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 report:
Victorian giraffe piano, $26,450, Stevens Auction
A late Victorian giraffe piano in art case harp form, mahogany with gold leaf, signed Frank Teupe, 8 feet 9 inches tall, one of only seven made, sold for $26,450 at an auction held April 9 by Stevens Auction Co. in Aberdeen, Miss. Also, a heavily carved full tester bed with canopy topped $10,350; a 1936 Ford sedan with all original interior, recent paint job and new tires sped off for $15,900; and a rosewood rococo parlor cabinet attributed to J. & J.W. Meeks, circa 1850, went for $2,185. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Halloween Girl doorstop, $29,500, Bertoia Auctions
A Littco Halloween Girl cast-iron doorstop sold for $29,500 at a toys auction held March 12 by Bertoia Auction in Vineland, N.J. Also, a Carlisle & Finch Freight Shed, the only known reported example, rose to $23,600; a Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel Tugboat, circa 1928, chugged off for $21,240; a Hubley cast-iron Giraffe Van circus wagon hammered for $16,520; a Hubley cast-iron Packard Straight 8 Sedan topped out at $15,340; and a J. & E. Stevens cast-iron Boy Scout Camp mechanical bank fetched $12,980. Prices are inclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Franz Bischoff painting, $180,000, John Moran
A large-scale composition by the Pasadena, Calif., artist Franz Bischoff (1864-1929), titled Sand Dunes and Pines, Monterey Coast, Calif., sold for $180,000 at a California and American fine art auction held March 22 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif. Also, Cheese Mold Standard with Olive by Los Angeles artist Edward Ruscha (b. 1937) realized $66,000; and Yellow Harbor, Deep by Paul Resika (New York , b. 1928) went for $33,000, a new auction record for the artist. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Miniature swan lamp, $6,325, Jeffrey S. Evans
A rare swan figural miniature lamp with original shade, circa 1875, sold for $6,325 at an auction held March 12 by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in Mount Crawford, Va. Also, one of only three known bisque elf figural miniature lamps sold for $4,600; a fine latticinio font stand lamp with period burner and chimney went for $1,725; a cased glass student lamp shade decorated in the manner of Thomas Webb brought $1,380; and a brass skater’s lantern with rare amethyst globe rose to $633. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Marvel’s ‘Star Wars No. 1,’ $7,200, PBA Galleries
A very fine copy of Marvel’s Star Wars No. 1 comic book from 1977, the rare 35-cent variant, sold for $7,200 at an auction of books and comic books held March 24 by PBA Galleries in San Francisco, Calif. Also, a pristine copy of the first printing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles No. 1 brought $3,900; a copy of Dick Lupoff’s history of comics, All in Color for a Dime, signed by dozens of the comic industry’s legendary artists, hammered for $1,440; a nice copy of Giant Size X-Men No. 1 topped out at $1,080; and copies of Flash No. 101 and Flash No. 104 sold as one lot for $2,700. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Lois Marilou Jones still life, $3,600, Selkirk Auctioneers
An acrylic still life painting of a vase of flowers by Lois Marilou Jones, who was born in 1905 and is recognized as an icon of the Harlem Renaissance, sold for $3,600 at an auction held March 12 by Selkirk Auctioneers in St. Louis. Also, a bronze sculpture of a female figure seeming to levitate in a euphoric pose, 37½ inches tall, by French artist Maurice Joseph Constant, rose to $1,560; and a carved, full-body Baltic figure of Guan Yin, Goddess of Mercy, 13 inches tall, fetched $1,188. Prices are inclusive of the buyer’s premium.
Tompkins Matteson work, $149,000, Doyle New York
A painting by Tompkins Harrison Matteson (1813-1884), titled The Spirit of ’76, depicting a heroic young man taking leave of his family to volunteer for military service during the Revolutionary War, sold for $149,000 at an auction held April 6 by Doyle New York in New York City. Also, a New England Queen Anne figured maple high chest went for $13,750; and a group of Chinese export porcelain pieces in the Tobacco Leaf pattern changed hands for $18,750. Prices include a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Jason Martin oil painting, $56,640, Brunk Auctions
An oil on aluminum painting by British artist Jason Martin, titled Vulgaris, sold for $56,640 at an auction held April 7 by Brunk Auctions in Asheville, N.C. Also, an oil painting by German-born artist Wolf Kahn, titled Maple Silhouette, brought $33,040; a large-scale 2011 oil by Pat Steir gaveled for $29,500; Parabolic Verde by Fred Eversley of Los Angeles realized $20,060; Imbrogliare by studio glass master Toots Zynsky finished at $18,880; and an untitled ceramic work by Japanese artist Jun Kaneko hit $17,700. Prices include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.
Chinese porcelain vase, $23,600, Michaan’s Auctions
A Chinese conjoined porcelain vase, believed to be from the Qianlong period and standing just 5 inches tall, sold for $23,600 at an estates auction held April 9 by Michaan’s Auctions in Alameda, Calif. Also, a pair of KPM Art Nouveau porcelain bud vases went to a German buyer for $6,490; a collection of American glassware changed hands for $2,950; a Knoll wire furniture brought $4,425; and an H. Tittensor Royal Doulton spook figure, dated to 1951, went for $2,124. Prices include a 17 percent buyer’s premium.
