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Blue diamond sells for record $32.6 million at Sotheby’s

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Written by AFP wire service   
Friday, 21 November 2014 16:06
This stunning 9.75 carat, pear-shape diamond sold for $32.6 million in New York on Thursday. Image courtesy of Sotheby's NEW YORK (AFP) - A magnificent blue diamond has fetched $32.6 million in New York, breaking the world auction record for any diamond of its color, auction house Sotheby's announced.

The stunning 9.75 carat, pear-shape diamond was bought by a Hong Kong private collector after 20 minutes of competitive bidding on Thursday evening, Sotheby's said.

The price also set a new world auction record for price-per-carat for any diamond, the auctioneers said.

The jewel had been owned by Rachel Lambert otherwise known as Bunny Mellon, the art collector wife of the late philanthropist and racehorse breeder Paul Mellon. She died in March aged 103.

"Mrs. Mellon's diamond absolutely deserves the place in the record books that it achieved," said Gary Schuler, head of Sotheby's jewelry department in New York.

It was the highlight of a collection of Mellon's jewels and objects of vertu that Sotheby's sold for more than $42 million in New York on Thursday, well above the estimate of $19.2 million.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
This stunning 9.75 carat, pear-shape diamond sold for $32.6 million in New York on Thursday. Image courtesy of Sotheby's
Last Updated on Friday, 21 November 2014 16:20
 

William Ruprecht stepping down as CEO of Sotheby's

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:49

Sotheby's William F. Ruprecht. Image courtesy Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK – Sotheby’s today announced that its board of directors has begun a search for the company’s next chief executive officer and that William F. Ruprecht will step down by mutual agreement with the board.

Ruprecht, who has served as CEO since 2000, will continue as chairman, president and CEO until his successor is in place to ensure a smooth transition.

The board has formed a search committee to oversee the recruiting of a new CEO and has retained Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search firm, to assist in the process. The committee is led by Domenico De Sole, Lead Independent Director.

De Sole said, “The board is focused on ensuring a smooth transition that will facilitate Sotheby’s continued success. As we move to new leadership, the board is sharply focused on upholding the world-class standard of excellence that Sotheby’s has long represented to our clients and achieving Sotheby’s full long-term potential for the benefit of our shareholders. We are moving with a sense of urgency but we will take the time we need to find the right leader for Sotheby’s at this critical juncture in its continuing evolution.”

De Sole continued, “We are deeply grateful to Bill Ruprecht for his long and exemplary service to Sotheby’s and how he has successfully guided the company through serious challenges into an era of significant growth and development. … My fellow Directors and I salute Bill’s unwavering dedication and the many significant contributions he has made to Sotheby’s for more than three decades, and we appreciate his willingness to assist in effecting a smooth transition.”

Ruprecht said, “I have had the privilege of working with so many talented and dedicated colleagues at Sotheby’s, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together. This is an exciting time for this great company, as we continue to capitalize on robust global demand in our salesrooms and increasingly online. The last few years have been the most successful in the company’s history. I am comfortable and confident saying Sotheby’s is well positioned for the next chapter of its success, and I will do all I can to contribute to a smooth leadership transition.”

Ruprecht, 58, became a director and president and CEO of Sotheby’s in 2000 and was elected chairman of the board in 2012. He previously served as executive vice president of the company and managing director of Sotheby’s North and South America from 1994 until 2000. From 1992 to 1994, he served as director of marketing for the company worldwide and also oversaw a number of specialist departments. He joined the company in 1980.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Sotheby's William F. Ruprecht. Image courtesy Sotheby’s. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 17:54
 

Wagner card, Jackie Robinson bat top SCP Auctions lineup

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 15:16
Rare Honus Wagner T206 card, which has a $400,000 estimate. SCP Auctions image

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. – SCP Auctions’ Fall Premier sale began Nov. 19 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 6, at www.scpauctions.com. It features more than 1,150 lots including the coveted Chesapeake Honus Wagner T206 card, a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle Rookie Card (PSA 8), Part 2 of the Delbert Mickel baseball jersey collection, Jackie Robinson’s game-used Hillerich & Bradsby bat from his 1949 N.L. MVP season, the Bill “Moose” Skowron collection, the Bill Riddell bat collection and Part 3 of the Newport Sports Museum Collection.

Chesapeake Honus Wagner card

In August, SCP Auctions’ company principals David Kohler and Dan Imler secured an astounding collection of more than 3,500 T206 baseball cards from a private collector living in the Northeast. His lineup included the incomparable Honus Wagner T206, which was graded by Professional Sports Authenticator on site at the 35th annual National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland. It received a PSA 1 designation, making it only the 33rd example authenticated and encapsulated by the company.

