Property of actress Daliah Lavi stars in $1.7M Leland Little sale

Daliah Lavi

‘Ukulele Player’ by Alex Katz. Hammer price: $120,000. Leland Little Auctions image

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – Leland Little Auctions’ Winter Quarterly Auction week featured a strong showing of estates and collections, such as the items from the personal collection of the late Israeli film actress and singer Daliah Lavi, a private single-owner collection of American contemporary art, and items from the Elaine Miller Collection. These auctions, achieving over 1.7 million, featured fine art, jewelry, silver, fine wine, furniture, sculpture, coins and other objects of value. Absentee and Internet live bidding on Dec. 2 was available through LiveAuctioneers.

Lavi, a former model, is best-known to American audiences for her lighthearted roles in 1960s spy-movie spoofs like Casino Royale and The Silencers. She died at her home in Asheville, N.C., on May 3, 2017. She was 74.

Daliah Lavi

Three posters for films in which Daliah Lavi appeared sold for $500. Leland Little Auctions image

The top lot of the auction, Ukulele Player by Alex Katz, quickly rose to $120,000 with active bidding between telephone bidders and Internet bidders (prices do not reflect buyer’s premium). This contemporary American artist, now in his 90s, continues to create and produce, and calls this period “the most productive time in my life.”

Other top fine art lots of note include Les Petits Poissons by Janet Fish (below), which sailed to $33,000; Houses on a Hill by North Carolina and Pennsylvania artist Francis Speight, which brought $13,000; and Veronica’s Veil XC by North Carolina artist Herb Jackson, which achieved $11,000.

Daliah Lavi

Janet Fish (New York/Vermont, b. 1938), ‘Les Petits Poissons,’ oil on canvas. Hammer price: $33,000. Leland Little Auctions image

Sculpture lots were strong, led by Bryan Hunt’s Bear Run I, which brought $26,000. This monumental sculpture with a remarkable pedigree was part of a series commissioned by Edgar Kaufman Jr. for Frank Lloyd Wright’s landmark home, Fallingwater. This work interprets the stream running beneath the famed home.

Daliah Lavi

Bryan Hunt (American, b. 1947), ‘Bear Run I,’ hardened molten bronze with chiseled and tooled application, 114.5in. high. Price realized: $26,000. Leland Little Auctions image

Other notable lots from two North Carolina artists include Harvey Littleton’s Double Sliced Descending Form, which brought $15,000, and Jon Kuhn’s Coral Sonata, which also rose to $15,000.

An unmounted round brilliant cut diamond with platinum and diamond mount led the jewelry offerings, bringing $32,000. Provenance for this lot notes  “this was the wedding ring presented to Mary … by her husband Harry as they took their vows in the beautiful and lush hotel courtyard of the Hotel Florida in Havana, Cuba … in the early 1920s.”

Daliah Lavi

Unmounted round brilliant cut 3.93-carat diamond with platinum and diamond mount. Hammer price: $32,000. Leland Little Auctions image

Other jewelry lots of note included an 18K South Sea pearl and diamond necklace by Lilli, which achieved $16,000; an 18K gold, sapphire and diamond bracelet, which rose to $9,000; and an 18K gold, emerald, and diamond necklace owned and worn by the film star Daliah Lavi, which hammered at $8,000.

Daliah Lavi

18K gold, emerald and diamond necklace from the collection of the late actress and singer Daliah Lavi. Hammer price: $8,000. Blessed with beauty and talent, the multi-lingual Lavi was an international citizen during the 1960s when she worked alongside such luminaries as Peter O’Toole, David Niven and Woody Allen. Leland Little Auctions image

For details call Leland Little Auctions Ltd. at 919-633-1243 or email