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:
Russian icon, Virgin of Kazan $20,910, Crescent City Auction
A Russian icon of the Virgin of Kazan, circa 1908-1917, in a .88 silver and enamel frame marked “K. Faberge,” sold for $20,910 at an Estates Auction held May 13-15 by Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans, La. Also, an early 20th-century Chinese embroidered silk panel depicting a rooster and birds in a landscape rose to $7,380; and an oil painting by Alexander J. Drysdale (Louisiana, 1870-1934), titled Evening in the Louisiana Swamp, signed and dated 1909, went for $7,380. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Van Gogh drawing attribution, $12,000, Woodshed Art Auctions
A brown ink drawing on heavy wove paper attributed to Vincent van Gogh (Dutch, 1853-1890), titled Garden View of the Church at Auvers (1890), signed, sold for $12,000 in an online-only fine art auction held April 26 by Woodshed Art Auctions, in Franklin, Mass. Also, a mixed media on paper by Fernand Leger (French, 1881-1955), titled Composition with Three Women, signed, sold for $10,312; and two drawings attributed to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) each brought $2,500. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Dale Nichols painting, $120,000, Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers
A large-format oil on canvas painting by Dale Nichols (American, 1904-1995), titled Mid-Nation Winter, sold for $120,000 – a new record for a work by the artist – at a Fine Art Auction held May 4 by Shannon’s Fine Art Auctioneers in Milford, Conn. Also, an oil on canvas by the American Modernist Alice Mattern (1909-1945), titled Allegro, realized $55,200 (also a record for the artist); and an oil painting by the French artist Andre Brasilier (b. 1920) fetched $78,000. Prices include a 21 percent buyer’s premium.
Sam Francis acrylic on canvas, $603,250, Palm Beach Modern
An acrylic on canvas painting by American artist Sam Francis (1923-1994), titled Quiet Fruitfulness (1987), 60 1/2 inches by 80 1/2 inches, sold for $603,250 at a Modern Art, Design & Luxury Goods Auction held May 6 by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Fla. Also, an oil on canvas by Sam Gilliam (African-American, b. 1933), titled Gild and Tropic (1976), made $69,850; and a painting by Angel Botello (Spanish/Puerto Rican, 1913-1986), titled Girls Picking Fruit, hit $50,800. Prices include a 27 percent buyer’s premium.
Elvis Presley’s revolver, $195,500, Rock Island Auction Co.
Elvis Presley’s engraved, inlaid and carved Smith & Wesson Model 19-2 double-action revolver, which he gifted to then-Vice President Spiro Agnew, sold for $195,500 at a Premiere Firearms Auction held May 5-7 by Rock Island Auction Co. in Rock Island, Ill. Also, Presley’s Colt Python double-action revolver, which he gifted to employee Richard Grob, brought $172,500; and a Winchester Model 1866 factory exhibition lever-action rifle hit $598,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
German Marklin battleship, $150,000, Bertoia Auctions
A Marklin German toy battleship HMS Edward VII, 20 1/2 inches long, well preserved and complete, sold for $150,000 at a Spring Signature Auction held March 25 by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, N.J. Also, an early German loofah sleigh with Santa driver and two nodding reindeer sped away for $60,000; a Tippco Mickey & Minnie German-made motorcycle, circa 1932, achieved $51,000; and a Steiff clown bear with original hat and ruff, 19 inches tall, made $39,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Chinese School painting, $168,750, Freeman’s
A 16th- or 17th-century Chinese School ink and color on silk painting, depicting Vairocana seated on a lotus throne, sold for $168,750 at auctions held April 25 and 26 by Freeman’s in Philadelphia. Also, a small Chinese Yongzhang six-character mark celadon-glazed double bottle vase reached $106,250; a painting by the Jamaican artist Samuel Felsted (1743-1802) of a house and land made $100,000; and a Chippendale carved walnut tall-case clock by David Rittenhouse hit $68,750. Prices include a 25 percent buyer’s premium.
Jackie Robinson game-used bat, $255,000, Goldin Auctions
A Louisville Slugger baseball bat used by Hall of Fame player Jackie Robinson in the 1955 World Series sold for $255,000 at the 70th anniversary Jackie Robinson Auction held April 29-30 by Goldin Auctions, based in Runnemede, N.J. Also, Robinson’s game-worn hat from 1955-1956 was a hit for $65,025; Dr. Martin Luther King’s iconic 1965 “We Shall Overcome” speech changed hands for $382,500; and Barack Obama’s acceptance speech from the 2008 Democratic National Convention gaveled for $153,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Navajo Ute-style chief’s blanket, $132,000, John Moran Auctioneers
A Navajo Ute-style First Phase chief’s wearing blanket sold for $132,000 at a three-session auction held April 25 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif. Also, an abstracted dragon in lacquer on panel by the Japanese artist Shiryu Morita (1912-1999) went for $84,000; a Pablo Picasso for Madoura art pottery pitcher, titled Femme de Barbu, topped out at $25,000; and a sculpture by Richard MacDonald (California, b. 1946), titled Trumpeter Draped, rose to $9,600. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Pair of hollow carved pintails, $201,250, Guyette & Deeter Inc.