“Unveiling a fresh T206 Honus Wagner card is a dream scenario for any hobby professional,” said Imler. “The known supply of T206 Wagner's will never begin to quench the exceeding collector demand for what is not just the most famous baseball card in the world, but one of our nation’s most celebrated treasures. And to have it be a part of such an immense and diverse find of previously unknown T206s makes this one of the most exciting tobacco card finds in recent years.” Its presale estimate is $400,000.

Jackie Robinson memorabilia

SCP Auctions is offering a small but significant group of Jackie Robinson related memorabilia including his spectacular Hillerich & Bradsby Model S100 ash bat, one of only two Robinson game-used bats that can be definitively documented as having been used during his 1949 MVP season. As such, it stands among the finest Jackie Robinson game-used artifacts known. Also included is Robinson's personal 1962 Hall of Fame Induction plaque from his estate as well as a remarkable handwritten note to a fan from Robinson that provides a compelling profile of his character.

Part 2 of the Delbert Mickel collection

Baseball historian and fan A. Delbert Mickel acquired one of the finest collections of game-worn baseball jerseys in the world. An attorney from Arkansas, Mickel died in 2012 but not before amassing a museum-caliber collection beginning long before the Internet-age simplified such pursuits. Some of his prized jerseys featured in the auction include: a Willie Mays 1967 San Francisco Giants jersey and matching pants (graded A10 by MEARS); a Hank Aaron 1968-69 Atlanta Braves road jersey (A10); a Pete Rose 1967 Reds home jersey (A8.5); a Don Drysdale 1969 Dodgers road jersey; and a Brooks Robinson 1966 World Series championship season Orioles home jersey (A9).

Bill Riddell bat collection

Over a 30-year period, the late Bill Riddell of Southern California amassed an impressive and impeccable personal collection of vintage and modern-era game used bats. A total of 30 lots are showcased and include several sought-after bats including: George Kelly’s 1920-22 Hillerich & Bradsby professional model bat, 1939 Charlie Gehringer H&B professional model bat, 1931 Mickey Cochrane Double-Vault marked H&B professional model bat, and Yogi Berra’s 1958 All-Star autographed and game-used professional model bat. From the late ’60s and ’70s, Riddell’s collection includes some showstoppers like Johnny Bench’s autographed and game-used 1970-72 H&B professional model bat as well as Roberto Clemente’s 1971 autographed and game-used H&B professional model bat.

Bill “Moose” Skowron collection

A popular first baseman for the New York Yankees from 1954 to ’62, the late Bill “Moose” Skowron hit more than 20 home runs in four different seasons, batted over .300 five times and was an eight-time All-Star. He appeared in eight World Series and won five titles in a nine-year span. His collection includes his World Series rings, game-used and milestone baseballs, player contracts, and personal autographed items from dozens of teammates including the great Mickey Mantle.

Part 3 of the Newport Sports Museum

SCP’s 2014 Fall Premier Auction marks the third of a four-part offering from The Newport Sports Museum Collection. Highlights this time around center on significant items from John Hamilton’s USC Football Collection including:

  • 1929-31 College Football National Championship Trophy "The Albert Russel Erskine Trophy"
  • 1931 USC Trojans National Champions team-signed football
  • 1962 USC Trojans Football National Championship trophy
  • Collection of College Hall of Fame certificates from 12 USC Trojans greats
  • Ricky Bell 1974-75 USC Trojans Football Rose Bowl/National Championship ring

Bidding concludes Saturday, Dec. 6. For more information on how to participate, visit www.scpauctions.com or call 949-831-3700.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Rare Honus Wagner T206 card, which has a $400,000 estimate. SCP Auctions image Jackie Robinson 1962 Hall of Fame plaque. SCP Auctions image 1967 Willie Mays autographed San Francisco Giants road uniform. SCP Auctions image Albert Russel Erskine College National Championship trophy. SCP Auctions image USC Ricky Bell College National Championship ring. SCP Auctions image
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:15
 

$44.4M for O'Keeffe painting sets record for any female artist

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:27
Georgia O’Keeffe, 'Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1,' oil on canvas, 48 by 40 inches (121.9 by 101.6 cm), painted in 1932. Estimate $10/15 million; sold for $44,405,000. Property from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund. © 2014 The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York NEW YORK (AFP) – A painting by late American artist Georgia O'Keeffe sold for more than $44.4 million on Thursday, which Sotheby's called a new auction world record for any female artist.

