Published: November 28, 2017
NORTHFIELD, MASS. – According to Paul T. Gorzokowski III of Northfield Auctions, there were several items in his November 13 sale that did very well. The top lot was a cherry lowboy that achieved $7,705; a Bermuda blanket chest brought $4,600; but perhaps the most interesting twist was the two circa 1890 curlew shorebird decoys. One, which had no flaws other than normal wear and tear, sold at $5,750; the other, which had a wonderful old twine beak repair, brought $6,440. Gorzokowski said, “Sometimes a life story detail like that adds character [and value]!” For information, 413-498-0221 or www.northfieldauctions.com.
WILLOUGHBY, OHIO – One of the most unusual entries among a collection of comic character toys auctioned by Milestone on November 18 was made in China in the 1930s. A long-billed Donald Duck pulling a chick toy was obviously of unauthorized manufactured (i.e., not sanctioned by Disney), and, according to Milestone co-owners Miles King and Chris Sammet, it is the only example that has ever surfaced. Toy collectors love crude, early depictions of popular comic characters, especially obscure productions like this one, and it attracted 57 bids, selling for $4,200 against a $2/3,000 estimate. For information, 440-527-8060 or www.milestoneauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – At an auction that ended on November 16 at Capsule Auction Gallery – a partner space to Litchfield County Auctions launched by president Nick Thorn – an oil and lacquer on canvas painting by Joan Snyder (American, b 1940), titled “Thru the Flat Big,” 1971, sold for $65,625. Signed and dated on the rolled over edge where tacked to the stretcher, “J. Snyder Oct. 25th, 1971,” the 63½ by 99 inches painting came from the New York collection of S.I. Newhouse. For information, www.capsulegallery.nyc.com or 646-765-3599.
NEW YORK CITY – Jean Arp’s “Formes préadamites,” cherry wood mounted on board, 1945, sold November 16 at Swann Galleries for $50,000. After several minutes of intense bidding, the Surrealist’s work far surpassed its modest estimate of $12,000. Though the title of the abstract cherry wood relief mounted on linen-wrapped board refers to the belief that human beings existed before the biblical Adam, part of Arp’s potent brand of Surrealism relied on supplying his works with nonsensical titles. For more information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. – An American scrimshaw powder horn realized $9,150 at Pook & Pook’s November 18 firearms and militaria auction. The horn was inscribed “Badiah Scudder Made 1776,” with an image of Robin Crusoe with sword and long guns, also inscribed “God is my Friend,” with scrolls, potted flowers, hearts and a large sail ship and was 16½ inches long. It came from a Berks County estate. For information, 610-269-4040 or www.pookandpook.com.
DALLAS – On November 14 at Heritage Auctions Design District Annex, the auction of Twentieth Century decorative arts, featuring Tiffany, Lalique and art glass, was led by an R. Lalique opalescent glass Naiades vase, circa 1930, that sold at $45,000. Wheel carved and signed R Lalique France, the 9½-by-12-inch vase was bought by a phone bidder who wishes to remain anonymous. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
DALLAS – A rare Chumash coiled jar, thought to be Eighteenth Century, sold at Heritage Auctions’ ethnographic art: American Indian, Pre-Columbian and tribal jewelry auction on November 13 for $55,000. The consignor bought it about 25 years ago at a mall bazaar where people bought and sold, and sometimes traded, an almost limitless array of goods – he gave the seller a pair of old Texas spurs and a few dollars. For information, www.ha.com or 8770437-4824.
COLOGNE, GERMANY – Auction Team Breker’s busy autumn extravaganza of antique and vintage technology on November 11 was a fascinating study of market dynamics. Of the two-dozen collectible categories on offer, computing and calculation came out on top. The highest price of the day was an Apple Lisa-1 personal computer, Apple Inc’s ill-starred attempt to introduce a mouse-controlled user interface, at $50,300. Soon after her launch in 1983, it became clear that Lisa-1 would prove to be a problem child; her specially designed Twiggy drives were apt to fail, leading Apple to withdraw and recall its youngest daughter. Nevertheless, Lisa-1 can still claim a place in PC history for introducing the overlapping windows, pull-down menus and the beloved recycle bin that we still rely on today. For more information, +49 2236/38 43 40 or www.breker.com.
PARIS – A drawing by Herge from Ottokar’s Scepter representing Tintin and Snowy finished at $595,000 at Artcurial’s November 18 auction. The day was entirely dedicated to the ninth art at Artcurial, with an auction that focused on the world of the creator of Tintin, but also to modern and contemporary authors of the comic strip. Hergé’s original works are rare on the market and hotly contested. The cover of the catalog of the sale, a drawing in Chinese ink and watercolor, Ottokar’s Scepter was published in 1939 on the cover of the Petit Vingtiéme. For information, +33 1 42 99 20 76 or www.artcurial.com.
LONG ISLAND CITY, N.Y. – Capo Auctions frequently offers exceptional Asian items at its estate auctions, and November 18 was no exception. Two Chinese porcelain fish bowls were offered and they both sold well-one sold exceptionally well. A Nineteenth Century bowl with floral and vine decoration sold for $27,500. But it was a Sixteenth Century bowl marked Jia Jin (1522-1566), with dragon and flower decoration that was pursued to $62,500 before the competing bidders dropped out. For information, www.capoauctionnyc.com or 718-433-3710.
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