Published: December 23, 2019
Notable sales detailed in our January 3, 2020 issue offer varied final bids. A bidder scored a final call of $237,575 on the original handwritten lyrics to Elton John’s “Your Song,” written by Bernie Taupin, at Bonhams sale of music memorabilia on December 9. Meanwhile, a large crack didn’t keep a mushroom-colored ovoid covered koro from more than tripling its high estimate at Eldred’s Asian Art sale when it sold for $34,800 to an international phone bidder. On the fresher side of things, a brand new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1R-001, 18K rose gold 40.5mm chronograph bracelet watch sold for $14,950 at Kodner’s December 4 holiday estate jewelry and gifts auction. Read on for other sales of high interest that include a boxed set of Hubley cast iron cars in the original box, Marilyn Monroe’s prayer book and a “Beanie” Backus Florida landscape.
LOS ANGELES – The original handwritten lyrics to Elton John’s “Your Song” by Bernie Taupin sold at Bonhams sale of music memorabilia on December 9 for $237,575. This was Elton’s first monster hit, introducing audiences to his exciting new brand of piano pop, and it remains today one of his most identifiable and best-loved songs. These are the original, first and only draft of the lyrics to “Your Song.” After Taupin handed the lyrics to John, the pianist took all of 10 minutes to come up with the haunting melody that accompanies Taupin’s paean to the inarticulateness of young love. For information, 323-850-7500 or www.bonhams.com.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – A mushroom-colored ovoid covered koro by renowned cloisonné artist Namikawa Yasuyuki more than tripled high expectations at Eldred’s December 5 Asian art sale when it sold for $34,800 to an international phone bidder. A large crack on the shoulder of the piece kept the estimate low ($5/10,000), but John Schofield, head of Eldred’s Asian art department, said, “It’s a very rare piece and I knew it would do well.” The piece had been consigned from a private collection. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
YORK, MAINE – The star of Hap Moore’s estates auction on December 7 was a Bernard Langlais wood relief artwork of cows. Titled “A Bunch of the Girls,” the 19½-inch-square framed wood relief work was consigned by a private foundation and sold to a private buyer in the gallery for $5,175. For more information, 207-363-6373 or www.hapmoore.com.
DANIA BEACH, FLA. – At Kodner’s December 4 holiday estate jewelry and gifts auction, there were several fine watches in the lineup – many new and unworn and some with their original packaging. Although diamond jewelry was hotly contested throughout the sale, leading the day was a brand new Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980/1R-001, 18K rose gold 40.5mm chronograph bracelet watch that sold for $14,950. For information, 954-925-2550 or www.kodner.com.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – Toys, trains, Disney characters and all manner of playful antiques, as well as new stock crossed the block at Cordier Auctions on December 7. A colorful set of ten Hubley cast iron cars in the original box with liner sold for $3,861. There was a lot of online activity, but the lot finally sold to a bidder in the room, according to Cordier’s Melanie Hartman. “The winning bidder was, by all accounts, very happy with his purchase!” she said. For information, www.cordierauction.com or 717-731-8662.
CEDARHURST, N.Y. – On December 8, J. Greenstein & Co. hosted its biannual Judaica auction devoted solely to rare Jewish artifacts. Although not the highest priced item in the sale. a star was the prized prayer book once owned by Marilyn Monroe, which brought $8,750. The actress converted to Judaism in 1956 at the same time as her marriage to American playwright Arthur Miller. The couple divorced in 1961, but Monroe remained committed to her new religion. The book, originally purchased at the Christie’s auction of the estate of Marilyn Monroe in 1999, was a once-in-a-lifetime chance for buyers to own a historic piece of Hollywood Judaica. For information, 516-295-2931 or www.jgreenstein.com.
CLEARWATER, FLA. – An American private collector bidding on the phone paid $3,450 for an 1866 first edition of the privately printed Armsmear, The Home, The Arm & The Armory of Samuel Colt when it crossed the block at Blackwell Auctions on December 8. The volume, which had its original boards and binding despite some separations, had been signed and inscribed by Elizabeth Hart Colt (Mrs Samuel Colt) to Sarah I. Cowan in 1867. It also bore the ex libris bookplate of Charles T. Haven, who was the author of several books on the history of Colt firearms. The book had been estimated at $1/2,000. For information, 727-546-0200 or www.blackwellauctions.com.
HATFIELD, PENN. – Alderfer Auction’s top lot in its coin and currency auction on December 3 was an 1879-CC Morgan dollar, Top 100, Vam-3, Capped CC, MS62, NGC, which sold for $4,600. The 1879-CC Morgan dollar has a lower mintage than the 1880, 1881 and 1885 Carson City issues, but is actually much harder to find today than those lower-mintage issues. The main reason for this is that the survival rate of 1879-CC Morgan dollars was simply not all that high. For information, 215-393-3014 or www.alderferauction.com.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Famous for his vivid Florida landscapes, Albert E. “Beanie” Backus (American, 1906-1990) was responsible for one of the top performing lots at Helmuth Stone’s December 15 sale of American and European fine art, antiques and jewelry. Realizing $24,320 was “Florida Landscape Painting,” signed and dated 1990 lower right. According to the firm’s Austin Helmuth, this was likely one of the artist’s last paintings as he died the same year (1990). The oil on canvas measured 24 by 30 inches. The firm’s next auction will be its winter feature auction on January 19. For information, 941-260-9703 or www.helmuthstone.com.
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