Sotheby's said the previous auction record for a work by a female artist was $11.9 million, set by U.S. abstract painter Joan Mitchell's Untitled at rival house Christie's in New York in May.

The O'Keefe work had been valued before the sale at $15 million but Sotheby's said it was driven to more than $44.4 million by a prolonged battle between two determined bidders.

O'Keeffe is considered one of the most significant artists of the 20th century and was a prominent avant-garde artist in New York.

She spent much of her life in New Mexico and died in 1986. The previous auction record for one of her works was $6.2 million.

O'Keeffe was celebrated for her flower paintings.

Her Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1 oil on canvas was one of three works offered at auction by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, N.M.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Georgia O’Keeffe, 'Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1,' oil on canvas, 48 by 40 inches (121.9 by 101.6 cm), painted in 1932. Estimate $10/15 million; sold for $44,405,000. Property from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Sold to Benefit the Acquisitions Fund. © 2014 The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 14:48
 

Auction of more Elvis Presley items set for January

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Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:16
This 1955 publicity photo of Elvis Presley from the collection of Greg Page sold for $450 at the previous Graceland Authenticated auction in August. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Graceland Authenticated MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – More than 60 authentic artifacts related to late singer Elvis Presley are set to be auctioned in Memphis in January.

Elvis Presley Enterprises says the auction, scheduled for Jan. 8, will be part of the annual celebration of Presley's birthday at Graceland, his longtime Memphis home. Bidding will begin online two weeks prior to the live auction at Graceland.com/Auction.

All 68 of the items are from third-party collectors and they have been researched by Graceland's authenticators.

Among the items being auctioned is an acetate of Presley's first-ever recording produced at Memphis Recording Service in June 1953. The recording features the songs My Happiness on side A and That's When Your Heartaches Begin on side B.

Presley was 42 when he died on Aug. 16, 1977, in Memphis.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-11-19-14 0831GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
This 1955 publicity photo of Elvis Presley from the collection of Greg Page sold for $450 at the previous Graceland Authenticated auction in August. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers.com archive and Graceland Authenticated
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:29
 

Rocky love: Letters by great women are auctioned

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Written by THOMAS ADAMSON, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:24

Catherine of Aragon pleads her case against divorce from Henry VIII. Painting by Henry Nelson O'Neil. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

PARIS (AP) – An unprecedented collection of 1,500 documents from some of history's greatest women is being auctioned in Paris, including everything from Catherine the Great's imperious letter shunning her lover, to Brigitte Bardot's plea to cancel the release of a song that ended up being banned in several countries owing to its sexual content.

The documents, which range from the profound to the banal, also include ones from Napoleon's long-suffering wife Josephine, and a note to a teacher from Grace Kelly. Here are highlights of the extraordinary two-day sale, starting Tuesday.

Catherine of Aragon: Save My Marriage (and Your Church)

Catherine – the queen of England from 1509 until 1533, and the first of King Henry VIII's six wives – fell out of favor with the fearsome monarch after she failed to produce a son and heir. In the 1529 letter intended to reach the pope, she argues: “I am completely innocent” and being cast aside “without cause.” She asks for Henry's planned annulment to be blocked. She also warns – correctly, as it turns out – that Henry will try to split from Rome. It's simply signed “Katherina.” After their divorce, which was not recognized by the pope, Henry sets up a separate Church of England, with himself as its head.

It sold Tuesday for 68,750 euros ($86,000).

Princess Grace Makes Excuses

When a royal's daughter fails to do her homework, she doesn't tell the teacher a dog ate it. Grace Patricia Kelly – the American actress who married Prince Rainier III to become the Princess of Monaco – wrote to her daughter Stephanie's French teacher after the girl came up short in class. “Please excuse Stephanie for not having done her French lesson. She left her book at school, Wednesday. Grace de Monaco.”

Edith Piaf's “La Vie En Rehab”

Dated Jan. 5, 1956, the bittersweet letter from singer Edith Piaf is a loving ode to her then-husband Jacques Pills from the clinic where she was undergoing detox after alcohol and morphine addictions. In it, the French cabaret singer of the famous signature song La vie en Rose reminds Pills that there will be good days ahead, when she gets released. “Lovely man, have confidence in me as you have always had and you will see it's the good side in me that will win, by the end of the detoxification ... you will see that things can start again!” Piaf died seven years later of liver cancer, aged 47.

