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Auction Houses in the News

Authenticity of Chiang Kai-shek medal in question

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Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 08:46

Chiang Kai-shek. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

HONG KONG (AP) – A medal awarded to late Taiwanese leader Chiang Kai-shek is going up for auction in Hong Kong, even though Taiwan's defense ministry says it's not the original.

The Order of Blue Sky and White Sun medal is going on the block Friday. It's expected to fetch 3-5 million Hong Kong dollars ($387,000-$645,000).

Auction house Spink says Chiang was awarded the medal in 1930 by his Nationalist government, which ruled much of China while fighting a civil war with the Communists. In 1949, the defeated Nationalists fled to Taiwan and set up a rival regime.

Taiwan's defense ministry said last week, after Spink announced plans for the auction, that Chiang was laid to rest in a mausoleum with the medal when he died in 1975.

But at a press preview on Tuesday for the sale, collector and scholar Chuk Hong-ming said Chiang was buried with a duplicate medal.

“Before 1995, it was the usual practice to give a new set of the medals to a general who passed away for burial,” he said.

The auction house says it's the first time the medal has ever gone up for auction.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-08-21-12 1120GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Chiang Kai-shek. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 09:08
 

Michaan’s Auctions to sell major Tiffany Studios collection

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 09:50
Tiffany Studios 'Grape' table lamp to be offered in Michaan's Nov. 17 auction with a $900,000-$1,200,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Michaan's. ALAMEDA, Calif. – Michaan’s Auctions will sell a renowned Tiffany Studios collection on Nov. 17.

The Alameda, Calif., auctioneer will sell deaccessioned items of the Tiffany Garden Museum Collection of Matsue on the Sea of Japan. The collection came to fruition due in large part to the partnership of Takeo Horiuchi and Alastair Duncan. Horiuchi was the founder and director of the Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum. Duncan is the world’s foremost authority on Art Nouveau artworks and Art Deco, having served as senior vice president of Christie’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco department as well as authoring dozens of books on the decorative arts of the era.

In 1992 Horiuchi attended an exhibition in Japan that Duncan had curated, “The Masterworks of Louis Comfort Tiffany.” Horiuchi was impressed with Duncan’s level of knowledge and took him on a personal tour of his Tiffany Studios collection. Duncan recalls being in awe as he was led to storage room after storage room of outstanding Tiffany Studios pieces, recalling one room with a “crush of Tiffany lamps.”

A working relationship developed with Duncan becoming Horiuchi’s trusted advisor, helping him to seek out and acquire the most coveted Tiffany selections both at auction and from private collections. If Duncan found a masterpiece, Horiuchi became relentless in his pursuit to acquire it. Together they traveled throughout the world, scouting and obtaining the most exceptional Tiffany and Art Nouveau pieces available. Duncan’s expertise and Horiuchi’s determination proved to be a winning combination in amassing what became the finest Tiffany Studios and Art Nouveau collection in existence: the Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum Collection.

When Horiuchi decided to sell the collection, Duncan notified his longtime friend and business associate, Allen Michaan. Michaan quickly assembled a group of private investors to make the transaction possible.

“This acquisition, which is the largest single transaction to ever occur in the world of decorative arts, elevates Michaan’s Auctions from a well-known, fast-growing national player on the antiques and art scene to an entirely new international level. I am very proud and excited that Michaan’s Auctions is at the center of such a history-making event and that we will be able to offer many of these spectacular works of art at our venue,” said Michaan.

Horiuchi opened his first Tiffany museum in Nagoya, Japan, in 1994. He became concerned about the ever-present threat of earthquakes in the city and soon began a search for an alternate locale, eventually settling on the town of Matsue on the Sea of Japan, where he built a museum in which to house his collection.

What set the museum’s treasures apart from many others lay in its quality and comprehensiveness; every artistic discipline produced by Tiffany Studios was represented, with the highest artistic level displayed in each category. Horiuchi’s passion for Tiffany's works of art translated into a level of collecting excellence never before seen.

He expressed his ideals and vision for the collection in the massive 2004 publication, Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, by Alastair Duncan. He closed the museum in Matsue several years later and was preparing to construct a new home for his collections at the base of Mount Fuji as he had decided to relocate it to a location that would generate more visitors.

Following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 3, 2011, the Japanese government published its seismology forecast for future earthquakes in the island nation, predicting a series of earthquakes within the immediate future, three in the region near Mount Fuji. Faced thus with the overwhelming evidence of a catastrophic earthquake that might destroy the collection, Horiuchi made the decision to sell it.

Michaan’s Auctions will present a selection of remarkable Tiffany Studios artworks from the Garden Museum Collection on Nov. 17 in Alameda. This grouping from the finest Tiffany collection ever assembled will account for approximately 140 lots including lamps, windows, vases, paintings, enamels and mosaics. The selection of non-Tiffany paintings from the museum will be offered in the fine art auction on Dec. 1 at Michaan’s Auctions.

Michaan’s Auctions will collaborate with Sotheby’s Paris to offer the French Art Nouveau collection from the Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum in February. Highlights include some of the most important pieces of Gallé furniture ever created as well as numerous objects by Réné Lalique, Louis Majorelle and their contemporary artists exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle and other international exhibitions of that period.

For more information on the Treasures of Louis C. Tiffany from the Garden Museum, Japan auction call 510-740-0220 or visit our website at www.michaans.com.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE
Tiffany Studios 'Grape' table lamp to be offered in Michaan's Nov. 17 auction with a $900,000-$1,200,000 estimate. Image courtesy of Michaan's.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 August 2012 10:44
 

Boston Globe: Internet levels playing field for regional auction houses

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Written by ACNI Staff   
Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:17

Boston-area auctioneer Tonya A. Cameron says Internet live bidding (through LiveAuctioneers.com) has expanded her customer base dramatically. Image courtesy of Tonya A. Cameron.

BOSTON – A report in today’s Boston Globe includes interviews with several LiveAuctioneers.com auction-house clients, in which they discuss the importance Internet live bidding has made to their sales.

In the article, Tonya A. Cameron of Wakefield-based TAC Auctions Inc. tells Boston Globe reporter Taryn Plumb that as Internet bidding continues to grow, she expects fewer buyers will actually be present at the auctions.

“We used to have more live bodies in the house,” says Cameron, who specializes in estates and rose to national prominence with the Aug. 11, 2011 auction of selections from the estate of wrestling legend Walter “Killer” Kowalski.

“In five years, you’re going to see that a lot of auctions will be really ghostly. We won’t have very many in-house buyers,” Cameron predicts.

Click to read the complete Boston Globe article:

http://www.boston.com/yourtown/2012/08/15/regional-auction-houses-rival-big-city-sales/mqt7CIDWeOVgq0hpcg9ObJ/story.html

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Boston-area auctioneer Tonya A. Cameron says Internet live bidding (through LiveAuctioneers.com) has expanded her customer base dramatically. Image courtesy of Tonya A. Cameron.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 09:49
 

Guernsey’s to auction Peterson ‘Field Guide’ artwork

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Written by ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:46

A 1992 edition of a book titled 'The Field Guide Art of Roger Tory Peterson.' Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Philip Weiss Auctions.

NEW YORK (AP) – Artist and naturalist Roger Tory Peterson's illustrated Field Guide series helped popularize bird watching the world over and set the standard for the modern nature guide. Next month, bird lovers will have the chance to buy the original paintings, drawings and photographs that were used to illustrate his system of bird identification.

Peterson's estate is offering hundreds of items on Sept. 8 through Guernsey's Auctioneers. The sale will also include Peterson's preliminary studies including a section on Penguins, a family of birds he especially loved.

Peterson, who died in 1996 at the age of 87, spent a lifetime watching, painting and photographing birds in the wild, drawing comparisons to the 19th century ornithologist John James Audubon.

