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):
Nike Moon Shoes, $437,500, Sotheby’s
A pair of Nike Moon Shoes, designed by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman for runners at the 1972 Olympic trials, sold for $437,500 at an auction held July 23 by Sotheby’s in New York City. It was a new world record for a pair of sneakers. The previous record of $190,373 was set in 2017, when a pair of Converse sneakers worn by Michael Jordan in the 1984 Olympic basketball finals gaveled for $190,373.
Gold Rolex wristwatch, $11,250, Crescent City Auction Gallery
A men’s 18K yellow gold Rolex Oyster day-date wristwatch sold for $11,250 at an auction held July 19-21 by Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans. Also, a 19th century French provincial carved oak Gothic sideboard hammered for $5,312; an oil on Masonite folk art painting by Frank Hunter titled Portrait of Clementine Hunter realized $5,312; and a 19th century Gothic Revival carved mahogany armchair made $2,250.
Chinese Qing dynasty vase, $50,000, Bruneau & Co.
A Chinese Qing dynasty robin’s egg blue vase, 12¾ inches tall, sold for $50,000 at an Antiques, Collectibles & Fine Art Auction held July 13 by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers in Cranston, R.I. Also, a circa 1939 Coca-Cola salesman’s sample ice chest cooler in the original paint fetched $2,250; an Expressionist painting by Hunt Slonem (American, b. 1951), titled White Sulphur, finished at $10,000; and a hand-drawn 1808 map of the Georgia territories by Daniel Sturges made $5,938.
Boba Fett action figure, $112,926, Hake’s Auctions
A rocket-firing, special prototype Boba Fett action figure sold for $112,926 at an auction held July 11 by Hake’s Auctions in York, Pa. It was a new world auction record for a Star Wars toy. The figure, which was intended to be part of Kenner’s licensed toy line for The Empire Strikes Back, was displayed at the 1979 Toy Fair in New York City but never made it into mass production. It was pulled after being deemed a possible safety hazard for children, thus making it rare.
Columbia toy ferry boat, $40,800, Bertoia Auctions
A spectacular Althof Bergmann stenciled tin Columbia toy ferry boat sold for $40,800 at an annual Spring Toy Sale held May 23-24 by Bertoia Auctions in Vineland, N.J. Also, a Kyser & Rex Bowling Alley cast-iron mechanical bank, one of only a few examples known, hammered for $19,200; a near-mint Voltamp 2220 Pennsylvania locomotive and tender, 2-inch gauge, roared off for $12,000; and an American National convertible pedal car, 52 inches long, sped away for $9,600.
Lunar flown gold medal, $2 million, Heritage Auctions
Neil Armstrong’s personally owned gold Robbins Medal, flown to the moon with him on his historic Apollo 11 landing in 1969, sold for $2.055 million at a Rare Space Memorabilia Auction held July 16 by Heritage Auctions in Dallas. Also, Armstrong’s childhood teddy bear rose to $3,500. Other items Armstrong carried with him to the moon included a 1¼-inch swath of muslin cloth from the Wright Brother’s 1903 plane ($143,750) and a section of the same flyer’s propeller ($150,000).
Suit of fluted armor, $262,500, Doyle
A rare 16th century suit of fluted armor in the Maximilian style sold for $262,500 at an auction of the estate of the late fashion designer Oleg Cassini held June 27 by Doyle in New York City. Also, a signed letter from Jacqueline Kennedy dated Dec. 13, 1960, hammered for $16,250; a group of four signed letters from Grace Kelly, with whom Mr. Cassini was briefly engaged, realized $12,500; and a circa 1720 George I giltwood and gilt-gesso pier table gaveled for $75,000.
Clown magician automaton, $13,200, Potter & Potter
A circa 1910 clown magician musical automaton made in Paris by Leopold Lambert sold for $13,200 at a magic auction held June 29th by Potter & Potter Auctions in Chicago. Also, Edgar Bergen’s circa 1939 Flowering Rose Bush apparatus, made by Petrie and Lewis (New Haven, Conn.) brought $8,400; Harry Kellar’s circa 1900 Coffee and Milk Trick, with a letter of provenance, fetched $5,280; and Thayer and Owen’s Golly Wobble magic prop sold for $8,400.
Luis Lopez painting, $68,750, John Moran
A mixed media painting in contrasting tones of black, gray and white by Luis Feito Lopez (Spanish, b. 1929), done in 1959 and titled No. 117, sold for $68,750 at a Studio Fine Art Auction held June 23 by John Moran Auctioneers in Monrovia, Calif. Also, a 1960 painting by Antonio Saura (Spanish, 1930-1998), titled Retrato #112, realized $40,625; and a painting done in 1909 by Lockwood de Forest (California, 1850-1932), titled Full Moon Cove at Santa Barbara, fetched $6,250.
Inlaid walnut cellaret, $87,750, Jeffrey S. Evans
A North Carolina inlaid walnut cellaret attributed to Bertie County cabinetmaker Micajah Wilkes, who was connected with the “WH” cabinet shop, sold for $87,750 at an Americana & Fine Antiques Auction held June 21-22 by Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates in Mount Crawford, Va. Also, a Chickasaw beaded powder horn strap changed hands for $17,550; a 1792 drawn plan of Washington, D.C., realized $12,8790; and a Staffordshire Whieldon-Type owl figure hammered for $7,020.
Joel Whitney photo album, $131,250, Cowan’s Auctions
A photograph album from Joel Whitney (1822-1886), Minnesota’s pioneer photographer, containing six photos of Sioux involved in the 1862 Minnesota Uprising, sold for $131,250 at an American History: Premier Auction held June 21st by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati. Also, a rare photograph of fugitive slaves posed with abolitionists Levi Coffin and Jonathan Cable rose to $81,250; and a William Henry Harrison 1840 Great Harrison BBQ folk art campaign banner brought $22,500.
