MONROVIA, Calif. – In the days leading up to John Moran Auctioneers’ The Estate of Tammis Day auction, Moran’s office personnel was kept on their toes taking a record number of bids, answering questions, approving online bidders and selling printed catalogs. Tammis Day, daughter of Willametta (Keck) and Robert A. Day, was a generous and life-long philanthropist, so it is only fitting that proceeds from the $1.1 million-grossing sale on Oct. 3 are to go directly to the Tammis Day Foundation, an organization supporting programs and projects furthering the fine arts and performing arts. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
Tammis Day was a woman of many passions and exceptionally good taste, and buyers came out in droves to participate in this highly anticipated auction. Moran’s Estate of Tammis Day auction opened to a standing room-only crowd, and the attendance stayed strong throughout the entire 494-lot auction. No lot went unsold throughout the entire event.
Some of the projected highest-value items for the evening were part of Tammis Day’s collection of fine early 20th-century lamps. A Grueby art pottery lamp (above) designed by George Kendrick with its original hardware was brought to the block with an $8,000-10,000 presale estimate; thanks to interest online and from a handful of determined floor buyers, the Grueby lamp brought $28,125 (including Moran’s 25 percent online buyer’s premium; in house premium is 20 percent).
Tiffany lamps were also in high demand – two floral-motif examples, one “Spreading Daffodil” and one “Black-eyed Susan” were offered about an hour and a half into the sale (estimates: $15,000-$20,000 and $8,000-$12,000). Competition was fierce between online and floor bidders; the “Spreading Daffodil” lamp sold for $23,750 to a LiveAuctioneers bidder, while the “Black-eyed Susan” went for $24,000 to a buyer bidding from the floor.
Furniture and other household goods were also a large part of the estate and inspired just as much excitement as many of the higher-end objets d’art. Three pieces of handmade western furniture by Cody, Wyoming, cabinetmaker John Gallis Norseman Designs West were offered. The most popular from the group proved to be a desk (below) with an organic, curvilinear aesthetic, which sold for $4,500 (est. $800-$1,200).
Another hand-hewn piece, a koa wood chest, signed only “Will,” was brought to the block with a conservative $500-$700 estimate, and earned realized $4,800, thanks to enamored floor and absentee bidders.
Collectibles and luxury items were also hot-ticket items, including rare first edition books, rock ’n’ roll memorabilia, and luxury handbags. A fine first edition copy of Bill Wilson’s Alcoholics Anonymous sold for an astounding $13,200.
One of the most surprising highlights came early in the proceedings. A Russian propaganda porcelain figural group of Soviet riders on horseback (below) was brought to the block with a conservative $200-$400 estimate. After opening on LiveAuctioneers with a $10,000 bid, the figural group realized $15,000.
A small-scale signed photograph of Jim Morrison, offered at $200-$400, opened with multiple bids online bringing the price over $1,000 almost immediately. In the end, the autographed photograph realized $5,400. Jim Marshall’s (1936-2010, Los Angeles) silver gelatin print, Jimi, a 1967 photograph of Jimi Hendrix on stage, found a buyer for $2,400, nearly twice the estimated $1,000-$1,500. One of a handful of designer bags and clothing lots brought to the block, a Céline leather handbag in a cheery yellow colorway easily exceeded its $1,000-$1,500 estimate, realizing $2,125, thanks to online bidder participation.
Tammis Day’s art collection was as wide-ranging as her interests; there seemed to be something for everyone among the curated selections. A few large-scale works by Provincetown, Mass., artist Anne Packard (b. 1933) were offered, including a charming oil painting depicting a beachside house atop a sloping sand-covered hill (est. $6,000-$8,000). Telephone bidders were lined up days in advance to bid on the Packard works. The house on a hill brought $8,400 including premium.
In contrast, a small, painterly sketch of a cowboy on horseback by Los Angeles western painter Frank Tenney Johnson (1874-1939) was offered for $7,000-$10,000, earning $12,000. A diminutive oil painting by French modernist Bernard Buffet depicting a black bird in profile achieved a $19,200, just within estimate ($15,000-$20,000).
Buyers were also delighted by the small selection of vehicles offered in the catalog, which included a 1995 Ford F-150 truck in beautiful restored condition. The pickup was expected to bring $20,000-$30,000, and hammered for the high estimate, realizing $33,000 all-in. A 2009 Mercedes-Benz G-class G55 AMG RENNtech G600 inspired buyers to sign up to bid in droves, effectively filling up each of the 10 available telephone bid lines; estimated to bring $50,000-$60,000, the Mercedes found an out-of-California buyer for $66,000.
A pair of beaded Plains Indian gauntlets once belonging to “Buffalo Bill” Cody and previously sold as part of the Buck Stevens collection opened at over twice the high estimate thanks to interest online. The framed gauntlets realized $4,375 (est. $1,000-$1,500).
A gorgeous 19th-century brass-inlaid ebonized wood traveling artist’s box filled with silver and gold-adorned implements and engraved to the cover with the Imperial Crown of Russia by Parisian maker Alphonse Giroux & Cie. went home with a LiveAuctioneers online bidder for $5,937 (est. $1,500-$2,000).
For more information contact Moran’s at firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-793-1833.