Catherine the Great: Hands Off My Empire

The famously amorous Catherine II of Russia, who was linked to the coup that killed her husband Peter III, is seen in this 1762 letter shunning her lover Stanislas Auguste Poniatowski. He wanted to come to Russia and become her new husband, but he is warned to stay away. Why? The fearsome Catherine had another lover and no intention of letting her old flame return to her life or take over her empire. “You read my letters with very little attention. I've told you and repeated that I risk being assaulted from all sides if you put one foot back in Russia,” she says in the blunt letter.

Bardot’s Sachs Appeal

Blond bombshell Brigitte Bardot's letter is a request to a record company to scrap the suggestive, sexually-provocative song Je t'aime, Moi non Plus. (I Love You...Me Neither) that she had recorded with Serge Gainsbourg. It was straining her marriage to Gunter Sachs. Written a day after the song was first broadcast in 1967 to Phillips record company, the letter speaks of the “serious and grave personal reasons to not release under any circumstances” the recording. The song was withdrawn and later recorded with Gainsbourg's wife Jane Birkin to become one of the iconic hits of the ’60s. Despite this, Bardot and Sachs still divorced in 1969.

Josephine Is Under Napoleon's Thumb (And Quill)

Hardly anything remains of Empress Josephine's letter to a friend, crossed out with aggressive ink scribbles by her domineering husband. The friend, Queen Charlotte of Wurtemberg, was apparently too politically crucial to receive heartfelt thoughts in writing. Napoleon left about 20 of the original words untouched, with Josephine's hand nearly completely erased. According to manuscript specialist Thierry Bodin, “In this instance, Napoleon wanted to make a political union with the Queen Charlotte's daughter, so he dictated what she could say. More broadly, it shows how women's roles became more submissive in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

____

Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-11-18-14 1433GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Catherine of Aragon pleads her case against divorce from Henry VIII. Painting by Henry Nelson O'Neil. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 13:47
 

Napoleon's bicorne hat auctioned off for $2.2M

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Written by ANTOINE FROIDEFOND   
Monday, 17 November 2014 10:39
Napoleon wears a large bicorne hat in this portrait by Édouard Detaille (French. 1848-1912). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. PARIS (AFP) – One of Napoleon's famous two-pointed hats was sold on Sunday to a South Korean collector for nearly 1.9 million euros ($2.2 million) at an auction outside Paris.

The black felted beaver fur "bicorne" hat is one of only 19 examples left of the unusual headwear sported by the French emperor.

It sold for 1,884,000 euros, almost five times its estimated value, at a two-day auction of Napoleon memorabilia by Monaco's royal family which raked in a total of 10 million euros, including fees, said French auctioneers Osenat, Binoche and Giquello.

The hat was bought by Lee Tae Kyun, the manager of Korean food industry giant Harim.

"I came for my boss, the head of the company. He wanted to buy it because we have a new building and the hat means something there, for the new generation," said the bidder, requesting anonymity.

"We want to show this hat to make people come ... and because the employees of our company are the same (as Napoleon). We are pioneers in Korea."

During his reign as French emperor – from 1804-1814 and again in 1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have worn around 120 of the hats.

The bicorne, meaning two horizontal points, was a variation on the tricorne – or three-pointed hat – which was popular in the 17th century and favored by American Colonists around the time of the American revolution.

Made by French hatmakers Poupard, Napoleon wore them sideways – rather than with points at the front and back – so he could be easily spotted on the battlefield.

Only two or three of the remaining hats are in private hands with the rest scattered in museums across the world.

The headpiece went under the hammer at Fontainebleau along with some 1,000

pieces of Napoleon memorabilia that belonged to Prince Louis II of Monaco (1870-1949), the great-grandfather of current monarch Prince Albert.

The hat was acquired by Joseph Giraud, a vet in Napoleon's household, and remained in his family until 1926 when it was sold to Prince Louis' collection.

Other items sold include a pair of Napoleon's stockings, a shirt and a red cotton scarf, which sold for 32,200 euros.

A massive bust of the former emperor sold for 700,000 euros and a painting by French artist Paul Delaroche went for 460,000.

Also under the hammer were trophies seized by Prussian troops at Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated in battle, leading to the end of his rule as emperor. Among those items were embroidered shoes belonging to his infant son and an ivory watch.

Another notable item was a kitchen knife found on student Friedrich Staps who intended to use it to assassinate Napoleon in Austria in October 1809, a crime for which he was executed by firing squad.

The collection, which also includes letters and documents relating to Napoleon's reign, military exploits and exile and imprisonment on St. Helena, had been kept at the principality's Napoleon Museum in Monte Carlo.

The Grimaldi family is selling a number of pieces having decided to pursue new museum projects.

