ATLANTA – At the beginning of each month, ACN columnist Ken Hall compiles the most notable auction highlights from across the United States and the world as well. The June 2023 edition of Ken’s Gallery Report showcases a wealth of compelling results. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium, except where noted.
Kusama’s A Pumpkin (RT), $56,250, John Moran Auctioneers
A 2004 painting by Yayoi Kusama (b. 1929-), titled A Pumpkin (RT), sold for $56,250 at a California Living auction held April 11 by John Moran Auctioneers in Los Angeles. Also, a 1958 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar played a sweet tune for $32,500; Edouardo Sarabia’s (b. 1976-) Painted Memories 2 from 2008 made $18,750; four topiary lounge chairs with ottoman by Richard Schultz for Knoll earned $6,500; and a circa-1980s-90s Art Deco Revival credenza settled at $5,850.
Houdini’s strait jacket, $43,200, Potter & Potter Auctions
Legendary magician Harry Houdini’s strait jacket escape, a heavy canvas jacket reinforced with leather across the neck, back, arms and waist, sold for $43,200 at a dedicated Harry Houdini event held April 8 by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, Houdini’s spirit cabinet escape realized $50,400; a circa-1925 poster advertising The World Famous Houdini /Master Mystifier, commanded $11,400; and a circa-1891 tintype portrait of a young Houdini, probably taken at Coney Island, New York, reached $21,600.
John Wilkes Booth reward poster, $166,375, Nate D. Sanders Auctions
The first printing of the reward poster for the capture of John Wilkes Booth and two other conspirators in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln – issued by the War Department in Washington, D.C. on April 20, 1865, five days after President Lincoln died and six days before Booth was killed – sold for $166,375 at an auction held April 27 by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles. The poster, originally displayed on a tree, had never been auctioned before.
Tiffany Studios Nasturtium lamp, $71,500, Woody Auction
A Tiffany Studios table lamp with a 32in Nasturtium shade sold for $71,500 in the auction of Part 2 of the Ron Blessing collection, held March 18 by Woody Auction in Douglass, Kan. Also, an R.J. Horner china cabinet in the Atlas pattern climbed to $22,000; a French cameo art glass vase marked Daum Nancy, with penguin decor, waddled off with $17,000; and a Brilliant Period Cut Glass amethyst cut to clear water pitcher attributed to Stevens and Williams brought $9,200.
Gilt Bronze Tibetan Buddha, $200,000, Briggs Auction
A gilt bronze Tibetan Buddha sold for $200,000 at a Fine Estates Auction held March 24 by Briggs Auction in Garnet Valley, Penn. It was the most ever paid for a single item at a Briggs Auction event. Also, a nearly life-size portrait of a seated beauty, titled Lorelai, changed hands for $32,000; and a pocket watch by the 18th-century Delaware clockmaker Thomas Crow earned $5,500. These sums are hammer prices, exclusive of the buyer’s premium.
German World War II machine gun, $456,000, Morphy Auctions
A German World War II Model FG-42 machine gun, Model E 1st Model, one of only about 2,000 made, sold for $456,000 at a Firearms & Militaria Auction held April 11-13 by Morphy Auctions in Denver, Penn. Also, a British-made WWII silenced Sten Mark IV (SD) machine gun went for $129,000; a mid-1950s American-made Harrington & Richardson T48 (FAL) machine gun with box achieved $114,000; and a circa-2000 David McKay Brown (Scotland) 20-gauge shotgun attained $61,200.
Ted Williams’ Baseball Hall of Fame ring, $444,000, Heritage Auctions
Boston Red Sox immortal Ted Williams’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ring, given to him upon his entry into Cooperstown on July 25, 1966, sold for $444,000 at a Spring Sports Catalog Auction held May 11-13 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. Also, a Mickey Mantle Topps rookie card from 1952, graded SGC Near Mint+ 7.5, earned $384,00, a record for the grade; and a 1916 M101-5 (blank back) Babe Ruth card also set a new record for its graded (SGC Fair 1.5) when it achieved the home-run price of $276,000.
Andrew Clemens sand bottles, $151,200, Hindman
A pair of Sweetheart sand bottles from 1883 by Andrew Clemens (1857-1894) sold for $151,200 at an American Furniture, Folk & Decorative Arts auction held March 30 by Hindman in Chicago. Also, a Tiffany & Co. seven-piece silver tea and coffee service with matching tray made $18,000; a Baltimore Federal mahogany tall case clock realized $11,970; and a Renaissance Revival etagere attributed to John Henry Belter went to a determined bidder for $22,800.
Uncle Sam clockwork toy, $72,000, Bertoia Auctions
An Ives (USA) Uncle Sam clockwork preambulator, one of two known, sold for $72,000 at a Spring Signature Sale held March 24-25 by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, N.J. Also, an oversized Ives horse-drawn fire hose reel in pristine condition went for $14,400; a Kenton Speed Truck, the largest of its series, rolled away with $16,800; and a Kyser & Rex (USA) Chimpanzee cast-iron mechanical bank brought $34,800.
