Inaugural Hindman ancient art auction brings nearly $1M

ancient art auction

Attic black-figured hydria with Herakles mounting his quadriga, attended by Athena, Apollo, Dionysos and Hermes, circa late sixth century B.C., 13in high. Sold for $57,500. Hindman image

CHICAGO – Hindman experienced phenomenal success with its inaugural Antiquities & Islamic Art Auction. Enthusiastic bidding from buyers around the globe participating by phone, absentee bid and four online bidding platforms, sent the June 16 auction well past its low estimate of $601,800 to a $991,325 total. Hindman is not new to the antiquities category, but this sale marked its first auction focused exclusively on ancient art. The auction featured artifacts from ancient Mediterranean Greek, Egyptian, Roman and Near Eastern cultures, as well as selections from the Islamic world and Pre-Columbian Central and South America. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“We have been encouraged by some leading players in the ancient art market to boost our presence in the category,” says Hindman specialist Corbin Horn. “There is a significant portion of material in the middle of the market that is overlooked by New York and London firms, who focus all their effort on the highest end. We saw the opportunity to have such an auction when, late last year, we pitched for and won the privilege of handling a large collection of antiquities from the estate of George R. Francoeur, an educator and philanthropist in Detroit,” Horn says. “I spent several months seeking items from other collectors and dealers in the field to build on the Francoeur collection.”

ancient art auction

A Roman carved marble male torso, circa first-second century, 9¼in. Sold for $25,600. Hindman image

While the 277-lot auction featured items from more than 20 consignors, the core of the auction came from the remarkable George R. Francoeur Trust from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Assembled over more than 40 years by Francoeur and his partner, Gerald Earles, as they traveled around the world, the highly curated collection included a broad variety of art and artifacts. Bidders could not get enough of the collection as it more than doubled its combined presale estimate of $250,000, selling for $583,942. A benefactor of the arts in Michigan for most of this life, Francoeur’s collection was sold to benefit a scholarship fund in his name at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

ancient art auction

A life-size Roman marble right foot from a statue realized more than 10 times its estimate at $23,750. Hindman image

Multiple works from the George R. Francoeur Trust far exceeded expectations with the top lot of the collection, an attic black-figured hydria with Herakles mounting his quadriga (Lot 56), selling for $57,500 to a private U.S. collector, well over its estimate of $15,000-$20,000. Other highlights from the collection included a Roman carved marble male torso (Lot 153) which sold for $25,600 to a UK buyer, more than four times its $6,000-$8,000 estimate; and a Roman marble right foot from a statue (Lot 155), expected to sell for $2,000-$4,000, that ultimately realized more than 10 times its estimate at $23,750. It sold to a French buyer.

ancient art auction

Late Period painted sarcophagus sold to a buyer in Europe for $57,500, over 10 times the estimate. Hindman image

Interest in Egyptian objects brought strong bidding throughout the day. An Egyptian wood falcon sarcophagus (Lot 26) from the East Orange, New Jersey, estate of Julia Reich was tied for the top lot of the day. Estimated at $5,000-$7,000, this Late Period painted sarcophagus was purchased in Cairo in the 1960s, came with its original purchase certificate and export papers, and sold to a buyer in Europe for $57,500, over 10 times the estimate. Another Egyptian highlight, a bronze Osiris from the Third Intermediate Period (Lot 18), sold for $40,000 to a Midwest private collector against an estimate of $15,000-$20,000.

ancient art auction

An Egyptian bronze Osiris from the Third Intermediate Dynasty, 21-22, 1070-712 B.C., 11¾in high. Hindman image

The Antiquities and Islamic Art auction was held on June 16 in Hindman’s Chicago saleroom with all bidders participating remotely. The sale saw tremendous interest online with nearly 70% of the sale’s total coming from online bidders. Hindman’s proprietary online bidding platform was the single largest bidder category accounting for over $350,000 of the sale’s total.

View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: