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Hoffmann tea service tops Heritage silver auction at $112,500

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 10:26
This Josef Hoffmann for Wiener Werkstatte silver tea service was made in Vienna circa 1905. Weighing 50.58 troy ounces, the four-piece set sold for $112,500 at Heritage Auctions on April 28. Heritage Auctions image

DALLAS – A Vienna-made Josef Hoffmann four-piece tea service sold for $112,500 in Heritage Auctions’ spring silver and objects of vertu auction April 28 in Dallas. The auction surpassed $614,000 on interest in full service sets and hard-to-find Tiffany silver figures designed by Gene Moore.

“We’re seeing increasing competition for large tea and coffee services, as young collectors consider their sculptural merits” said Karen Rigdon, director of silver and decorative arts at Heritage.

A Fabregé silver gilt cigarette case – decorated with the Romanov double eagle coat of arms set in diamonds – which was an important contribution to a 1977 exhibition titled "The Works of Carl Fabergé the celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee at the Victoria and Albert Museum," sold for $52,500.

Silver sets were in high demand as a seven-piece tea and coffee service by the Californian silversmith Porter Blanchard tea and coffee service, made in about 1930, sold for $27,500, and an 84-piece flatware service in the Aztec pattern, made in about 1950 by Hector Aguilar, ended at $22,500 following interest from six bidders. A set of 12 Garrards silver plates, made in London between 1846 and 1847, sold for $13,750.

A 10-lot, 19-figure collection of Italian crafted silver circus figures designed by Gene Moore for Tiffany & Co. sold for a combined $58,612. The selection was led by a rare Elephant and Performer set, which closed at $16,250, and an Elephant and Drum, which sold for $11,875. The figures, standing not more than 5 1/5 inches high.

An imposing Lee Ching Chinese Export Silver standing covered cup, complete on an upholstered stand with carved wood base, sold for $11,875, to a bidder in China. Heavy with symbolism, the cup featured a cast dragon head-form finial and flanked by stylized scrolling dragon-form handles.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 13:35

Van Gogh, Monet paintings fetch $120M at Sotheby’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 06 May 2015 08:48

Claude Monet’s 'Nymphéas' of 1905 sold for $54,010,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

NEW YORK (AFP) – A Vincent Van Gogh painting fetched more than $66 million at a New York auction on Tuesday, the most paid for a work by the Dutch post-impressionist artist since 1998.

According to the Sotheby's auction firm, Van Gogh's Les Alyscamps, which depicts a stand of autumnal trees, had been expected to go for around $40 million but ultimately an Asian collector paid $66.3 million after an intense bidding war between five potential buyers. Van Gogh painted the landscape in 1888.

Vincent van Gogh’s 'L’Allee des Alyscamps' sold for $66,330,000, a record for a landscape by the artist at auction. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

Also reaching the pricing stratosphere was a Water Lilies painting by French impressionist Claude Monet, which sold for $54 million, smashing Sotheby's valuation of between $30 million and $45 million. Having remained in the same collection since 1955, the appearance of this little-seen work caused excitement among collectors from across the world and was purchased by an American collector.

The most ever paid for a Van Gogh was in 1990, when his Portrait of Dr.
 Gachet" sold for $82.5 million in New York. Adjusted to today's dollars, that's about $153 million.

Of the six Monet works offered at auction, Le Palais Ducal, painted in Venice in 1908, went under the hammer for $23.1 million, more than its estimated $15 million to $20 million.

And his Bassin aux nympheas, les rosiers sold for $20.4 million. The two other Monet paintings found no buyer.

Tuesday's sale of impressionist and contemporary works marks the start of auction season in the New York.

Pablo Picasso's colorful The Women of Algiers (Version 0), depicting a scene from a harem, will be up for grabs when Christie's puts it on the auction block May 11.
The artwork has been valued at $140 million.

Also expected to break a record was Alberto Giacometti's Man Pointing sculpture, expected to sell for $130 million.

The world record for a painting sold at auction is $142.4 million for Francis Bacon's Three Studies of Lucian Freud, which was snapped up in New York in 2013.

Giacometti holds the record for Walking Man I, which sold for $104.3 million in 2010.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 May 2015 15:11

O'Keeffe’s ‘White Calla Lily’ headed to Sotheby’s auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 05 May 2015 10:55

Georgia O'Keeffe's 'White Calla Lily' is expected to sell for between $8 million and $12 million at Sotheby's American Art auction on May 20 in New York. Sotheby's image

NEW YORK (AP) – A Georgia O'Keeffe flower painting that the artist kept for herself is among the highlights of an upcoming auction of American art.

Sotheby's says White Calla Lily is estimated to bring $8 million to $12 million at the May 20 sale in New York.

O'Keeffe created the work in 1927 and held on to it until her death in 1986.

The auctioneer says the back has a star motif, a device O'Keeffe used to mark her favorite pieces.

The current owner has owned the painting for more than two decades.

O'Keeffe's Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 holds the record for the artist. It sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby's last year.

The sale also will include works by Childe Hassam, Martin Johnson Heade, Milton Avery and John Singer Sargent.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-05-04-15 1520GMT

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 May 2015 11:07

Chicago collection of Tiffany items bound for Sotheby’s auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 01 May 2015 11:59

Tiffany Studios Peony table lamp. Estimate: $600,000-$900,000. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

NEW YORK (AP) – A collection of Tiffany works and prewar design assembled by a Chicago businessman is going on the auction block in New York. Sotheby's says the collection was amassed from the 1960s to 1990s by the late Roy Warshawsky and his wife, Sarita.

The auctioneer says the 90 Tiffany Studios works represent an encyclopedic selection of pieces, including leaded glass lighting and windows and enamels.

Among the highlights of the May 19 sale is a peony lamp of deep purple, magenta and red glass created in 1910. It's estimated to sell for $600,000 to $900,000.

The collection also includes important prewar pieces by such major designers as Archibald Knox, Louis Sullivan and Rene Lalique.

Warshawsky was president of the Warshawsky & Co. auto parts firm begun by his father in 1915. Copyright 2015 Associated Press.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-29-15 1633GMT

Last Updated on Friday, 01 May 2015 12:11

Enola Gay co-pilot's flight logs, Hiroshima plans to be auctioned

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Written by CHRIS CAROLA, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:02

Capt. Robert A. Lewis' manuscript bombing plan for the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, (6 August 1945), 16in x 22in. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. Bonhams image

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Of the 12 men who flew aboard the Enola Gay the day the U.S. B-29 Superfortress dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima 70 years ago this summer, none knew the four-engine bomber better than Capt. Robert Lewis.

On Wednesday, two of his wartime flight log books, Hiroshima bombing plans, mission notes and other items are up for sale during an auction of World War II material being held at Bonhams in Manhattan. The estimate for the flight logs is $150,000 to $200,000.

Lewis, a 27-year-old pilot from Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, logged a total of 36 flights aboard the Enola Gay, including the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing mission that changed the world. A meticulous record-keeper, Lewis' handwritten entry in his personal flight log for that historic day reads: “No #1 Atomic bomb a huge success.”

The flight logs covering Lewis' service in the Army Air Forces from 1942-46 are among an extensive archive of his documents handed down to his son, Steven Lewis. The younger Lewis said his father recorded details of every flight he took, including the three dozen he made aboard the Enola Gay.

“He wrote down everything and he kept everything,” said Steven Lewis, 57, of Hampton Township, New Jersey.

“The Enola Gay was the most significant aircraft of World War Two,” said Larry Starr, collections manager at the American Airpower Museum in Farmingdale, New York. “Any records of that mission would be significant.”

As commander of the Hiroshima mission, Col. Paul Tibbets was also the pilot of the Enola Gay, relegating the lower-ranked Lewis to co-pilot. The move made Tibbets a household name after his crew completed the world's first atomic bombing mission, which destroyed much of the Japanese city and killed tens of thousands of its citizens. But Tibbets only flew the Enola Gay a couple of times, while Lewis had piloted the aircraft 16 times during test flights leading up to the Hiroshima mission.

“People don't realize how many times he flew aboard the Enola Gay,” Steven Lewis said.

Three days after the Hiroshima bombing, another U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered six days later, ending the war.

Robert Lewis died in Virginia in 1983, Tibbets in 2007 in Ohio. Enola Gay navigator Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, the last surviving crew member, died in Georgia in 2014.

The other Lewis items for auction include personal photographs from the war and his hand-drawn diagram of the Hiroshima bombing run showing the bomb blast's expected shock wave range and the evasive flight path the Enola's Gay would take after detonation. Steven Lewis said he's putting the WWII documents up for sale ahead of his plans to publish his father's manuscript of wartime experiences in a book at a later date.

Hundreds of other WWII artifacts are being auctioned at Bonhams, from American flags flown at Normandy at D-Day to Japanese military maps of Iwo Jima.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-28-15 0502GMT

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 09:17

Case expands presence in Nashville with auction & appraisal office

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:27

This carved limestone squirrel by William Edmondson (American/Nashville, Tenn., 1884-1951) will be featured in Case Antiques' auction July 18. It carries a $30,000-$35,000 estimate. Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals image

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Knoxville-based Case Antiques Inc. Auctions & Appraisals, one of the South’s leading firms for handling historic and high-end art and antiques, has opened an office at 116 Wilson Pike Circle, Suite 102, in Brentwood, Tenn., a Nashville suburb.

The office will handle consignments from Middle and West Tennessee, southern Kentucky and northern Alabama, along with appraisals, and will serve as a display gallery for featured lots from upcoming auctions. It will be under the direction of Sarah Campbell Drury, the company’s vice president for fine and decorative arts, who has represented the company in Nashville since 2009.

Drury is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers, specializing in fine art, antiques and residential contents. She has helped land several high profile consignments including the estates of Welling and Sally Lagrone and Margaret Wemyss Connor of Nashville, along with museum property deaccessioned by Nashville’s Cheekwood Museum of Art, Belmont Mansion, and Belle Meade Plantation.

One of the new location’s first functions will be a free auction evaluation day on Friday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The new office will also host an evening showcasing featured items from the firm’s upcoming July 18 auction, including a carved limestone sculpture by William Edmondson of Nashville and a group of paintings being sold by the Birmingham Museum of Art. That event is scheduled for June 5.

Case markets its seasonal cataloged auctions internationally through digital, print, and social media, and counts China as its second-largest source of bidders (behind the United States).

Case’s live auctions – where bidders in the saleroom compete alongside bidders online and on multiple phone lines – consistently draw more than 2,700 registered bidders from 50 countries. The company was founded in Knoxville in 2005 by its president John Case, a member of the Appraisers Association of America and current chair of the Tennessee Executive Residence Preservation Foundation.

For more information, call Case’s Brentwood office at 615-812-6096, the Knoxville gallery at 865-558-3033, see the website at or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:42

Rare Honus Wagner T206 baseball card hits $1.32M at auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:00

This T206 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $1.32 million. Robert Edward Auctions image

WATCHUNG, N.J. (AP) – A Honus Wagner T206 baseball card has been auctioned for $1.32 million in online bidding.

Robert Edward Auctions said Monday that 42 bids were placed by Saturday's deadline for the card, which was rated as a three condition on a scale from one to 10, with 10 the best. The winning bid was for $1.2 million, plus a 20 percent commission.

The names of the buyer and seller were not announced. The company says the same card had sold for $791,000 at auction in 2008.

New Jersey-based Robert Edward Auctions says the record price for a Wagner T206 American Tobacco Co. card – traditionally the most valuable baseball card in the hobby – is $2.8 million. That one was rated as an eight condition.

The card is from 1909 to 1911. Forty-two bids from around the world came in for the baseball card featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer. Approximately 60 different examples of the T206 Honus Wagner card are believed to be in existence.

Robert Edward Auctions’ spring auction, which was held from April 2 through April 25, featured a variety of other items ranging from sports cards to Americana, including a 1916 Sporting News Babe Ruth rookie card, which sold for $204,000; a collection of “Three Stooges” movie posters and lobby cards, which totaled $251,580; a 1970 Hank Aaron Atlanta Braves baseball jersey, which sold for $66,000; an Augusta National green jacket, which sold for $16,800; and an original Grammy Award for the song Tequila, which sold for $30,000. The spring auction’s total sales figures exceeded $7 million.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 09:10

Hopper's 'Two Puritans' to be offered at auction for first time

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 24 April 2015 15:45

Edward Hopper (1882-1967), 'Two Puritans,' oil on canvas, painted in 1945. Estimate: $20,000,000–$30,000,000. Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2015

NEW YORK – On May 21, as the star lot of its sale of American Art, Christie’s will offer Two Puritans by Edward Hopper (1882-1967). Painted in 1945 at the height of Hopper’s career, Two Puritans, one of only three canvases by the artist of that year and the only one in private hands, is estimated to bring in excess of $20 million when it appears at auction for the first time this spring.

The painting has been included in nearly every major exhibition and publication on the artist and, most recently was on view in Paris at the Grand Palais, where the Hopper exhibition broke attendance records, proving that the artist has arrived on an international stage.

“Edward Hopper's masterwork Two Puritans can be considered at once an intimate and revealing portrait of the artist and his wife, as well as a testament to his dogged dedication to realism in the face of a changing visual world that increasingly championed abstraction,” said Elizabeth Beaman, Christie’s head of American Art. “We are privileged to offer this seminal work, which has never appeared at auction before.”

Hopper's oeuvre is defined by what is a first glance a seemingly mundane, American subject yet in each canvas, and perhaps most poignantly in Two Puritans, a complex psychological subtext lies just beneath the surface, betraying the simplicity of the scene.

Hopper’s choice and earnest representation of commonplace subject matter in works such as Two Puritans set the artist apart from his contemporaries and allowed him to create a new and uniquely American iconography. In Two Puritans and throughout his career, Hopper painted aspects of America that few other artists addressed. He portrayed unromantic visions of life in a broad and increasingly modern style. While Hopper's paintings have formal qualities in common with other Modernists, his art remained steadfastly realist.

In recent seasons, prices for Hopper’s paintings have soared at auction, driven by renewed demand for masterpiece-quality works. In October 2013, East Wind Over Weehawken sold for $40,485,000 setting a new world auction record for the artist.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 16:03

‘Perfect' 100-carat diamond sells for $22M at Sotheby’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 10:50

The largest perfect diamond with a classic emerald cut ever to be offered at auction sold for $22.1 million Tuesday in New York. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

NEW YORK (AFP) – A "perfect" 100-carat diamond originally mined in South Africa sold for $22.1 million in New York on Tuesday in three minutes of bidding, Sotheby's said.

The auction house had valued the jewel, which weighs 100.20 carats, at $19-25 million, calling it "the largest perfect diamond with a classic Emerald cut ever to be offered at auction."

Discovered in the De Beers mines of South Africa then cut, polished and perfected for more than a year, it was the highlight in 370 lots at a Sotheby's jewelry auction.

The winning bidder took part by telephone but wanted to remain anonymous, Sotheby's said.
=The auction house had showcased the jewel twice in the Middle East – in Doha and Dubai – as well as Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London and New York in a bid to attract interest ahead of the sale.

Sotheby's says only five comparable quality diamonds weighing more than 100 carats have been sold at auction, the most expensive of which fetched $30.6 million at Sotheby's in Hong Kong in 2013.

Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby's jewelry department in New York, called the stone "the definition of perfection."

"The color is whiter than white, it is free of any internal imperfections, and so transparent that I can only compare it to a pool of icy water," he said before the sale.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 11:59

Giacometti sculpture poised to set auction record

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 17 April 2015 16:27

Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) 'L'homme au doigt.' Courtesy of Christie's Images Ltd. 2015(c) 2015 Alberto Giacometti Estate/Licensed by VAGA and ARS, New York

NEW YORK (AP) – A rare life-size sculpture by Alberto Giacometti could set a record next month at auction where it's estimated to bring $130 million.

Pointing Man, created in 1947, is being offered at Christie's in New York on May 11.

The record for a sculpture at auction is $104.3 million for Giacometti's Walking Man I, set in 2010. Last fall, the artist's 1951 bronze sculpture, Chariot, fetched $101 million.

The 5-foot-high bronze sculpture of a spindly figure with his arms extended has been in the same private collection for 45 years.

Giacometti, who died in 1966, made six casts and an artist's proof of the work. Four are in museum collections: London's Tate Gallery, New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Des Moines Art Center and Baltimore Museum of Art. The others are in a foundation collection and private hands.

Pointing Man is unquestionably Giacometti's greatest sculpture,” Christie's Global President Jussi Pylkkanen said.

Also on May 11, the auction house previously announced it would be selling Pablo Picasso's Women of Algiers (Version O) for an estimated $140 million. The 1955 painting could eclipse the highest price ever paid for an artwork at auction – Francis Bacon's triptych Three Studies of Lucian Freud fetched $142.4 million in 2013.

The Picasso and Giacometti will be offered with a group of some two dozen other blue chip works created between 1902 and the end of the 20th century in a stand-alone sale called “Looking Forward to the Past.” It will be held during the semiannual auctions of impressionist, modern and contemporary art.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-16-15 1325GMT

Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 16:51

'Imitation Game' code breaker Turing's notebook nets $1M

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 08:42

Portrait of Alan Turing. Courtesy of The Sherborne School

NEW YORK (AP) – A handwritten notebook by British World War II code-breaking genius Alan Turing, who was the subject of the 2014 Oscar-winning film The Imitation Game, brought more than $1 million at auction on Monday.

The 56-page manuscript was written at the time the mathematician and computer science pioneer was working to break the seemingly unbreakable Enigma codes used by the Germans throughout the war. It contains his complex mathematical and computer science notations and is believed to be the only extensive Turing manuscript known to exist, Bonhams auction house said.

The sale price was $1,025,000.

The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of Turing, won Best Adapted Screenplay at this year's Academy Awards.

Turing's notebook dates from 1942, when he and his team of cryptanalysts were at Britain's World War II code and cypher school Bletchley Park. In one entry, Turing wrote about a complex calculus notation.

“The Leibniz notation I find extremely difficult to understand in spite of it having been the one I understood the best once!” he wrote. “It certainly implies that some relation between x and y has been laid down eg, y=x2+3x.”

This image of a page from the Turing notebook is courtesy of Bonhams.

The sale also included a working German Enigma enciphering machine. The three-rotor device, manufactured for the German military in July 1944, sold for $269,000.

Turing was prosecuted for being gay at a time when it was illegal in Britain. He was convicted of indecency in 1952 and agreed to undergo hormone treatment in a bid to eliminate his homosexuality as an alternative to imprisonment.

He died in 1954 of cyanide poisoning. His death was ruled a suicide although his family and friends believed it might have been accidental. The notebook was among the papers he left in his will to friend and fellow mathematician Robin Gandy.

Gandy gave the papers to The Archive Centre at King's College in Cambridge in 1977. But he kept the notebook, using its blank pages for writing down his dreams at the request of his psychiatrist.

The notebook remained in Gandy's possession until he died in 1995, and Bonhams describes his entries as highly personal.

At the beginning of his journal, Gandy writes: “It seems a suitable disguise to write in between these notes of Alan's on notation, but possibly a little sinister; a dead father figure, some of whose thoughts I most completely inherited.”

Turing scholar Andrew Hodges, in a statement through Bonhams, said the notebook sheds more light on how Turing “remained committed to free-thinking work in pure mathematics.”

The Imitation Game, which also stars Keira Knightley, is based on Hodges' book Alan Turing: The Enigma.

Bonhams said the buyer wished to remain anonymous. Part of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-13-15 2309GMT

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 10:25

Van Gogh, Rothko works could fetch over $40M at Sotheby’s

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 14 April 2015 12:38

Vincent van Gogh, 'L'Allée des Alyscamps,' 1888, which Sotheby's New York will sell at  its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale on May 5. It has an estimate in excess of $40 million. Image courtesy of Sotheby's.

NEW YORK (AP) – A late Vincent van Gogh landscape and a 1954 work by Mark Rothko from the collection of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon are going on the auction block next month.

Van Gogh's The Allee of Alyscamps from 1888 could sell for more than $40 million at Sotheby's on May 5.

The lush autumnal scene was created during a two-month period when the artist was working side-by-side with his friend Paul Gauguin in Arles, in the south of France.

The painting shows a cypress-lined promenade of the Alyscamps, an ancient Roman burial ground that by 1888 had become a popular lover's lane.

Sotheby's said only two works from van Gogh's mature period, from 1888 to 1890, appeared at auction last year. Van Gogh died in 1890.

The current record for the Dutch artist is $82.5 million for his Portrait of Dr. Gachet, set in 1990.

The auction house also is offering Rothko's Untitled (Yellow and Blue) on May 12.

The 8-foot-tall abstract painting of large yellow and blue planes is estimated to bring between $40 million to $60 million.

It was acquired by Mellon directly from Rothko's estate shortly after his death in 1970 and exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., for 10 years. The heir to the Listerine fortune and widow of philanthropist Paul Mellon died in 2013.

The current Rothko record is $86.9 million for his Orange, Red, Yellow, set in 2012.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-04-13-15 1401GMT

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 13:13

What's so special about cinnabar? You won't believe this price

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 16:44
This large 18th century cinnabar lacquer box and cover sold for $46,960 at a Roseberys auction in December. Image courtesy of Roseberys.

LONDON – Cinnabar has been used for its color in the New World since the Olmec culture. Cinnabar was used in royal burial chambers during the peak of the Mayan civilization, most dramatically in the Tomb of the Red Queen in Palenqe (600–700 AD), where the remains of a noble woman and objects belonging to her in her sarcophagus were completely covered with bright red powder made from cinnabar.

The most popular known use of cinnabar is in Chinese carved lacquerware, which involves a technique that apparently originated during the Song Dynasty.

Carved cinnabar lacquer boxes, made from natural resin derived from the Chinese lacquer tree, have always been coveted luxury items. A Roseberys fine art auction on Dec. 10 saw a rare and impressive 18th century cinnabar lacquer quatrefoil box and cover sell for an astounding $46,960.

“We knew the quality of the materials and high level of craftsmanship used to create this stunning example would suggest that it was created for an emperor, but the price achieved for this piece confirms it must have been made for the imperial court,” said Peter Greenway, Asian Art specialist at Roseberys. “It is extremely rare to see a piece of cinnabar of this size and quality from the Qinglong period, and the realized price exceeded any other UK record that we are aware of.”

The highly decorative box measured about 10 3/4 inches in diameter and is decorated on the lid with figures in a landscape, a seated elderly man playing a pipe above onlooking figures, enclosed within floral panels. The base panels are decorated with deer, herons and other auspicious animals, all enclosed within a continuous geometric pattern. Inside the box a gold four-character mark read and on the base was a six-character Qinglong mark.

From a Dorset manor house, the box had been unseen since the 1920s and had remained the property of a family with diplomatic connections. The box sold to oversees telephone bidder.

Roseberys will hold their next Asian Art auction in May.

To enjoy more of what Antique Trader has to offer, view this complimentary digital issue:

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 13:34

Shirley Temple memorabilia goes on tour before July auction

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 08:47
Shirley Temple leaving the White House offices with her mother and her bodyguard IN 1938. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Costumes, toys, photos and autographs from Shirley Temple's 1930s film career are coming to a city near you.

A spokeswoman for the late actress said Monday that a collection of keepsakes from Temple's time in Hollywood will be exhibited at museums across the country before being put up for auction in July.

Publicist Cheryl Kagan says the traveling exhibition will begin April 30 at the Strong Museum in Rochester, New York.

Among the items on view will be a baby grand piano inscribed by Theodore Steinway and a child-size race car that was a gift from Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, along with Temple's autograph collection and costumes from her various films.

The exhibit will travel to Boston, New Jersey, California and Texas before the July 14 auction in Kansas City, Missouri.

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-30-15 2122GMT

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 April 2015 09:00

Retired Lehigh professor sends ancient artifacts to auction

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Written by MATT ASSAD, The (Allentown) Morning Call   
Monday, 30 March 2015 14:13
Roman marble portrait head first century, 13 inches not including base. Price Realized: $12,000. Image courtesy of Saucon Valley Auction.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) — On the way back from one of his many buying trips at a New York auction house, Lehigh professor Robert Williamson often would stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art with a century-old artifact under his arm, before walking or busing back to his station wagon at the Port Authority.

But as he exited Sotheby's auction house on a rainy fall day in 1975, he decided that maybe just this one time, he'd spring for a cab and skip the Met.

The first century 100-pound marble Roman head he just bought for $500 may have had something to do with his decision.

“I’m not sure I could have carried that thing 100 feet. I sure wasn't going to make it (30 or 40 blocks) back to my car,” said Williamson, 98, of Bethlehem, as he recalled one of his favorite purchases.

“But that head would have been worth it. I liked it as soon as I saw it.”

The fruits of Williamson's decades-long accumulation of rare artifacts — some dating back centuries before Christ — went up for auction at Saucon Valley Auction Co. in Bath Saturday.

Despite never making more than $45,000 a year as a sociology professor, Williamson amassed a collection that made his Bethlehem home look like a museum. On the living room walls were rare 19th century Russian icons, in the dining room plates from the Ming Dynasty and strewn about the house were 400-year-old medical journals and vases dating back to 350 B.C.

Auction coordinator Chris Answini sells this kind of stuff for a living, but even he was amazed at what he found when he visited Williamson to review his collection. The 186-piece collection sold for well over $100,000.

“It was like walking in Indiana Jones' house,” Answini said. “He had such a passion for history and such a good eye for what he was buying. We don't see a collection like this very often.”

Williamson never had to outrun a rolling boulder or scamper across the top of a moving train, but the collection he sold Saturday reveals his philosophy to guzzle from the cup of life. He was born in Los Angeles and was working as a sociology professor at the College of Los Angeles, when he met his wife, Virginia, while she was an adult student going to night school.

He used his sabbatical to take her on a 13-month honeymoon in which they traveled through South America and Africa. He's been traveling ever since, visiting 95 countries and learning seven languages along the way.

In 1963, he founded Lehigh University's Sociology Department, and soon began his fascination with ancient artifacts. Sometimes he'd pick them up on his trips, the way he gathered some Russian items while traveling the entire 5,772 miles of the Trans-Siberian Railway. But most of them came during his day-trips to New York that usually included a visit to auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's, followed by a jaunt through the Met.

He bought most of it between 1972 and 1997, taking a liking to pieces that had a history and story. Rarely did he spend more than a few hundred dollars for any piece, but value was never really the point. He bought them not as an investment, but to enjoy them. That's why he displayed them where people could experience them, too.

That Roman head spent two years in his son Eric's dorm room at Lehigh. His voice strong, but his failing eyesight and age confining him to a wheelchair, Williamson can still take most of his pieces in his hand and recall where he bought them and when.

“It was a strange compulsion, I guess,” Williamson said. “Over the decades, I guess you could say I created my own museum.”

But in recent years, as Williamson moved from his Market Street home into an apartment and more recently into the Moravian Village nursing home, he simply didn't have the room to store the artifacts where he could experience them.

After 51 years of marriage, his beloved Virginia died last month, so he said it was time to sell the collection he took so much care in building.

“It's a little sad, but I won't live forever,” Williamson said. “I still have my memories, and now someone else can enjoy them.”

That Roman head that cost Williamson $500 and cab fare? Someone paid $12,000 for the right to enjoy it as their own.


Information from: The Morning Call,

Copyright 2015 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-03-29-15 1615GMT

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Last Updated on Monday, 30 March 2015 16:46

Kerry Taylor Auctions to sell designer Celia Birtwell archive

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 27 March 2015 15:44
Detail of 'Tulip Reign' print by Celia Birtwell. Kerry Taylor Auctions image LONDON – Kerry Taylor Auctions, specialists in antique and vintage fashion and textiles, will sell the historically important collection of British designer Celia Birtwell on June 23 as part of the firm’s “Passion for Fashion” sale.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire pieces by two of the leading British fashion/textile designers of the late 20th century, taken from Celia Birtwell’s own personal archive,” noted Kerry Taylor. “Beautiful, timeless and historically important, they will appeal to collectors, museums and those stylish women the world over who just wish to wear them as they were originally intended.”

The collection of approximately 60 pieces range from one of Ossie Clark’s earliest pop-art influenced mini dresses (made just after he graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1965), through to a spikey black leather “biker” girl ensemble he made in 1996 just before his untimely and tragic death.

Undoubtedly the most beautiful and mesmerizing designs are those of the late 1960s and 1970s, which combine the virtuosity of Celia Birtwell’s colorful textile prints and Ossie Clark’s consummate cutting skills.

The most famous dress in the collection is the instantly recognizable and iconic black and red moss crepe “Heavenly Twins” dress which Celia wore for the double portrait of herself and Ossie Clark with their white cat, painted by David Hockney in 1970 titled Mr. & Mrs. Clark & Percy.

The sale will also include fine haute couture by Elsa Schiaparelli from the 1930s, historic dress and outstanding McQueen examples from other collectors. Kerry Taylor is still accepting entries for this auction until early May.

For more information email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 0044 (0)208 676 4600.





Last Updated on Friday, 27 March 2015 16:05
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