Institutions buoy Cowan’s sale of African Americana

Detail from an archive of George H. Hoyt’s work as an attorney for abolitionist John Brown. Price Realized: $43,750. Cowan’s image

CINCINNATI – The Feb. 18 African Americana auction at Cowan’s, a Hindman company, realized over $250,000 with institutional and international bidders showing strong interest in a range of historically significant lots. A number of influential figures including Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Marcus Garvey, Madam C.J. Walker, Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver were represented in the first dedicated various owner auction for the category. The sale included books, manuscript archives, early photography, posters and more. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
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David Hockney co-authors uplifting book during spring lockdown

Image courtesy of Thames & Hudson

LONDON – On turning eighty, David Hockney sought out rustic tranquility for the first time: a place to watch the sunset and the change of the seasons, a place to live a life of simple pleasures, undisturbed and undistracted; a place to keep the madness of the world at bay. So, when COVID-19 and lockdown struck, it made little difference to life at La Grande Cour, the centuries-old Normandy farmhouse where Hockney set up a studio a year earlier, in time to paint the arrival of spring. In fact, he relished the enforced isolation as an opportunity for even greater devotion to his art.

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WWI museum’s new exhibition asks ‘Why Keep That?’

Poster of African American stevedores unloading ships in France during World War I [2011.65.1]. Image courtesy of the National WWI Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, MO. – “Why Keep That?,” the latest special exhibition at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, follows the journey of a collection item from the moment it is donated to the museum, to the decision-making and archival process of our collections staff. To help illustrate, archival staff track the processing and digitization of a collection of 16 objects and share behind-the-scenes information about obtaining the artifacts, processing the items and storing and protecting them.

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Carly Fiorina elected chair of Colonial Williamsburg board of trustees

Carly Fiorina speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation board of trustees has elected Carly Fiorina chair of the board, on which she has served since 2017. She succeeds Thurston R. Moore, who has led the board since 2018. In her new role, Fiorina will leverage her business expertise and innate ability to help organizations reach their highest potential to help the foundation reach new audiences and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

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Andrew Jones staging sales to beautify the home Dec. 6 & 8

Impressive pair of late 19th century Italian Rococo style giltwood mirrors. Estimate: $10,000-$15,000. Andrew Jones Auctions image

LOS ANGELES – Andrew Jones Auctions has two major events planned for December – just in time for the holidays. A Design for the Home and Garden auction will be held on Sunday, Dec. 6, followed by a Home for the Holidays Sale just two days later, on Tuesday, Dec. 8. Both auctions will be online-only affairs, starting at 11 a.m. Pacific time / 2 p.m. Eastern. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers. Read more

1890s-1940s music machines dominate at Miller & Miller, Sept. 19

Early 1900s Seeburg Style “G” orchestrion, a coin-op mechanical masterpiece, 66 inches tall by 79 inches wide, with mosaic leaded art glass doors, comes with13 “G” rolls (CA$24,780).

NEW HAMBURG, Ontario, Canada – An early 20th-century Seeburg “G” style Orchestrion coin-op machine sold for $24,780, a 27-inch Orchestral Regina upright music box from 1898 finished at $21,240, and an 1892 Swiss George Baker & Company cylinder music box fetched $10,030 in an online auction held September 19 by Miller & Miller Auctions, Ltd. Absentee and online bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers. All prices quoted in this report are in Canadian dollars and include an 18 percent buyer’s premium.

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Boxed Machine Man Robot, mechanical banks lead Morphy’s Sept. 23-24 Toy Auction

Very rare Masudaya (Japan) Machine Man robot, lithographed tin, battery operated. VG-NM condition with very seldom-seen original pictorial box. Comes from original owner who received it as a child. Estimate $60,000-$90,000

DENVER, Pa. – One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting antique toys is attending an auction, discovering that elusive piece you’ve been chasing for years, then bidding on it and experiencing the thrill of taking it home. Morphy’s is a place where many great toy discoveries have been made, and more are on the horizon Sept. 23-24 when the company presents an outstanding lineup of rare and coveted toys and banks from long-held collections. The auction will be held at Morphy’s 45,000-square-foot gallery, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.