Neil Armstrong photo, $52,247, RR Auction
A signed photo of astronaut Neil Armstrong taking his “giant leap for mankind” sold for $52,247 in an online auction that began June 13 and ended June 20 by RR Auction, based in Boston. Also, an Apollo 1 crew signed photo realized $31,251; Armstrong’s signed flight plan made $21,446; Charles Duke’s Apollo 16 flown Robbins Medal hit $28,016; and an Apollo 11 full-length photo of Buzz Aldrin standing on the moon, signed by three Apollo 11 astronauts, rose to $21,587.
Courvoisier cognac set, $6,875, Market Auctions
An eight Courvoisier Erte cognac 1-8 complete set sold for $6,875 at an Art, Antique & Jewelry Sale held June 5 by Market Auctions in Lake Worth, Fla. Also, a Lowell Nesbit rose painting from 1975 changes hands for $2,500; a set of sterling Tiffany & Co. salt and pepper shakers finished at $2,500; a pair of decorative floor lamps attributed to Parzinger illuminated the room for $1,562; and an oil on canvas shoreline scene by Gaston Sebire (French, 1920-2001) knocked down for $1,125.
Willem de Kooning art, $10.3 million, Phillips
Willem de Kooning’s Untitled XVI from 1976 sold for $10.3 million at a sale of 20th Century Contemporary Art held May 16 by Phillips in New York City. Also, a Self-Portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1983) from To Repel Ghosts: Important Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat realized $9.5 million; Mark Bradford’s Helter Skelter II (2007) finished at $8.7 million; Roy Lichtenstein’s Horse and Rider (1976) brought $5.95 million; and KAWS’ The Walk Home (2012) hit $5.95 million.
Cy Young baseball card, $104,765, Grey Flannel
An 1891 cabinet baseball card with a portrait of pitching legend Cy Young, taken by Cleveland photographer John H. Ryder, one of only two known to exist, sold for $104,765 at an auction held July 17th by Grey Flannel Auctions in Scottsdale, Ariz. Also, a 1969 Johnny Unitas Baltimore Colts game-used jersey, formerly on display at Unitas’ Golden Arm Restaurant, went for $48,871; and a 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain basketball card #8, PSA graded Mint 9, gaveled for $44,427.
1938-S U.S. Mercury dime, $364,250, Legend Rare Coin
A monster toned 1938-S U.S. Mercury dime, graded PCGS MS68+ FB CAC, sold for $364,250 at the 33rd Regency Auction held June 27 by Legend Rare Coin Auctions (based in Lincroft, N.J.) in Las Vegas, Nev. Also, a 1931-S U.S. Mercury dime, graded PCGS MS67+ FBCAC, changed hands for $270,250; a 1904 U.S. $20 gold coin graded PCGS MS67 realized $73,437; and a 1949-D U.S. quarter graded PCGS MS68 CAC went to a determined bidder for $43,475.
Three Stooges movie poster, $37,500, Nate D. Sanders
A movie poster for the Three Stooges film Uncivil Warriors sold for $37,500 at a sale of items from Moe Howard’s personal collection held June 28 by Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles. Also, Howard’s 1955 passport went for $25,124, while his 1960 passport fetched $20,788 and the same figure was realized for his passport issued on May 11, 1939. Also, a Three Stooges signed contract with Columbia was the top lot of the auction when it changed hands for $53,926.
Henry lever action rifle, $25,875, Rock Island Auction Co.
A rare U.S. contract Henry lever action rifle documented to the 97th Indiana Infantry Regiment sold for $25,875 at a Regional Firearms Auction held June 20-23 by Rock Island Auction Co. in Rock Island, Ill. Also, a factory engraved Colt single action Army revolver with factory letter brought $20,700; a postwar engraved World War II Krieghoff side frame inscribed P.08 Luger pistol hit the mark for $19,550; and a U.S. Military M2-2 flamethrower brought $7,475.
Patinated copper tortoise, $375,075, Bonhams
A patinated copper tortoise by Francois-Xavier Lalanne (French, 1927-2008), titled Tortue Topiaire (1987), sold for $375,075 at a Modern Decorative Art & Design Auction held June 7 by Bonhams in New York City. Also, a one-of-a-kind Unique Industry / Perished Dressoir by Studio Job, founded in 1998, realized $187,575, a world auction record for the artist; a 1979 brass fountain by Philippe Hiquily hit $125,075; and a circa 1950 sculpture by Alexandre Noll made $81,325.
‘Magic: The Gathering cards,’ $608,215, Weiss Auctions
Three complete sets of significant, early Magic: The Gathering cards from 1993 – the complete Alpha, Beta and “Arabian Knights” sets, with many BGS-graded examples in each – sold for a combined $608,215 at an auction held June 26 by Weiss Auctions in Lynbrook, N.Y. The Alpha set brought $423,750; the Beta set realized $175,150; and the “Arabian Nights” set garnered $9,315. Also, a cotton U.S. Centennial flag, with stars arranged to read “1776 1876” made $8,190.
1933 Charles Loupot poster, $72,000, Poster Auctions International
A 1933 poster by Charles Loupot titled Nicolas, showing Nectar, the wine deliveryman for the Nicolas firm sold for $72,000 at Rare Posters Auction #78 held June 23 by Poster Auctions International in New York City. Also, Edward Penfield’s Orient Cycles, circa 1895, made $16,800; Marcello Dudovich’s Cordial Campari, 1914, rose to $21,600; Alphonse Mucha’s La Dame aux Camelias, 1896, brought $228,800; and a poster by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec hit $31,200.