Life-size articulated mannequin draws $45,000 at Rago auction

Life-size articulated artist mannequin, France, 1860. Price realized: $45,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

 

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. – Rago Arts and Auction Center’s October Great Estates and Curiouser and Curiouser Auctions brought in $1.72 million in sales on Oct. 21-22. This 998-lot auction series saw the sale of works of art and design, as well as a healthy serving of exceptional objects and artifacts, spanning centuries and continents. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.

“I found it fitting that one of the top items in the sale, the Ann Morris life-size mannequin, had been coveted for decades by decorators and collectors when it was on display in their Manhattan store window, but never available until this sale. It gives credence to the idea that the sweetest pleasures are those hardest won,” said Marion Harris, curator of the Curiouser and Curiouser auction.

The mid-19th-century wooden figure (above) sold for $45,000 on Sunday.

Saturday’s Great Estates auction got off to a strong start with the first lot of the day, a gem cameo vase by Thomas Webb & Sons, vaulting past its high estimate of $9,000 to sell for $26,250 amid fierce bidding.

 

Thomas Webb & Sons gem cameo glass vase, 8¼in. Price realized: $26,250. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

 

Works of fine silver sold admirably, including lot 1020, a pair of French silver candelabra retailed by Tiffany & Co. which sold for $20,000 against an estimate of $8,000-$12,000 and lot 1201, a pair of sterling silver swan centerpieces by Buccellati which sold for $17,500 against an estimate of $5,000-$8,000.

 

French silver candelabra, retailed by Tiffany & Co. Price realized: $20,000. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

 

 

Stand-out ephemera from the sale included a 1792 letter signed by Alexander Hamilton (lot 1716) which defied its high estimate of $15,000 to sell for $37,500 and lot 1759, a collection of signed and numbered 1st editions from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King which sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $1,000-$1,500.

 

1792 Alexander Hamilton letter. Price realized: $37,500. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

 

Decorative arts and period-style furniture achieved solid sale prices, including lot 1267, a Louis XVI-style brass and brushed steel bureauplat, which sold for $26,250 against a $1,200 high estimate and lot 1498, a pair of George II mahogany armchairs, which sold for $17,500 against an estimate of $3,000-$5,000.

Commanding sale prices continued into Sunday with Curiouser and Curiouser, a sale of exceptional objects and eccentric art curated by dealer Marion Harris. The sale saw high prices achieved for mannequins, including lot 39, a life-sized articulated artist mannequin which sold for $45,000; and for select works of outsider art, including works by Morton Bartlett and The Connor Brothers, both of which enjoyed sale prices that largely fell within or above their respective estimate ranges.

 

Morton Bartlett, Untitled original drawing (Fashion Illustration), circa 1950, pencil on paper. Price realized: $12,500. Rago Arts and Auction Center image

 

Also of note: lot 142, a one-of-a-kind private commission titled The Frog Prince, sold for $36,250 against an estimate of $9,000-$12,000.

 

‘The Frog Prince,’ terra-cotta with a fine polychrome, leathery glaze, German, 19th century, 14 3/4in. x 12 1/2in. x 11 1/2in. Price realized: $36,250. Rago Arts and Auction Center

 

“This was a fantastic sale with strong results throughout, particularly for furniture and fine silver. We are thrilled with the prices we were able to achieve for our consignors and plan to build on the success of this sale for our April 2018 auction,” said Gina Tomasello, director of Rago’s Great Estates auctions.