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Jeffrey S. Evans sale celebrates Americana Aug. 27-29

Vintage National Bohemian lighted exit sign, from a large selection of advertising. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates image

MOUNT CRAWFORD, Va. – Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates’ Summer Americana Auction contains a true diversity of material and will include everything from rare antiquarian books and vintage advertising to country furniture and figural candy containers. The large auction will take place over three days: Aug. 27-29. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

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World Wildlife Day: the race to save wild animals from traffickers

NEW YORK – Today is World Wildlife Day, which this year is themed “Sustaining all life on Earth.” The message encompasses all wild animal and plant species as a component of biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of people, especially those who live closest to the nature. It also underscores the importance of sustainable use of natural resources in support of the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including Goal 14 (Life Below Water), Goal 15 (Life on Land), Goal 1 (No Poverty) and Goal 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).

Wildlife Trafficking Crisis and World Wildlife Day

Wildlife trafficking is contributing to the extensive decline of biodiversity worldwide, threatening endangered species with extinction, and leading to the substantial loss of income for populations that depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. One World Wildlife Fund (WWF) study shows that African elephant poaching results in about US$25 million in lost tourism revenue.

An African lion at Okinjima AfriCat Foundation’s sanctuary for injured or orphaned lions in Namibia. It is estimated that only 20,000 African lions have survived after decades of rampant poaching and trafficking. Photo by Kevin Pluck, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

Although the loss of African wildlife garners the most attention, wildlife traffickers are decimating important wildlife populations around the world. Endangered species are being poached in Latin America, the Caribbean, South America, Asia, and the U.S. And once the products are smuggled out of the home country, they enter an industrial-scale illegal trade that spans the globe. Wildlife experts have confirmed that if we don’t act quickly, trafficking will wipe out many endangered species in our lifetime. Another WWF report reveals that we have already lost 60% of wildlife in the past four decades; globally, nature is an economic driver. WWF’s report estimates that “nature provides services worth around US$125 trillion a year”.

Wildlife Trafficking is a Global Problem

Wildlife trafficking is an international crisis, with an unprecedented increase in illegal wildlife trade throughout the world in the past 30 years. An unprecedented global demand for exotic wildlife and wildlife products has triggered an industrial-scale killing spree of endangered species animals on land and sea. Wildlife trafficking, which depends on the killing of hundreds of thousands of animals, is a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry. Money from the illegal wildlife trade has been linked to terrorist organizations, drug lords, gangs, and corrupt governments—all at the expense of wild animals, the environment, and our national security.

The Radiated Tortoise, a critically endangered species targeted by poachers who sell their beautifully patterned shells to manufacturers of trinkets and other goods aimed at tourists.

WTA Members Leading the Way

LiveAuctioneers is working with the Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (WTA) to help combat wildlife trafficking and protect marine species from illegal trade. The WTA is a coalition of more than 70 leading nonprofit organizations, companies, and AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums that are working together to combat wildlife trafficking by: (1) raising public awareness; (2) effecting behavior change in order to reduce consumer demand for wildlife and wildlife products; and (3) mobilizing companies to adopt best practices and help close off wildlife traffickers’ supply chains.

Much more information is available online at

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Alexander Calder will finally get a prime museum site

Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976), ‘Nuages,’ 1976, gouache and ink on paper. Image courtesy of Rago Arts & Auction Center and LiveAuctioneers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – A little more than two decades after a Calder museum was first proposed for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the long-dormant idea has blossomed again, funding has materialized, and backers say that, by spring 2021, construction should get underway between 21st and 22nd Streets across from the Barnes Foundation and the Rodin Museum.

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