuum of space and it kept good time.

The watch was issued between 1963-69 although the majority were made in 1965, before the 145.012 model was introduced and chosen by NASA to accompany the Apollo 11 mission to put the first man on the Moon.