"It's a very well-known collection, the provenance of the pieces is incontestable," Thierry Lentz, director of the Napoleon Foundation, told AFP.

Two hundred years after his reign, Napoleon remains a deeply popular historical figure. The main French association in his memory currently has around 4,000 members.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Napoleon wears a large bicorne hat in this portrait by Édouard Detaille (French. 1848-1912). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Last Updated on Monday, 17 November 2014 10:58
 

First Hasselblad camera used in space sells for $275,000

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Written by Auction House PR   
Friday, 14 November 2014 12:18
The first Hasselblad camera body and Zeiss lens carried into orbit by Wally Schirra on Mercury-Atlas 8 sold Thursday for $275,000. RR Auction image.

BOSTON – The first Hasselblad camera body and Zeiss lens carried into space during the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission in 1962 and again on the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission the following year sold for $275,000 on Thursday, according to Massachusetts-based RR Auction.

Wally Schirra reportedly purchased the Hasselblad 500c camera at a Houston photo supply shop in 1962, and brought it back to NASA for mission use preparation.

The modifications that were made by the U.S. Air Force camera laboratory in conjunction with Wally Schirra and fellow astronaut Gordon Cooper included the installation of a 100-exposure film back, an aiming device mounted on the side, and modification of the camera surface, plus the original metal facing was repainted black to minimize reflections.

Following the camera’s initial success with Schirra on MA-8, Cooper used a Hasselblad – along with the same Zeiss lens on the next Mercury mission, MA-9.

“In terms of photograph quality the Hasselblad camera at the time was in a league of its own – and it was this camera that would forever change our view of Earth,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction.

“The camera was purchased by a well-known collector of space artifacts – someone that we believe will properly curate the camera for future generations,” added Livingston.

The single lot auction took place on Nov. 13, at RR Auction’s Boston Gallery.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
The first Hasselblad camera body and Zeiss lens carried into orbit by Wally Schirra on Mercury-Atlas 8 sold Thursday for $275,000. RR Auction image.
Last Updated on Friday, 14 November 2014 12:25
 

Bonhams auctions artifacts over Mexico’s objections

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Written by CLAUDIA TORRENS, Associated Press   
Friday, 14 November 2014 09:48
NEW YORK (AP) – The London-based Bonhams auction house sold off a collection of pre-Hispanic artifacts Wednesday over the objections of the Mexican government, which says at least half the pieces are fake and the rest rightly belong to it as national heritage.

Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said it “had offered the auction house specialized assistance in determining the authenticity of the artifacts, but the auctioneers ignored this proposal.”

A total of 314 pieces were auctioned Wednesday, including African and Oceanic art. The Mexican pieces included sculptures, ceramic vessels and other artifacts from the Aztec, Mayan and other cultures, many from the private Scott & Stuart Gentling Collection.

Bonhams said in a statement that “there was heavy interest in the section featuring works of art from the Scott & Stuart Gentling Collection, with many of the lots having sold above their high estimates.”

One of the pieces the Mexican institute identified as a forgery, an earthenware sculpture of a “large Maya Female Dignitary, Jaina,” sold for $25,000 to a private California collector.

“The INAH condemns the fact that Bonhams ... has put up for sale fake pieces,” the institute said in a statement. “With this action, Bonhams has contributed to the commission of a fraud.”

The institute said Bonhams violated a 1970 U.S.-Mexico treaty for the recovery and return of stolen cultural artifacts and a 1972 Mexican law that prohibits the purchase and sale of archaeological pieces. That law allowed some previously existing collections to remain in private hands if they were registered with the government.

Bonhams spokeswoman Lucinda Bredin said the British auction house takes such claims seriously and is evaluating the “new information” about the collection. She said Bonhams thoroughly investigates the provenance of all items it auctions to ensure it meets legal requirements.

“We work closely with Interpol, government authorities, the Art Loss Register as well as institutions and academics with expertise in this area to ensure that provenance is correct and that we have complied with applicable legal requirements, which is exceptionally important to our business,” Bredin wrote in a statement.

The auction opened Wednesday morning in New York with about 15 people present. Bids were also taken by phone and Internet. No Mexican government representatives were at Bonhams' New York branch for the auction, but institute experts had visited the gallery to look at some of the displayed pieces.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-11-12-14 2306GMT

 

 

 

 

Sotheby’s sells Queen Josephine’s pearl necklace for $3.42M

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:32
From a private collection, formerly in the collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais, queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-1876), natural pearl and diamond necklace. Sold for CHF 3,301,000 ($3,426,669 US). Image courtesy Sotheby's GENEVA (AFP) – A pearl necklace that belonged to Josephine de Beauharnais, a 19th-century queen of Sweden, sold at auction in Geneva on Wednesday for $3.42 million (2.73 million euros).

