Gallery Report: Grandma Moses’ ‘Halloween’ scares up $100K

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 (prices include the buyer’s premium unless stated otherwise):

Grandma Moses painting, $100,000, I.M. Chait Gallery

An oil on Masonite painting by Anna Mary Robertson (American, 1860-1961), aka Grandma Moses, titled Halloween, sold for $100,000 at an International Fine Arts Auction held May 20 by I.M. Chait Gallery & Auctioneers in Beverly Hills, California. Also, an Egyptian 19th Dynasty serpentine ushabti went for $36,600; an oil painting by Vietnamese-French artist Le Pho (1907-2001) brought $56,250; and an oil on panel work by Paul Seignac (French, 1826-1904), Christmas Morning, made $20,000.

Early prototype telephone, $40,000, Bruneau & Co.

An original model of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson’s first telephone from 1881 sold for $40,000 at a Historical Telephone Auction held Aug. 4 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers in Cranston, Rhode Island. Also, a rare circa 1876 Bell butter stamp magneto telephone later installed at a residence in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1891 brought $27,500; and the first phone/emergency call box ever installed in the Yukon Territory in Canada, circa 1900, changed hands for $2,500.

Cinnabar bento box, $23,750, Nye & Co.

An Asian cinnabar bento box grouping of a box, cloisonné teapot and dish sold for $23,750 at an auction held July 25-26 by Nye & Co. Auctioneers in Bloomfield, New Jersey. Also, a black leather crescent rocker designed by Wendell Castle (American, 1932-2018) brought $17,500; a circa 1900 Southwest Indian small-neck coil basket having a faded geometric design fetched $15,000; and a colorful Empire painted bedstead, crafted in New England circa 1820-1840, went for $12,500.

Six tattoo flash art sheets, $41,375, Ripley Auctions

Six early American original tattoo flash art sheets attributed to Charlie Wagner (1875-1953) and Sam O’Reilly (1854-1909) sold for a combined $41,375 at an auction held July 28 by Ripley Auctions in Indianapolis. The top seller (shown) brought $11,250. Wagner and O’Reilly were the country’s earliest tattoo artists, working in the late 19th and early 20th century in New York’s Bowery. The sheets were found in the bottom of a trunk that a man bought at an estate sale for $10.

‘Indian Summer’ book $2,875, Doyle New York

A copy of Indian Summer (1974) by Roy and Susan O’Connor sold for $2,875 at an auction of angling books from the collection of Arnold “Jake” Johnson, held July 24 by Doyle in New York City. Also, a copy of The Fly Fishers Club of Brooklyn from 1895-1995 by James Volney Richter was a catch for $2,250; Sir Francis Guigand’s account of Camp Chaleur in Canada was reeled in for $1,250; and a copy of the by-laws of the Texas Tarpon Club of Sport made $1,375.

1794 large 1-cent coin, $246,750, Legend Rare Coins

A 1794 large U.S. 1-cent type coin, Lord St. Oswald, graded PCGS MS66+ BN CAC, sold for $246,750 at the 27th Regency Auction held July 26 by Legend Rare Coins (based in Lincroft, New Jersey) in Las Vegas. Also, an 1892-O silver dollar, PCGS MS66+ CAC, realized $79,313; an 1878 7 Tail Feather Morgan dollar, reverse of 1878, PCGS MS66+ CAC, made $43,475; and an 1847 25-cent coin, PCGS PR66 CAC, hit $64,625.

Hopewell Culture cache, $162,000, Cowan’s Auctions

One of the most significant assemblages of Hopewell Culture prehistoric art ever collected more than doubled its high estimate, selling for $162,000 during Cowan’s Auctions’ Part I of the Collection of Art Gerber: Ancient Art of the Eastern Woodlands auction. The cache was one of 382 lots offered in the July 28 auction held in Cowan’s Cincinnati gallery, from the estate of Indiana collector Art Gerber. Part 2 will be held Dec. 8.

Charles de Gaulle letter to FDR, $33,689, RR Auction

A two-page handwritten draft of a letter in French by Charles de Gaulle to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, circa 1943, sold for $33,689 in an online auction that ran from July 20-Aug. 8 by RR Auction based in Boston. Also, a Mary Blair concept painting from the 1951 Disney animated feature Alice in Wonderland made $14,700; a Japanese officer’s pistol and heirloom sword surrendered at war’s end in 1945 brought $11,541; and a portrait of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, signed by Grant, fetched $11,126.

Henri Martin oil painting, $33,600, Case Auctions

A pointillist oil on canvas painting of a man working at a vineyard press by the French Neo-Impressionist Henri-Jean Guillaume Martin (1860-1943), sold for $33,600 at an auction held July 14 by Case Auctions & Appraisals in Knoxville, Tenn. Also, four items pertaining to Col. Tomlinson Fort of the 1st Georgia Infantry on his return home from the Civil War, which included his Confederate shell jacket, realized $28,800; and an oil painting by Arnold Friberg titled Scout on Horseback rose to $19,200.

Army recruitment poster, $12,000, Potter & Potter

A 1917 World War I U.S. Army recruitment poster titled Destroy This Mad Brute/Enlist, illustrated by H.R. Hopps, sold for $12,000 at a Fine Books & Manuscripts Sale held July 28 by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, Emil Orlik’s 1904 documentation of everyday life in Japan titled Aus Japan coasted to $18,000; an engraving of The Declaration of Independence by Peter Force brought $16,800; and a first edition copy of Kahlil Gibran’s Jesus, the Son of Man rose to $2,160.