A pair of hollow carved pintails by Ivar Fernlund (Ontario, Canada) sold for $201,250 (a new world auction record for the carver) at the 32nd annual Spring Decoy Auction, held April 26-28 by Guyette & Deeter Inc., which is based in St. Michaels, Md. The auction was held in St. Charles, Ill., in conjunction with the North American Vintage Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show. Also, a pair of shovelers by John R. Wells realized $46,000; and a pair of mallards, circa 1890s, by the Mason Decoy Factory made $46,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
1700s fireman’s parade hat, $18,000, Kaminski Auctions
An 18th century fireman’s ceremonial parade hat from the Franklin Fire Company of Germantown, Pa., made of pressed resin felt and with a hand-painted image of Ben Franklin, sold for $18,000 at a Fine & Decorative Art Auction held April 30th by Kaminski Auctions in Beverly, Mass. Also, an oil on canvas landscape view of the Roman ruins by Giovanni Paolo (Italian, 1691-1765) earned $12,000; and a pair of Persian silver vases weighing 224 troy ounces gaveled for $9,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer’s premium.
Belgian percussion revolver, $36,425, Cowan’s Auctions
A Belgian-made Brevet Model 1859 prototype Lemat percussion revolver sold for $36,425 at an Historic Firearms & Early Militaria Auction held May 3-4 by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, Ohio. Also, a marked version of the standard Model 1859 Lemat brought $25,850; an original Tucker, Sherrod flask gaveled for $25,850; a French & Indian War engraved powder horn dated 1758 made $17,625; and a pair of French flintlock pocket pistols by Nicholas Boutet hit $17,625. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Rolex ‘Bao Dai’ watch, $5 million, Phillips
The Rolex Reference 6062 “Bao Dai” wristwatch, named for a previous owner, Bao Dai, the last emperor of Vietnam, sold for $5,060,000 at an auction held May 13 by Phillips, in conjunction with Bacs & Russo, in Geneva, Switzerland. It was the most ever paid for a Rolex watch at auction. This Rolex triple calendar watch, with moon phase in yellow gold, is one of only three black dial models known to exist, with diamond markers at the even hours. The price includes the buyer’s premium.
1967 GI Nurse in box, $4,200, Cordier Auctions
A 1967 GI Nurse, part of the GI Joe series of action figures, in the original box, sold for $4,200 at a GI Joe Auction held April 23 by Cordier Auctions in Harrisburg, Pa. Also, a second nurse without the original box fetched $1,300; a 1969 GI Joe Aquanaut figure in the original box brought $1,400; a 1966 GI Joe Action Soldier Green Beret went for $1,200; and a 1964 GI Joe Black Action Soldier, one of the first toys marketed specifically to African-American children, made $850. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
‘Venus Blue’ by Yves Klein, $137,500, Rago Arts & Auction
A sculpture by Yves Klein titled Venus Blue sold for $137,500 at Fine Art Auctions held May 6 by Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J. Also, Fernando Botero’s Femme au Serpent brought $125,000; Karel Appel’s Quatre Tete, $112,500; Serge Poliakoff’s untitled painting, $81,250; Gravitation by Edouardo Chillida, $75,000; Olivier Debre’s Nature Morte, $50,000; and an untitled portrait by Fernand Toussaint, $35,000. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
1793 U.S. 1-cent wreath coin, $293,750, Legend Rare Coins
A 1793 U.S. 1-cent wreath coin with lettered edge, graded PCGS MS64, sold for $293,750 at a Regency Auction held May 18 by Legend Rare Coins, based in Lincroft, N.J. Also, a 1908 $10 “Motto. Matte” issue, PCGS PR67, went for a record $146,875. Prices include a 17.5 percent buyer’s premium.
Winchester 1873 rifle, $8,125, Pook & Pook Inc.
A Winchester 1873 3rd model rifle in rare, seemingly unfired condition, sold for $8,125 at Firearms and Native American Auctions held May 20 and 22, respectively, by Pook & Pook Inc. in Downingtown, Pa. Also, two Zuni inlaid bolo ties fetched $1,437; an Eduardo Garcia fancy silver-inlayed blue steel bit and spurs set realized $1,025; and a Baretta 687 EELL Diamond Pigeon shotgun hit $5,612. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Untitled Basquiat painting, $110.5 million, Sotheby’s
An untitled oil on canvas painting from 1982 by Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988) sold for $110.5 million at a Contemporary Art Auction held May 18th by Sotheby’s in New York City. It was a record for any American artist at auction and a record for a work of art created post-1980. Also, Roy Lichtenstein’s larger-than-life Nude Sunbathing realized $24 million; Gerhard Richter’s Abstraktes Bild brought $15.4 million; and Robert Rauschenberg’s Rigger made $12.3 million. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
‘Fritz the Cat’ comic cover art, $717,000, Heritage Auctions
Robert Crumb’s 1969 Fritz the Cat comic cover art sold for $717,000 at a Comics & Comic Art Auction held May 18 by Heritage Auctions in New York City. It was the most ever paid at auction for a piece of American comic art. Also, Frank Frazetta’s In Pharaoh’s Tomb Battlestar Galactica painting original art (1978) ended at $191,200; and Steve Ditko’s original art for a page from Amazing Spider-Man #23, with Spidey and Green Goblin, rose to $104,562. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
Pair of whale oil lamps, $26,910, Jeffrey S. Evans
A pair of free-blown and pressed whale oil lamps, made around 1830 by the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., sold for $26,910 at a sale of 18th- and 19th-century glass and lighting held May 20 by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in Mt. Crawford, Va. Also, a pair of pressed Three-Brintie Block fluid stand lamps, made circa 1850, also by Boston & Sandwich, rose to $10,530; and a pressed hen on nest covered dish, made circa 1860, also by Boston & Sandwich, gaveled for $9,945. Prices include the buyer’s premium.
By KEN HALL