ATLANTA – At the start of each month, ACN columnist Ken Hall gathers top auction highlights from around the United States and beyond. Here’s what made headlines since last month’s Gallery Report. All prices include the buyer’s premium, except where noted.
1865 tintype of Custer by Brady, $5,750, Holabird Western Americana
An original 1865 tintype of General George Armstrong Custer from a photograph taken by the iconic Civil War-era photographer Matthew Brady, in a hinged case, sold for $5,750 at a Sweetheart Express Auction held Feb. 11-15 by Holabird Western Americana Collections in Reno, Nev. Also, an 1862 Abraham Lincoln silver Peace Medal in About Uncirculated condition fetched $18,750; and three scarce, historically significant ingots (two silver, one gold) brought a combined $86,792.
American Flyer train, $5,400, Weiss Auctions
An American Flyer S gauge smoke-in-tender Northern 332 steam locomotive, 1946 or 1947, with a bronze brake tank, sold for $5,400 at a Toy & Train auction held February 24th by Weiss Auctions in Lynbrook, N.Y. Also, a boxed Lionel 2296W Canadian Pacific set from 1957, including the super 2373 CP F3 AB Diesel, brought $5,100; and an exceedingly scarce and huge American Flyer dealer poster – 95 inches by 42 inches and made circa 1955, changed hands for $5,100.
Cassin’s bitters bottle, $29,900, American Bottle
A Cassin’s Grape Brandy Bitters bottle, circa 1866-1873, yellow green in color, graded 8.5, sold for $29,900 at Part 1 of the Don Dwyer collection of bitters and soda bottles held online Feb. 26-March 7 by American Bottle Auctions, based in Sacramento, Calif. Also, a Lacour’s Bitters with “Sarsapariphere” on the reverse, yellow green, graded 8.5+, brought $24,500; and a Dr. Wonser’s USA Indian Root Bitters bottle, chocolate amber in color, graded 9, changed hands for $15,525.
French Paul O’Dobey clock, $11,800, Miller & Miller
A French Paul O’Dobey wire tower clock made in 1899, originally from a monastery, sold for $11,800 in an online Music Machines, Clocks & Canadiana auction held March 20th by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada. Also, a Wurlitzer Model 147 military band organ, made in America in 1916, went for $5,605; and a 1930s Pepsi-Cola neon clock made for the French-Canadian market and featuring Pepsi’s early “double-dot” logo, hit $4,425. Prices are in Canadian dollars.
Alphonse Mucha’s The Stars, $72,000, Poster Auctions International
A poster by Alphonse Mucha, titled The Stars (1902), sold for $72,000 at Rare Posters Auction #83 held March 14th by Poster Auctions International, Inc. in New York City. Also, an anonymous political poster titled Equal Rights for Negroes / Vote Communist (1932) fetched $24,000; Leonardo Bistolfi’s Prima Esposizione Internationale d’Arte (1902) made $19,200; and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Le Jockey (1899) knocked down for $57,600. The sale grossed $1.95 million.
J. & E. Stevens mechanical bank, $156,000, Morphy Auctions
A J. & E. Stevens ‘Shoot the Chute’ antique mechanical bank, featuring Buster Brown and his dog Tige in a boat, in near-mint-plus condition, with original printed wood box, sold for $156,000 at a sale of the Bob and Judy Brady collection held February 27th by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pa. Also, a Kyser & Rex Mikado bank, near-mint, earned $81,000; and a Saalheimer & Strauss Mickey Mouse Type 4 tin mechanical bank, near-mint, went to a determined bidder for $31,200.
MLK jailhouse logbook, $130,909, Hake’s Auctions
Four jailhouse logbook pages bearing 12 signatures of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and five signatures of his associate Ralph Abernathy, signed during their 1963 incarceration at the Birmingham (Ala.) jail, sold for $130,909 at Premier Auction #231 held Feb. 24-25 by Hake’s Auctions in York, Pa. Also, a hand-painted and hand-stitched 1860 parade banner for Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, used by young political activists known as the ‘Wide Awakes’ rose to $143,104.
Houdini signed book, $26,400, Potter & Potter
A first edition copy of Harry Houdini’s The Unmasking of Robert-Houdin (1908), signed and inscribed to friend and colleague Chung Ling Soo, sold for $26,400 at a Rare & Important Magicana auction held February 27th by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago, Ill. Also, a diary kept by Claude Alexander Conlin during his travels to the Alaskan goldfields in 1898 realized $22,800; and the magician Cardini’s fully provenanced, stage-worn tuxedo, tailor-made in 1933, made $20,400.
Walter Ufer painting, $125,313, Bonhams
A painting by Walter Ufer titled Isleta, New Mexico sold for $125,313 at a Western Art sale held February 26th by Bonhams in Los Angeles. Also, a 22-inch cast bronze figure by Cyrus Edwin Dallin titled Appeal to the Great Spirit changed hands for $100,313. In the Sporting and Wildlife section, world auction records were set for artists Josef Franz Pallenberg and Mario Zamora Alcantara. The auction totaled $925,569, with 81 percent of lots selling by lot and 91 percent by value.
Kobe Bryant Topps rookie card, $1.796 million, Goldin Auctions
A black label pristine 1996-1997 Topps Chrome Refractors #138 Kobe Bryant rookie card sold for $1.796 million in a Winter Auction ending March 6-7 by Goldin Auctions, based in Runnemede, N.J. Also, an Upper Deck “Exquisite Collection” #78 LeBron James signed patch rookie card, graded BGS NM-MT+ 8.5, brought $1.538 million; a 1955 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente rookie card fetched $1.107 million; and a 1952 Topps #312 Jackie Robinson card went for $984,000.