It was one lot in a sale of high-end jewelry organized by auction house Sotheby's that raised a total of $95 million.

Josephine, who was queen consort of Sweden and Norway from 1844 to 1859, bore the same name as her illustrious grandmother, Josephine de Beauharnais (1763-1814) – the first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The necklace, which includes seven pear-shaped pearls, had an estimated value of between $800,000 and $1.5 million.

Wednesday's sale also included several pieces from the collection of Greek financier Dimitri Mavrommatis with an estimated combined value of $20 million.

The star of the collection was an 8.62 carat Burmese ruby set in a ring known as the Graff Ruby, acquired by London jeweler Laurence Graff in 2006 for $3.6 million.

Graff sold it to Mavrommatis for an undisclosed sum, and it garnered $8.6 million on Wednesday.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
From a private collection, formerly in the collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais, queen of Sweden and Norway (1807-1876), natural pearl and diamond necklace. Sold for CHF 3,301,000 ($3,426,669 US). Image courtesy Sotheby's
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:39
 

Warhol images of Elvis, Brando fetch $151M at Christie's

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Written by AFP wire service   
Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:16
Andy Warhol (1928-1987), 'Triple Elvis [Ferus Type],' silkscreen ink and silver paint on linen, 82 x 69 inches (208.73 x 175.3 cm), executed in 1963, sold for $81.9 million. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2014 NEW YORK (AFP) – Two iconic Andy Warhol paintings of Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando sold for more than $151 million at auction in New York on Wednesday, shattering estimates by several million dollars.

Pop-art legend Warhol's Triple Elvis – a 1963 silkscreen depicting three images of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll posing as a gunslinging cowboy – sold for $81.9 million at the Christie's sale.

The striking 7-foot tall work, derived from a publicity still for the 1960 Don Siegel-directed Western Flaming Star, had been estimated to fetch $60 million.

The final sale price topped out at more than $20 million above the estimate after six minutes of frenzied bidding.

It was a similar story for the other Warhol classic sold Wednesday, Four Marlons, a giant set of four images of the legendary actor taken from his 1953 motorcycle gang classic The Wild One.

Both of Wednesday's auction prices however were well short of the all-time record for a Warhol work set by Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), which fetched $105.4 million in November last year at Sotheby's.

A flurry of bids also greeted the sale of Cy Twombly's Untitled from his blackboard series, which went under the hammer for the first time.

The painting – a series of energetic looping spirals resembling chalk scribblings on a school blackboard – sold for $69.6 million, the highest amount ever paid for a work by the American, who died three years ago in Italy.

Several world records were set for masterpieces sold on Wednesday, including $30.4 million raised for Smash by Ed Ruscha, regarded as one of the leading lights of the American pop-art movement.

American photographer Cindy Sherman, 60, also set a record with her Untitled Film Stills, which fetched $6.8 million. Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's White No. 28 earned $7.1 million, smashing its estimate of between $1.5 million and $2 million.

Revered British artist Francis Bacon's Seated Figure meanwhile sold for $44.96 million, in the lower range of price estimates set between $40 million and $60 million.

A Bacon triptych – Three Studies of Lucian Freud – sold for $142.4 million last year, the highest ever price for a work of art sold at auction, surpassing the previous best of $119.9 million raised for the fourth print of Edvard Munch's The Scream set in May 2012.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Andy Warhol (1928-1987), 'Triple Elvis [Ferus Type],' silkscreen ink and silver paint on linen, 82 x 69 inches (208.73 x 175.3 cm), executed in 1963, sold for $81.9 million. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2014 Andy Warhol (1928-1987), 'Four Marlons,' silkscreen ink on unprimed linen, 81 x 65 inches (205.7 x 165.1 cm), executed in 1966. Price realized: $69,605,000. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2014 Christie’s auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen hammers down Warhol’s 'Triple Elvis (Ferus Type)' which achieved $81.9 million. Courtesy Christie's Images Ltd 2014
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:55
 

A. Lange & Söhne watch could wind up at $250,000 in Heritage sale

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 14:21
Heritage Auctions anticipates this A. Lange & Söhne Glashütte ref. 701.005 platinum Tourbillon NEW YORK – A fine and rare A. Lange & Söhne Glashütte Ref. 701.005 platinum Tourbillon "Pour le Mérite" wristwatch, No. 42 of a limited edition of 50 examples made in 1996, is expected to bring $250,000 or more when it crosses the block as the top lot in Heritage Auctions’ Watches & Fine Timepieces Signature® Auction, Nov. 20. The watch is being offered for the first time at auction and has been consigned by its original owner.

