Published: November 5, 2019
Notable sales, detailed in our November 15, 2019 issue, continue in abundance across the United States. Literary enthusiasts drove the final bid of a rare handwritten letter by Jane Austen to more than $200,000 at Bonhams, while a Peter Beard painting, “Running Giraffe,” sold for $60,000 at Christie’s Collector week. Furniture did well with a set of 12 mahogany Danish Midcentury Modern chairs going to an online bidder for $11,000 in Philadelphia. At 5th Avenue Auctions, an antique French Regence commode finished at $3,400, and a set of five Christian Liaigre for Holly Hunt counter stools settled at $2,700. Other sales highlighted this week include a funky AMI Continental stereo round jukebox and an assortment of artwork.
NEW YORK CITY – A rare handwritten letter by Jane Austen sold for $200,075 at Bonhams fine books and manuscripts sale on October 23, establishing a new world record at auction for an autograph letter signed by the novelist. It had been estimated at $80/120,000. From the famous Dodge family autograph collection, the letter is full of lively detail, wit and charm, vividly echoing the world she deftly portrayed in her novels. Austen (1775-1817) wrote the letter to her sister Cassandra, her most frequent and intimate correspondent. Earlier that day, Austen had accompanied her three nieces to Mr Spence the dentist, and she gave Cassandra a lively account of their ordeal, “The poor Girls & their Teeth!…we were a whole hour at Spence’s, & Lizzy’s were filed & lamented over again & poor Marianne had two taken out after all…we heard each of the two sharp hasty screams.” For information, www.bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.
NEW YORK CITY – Christie’s Collector week, a three-day series of sales taking place from October 15-17, collectively totaled $6,578,125. The week of sales concluded with the collection of Lee Bouvier Radziwill, which totaled $1,266,000, and was 94 percent sold by lot and 96 percent sold by value. There was global participation with bidders from 27 countries spanning five continents. A notable lot was Peter Beard’s (b 1938) painting “Running Giraffe,” 1960, which sold for $60,000. For information, 212-636-2000 or www.christies.com.
PHILADELPHIA – A rare large set of 12 mahogany Danish Midcentury Modern chairs in the manner of Dunbar brought the top price at Kamelot’s October 12 sale. A representative for the auction house said it is rare to find a full set of chairs in such good condition. Consigned by a client in Rittenhouse Square, the set had been estimated at $2,5/4,000 but competition among bidders surpassed that and it sold to an online bidder for $11,000. For information, 215-438-6990 or www.kamelotauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – “Do you prefer antiques or modern?” That was the question posed by Adam Hutter as his firm’s 5th Avenue Auctions conducted a sale on October 20 featuring estates from Staten Island, Central Park South, East Hampton and more. Both categories were on offer and both drew good results, with an antique French Regence commode having an overhang marble top above four bronze mounted drawers, brass and gilt painted fluting finishing at $3,400, while a set of five Christian Liaigre for Holly Hunt counter stools, ebonized wood with leather seats, was bid to $2,700. For information, 212-247-1097 or www.5thavenueny.com.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. – Urban Culture Auctions, a division of Palm Beach Modern Auctions, recorded a 100 percent sell-through rate with its September 26 auction of “beefcake” photos taken by Bruce Bellas (1909-1974), known professionally as Bruce of Los Angeles. More than 200 lots of vintage prints, negatives, slides, real-photo greeting cards and posing props were offered. The sale’s opener, a group of three photos and the actual Roman-style posing column used in the photos, swept past its $1/2,000 estimate to land at $9,750. A selection of four photos offered together with the red demilune posing seat used by models in all of the pictures realized $18,200, more than nine times the high estimate. We can’t show you that one. For information, www.urbancultureauctions.com or 561-586-5500.
CANAAN, N.Y. – Topping the September 15 unreserved hoarder’s estate auction with Ralph Fontaine Heritage Auctions Inc, was an assorted grouping of Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica that sold for $17,200. The lot, which featured more than 60 pieces, including platters, bowls, plates, cups, saucers and more, had been estimated to sell, at $50-$1,000 and ultimately sold to an online bidder. For more information, 413-442-2537 or www.fontaineheritage.com.
HATFIELD, PENN. – At Alderfer Auctions’ October 24 live and online Avenue 501 curated selections auction, an AMI Continental stereo round jukebox, 33 and 45 automix, Model XJDB-200, was the top lot in a sale that missed white glove status by one lot. The curved, 27-by-27-by-64-inch jukebox had 38 bids driving the final price to $3,220. For information, 215-393-3000 or www.alderferauction.com.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – The top lot in Eldred’s fine and decorative art auction October 17-18 was a geometric abstract by Charles Green Shaw (1892-1974), which sold for $18,000. The 18-by-21-inch oil on canvas was signed and dated on the reverse “Shaw 1936.” The provenance was the estate of the artist to Charles H. Carpenter Jr, author of The Decorative Arts and Crafts of Nantucket, then by descent through the Carpenter family. For more information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
CHICAGO – Call it Alfred E. Neuman’s revenge. The long-running humor publication Mad Magazine shut down this past summer after a 67-year run. Fans of the irreverent rag could find some solace, however, in the $4,560 price attained for Mad Magazine Issue No. 2’s original illustration art. Estimated at $2,5/3,500, it generated six bids crossing the block at Potter & Potter, October 18. Cataloged as… “Kurtzman, Harvey and Jack Davis, Mad Magazine Issue No. 2 Original Illustration Art, 1952, it was the original ink over graphite on paper, being the final page of an eight-page story titled “Hex” written by Kurtzman and drawn by Davis. For information, www.potterauctions.com or 773-472-1442.
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