Picasso ceramic vase, $100,000, John Moran
A ceramic vase by Pablo Picasso titled Lampe Femme sold for $100,000 at a Winter Modern & Contemporary Sale held February 23rd by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif. Also, Le Pho’s Bouquet Champetre hammered for $16,250; an untitled work by Tadashi Soto fetched $18,750; Edward Ruscha’s Music knocked down for $10,000; an untitled work by Charles Arnold changed hands for $7,500; and Dominic Besner’s Les Betes a Cornes gaveled for $4,062.
Keith Haring painting, $3 million, Christie’s
An untitled vinyl paint on vinyl tarpaulin with metal grommets, painted in 1983 by Keith Haring (1958-1990) sold for $3 million at a Post-War to Present sale held March 9th by Christie’s in New York City. Also, a 2017 oil on canvas painting by Matthew Wong (1984-2019), titled Luminous Night, 72 inches by 48 inches, brought $2.19 million; and an untitled freestanding tied-wire, closed center, six-branched tree form sculpture by Ruth Asawa (1926-2013) finished at $966,000.
de Champlain book, $201,600, Freeman’s
A first edition copy of French explorer Samuel de Champlain’s book Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain (Paris, 1613) sold for $201,600 at a Books & Manuscripts auction held February 18th by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, Vladimir Nabokov’s Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle realized $15,120; Thomas Birch and J.H. Seymour’s The Geographic Pastime (or, the Complete Tour of Europe) made $13,100; and Chas. E. Carryl’s Harlequin Playing Cards went for $8,820.
Prince’s ‘Cloud’ guitar, $132,868, RR Auction
The ‘Cloud’ guitar custom-made by Minneapolis luthier Kurt Nelson in the 1990s for the musician Prince sold for $132,868 in an online auction that began on Feb. 19 and ended March 10 by RR Auction, based in Boston. Also, Prince’s custom-made Purple Rain white ruffled shirt sourced from the mother of Sheila E. rose to $75,000; a factory-sealed original 1987 U.S. first pressing of Prince’s The Black Album brought $30,990; and Prince’s Versace sunglasses went for $15,128.
Manuel Orazi poster, $37,500, Swann Auction
A poster by Manuel Orazi, titled La Maison Moderne (1900) sold for $37,500 at a Vintage Posters auction held February 18th by Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. Also, an artist record was set for H. A. Volodimer, whose Grand Prix d’Endurance de 24 Heures / Coupe Rudge / Whotworth (1923) realized $15,000; Roger de Valerio’s Air France / Dans Tous Les Ciels (1935) brought $5,000; and Alphonse Mucha’s Tragique Histoire d’Hamlet (1899) made $17,500.
Alexander Calder artwork, $845,000, Rago / Wright
An untitled (Demi-cône) sheet metal, wire and paint artwork by Alexander Calder sold for $845,000 at a Post-War & Contemporary Art auction held March 11th by Rago Arts (Lambertville, N.J.) and Wright (Chicago). Also, Jaume Plensa’s Self Portrait with Rivers IV fetched $175,000; Richard Estes’s D-Train hammered for $62,500; Frederick Hammersley’s Dark & like #23 realized $47,500; and Sterling Ruby’s Basin Theology rose to $68,750.
Leyendecker painting, $74,000, Leland Little
A newly discovered early painting by the famed Saturday Evening Post illustrator Joseph Christian Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951) titled Christ With Sainted Knights sold for $74,000 at a Signature Spring Auction held March 11-13 by Leland Little Auctions in Hillsborough, N.C. Also, a figural vase by Pablo Picasso, titled Chouette (A.R. 602), from the artist’s series of ceramics made at the Madoura pottery studio, made $25,000. Prices are hammer, exclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Ming dynasty bowl, $721,800, Sotheby’s
A Ming dynasty, Yongle period exceptional and rare blue and white ‘floral’ bowl originally purchased for $35 at a Connecticut yard sale achieved $721,800 following a spirited battle between four bidders in an Important Chinese Art Auction held March 17th by Sotheby’s in New York City. Just six companion bowls are known, with most held in renowned museum collections in the world. This delicate bowl is a quintessential Yongle product made for the court.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula, $26,500, Hindman Auctions
A copy of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, bound in the publisher’s yellow cloth with blood red lettering, sold for $26,500 at a Literature from a Private New Orleans Collection sale held March 19 by Hindman Auctions in Chicago. Also, a first edition copy of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven, in the rare first issue dust jacket, realized $23,750; Ernest Hemingway’s Men Without Women brought $11,875; and Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World hammered for $10,625.
Rock-Ola World Series coin-op, $34,375, Fine Estate, Inc.
A fully functioning 1937 Rock-Ola 1937 World Series Baseball arcade game sold for $34,375 at an auction held March 21st by Fine Estate, Inc. in San Rafael, Calif. Also, a Spalding “King of the Diamond” ball signed by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig was a hit for $17,500; a Ted Williams H&B game-used bat earned $17,500; a framed display of bats featuring Babe Ruth, Jimmy Foxx and Mel Ott garnered $8,125; and a 1938 Babe Ruth-signed baseball knocked down for $5,312.
By KEN HALL