French flintlock pistols, $1.8 million, Christie’s
A pair of cased French silver-mounted rifled flintlock pistols, by Nicolas-Noel Boutet of Versailles, with the case dated 1825, sold for $1.8 million at an auction held April 13 as part of Classic Week at Christie’s in New York. Also, an oil on canvas portrait by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (France/Italy, 1780-1867) of the Duke of Orleans sold for $1.721 million; and a mid-17th century bronze group of Archduke Siegmund Franz of Austria (1630-1665), attributed to Caspar Gras (1585-1674), rose to $185,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
J.K. Rowling chair, $394,000, Heritage
The chair used by author J.K. Rowling to write the first two Harry Potter books – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – sold for $394,000 at an auction held April 6 in New York City by Dallas-based Heritage Auctions. The winning bidder wished to remain anonymous. Rowling used gold, rose and green paints to transform the chair into a piece of literary memorabilia. It previously sold at a benefit auction in 2002 for $21,000. The $394,000 price includes the buyer’s premium.
Harlem Renaissance map, $100,000, Swann Galleries
A pen and brush map by the illustrator E. Simms Campbell, titled A Night-Club Map of Harlem (1932), featuring images of Harlem Renaissance hot spots and popular figures like Cab Calloway and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, sold for $100,000 at a sale titled “Printed & Manuscript African Americana” held March 31 by Swann Galleries in New York. Also, a 1796 almanac by Benjamin Banneker (Baltimore, 1795) brought $47,500; and a letter written and signed by abolitionist Frederick Douglass made $45,000. Prices include a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Copy, Beethoven opera ‘Fidelio,’ $90,000, Butterscotch Auction
A first edition copy of Ludwig Von Beethoven’s only opera – Fidelio – from the estate of the conductor Arturo Toscanini, inscribed in pencil by Beethoven and with a dedication, sold for $90,000 at an auction held March 15 by Butterscotch Auction in Bedford, N.Y. Also, a 3.3-carat marquis diamond engagement ring sold for $38,400; a lot of three contemporary Chinese scroll paintings earned $36,000; and a lovely 18th century Chinese porcelain “Immortals” dish topped out at $11,400. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Bouguereau oil painting, $240,000, Stefek’s Auctions
A signed oil-on-canvas work by Willliam Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905), titled L’invocation a la Vierge (Prayer to the Virgin), sold for $240,000 at an auction held March 24 by Stefek’s Auction in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. Also, a print by Ronare Bearden, titled Quilting Time, changed hands for $3,840; a print by Paul Jenkins went for $6,600; a print by James Rosenquist found a new owner for $1,800; and a print by Sam Francis crossed the finish line at $2,160. Prices include a 23 percent buyer’s premium.
Daingerfield painting, $39,325, Clars Auction
A newly discovered painting by Elliot Daingerfield (American, 1859-1932), recently found concealed inside a mirror at Clars Auction Gallery, sold for $39,325 at Clars’ Auction on April 17 in Oakland, Calif. The price was well beyond the estimate of $6,000-$9,000. The painting was a landscape, depicting Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Hidden behind a mirror for more than 40 years, it was in pristine condition. The price includes a 21 percent buyer’s premium.
Picasso linoleum cut, $694,000, Sotheby’s
A linoleum cut printed in colors from 1958 by Pablo Picasso, titled Portrait de jeune fille (Portrait of a young girl), sold for $694,000 – a record for the image at auction – at a “Prints & Multiples Auction” held April 21 by Sotheby’s in New York. Also, Jean-Michel Basqiat’s Untitled: Four Prints went for $298,000; Marcel Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. Shaved (Dchwarz 615) achieved $100,000 (also a record for the image at auction); and Moonwalk by Andy Warhol finished at $262,000, another auction record. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Washington article, $173,000, Bonhams
A newspaper printing of a journal that then 23-year-old George Washington kept and which was published in the March 1754 issue of The Maryland Gazette sold for $173,000 at an auction held April 11 by Bonhams in New York. In the article, Washington, then a Virginia land surveyor, described how he tried – and failed – to get the French to withdraw from the Ohio River Valley. Also, an inscribed King James pocket Bible that was carried into the Battle of Bunker Hill by a Massachusetts soldier sold for $161,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
1907 Peking banknote rarity, $30,000, Archives International
A high-grade Deutsch-Asiatische Bank 1907 Peking issue banknote rarity sold for a record $30,000 at an auction held April 11-13 by Archives International Auctions in Fort Lee, N.J. Also, a circa 1918-1920 Torgsin Soviet Trading Fleet 3 Rubles scrip note realized $11,400; the same was paid for a 100,000 Cash 1858 Imperial Ch’ing Dynasty Chinese banknote; a Peiyang Tientsin Bank 3 Taels 1910 issue Chinese foreign banknote made $8,075; and a Society of Artisans Club, 1919 Harbin issue hit $6,300. Prices include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.