Audubon Blue Crane print sets record in Neal Auction’s $2M sale

John James Audubon's 'Blue Crane, or Heron' sold for a record $82,250. Image courtesy Neal Auction Co.

John James Audubon’s ‘Blue Crane, or Heron’ sold for a record $82,250. Image courtesy Neal Auction Co.

NEW ORLEANS – With a John James Audubon print selling for a world record price of $82,250, Neal Auction’s Fall Estates Auction on Sept. 12-13 surpassed the $2 million mark.

A Southern collector paid the record price for the Havell engraving of Audubon’s Blue Crane, or Heron, which was an elephant folio engraving. Bidding soared past the $30,000-$50,000 estimate.

An early 18th-century American William and Mary maple and mixed woods armchair, deaccessioned from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, sold well above its presale estimate to achieve $42,300. Accompanied by a distinguished provenance which includes that of legendary collector Ima Hogg and dealer Israel Sack, as well as a by a copy of Hogg’s 1953 purchase receipt from John Kenneth Byard of Norwalk, Conn., the armchair witnessed considerable attention and scrutiny from museum professionals, dealers and private collectors.

Part I of Neal Auction Co.’s sale of Museum of Fine Arts, Houston deaccessions achieved a total of $153,000.

English furniture consigned by an East Coast collector included a professionally restored George III mahogany and satinwood breakfront bookcase, which generated significant presale exhibition interest from the local collecting community where many old homes are large enough to accommodate such a substantial piece. The breakfront bookcase, which stood 8 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 9 inches, sold for $41,125 to a New Orleans family.

Neal Auction Co. offered Part I of the Robert and Edna Moore collection of American Art, which included four William Aiken Walker (American/Charleston, 1838-1921, active New Orleans, 1876-1905) paintings. Lot 260, the first of the Moores’ Walker paintings offered this sale, was a 6 1/4- by 12-inch oil on board depicting male and female cotton pickers with children. Carrying a low estimate of $20,000, the painting rose to $35,250 amid intense competition.

A second painting by Walker, also depicting male and female cotton pickers, more than doubled the low estimate of $12,000 to achieve $27,025.

Neal Auction’s sale included a customary selection of English and European art, including an Edouard Léon Cortès (French, 1882-1969) painting, a Parisian street scene, which commanded a respectable $28,200. Capturing a $21,150 winning bid was a sporting painting of a foxhunt by Thomas Blinks (English, 1860-1912).

A painting of a swamp by Joseph Rusling Meeker (American/Missouri, 1827-1889) finished just shy of its high estimate at $22,325.00.

An early English case piece from the East Coast collection responded well to a New Orleans sale venue. The circa 1770 George III inlaid mahogany bureau bookcase, 92 1/2 inches tall, sailed past its high estimate of $18,000 to finish at $22,200.

Also, the John W. Mecom Collection of Mardi Gras memorabilia exceeded the estimate with $36,000 in proceeds going to benefit the Galveston Art Center, Hurricane Ike Restoration Project.

For details contact Neal Auction Co., 504-899-5329 or go to the Web site


A New Orleans collector paid $41,125 for this circa 1790 George III monumental breakfront bookcase. Image courtesy Neal Auction Co.

A New Orleans collector paid $41,125 for this circa 1790 George III monumental breakfront bookcase. Image courtesy Neal Auction Co.