An accomplished painter and photographer who attended the Art Students League in New York, Peterson's first book, A Field Guide to the Birds, was published in 1934 and has never been out of print. Fifty-two other volumes followed.

“Without the foundation Peterson laid, we would not have the countless number of birding associations, the tremendous number of wildlife refuges, and maybe, not even the Endangered Species Act,” the Roger Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, N.Y., says on its website.

Its education director, Mark Baldwin, said the small nonprofit would love to own some of the “really, really fine pieces” coming up at the auction but that it didn't have the resources. He said he hoped a potential buyer might donate some items to the institute, which was created in 1986 to house Peterson's body of work.

The institute, which is located in the town where Peterson was born and raised, contains other original works from his estate.

Peterson was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award granted to a civilian, in 1980.

Guernsey's said because of the comparison between Peterson and Audubon, it will also offer a collection of more than 30 Audubon prints.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

AP-WF-08-03-12 1820GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

A 1992 edition of a book titled 'The Field Guide Art of Roger Tory Peterson.' Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Philip Weiss Auctions. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:46
 

Leighton Galleries seeking ‘finest jewels and baubles’

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 15:42

 This six-piece group sold recently at Leighton Galleries. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Leighton Galleries.

ALLENDALE, N.J. – Leighton Galleries invites the public to bring the “finest jewels and baubles” to the auction company’s consignment days, Monday, Aug. 6, and the following Monday, Aug. 13. Consignments are being accepted for the first session of their Sept. 6 auction, which will feature Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com.

Leighton Galleries is also seeking high-end couture handbags, clothing and accessories for that auction.

Consignment day is an event held every Monday when customers are welcome to stop by Leighton Galleries’ showroom with items they are interested in selling at an upcoming auction.

They are encouraged to bring items to Leighton Galleries, 6-C Pearl Court, Allendale, NJ 07401. For details email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 201-327-8800.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

  This six-piece group sold recently at Leighton Galleries. Image courtesy LiveAuctioneers.com Archive and Leighton Galleries.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2012 12:02
 

Letters reveal details of search for doomed explorer Scott

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 19 July 2012 14:47
Twenty-seven newly discovered letters, 1910-1912, detailing the expedition to find polar explorer Capt. Robert F. Scott. LONDON – A newly discovered letter describing the discovery of the bodies of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott and his companions on their famous fatal polar journey 100 years ago is to be auctioned.

Written by Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the youngest member of the Terra Nova expedition and one of the 12-man search party who found Scott, the letter will be offered for sale within the Polar section of Christie’s Travel, Science and Natural History auction to be held in South Kensington on Oct. 9.

Preserved by a family member, and hitherto unknown to scholars, the correspondence is part of a series of 27 letters covering the whole span of the expedition from its departure in June 1910 to the sad return of the survivors to New Zealand in February 1913. The correspondence is a major new source by one of the most prominent expedition members and is estimated to fetch between £50,000 and £80,000 ($78,600-$125-800) when sold as a complete collection.

“With hindsight, it feels as if it was always a given that the death of Scott and his companions would be hailed as a paradigm of British heroism, but the letters show us the real fear amongst the expedition members that they would be received as failures, and be subject to hostile criticism, particularly in the press,” said Thomas Venning, Director and Senior Specialist at Christie’s.

The letter dated Nov. 20, 1912, written by expedition-member Cherry-Garrard from the Antarctic, reports, “We have found the bodies of Scott, Wilson & Bowers, and all their records … Their death was, I am quite sure, not a painful one – for men get callous after a period of great hardship – but the long fight before must have been most terrible.” Scott and the doomed polar party of Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans had reached the pole on Jan. 17. After the loss of Evans and Oates on the return march, Scott, Wilson and Bowers, battling on against starvation and blizzards, eventually succumbed in their tent around March 29. Cherry-Garrard, who was one of the 12-man search party who found their bodies six months later on Nov. 12, comments in the letter to his mother, “Theirs is a fine story ... Wilson & Bowers had died very quietly, probably in their sleep.”

Aged just 24 when he volunteered to join Scott's Terra Nova Expedition, Cherry-Garrard was its youngest member. His memoir, The Worst Journey in the World, has become one of the classics of polar literature. It draws its title not from the polar journey but from the terrible sufferings he experienced six months earlier during an expedition with Wilson to visit the breeding grounds of the Emperor Penguin at Cape Crozier in the depths of the Antarctic winter—the plans for which he describes with fatal optimism to his mother: “Old Bill … & I are going to Cape Crozier for some time in the winter if all goes well & that will be great fun I think, but of course very cold.”

Cherry-Garrard experienced a physical and mental breakdown in the months after the loss of Scott's polar party, a period he describes in the correspondence as “about the worst time I have ever had … it has been an absolute hell.” The letters are also notable for his complaints about adverse press coverage of the expedition, which he describes as “nothing less than a tissue of lies,” and his fears of “hostile criticism” on his return home. In the event, Scott and his companions were instantly elevated to the pantheon of British heroism, and it was to be more than 50 years before a critical reassessment of the expedition took place.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Twenty-seven newly discovered letters, 1910-1912, detailing the expedition to find polar explorer Capt. Robert F. Scott. Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Christie's image.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 July 2012 16:40
 

Colorado exec pays $253,000 for Ty Cobb baseball bat

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Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 13 July 2012 10:13

Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers, 1910. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

DETROIT (AP) – A sports management business owner has bid $253,000 to win a 1920s game bat that Hall of Famer Ty Cobb gave to young Detroit Tigers teammate Eddie Onslow.

Tyler Tysdal of Denver outlasted a telephone competitor Tuesday at the Hunt Auctions sale. It was part of the MLB All-Star FanFest in Kansas City, Mo.

Tysdal tells The Associated Press he met and thanked the bat's longtime owner, Onslow's 92-year-old daughter Nancy Purviance of Dublin, Ohio.

Purviance attended the auction as part of a trip to the All-Star Game with four generations of her family.

The daughter says Cobb gave her father the bat as a token of their friendship. She says the men remained friends until Cobb's death in 1961. Onslow died in 1981.

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Online:

Details on bat and letter: http://bit.ly/OxnozP

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-07-11-12 0023GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers, 1910. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Updated on Friday, 13 July 2012 10:22
 

Items from crime fighter Eliot Ness to be auctioned

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Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 08:48

Eliot Ness, chief investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago in 1934. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

CLEVELAND (AP) – A Massachusetts auction house plans to auction memorabilia from crime fighter Eliot Ness, the onetime Cleveland safety director and federal Prohibition Bureau agent whose unit brought down Chicago mobster Al Capone.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports the collection up for auction Sept. 27 includes his signed credentials, his business card and photos of his unsuccessful bid for Cleveland mayor.

Worcester-based Central Mass Auctions says the items were appraised at $30,000 to $50,000 and came from the estate of the lawman's personal secretary. It's not clear how she obtained them.

Ness made his name during the Prohibition era and headed a special unit dubbed “The Untouchables,” which had a reputation that members couldn't be bribed. He worked as Cleveland's safety director in the 1930s.

Ness died in 1957.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Eliot Ness, chief investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago in 1934. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 08:59
 

Waverider announces Aug. 18 date for surf charity auction

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Written by ACNI Staff   
Monday, 25 June 2012 16:07

Image courtesy of Waverider Auctions.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Waverider Auctions will hold one of the largest-ever mainland surf-themed auctions on Aug. 18, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a number of worthy charities. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide the Internet live bidding for the event.

Organizer Seth Schiller said the highlight of the sale is an original Bob Simmons surfboard. A legendary figure who died at the age of 35 while surfing off the coast of San Diego, Simmons (1919-1954) is considered the father of the modern surfboard. The last surfboard shaped by Simmons and offered at auction was sold three years ago for $40,000. The board in the Aug. 18 auction could make $60,000 or more, Schiller said.

Auction Central News will be running a full preview of the sale in July, with links to the online auction catalog.

To contact Waverider Auctions, call 714-594-3931 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Image courtesy of Waverider Auctions. 

Last Updated on Monday, 25 June 2012 16:23
 

Geo. Washington's copy of Constitution earns $9.8M at Christie's

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 25 June 2012 08:35

President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress was printed and bound especially for him by a New York bookbinder, Thomas Allen. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

NEW YORK (AP) – A book once owned by George Washington containing his annotated copy of the U.S. Constitution has sold for nearly $10 million at a New York auction.

A spokesman for Christie's auction house says it's a new world record for a historical document.

Christie's says the bidder was a representative of the nonprofit educational organization that operates the museum at Washington's Virginia home. The 223-year-old book has “President of the United States” on the cover and also contains a copy of the Bill of Rights. Washington added brackets and notes that highlighted key passages about the responsibility of the president.

It sold for $9.8 million Friday to the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union. The book will be returned to the library at Mount Vernon.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-23-12 0108GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress was printed and bound especially for him by a New York bookbinder, Thomas Allen. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

The front page of President Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

George Washington signed the top of the front page. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 September 2012 08:40
 

Texas firm purchases New Orleans Auction Galleries' assets

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Written by CATHERINE SAUNDERS-WATSON, Auction Central News International   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 16:21

Logo for New Orleans, the Crescent City. Art by APoincot, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

NEW ORLEANS (ACNI) – Fourteen months ago, New Orleans Auction Galleries (NOAG) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On June 1, 2012, assets of the Louisiana company – which had long been synonymous with the sale of antiques and fine art from gracious Southern estates – went under the hammer.

At the auction, which was conducted in the office of Attorney Stewart F. Peck of Lugenbuhl, Wheaton, Peck, Rankin & Hubbard, the assets of New Orleans Auction Galleries were purchased by Cakebread Art Antiques Collectables, Inc., a firm owned by Houston businesswoman Susan Krohn.

Previously an investor in NOAG, Krohn was one of approximately 200 creditors listed in the bankruptcy petition. But contrary to rumor, the money the bankrupt auction house owed to Krohn was not applied toward Cakebread's purchase of the company’s assets.

In a June 6 telephone interview, Attorney Peck confirmed to Auction Central News that three pre-qualified bidders had competed for NOAG’s assets – M.S. Rau Antiques LLC, Aschaffenburg Assets LLC, and Cakebread. The purchase price was not disclosed, although there has been speculation within New Orleans’ antiques trade that it was in the vicinity of $1.3-$1.5 million.

“New Orleans Auction Galleries will emerge stronger and better as a result of this auction,” Attorney Peck said. “The new owner has big plans for the company.”

New Orleans Auction Galleries’ new president, Ashton Thomas, replaces former boss Jean Vidos and will run day-to-day operations at the gallery. Thomas confirmed to Auction Central News that the majority of NOAG’s staff of 15 are still employed by the gallery, “with no sign that there will be any changes in the immediate future.”

“Most of the information that has been out there recently has been wrong to some degree or another,” Thomas said, stressing that Cakebread purchased NOAG’s assets, not the business itself. “It is a new tax entity that does not assume the other company’s liabilities.”

Thomas said the new ownership has a long-range plan in place for NOAG. “We’re starting with a fresh coat of paint and putting our own stamp on [the business], but our first priority is improving relationships with consignors and buyers. We want to run the auction house in a way that will make them want to consign with us,” he said.

Thomas expressed excitement and optimism about the company’s future. “We’re going to bring it back bigger and better than ever. I have confidence that will happen,” he said. “We want to make our auctions entertaining and fun, and to make the gallery a destination.”

NOAG’s first auction under new ownership will be a July 21-22 sale of fine and decorative art. Consignments are currently being accepted. As in the past, Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.com.

To contact New Orleans Auction Galleries, call 504-566-1849 or 800-501-0277; e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The gallery is located at 801 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130.

Read ACN's previous coverage on this subject:

http://acn.liveauctioneers.com/index.php/features/auction-houses/4315-new-orleans-auction-galleries-in-recovery-plan-to-reorganize-debts

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Copyright 2012 Auction Central News International. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Logo for New Orleans, the Crescent City. Art by APoincot, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:01
 

George Washington's copy of Constitution on auction block

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Written by SARAH PARNASS, Associated Press   
Thursday, 14 June 2012 10:50

President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress was printed and bound especially for him by a New York bookbinder, Thomas Allen. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

WASHINGTON (AP) – George Washington's 223-year-old copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights are expected to go for bids of $2 million to $3 million at auction next week.

The documents are bound in a book that contains notes in Washington's handwriting, including notations of the responsibilities of the president. The book was displayed for reporters at a hotel in the nation's capital on Tuesday. Christie's auction house plans to offer the documents to bidders on June 22 in New York.

Thomas Lecky, head of Christie's books and manuscripts department, called the book “certainly on the one hand of great things” to have passed through the auction house in his time. This copy of the Constitution, bound by Thomas Allen of New York in 1789, was one of a set of three. The other two copies went to President Thomas Jefferson and John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Washington's documents rank, Lecky said, among the more notable items previously auctioned by Christie's, such as one of Shakespeare's first folios, Abraham Lincoln's 1864 victory speech, and three copies of John James Audubon's Birds of America.

In a room lit by chandeliers, Christie's senior specialist for books and manuscripts Chris Coover used no gloves as he lifted the book's pages. The book is in exceptional condition, Coover said, because of its high-quality paper and the care that its previous owners had shown for it.

The paper hosting the articles that serve as a foundation for the country's laws were thick and largely unmarked, save for Washington's own notes, scribbled in pencil in the margins. Most of the notes showed sections bracketed off and marked “president,” indicating the duties and responsibilities Washington saw as his own.

Washington also signed his name on the title page, a sprawling line in the top right corner.

The documents are unique, Coover and Lecky said, because Washington rarely wrote in the margins of his volumes. With no Kindle or iPad on hand to drop in electronic bookmarks, the first president used a pencil to annotate the Constitution.

The estimated winning bid for the volume shown Tuesday is based on the final bid for a 1787 letter that Washington wrote about the Constitution, Coover said. Christie's sold that document in 2009 for $3.2 million, Coover said.

The documents displayed Tuesday were part of the estate of H. Richard Dietrich Jr., an art collector and businessman from Chester Springs, Pa., who died in 2007.

After Washington's death in December 1799, his copy of the Constitution remained at his Mount Vernon library until relatives sold it in 1876 along with about 100 other items. After that, Coover said, it fell into several different hands before Dietrich bought it at an auction in 1964.

William M. Ferraro, associate editor of the Papers of George Washington project at the University of Virginia, said records show that Washington's Constitution fetched $13 the first time it was sold, and $1,150 when it sold again less than two decades later.

The auction house's estimate of $3 million might be a little high, Ferraro said, “but these sort of things don't come up all the time.” He said the annotations in the margins—not Washington's signature—make the book unique.

The original Constitution was adopted March 4, 1789, less than two months before Washington took office, and the Bill of Rights, containing 10 amendments limiting the power of the government, was added Dec. 15, 1791.

Washington's copy of the Bill of Rights, published before it was fully vetted, contains 12 amendments.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-12-12 2134GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

 President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress was printed and bound especially for him by a New York bookbinder, Thomas Allen. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

The front page of President Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of the First Congress. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.    

George Washington signed the top of the front page. Image courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2012.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 June 2012 11:26
 

New joint venture launched: Legend-Morphy Rare Coin Auctions

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 15:06

Image courtesy of Morphy's.

DENVER, Pa. – Two of the country’s most influential and respected collectibles experts, auction house owner Dan Morphy and antique coin authority Laura Sperber, have joined forces to establish Legend-Morphy Rare Coin Auctions. The new firm, which will produce a minimum of two rare coin auctions per year, represents a powerful merger of numismatic knowledge and auction-management experience.

Morphy is CEO and owner of Morphy Auctions in Denver, Pa., while Sperber is a renowned US coin expert and founding owner of Legend Numismatics Inc. The third key player behind the new operation is Julie Abrams, who co-founded the groundbreaking digitized coin-auction company Teletrade in 1986, long before Internet auctions existed. Abrams will serve as president of Legend-Morphy, overseeing all executive matters and day-to-day operations.

Morphy said the new company will take an innovative approach to numismatic sales. “As I see it, the coin auction world has always been about business and numbers. What it has lacked is personalized service at both ends of a transaction – for the customer who is buying just as much as for the consignor who is selling. Morphy-Legend will certainly be run like a world-class rare coin business if Laura and Julie are involved. They’re consummate professionals, both in their business acumen and knowledge of coins. But the three of us are also committed to injecting excitement and passion into the process of buying and selling fine coins. Morphy’s has an enthusiastic support team on board to help us make that vision a reality,” Morphy said.

Legend-Morphy’s auctions will be conducted live at Morphy’s southeastern Pennsylvania gallery and other venues, with some of the auction dates and locations chosen specifically to coincide with major coin shows. All of the company's sales will include Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.com. Morphy’s staff will handle pre- and post-event duties, catalog production and shipping.

“I think collectors will react very enthusiastically to our new venture because we’re a fresh enterprise that’s approaching the auction business from a collector’s point of view,” said Sperber, who operates at the highest echelons of the numismatic hobby. Over the years, Sperber’s New Jersey-based Legend Numismatics has owned some of the rarest US coins in existence and has brokered a number of monumental private-treaty deals, including the $36 million private sale of a single intact collection.

Sperber said the concept behind Legend-Morphy has been brewing for several years. “Dan has had a long involvement with coins. He started collecting them as a boy, and by the time he was 12, he was already actively buying and selling coins and other types of antiques and collectibles. He and I collaborated on a few coin sales in the past, and they were very successful, but we knew that in order for our collaboration to be a long-term venture, we needed additional staff and more gallery space,” Sperber said. “Morphy’s has since doubled both its gallery size and staff, and has built a phenomenal customer base of more than 350,000 collectors worldwide. With those points checked off our list, Dan and I felt there was only one item of unfinished business to attend to – signing on Julie Abrams, the person whose Internet coin-trading experience and executive abilities would ensure our success.”

Abrams described the joint venture between Morphy and Sperber as “a meeting of the minds…on one hand you have one of the country’s top auction houses wanting to start a coin division, and on the other hand, the top coin dealer wanting to start an auction division. It’s two fabulous companies joining forces at the right time, and I’m incredibly excited that they asked me to spearhead the venture for them.”

In addition to working with Sperber and Morphy on consignments, publicity and marketing, Abrams will be representing Legend-Morphy at all major coin shows and conventions. Like Sperber, Abrams is impressively credentialed and is a member of the ANA and other prestigious numismatic organizations.

Legend-Morphy Rare Coin Auctions will launch its new operation with an Oct. 10, 2012 sale at Morphy’s gallery. Already, several stellar coins have been confirmed for consignment to the event. A preview selection will be on display Aug. 7-11 at the ANA Convention in Philadelphia, and at several other coin shows. Legend-Morphy will have a presence at the booth 55, the Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo, June 28-30 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

The company’s website, www.legendmorphy.com, is expected to go live in late June. To inquire about consigning, call 717-335-3435 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

Image courtesy of Morphy's.

Laura Sperber, co-owner of Legend-Morphy Coins LLC

Dan Morphy, co-owner of Legend-Morphy Coins LLC

Julie Abrams, president of Legend-Morphy Coins LLC

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:15
 

Union art handlers, Sotheby's resolve contract dispute

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Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 04 June 2012 10:57

International Brotherhood of Teamsters logo. PRNewsFoto/International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington, DC.

