WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – With a history of smash results for celebrity and entertainment memorabilia under its belt – including 100% sell-through rates from its sales of Studio 54, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Karl Lagerfeld archives – Palm Beach Modern Auctions’ spinoff of its pop culture division has seemed inevitable to industry observers. That time has now arrived. The West Palm Beach auction house is releasing its satellite entertainment division from the mothership with the launch of Urban Culture Auctions (UCA). Consignments are currently being accepted for a debut auction this spring, with absentee and Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers.
Focusing on the cool and quirky items today’s collectors want, UCA casts a wide net across the many categories that fall under the general heading of “fun,” said president and co-owner Wade Terwilliger. “People have a fascination with headline-makers, entertainers, the unusual and the provocative. At Palm Beach Modern Auctions we’ve seen that trend growing for years. The time was right for us set the wheels in motion for a new boutique auction house catering to amusement and entertainment, everything from movie props to 1950s robots to collectible sneakers.”
The name “Urban Culture Auctions” refers to the fact that so many trends and fresh ideas embraced by society can be directly traced to city life, from street fashion to skateboarding. “If you walk around the streets or markets in New York, LA, London or, really, any city with a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, you’ll see exactly what has inspired Urban Culture Auctions,” said Terwilliger.
While still serving as the pop culture division of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, the team that now powers UCA was responsible for such consignments as a Rolling Stones wheeled roadie case ($12,065), Farrah Fawcett’s US passport ($11,520), a 1956 Ford Thunderbird ($45,000), and an Andy Warhol Polaroid snapshot ($12,300). Steve Rubell’s address book from the above-mentioned Studio 54 auction – filled with celebrities’ personal details – was bid to $8,000. Art conquests included a street art classic, an original Barry McGee painting on drop-cloth canvas, which went to an Australian buyer for $52,800; and a Keith Haring artist’s proof lithograph, a big winner at $50,800.
“The appetite for pop culture is insatiable. We have a large and very active following of buyers worldwide for all types of modern and contemporary art and collectibles. There aren’t any boundaries to what might turn up in one of our sales. We take a completely eclectic approach. Comic books, rescued advertising signs, outer space debris, Hollywood memorabilia – it all fits,” Terwilliger said. UCA’s auctions will be live gallery events, beautifully catered for guests’ enjoyment and with free valet parking. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet.
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