ALAMEDA, Calif. – Michaan’s July 16 Gallery Auction proved to be one of the auction house’s most successful sales of the year, with a total estimated value above $400,000. The strong results were driven by several works by German-American artist Peter Max (b. 1937-), a wide selection of Chinese Jun ware and a double eagle gold coin pendant necklace.
The July 16 auction began with furniture and decorative arts, including a number of Lanier Meaders (American, 1917-1998) stoneware face jugs. Meader Pottery was established in 1893, and demand for its face jugs had risen by the late 1930s; they are considered Lanier’s specialty. Four face jugs were offered on July 16, one of which, Lot 19, sold for $3,690.
Several pieces by Peter Max easily claimed top lot status in the fine art section. Since Max’s colorful, abstract artistic vision galvanized the psychedelic art movement of the 1960s, he has continued to explore a Neo-Expressionist style present in the pieces sold in the July sale. Two lots stood out in particular: Quiet Lake, a 2017 acrylic painting on canvas, and Umbrella Man, a striking acrylic sculpture from 2016. These lots sold for $11,070 and $6,765, respectively.
Jewelry at this month’s auction offered no shortage of unique prizes, among them several diamond and gold jewelry suites and an Erte 14K gold necklace with diamonds, onyx and mother-of-pearl, suited for any admirer of Art Deco glamour. The sale’s top jewelry piece was a 14K gold ring featuring a round brilliant-cut diamond weighing approximately 2.25 carats, which realized $9,840.
Another highlight of the sale was a US 1920-S Double Eagle coin in a 14K gold necklace. Designed by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the US Double Eagle coin has been called the most beautiful coin ever minted not only in America, but perhaps the world. Double Eagle coins were minted both in Philadelphia and in San Francisco in 1920, but while the 1920-P is relatively common, the 1920-S remains one of the rarest American gold coins, being the first of the Saint-Gaudens Double Eagles subjected to the 1930s gold recall. Estimated at $2,000-$3,000, bidding for this prize swiftly escalated before closing at $30,750.
The auction ended with a selection of highly sought-after works of Asian art, including several Jun wares. For centuries, Jun ware has held a high reputation among collectors. Although categorization of Jun ware is still debated, most agree the pieces are known for thick, opaque glazes in purple and blue, and were designated for relatively low-status uses, such as planters, flowerpots and spitoons.
Two of this sale’s most popular Jun wares were a narcissus bowl with a lavender and blue-suffused exterior glaze, and a planter and stand graced with a mottled sky blue glaze. Each was estimated under $1,000, but bidders pursued them until they sold for $11,070 and $14,760, respectively.
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