NEW YORK (AP) – Art handlers and Sotheby's auction house in New York have resolved their contract dispute.

Teamsters Local 814 announced Thursday that workers had voted to approve a new agreement that includes pay raises and maintains health and retirement benefits.

Sotheby's had locked out 42 art handlers and hired temporary workers to replace them last August after the contract expired in July.

The union had said the company wanted to offer buyouts and replace some of the unionized art handlers with nonunion labor.

Sotheby's released a statement saying they were pleased with the new collective bargaining agreement.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-06-01-12 0229GMT



ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

International Brotherhood of Teamsters logo. PRNewsFoto/International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Washington, DC. 

Last Updated on Monday, 04 June 2012 11:08
 

Controversial auction of Reagan's blood ends with gift to foundation

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 24 May 2012 08:37

Glass vial holding a sample of President Ronald Reagan's blood, which was drawn after an assassination attempt in 1981. The vial will now become part of the archive at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Image courtesy of PFC Auctions.

GUERNSEY, Channel Islands - PFC Auctions, whose May 24, 2012 online auction made worldwide headlines after an uproar over a laboratory vial of President Ronald Reagan's blood, has ended amicably. A spokesperson for the auction house has announced that the controversial lot entered in the sale has been withdrawn and will be donated to The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

"What has not been widely reported is that the auction consignor purchased the item at a public auction in the USA in February 2012 for $3,550," a PFC Auctions statement says. "Bidding on the PFC Auctions website currently stands at $30,086, and we have negotiated with the consignor to arrange for the item to be withdrawn from the auction and donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, a considerable financial gesture from the consignor."

The consignor, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: "I realized what an important artifact this was when bidding in the US auction. I am a serious collector of Presidential memorabilia, and have donated to museums before, and thought from the provenance supplied at the auction where I purchased [it], that the Reagan Foundation had no interest in the item. I have dealt with the team at PFC Auctions for over 10 years so they were naturally my first choice when I chose to re-auction the item. The publicity generated by PFC Auctions for their current auction has clearly highlighted the importance of this historical artifact, and I would personally be delighted to see [it] put on public display by the Foundation. This now concludes matters to the benefit of The Ronald Reagan Foundation, and protects the legacy of Ronald Reagan as a President of the United States."

John Heubusch, the executive director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, said: "We are very pleased with this outcome and wish to thank the consignor and PFC Auctions for their assistance in this matter. While we contend that the removal of the vial from the hospital laboratory and the US auction sale in February 2012 were not legal acts in our opinion, we are grateful to the current custodian of the vial for this generous donation to the Foundation Ensuring President Reagan’s blood remains out of public hands.”

PFC's auction, which contains such iconic and quirky pop culture items as the serape jacket worn by Bob Dylan on the cover of The Basement Tapes LP, a slice of cake from the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and even snips of hair from Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber and Marilyn Monroe, will close for bidding later today.

Visit PFC Auctions online at www.pfcauctions.com.

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ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE

Glass vial holding a sample of President Ronald Reagan's blood, which was drawn after an assassination attempt in 1981. The vial will now become part of the archive at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. Image courtesy of PFC Auctions. 

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2012 09:06
 

Rago schedules special auction preview June 2-3 in Philly

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 12:38
PHILADELPHIA – Rago Arts and Auction Center of Lambertville, N.J., invites customers to preview highlights from their June 16-17 auction of 20th/21st Century Design on Saturday, June 2, and Sunday, June 3, from noon to 5 p.m. EDT at 10 Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

Marguerite Rodgers Interior Design of Philadelphia will curate the preview at the luxury high-rise condominium on historic Rittenhouse Square.

Those who wish to attend the preview are asked to RSVP to Rago Auctions; email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone 609-397-9374 ext. 119.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 May 2012 14:46
 
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