“This tourbillon chronometer is without exception the most prestigious of all wristwatches produced by A. Lange & Söhne,” said Jim Wolf, director of watches and fine timepieces at Heritage. “It represents the culmination of more than 150 years of experience in the production of high quality precision timepieces and is among the most sought-after timepieces in the world.”

A Rolex Ref. 6062 gold “Star” dial automatic triple calendar wristwatch with moon phases, circa 1952 – a vintage Rolex watch that is also rare – is already drawing considerable collector attention in the lead-up to the auction, with its unusual dial and $100,000-plus estimate. The reference 6062 was launched in 1950, during the so called “Rolex Festival,” marking the 70th birthday of the founder, Hans Wildorf, the 25th year of the Oyster case, and 20th year of the Auto Rotor.

A superlative, historically important prototype Franck Muller gold minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and moon phases, circa 1986, is expected to bring $70,000-plus when it crosses the block, while a classic Rolex ref. 6542 Oyster perpetual GMT-Master with a Bakelite bezel, circa 1956, is expected to bring $60,000-plus and a fine Patek Philippe Ref. 5140G-001 sealed white gold perpetual calendar with moon phases, leap year and 24 hour indication is expected to realized a final price in the same $60,000-plus range.

Further highlights include:

– Lange & Söhne ref. 310.025 platinum Langematik Perpetual: estimate $50,000-plus.

– Jaeger LeCoultre ref. 146.2.34.S rose gold one minute Tourbillon Regulator, 24 hour indication, special date function: estimate $35,000-plus.

– Jaeger-LeCoultre, Swiss Triple Flying Tourbillon prototype clock, ref. no. 3-215-006: circa 1980, estimate: $30,000-plus.

– Chopard Haute Joaillerie diamond and sapphire women's gold wristwatch, circa 2014, estimate: $20,000-plus.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Heritage Auctions anticipates this A. Lange & Söhne Glashütte ref. 701.005 platinum Tourbillon
Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 17:42
 

Patek Philippe pocket watch sells for record $21.3M

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:01

The Patek Philippe 'Henry Graves Supercomplication,' 1925. Image courtesy of Sotheby's

GENEVA (AFP) – A gold watch billed as the most expensive – and most complicated – in the world fetched a record $21.3 million (17.1 million euros) when it went under the hammer in Switzerland on Tuesday, the Sotheby's auction house involved said.

The sale of the Patek Philippe "Henry Graves Supercomplication", a handcrafted timepiece named after its original owner, a New York banker who ordered it in 1925, was the main event at a jewel and watch auction held in Geneva.

The watch, which weighs more than half a kilo and comprises 900 separate parts, had been estimated to go for a lower amount, $15 million. But frenzied bidding pushed the price up higher, and the final amount paid was "a new world record," the auctioneer said.







ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

The Patek Philippe 'Henry Graves Supercomplication,' 1925. Image courtesy of Sotheby's  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 14:13
 

Sotheby’s auctions 2 Rothko paintings for $76.5M

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Written by AFP wire service   
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 09:57

Mark Rothko, 'Untitled,' oil on canvas, signed on the stretcher, 68 x 54 in. 172.7 x 137.2 cm. Executed in 1970. Est. $15/20 million. Sold for $39,925,000. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

NEW YORK (AFP) – A pair of paintings by iconic abstract expressionist artist Mark Rothko sold Monday for a whopping $76.5 million, the auction house Sotheby's said.

Rothko's Untitled, a blue and purple oil painting from 1970 sold for $39.9 million. It was estimated to earn up to $20 million.

Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange), an oil painting created in 1955, fetched $36.6 million and was expected to sell for as much as $30 million.

Final sale prices include commission, while estimates do not.

On Twitter, the auction house said earnings from the Rothko works "exceeded expectations."

The paintings came from the private collection of Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, heir to the Listerine mouthwash fortune, who died in March.

Two more Rothko paintings will go on sale Tuesday – an acrylic painting called Untitled from 1969 and No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange), an oil painting created in 1951.

U.S.-born Rothko, who died in 1970, became a giant of the modern art world through his characteristic style. His works feature a seemingly simple but arresting juxtaposition of blocks of vibrant color.


ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

 Mark Rothko, 'Untitled,' oil on canvas, signed on the stretcher, 68 x 54 in. 172.7 x 137.2 cm. Executed in 1970. Est. $15/20 million. Sold for $39,925,000. Image courtesy Sotheby's.