Michael Jordan jersey, $122,750, Goldin Auctions

A game-used, signed and photo-matched Chicago Bulls home jersey, worn by Michael Jordan on April 11, 1998, when he recorded his 5,000th career assist, sold for $122,750 at a Summer Live and Premium Auction held Aug. 11 by Goldin Auctions in Runnemede, New Jersey. Also, a 1986-1987 Fleer basketball complete 132-card set brought $47,872; a letter written and signed by President Ronald Reagan made $18,412; and a 1951 Bowman Mickey Mantle rookie card hit $19,640.

Caines Brothers mallard decoys, $1.1 million, Guyette & Deeter

A pair of mallard decoys by the Caines Brothers sold for a combined $1.145 million – the hen $767,000 (a new auction record price for the maker) and the drake $377,600 – at Guyette & Deeter Inc.’s annual Summer Decoy Auction held July 23-24 at the Sheraton Harborside Hotel in Portsmouth, N.H. Also, a Canada goose by Nathan Cobb Jr., flew away for $118,000 (a new record for the carver); and a Canada goose by Enoch Reindahl fetched $153,400, also a record for the carver.


Alphonse Mucha poster, $40,000, Swann Auction Galleries

A four-poster group by Alphonse Mucha titled Times of the Day (1899) sold for $40,000 at a Vintage Posters Auction held Aug. 1 by Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. Also, Sutro Baths (1896), by an unknown designer, gaveled for $23,400; Leonetto Cappiello’s Carnaval / Vinho do Porto (1911) breezed to $18,750; Mucha’s Bieres de la Meuse (1897) went for $17,500; and the 1939 British poster Keep Calm and Carry On, by an unknown designer, rose to $12,500.

Titanic pocket watch, $57,500, Heritage Auctions

A pocket watch recovered from Titanic passenger Sinai Kantor, a Russian immigrant who got his wife on of the liner’s lifeboats before perishing in icy waters of the North Atlantic, sold for $57,500 at an auction held Aug. 25 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. The winning bidder was John Miottel, a collector of timepieces relating to the Titanic. The Swiss-made open-face silver-on-brass watch, 3 inches in diameter and with the original movement, included numerals that were Hebrew letters.

Set of 12 Karges chairs, $10,455, Briggs Auction

A set of 12 Karges Federal-style dining chairs sold for $10,455 at an Estate Antiques, Fine & Decorative Arts Auction held June 8 by Briggs Auction in Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania. Also, a platinum and diamond wedding set sold for $8,850; three Mintons / Louis Solon pate-sur-pate plates hammered for $7,198; an 1822 needlework sampler by Melissa D. Davis of New Jersey fetched $4,248; and an oil on canvas painting by Johannes Rosierse brought $2,124.

Winchester rifle, $3,600, Cordier Auctions

A Winchester American Bald Eagle gold model rifle in the original box, one of about 200 made, sold for $3,600 at a Firearms & Militaria Auction held July 29 by Cordier Auctions & Appraisals. Also, a Winchester model 71 from 1955 rang out at $2,200; a Winchester diamond grade skeet shotgun hit the mark for $1,700; a deactivated Bren MKII light machine gun finished at $1,700; and a Colt single-action Army revolver brought $1,600.

Chinese porcelain plaques, $180,285, Sarasota Estate Auction

Four enamel famille porcelain plaques (one shown) by Wang Yeting (Chinese, 1884-1942) sold for $180,285 at an auction held Aug. 11-12 by Sarasota Estate Auction in Sarasota, Florida. Also, a French “Spiral Convolvulus” paperweight on latticinio ground fetched $15,470; a 1928 Chinese Kweichow Auto Dollar changed hands for $8,925; a silver spice dredger from the Boston silversmith Jacob Hurd brought $4,462; and a Qing dynasty famille rose porcelain vase reached $4,462.

Jane Freilicher painting, $72,500, Christie’s

An oil on canvas painting by Jane Freilicher (American, 1924-2014), titled Flying Point, 47½ inches by 50 inches, sold for $72,500 at an Interiors Auction held Aug. 22 by Christie’s in New York City. Also, an early 20th-century silvered wood and reverse-painted glass overmantel mirror breezed to $27,500. In a separate Decorative Arts & Design Auction held online Aug. 16-23, a late 19th-/early 20th-century Chinese Dayazhai en grisaille-decorated yellow-ground vase went for $35,000.

Yongzheng Doucai bowl, $62,500, Selkirk Auctioneers

A rare Yongzheng Doucai bowl with an elegant painted pattern of pastel lotus medallions sold for $62,500 at an auction held July 21 by Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers in St. Louis. Also, an 1899 Venetian canal scene by Federico Del Campo (1837-1923) went for $10,680; a terra-cotta Egyptian ostracon, 21st Dynasty, mid-10th century B.C., brought $16,200; and a brown and green nephrite jade Qing pouring vessel, late 16th or early 17th century, finished at $15,600.

Julian Onderdonk painting, $19,200, Kaminski Auctions

A diminutive oil on wood painting by Julian Onderdonk titled Grey Morning, 5 inches by 9 inches, sold for $19,200 at an estate auction held Aug. 18-19 by Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Massachusetts. Also, two Russian portraits – Emperor Paul Petrowitz, son of Empress Catherine the Great, and his wife Empress Maria Feodorovna (1759-1828) – each brought $14,400; and a set of eight Regency rosewood and brass dining chairs with beaded brass banding and spirally fluted back splat made $9,000.