George Washington-owned book, $441,000, Freeman’s
A volume from the personal library of George Washington, titled The Transactions of the Royal Humane Society, a first edition copy given to Washington during his second presidential term by physician Dr. John Coakley Lettsom and featuring Washington’s bold signature at the top of the half-title page, sold for $441,000 at a Books and Manuscripts auction held May 3 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. In addition, a 1787 land grant signed by Benjamin Franklin finished at $17,640.
1854 US $1 coin, $91,062, Legend Rare Coin Auctions
An 1854 US $1 coin, graded MS65 CAC, sold for $91,062 at the Central States Numismatic Society’s 84th Anniversary Convention held April 27 in Schaumburg, Illinois by Legend Rare Coin Auctions, based in Red Bank, N.J. Also, an 1837 US $2.50 coin, graded MS65 CAC, went for $88,125; a 1942-S US 50-cent coin, graded MS 67 CAC, hit $70,500; a 1935-S US 50-cent coin, MS 67 CAC, brought $67,562; and a 1795 US 1-cent coin, PCGS MS 65 BN CAC, made $61,687.
Jefferson Davis revolver, $470,000, Rock Island Auction Company
The Jefferson Davis surrender Beaumont-Adams double action revolver, one of the most important war trophies of the Civil War, sold for $470,000 at Premier Firearms Auction #88, held May 19-21 by Rock Island Auction Company in Rock Island, Ill. Also, the engraved gold and Winchester Model 1895 belonging to Zane Grey realized $440,625; a Krieghoff FH42 Type 1 changed hands for $411,250; and the cased Colt 1861 Navy revolver presented to Capt. George Williams rose to $258,500.
Circa-1820 Armoire Crocodile, CA$29,500, Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd.
A circa-1820 Quebec armoire in a strong alligatored yellow paint that earned it the family nickname “Armoire Crocodile” sold for $29,500 at the sale of the Belzile collection held in Quebec, Canada by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd., based in New Hamburg. Also, a Louis XIII armchair in old green paint realized $21,240, and an 18th-century Quebec pine armoire with four Louis XIV hourglass-shaped panels won $17,700.
Kurt Cobain Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, $595,000, Julien’s Auctions
Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s Nevermind smashed and signed black Fender Stratocaster electric guitar sold for $595,900 at a Music Icons auction held May 19-20 by Julien’s Auctions in New York City. Also, Bono’s 2002 U2 stage-played Gretsch Irish Falcon electric guitar achieved $238,125; Eddie Van Halen’s 2004 Charvel EVH Art Series 78 electric guitar settled at $114,300; and Michael Jackson’s Dangerous world tour jacket made $117,000.
Xavier de Charlevoix account, $5,700, Old World Auction
F. Xavier de Charlevoix’s Histoire et Description de la Nouvelle France – an account of French possessions in colonial North America, featuring 28 maps – sold for $5,700 in an online auction held April 12-26 by Old World Auctions in Richmond, Va. Also, The New Twelve Inch British Celestial Globe by William and T.M. Bardin, composed of 12 paper gores, a brass meridian and an engraved horizon ring, realized $5,100.
Marklin toy paddle boat, $250,000, Pook & Pook
The Marklin toy paddle wheel river boat New York, in exceptional condition, sold for $250,000 at an Americana auction held May 4-5 by Pook & Pook in Downingtown, Penn. Also, an English Staffordshire slipware doll cradle dating to 1698 brought $22,500; a Berks or Montgomery County (Penn.) painted poplar shrank, a robust example of early 18th-century German furniture design, earned $81,250; and a Mifflin County (Penn.) Samuel Plank-painted box brought $45,360.
Steve Jobs-signed check, $106,985, RR Auction
An Apple Computer check signed by Steve Jobs in 1976 – the year of the company’s founding – sold for $106,985 in an online auction held April 17-May 10 by RR Auction in Boston. The check was filled out in type and signed by Jobs himself, for $175.00, payable to Crampton, Remke & Miller, Inc., a provider of business processing consulting services to high-tech companies. Also, an early 1990s NeXT business card listing Jobs as chairman and CEO brought $3,076.
1897 experimental pistol, $72,000, Cowan’s Auctions
A Bergmann Schmeisser prototype 1897 model 5 experimental pistol with holster stock sold for $72,000 at an Arms, Armor & Militaria auction held May 3-4 by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. Also, a Peter Chapman 28 gauge sidelock hammerless side-by-side shotgun with straight English stock hit the mark for $36,000; a Parker GH grade 20 gauge shotgun with 32in barrels attained $25,200; and a Japanese model 1902 Grandpa Nambu holster stock rose to $15,600.
Maurice Prendergast beach scene, $162,500, Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers
A colorful oil-on-panel Boston beach scene by Maurice Prendergast (American, 1858-1924), painted circa 1907-1910, sold for $162,500 in a Spring Fine Art Auction held April 27 by Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers in Milford, Conn. Also, a circa-1880s oil on canvas by Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904), titled Vase of Red Roses, went for $125,000; and a 1904 oil on canvas by Richard Hayley Lever (American, 1876-1958) titled Sunshine in the Hills, brought $106,250.
Click to view top auction results on LiveAuctioneers: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/