Mark Rothko, 'Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange),' 1955, signed and dated 1955 on the reverse, oil on canvas, 81 1/2 x 60 in. 207 x 152.5 cm. Est. $20/30 million. Sold for $36,565,000. Image courtesy Sotheby's. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:12
 

Action Comics #1 could top $350,000 at Heritage Auctions

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 10 November 2014 17:20
Unrestored copy of 'Action Comics #1' (DC, 1938), which marks the first appearance of Superman. Heritage Auctions image. BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – An unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) CGC 3.0, the most desirable comic book in the world, is expected to bring $350,000 or more when it crosses the block at Heritage Auctions as part of the company’s Nov. 20-22 Comics & Comic Art Signature® Auction.

The copy of Action #1, being offered for the first time at auction, is the top comic in the Prospect Mountain Collection, a fresh-to-the-hobby grouping of more than 2,000 Golden Age comic books collected in the late 1950s and 1960s by a former Navy sailor studying illustration on the G.I. Bill in New York City.

“It was a great time to find desirable Golden Age back issues,” said Barry Sandoval, director of operations for Comic and Comic Art at Heritage. “He was able to build a collection of key Golden Age comics on the budget of a student studying under the G.I. Bill, something clearly impossible today. Having experienced World War II as a child he was interested in war-themed covers and the result was a focus on Timely comics and the 1930s and 1940s superheroes.”

It was an interest in the great illustrators of the Golden Age, and in his favorite characters, which led him to acquire many issues that are now thought of as “keys” in the business, or classic covers, including a 5.0 CGC-Graded copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940), estimated at $75,000+, a 6.0 CGC-Graded copy of Captain America Comics #1 (Timely, 1841), estimated at $70,000-plus, and a 6.0 CGC-graded copy of Wonder Woman #1 (DC, 1942), estimated at $7,000-plus.

The top lot on the original comic art side of the auction is sure to cause a storm with collectors as Todd McFarlane’s Amazing Spider-Man #300 original cover art (Marvel, 1988), one of the most important comic images of the 1980s, is expected to bring $250,000-plus.

“McFarlane art in general has seen a giant increase in demand over the last several years,” said Todd Hignite, vice president at Heritage Auctions, “with one of his pieces selling for more than $650,000 at Heritage two years ago. This is a key piece of cover art and one of his most famous covers overall, so the competition should be fierce among the top collectors.”

Top comic art collectors not looking for the McFarlane art will likely have their eyes on Frank Frazetta’s Jongor Fights Back paperback book cover painting original art (Popular Library, 1967), an example of fantasy art at its very finest, by the undisputed master of the genre, estimated at $200,000-plus.

A CGC-Graded 9.4 copy of Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1962), the vaunted first appearance of Thor, is expected to bring $180,000+ from collectors when it crosses the block as the best copy of this important comic book ever offered by Heritage.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Unrestored copy of 'Action Comics #1' (DC, 1938), which marks the first appearance of Superman. Heritage Auctions image.
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 17:37
 

Records fall at Christie’s $19M Patek Philippe auction

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Written by AFP wire service   
Monday, 10 November 2014 14:12
This rare pink gold Patek Philippe watch sold for  $2.67 million at Christie's Sunday. Christie's Images Limited image GENEVA – Records tumbled at a special auction in Geneva Sunday to mark 175 years of Patek Philippe watches, with a rare pink gold item going for $2.67 million, auctioneers Christie's said.

The auction of 100 wrist and pocket watches brought in a total of $19,731,099, double the original estimate, and set nine world records in the process. Christie's said in a statement after the three-hour bidding battle.

The top lot of the evening was the pink gold watch, manufactured in 1951 by the Geneva-based maker, and one of only four of its kind known to the market.

"This sale has exceeded our expectations in every way," said John Reardon, international head of Christie's watch department.

"(It) sets a new benchmark for thematic sales and shows the amazing strength of the Patek Philippe market," he added.

All 125 seats in the sale room had been reserved 48 hours ahead of the auction, and over 300 collectors and watch enthusiasts attended the event.

The sale continues Monday.

The following day Sotheby's will auction off what is billed as the most famous, and expensive, watch in the world, another Patek Philippe creation.

The celebrated timepiece known as the "Henry Graves Supercomplication" after its original owner, a New York banker, was made in the 1930s and estimates say it will sell for $15 million.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
This rare pink gold Patek Philippe watch sold for  $2.67 million at Christie's Sunday. Christie's Images Limited image
Last Updated on Monday, 10 November 2014 14:22
 
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