Carved Wooden Spoon With Fox Motif, Attributed to Paul Gauguin

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – This wooden spoon worked with a recumbent fox is thought to have been carved by Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) while he was living in Tahiti. When last sold by Christie’s New York in 2016, the work was to be included in the Paul Gauguin catalogue raisonne, and it goes to auction with a letter dated 2013 from the Wildenstein Institute.

Attempting to reject “the influence of civilization” in his art and abandoning any effort to be a family man, Gauguin first traveled to French Polynesia in 1891. His claims to have discovered some kind of erotic idyll there are perhaps referenced in this spoon. The fox is a symbol of lasciviousness, and Gauguin himself referred to the fox as “the Indian symbol of perversity.”

The carved wooden spoon will appear at CRN Auctions on Sunday, October 1 with an estimate of $8,000-$10,000.

Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier Vintage Boxing Poster

CLINTONDALE, N.Y. — It is the trilogy of fights between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier that made the 1970s the Golden Age of heavyweight boxing. Perhaps the least-known of the three contests is the second Super Fight II, fought at Madison Square Garden in January 1974 in between the Fight of the Century in 1971 and the Thrilla in Manila in 1975.

By a unanimous decision, Ali went on to avenge his loss to Frazier three years earlier (his first professional defeat) though Smokin’ Joe and many of his supporters still contend that he was robbed by the judges’ decision.

This original red, black and yellow cardboard poster for the contest, known as Fight II, The Big Fight Everyone Is Waiting To See, is properly marked Litho’d by Passantino Printing Co. of New York City at the lower right. It has an estimate of $300-$500 and is part of the Estate Fine Art and Antique Online Auction at Kensington Estate Auction on Monday, October 2.

Circa-1895 René Lalique Preparatory Design Drawing

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Having enjoyed a triumph with its September 10 sale from the collection of the late Marie-Claude Lalique, Lion and Unicorn is preparing to deliver round two on Sunday, October 8.

Among the offerings in the 305-lot sale is a circa-1895 preparatory drawing of a design for a pen and inkwell by René Lalique, Marie-Claude’s grandfather. In the mid-1890s, René was best-known as a jewelry designer, and was years away from shifting his focus to glass. The graphite, India ink and gouache on BFK Rives brown paper captures him in the act of thinking through the details of a potential new product.

It is one of four René Lalique original drawings in the October 8 sale, and it carries the highest estimate, at $3,000-$5,000. The previous Lion and Unicorn auction from Marie-Claude Lalique’s collection also included four original René Lalique drawings. All four offered on September 10 hammered within or slightly above their estimates.

First Edition, First Printing of Mark Twain’s Debut Book

BERKELEY, Calif. – The world of book-publishing is fraught, perilous, and comes with no guarantees of best-sellers or riches. But every now and again, a publisher knows in their bones that they have spotted a great new literary talent, and they push all their chips into the center of the table, certain of victory.

Charles Henry Webb clearly felt that way about The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches, which he released under his eponymous imprint in 1867. To be fair, it didn’t take a genius to see that it would find an audience. The book was a collection of short stories by the rising author Mark Twain, all of which appeared previously in magazines or newspapers.

C.H. Webb displayed his faith in the writer by gracing the cover of the book – the first credited to Mark Twain – with the stamped gilt image of a leaping frog that was repeated, ungilded, on the back cover. That shiny little decorative flourish would not have been cheap, and would not have been accorded to almost any other novice author.

The Thursday, October 5 PBA Galleries sale Fine Press & Bindings-Illustrated Antiquarian features a first edition, first printing of this coveted book that announced the arrival of Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens. It carries an estimate of $7,000-$10,000.