Published: March 22, 2022
Shock value is worth a lot of money these days, if recent auction highlights are any indication! Heritage realized $112,500 for the Beatles’ Yesterday and Today ‘Butcher’ album cover, an image that generated controversy at the time for its use of decapitated dolls and raw meat. The price was just short of the $$125,000 current record for the album cover, which was shot in 1966 by photographer Robert Whitaker. Bidders at PBA Galleries got an equally big charge from a 1920 arcade coin-operated Simplex “Electricity is Life” machine, that shocked with a $20,000 result. Are the other lots in this week’s Across The Block equally stimulating? Read on to see…
DALLAS – The top lot in Heritage Auctions’ March 12-13 Signature auction of the David Swartz vintage vinyl collection, entertainment and music memorabilia was a sealed first-state “Butcher” cover of Beatles’ 1966 Yesterday and Today album, which realized $112,500. The cover fell just short of breaking the previous world record price of $125,000 for the album but was the highest price realized in a sale that made $632,078. For more information, www.ha.com or 214-528-3500.
TIMONIUM, MD. – One of the top lots in Richard Opfer Auctioneering’s March 17 timed online-only estate sale of 590 lots was a 101-piece sterling flatware set by Stieff in a rose pattern. Estimated at $1,2/1,800, bidders doubled its low estimate and it went out at $2,400. The set was monogrammed “MSH” and was considered to be in good to very good condition. For additional information, www.opferauction.com or 410-252-5035.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Eldred’s hosted a March 17 antiques and accessories auction comprising 499 lots of furniture, fine and decorative art, collectibles, Asian art and antiques and maritime antiques. Sailing into the lead at $5,938 was a painting of a sailboat under moonlight with a lighthouse in the background by Armand Sindoni (1929-2002). The 24-by-48-inch oil on canvas, framed to 34 by 58 inches, closed out at $5,938 to an online bidder, more than seven times its high estimate. A representative for Eldred’s said the result “appears to be a record for the artist.” For more information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
PLAINVILLE, CONN. – Winter Associates’ March 14 live auction featured nearly 350 lots of Midcentury Modern, Eldred Wheeler and furniture, antiques, fine art, Asian, jewelry, decorative arts and rugs. Sharing the sale’s top price of $6,000 with a Chinese porcelain double-sided table screen was an oil on board still life with fruit by Humbert L. Howard (1905/15-1990). It measured 24¼ by 32 inches, was signed in two places and had carried an estimate of $300/500. For additional information, 860-793-0288 or www.auctionsappraisers.com.
VERO BEACH, FLA. – In an online-only sale by Vero Beach Auction on March 12, “We had a few notable sales, especially on artwork,” according to the firm’s David Kratzer. A Roy Mclendon Highwaymen painting (see above) sold for $7,080 over an estimate of $2,5/4,000. A Mary Ann Carroll painting in the Highwaymen style brought $4,720 and an Antonio Gattorno painting sold for $4,425 over an estimate of $1/2,000. For information, www.verobeachauction.com or 772-978-5955.
BERKELEY, CALIF. – A Simplex “Electricity is Life” coin-operated shock machine jolted a bidder to shell out $20,000 at PBA Galleries’ March 10 auction. Coming into vogue in the 1890s and reaching their peak in the 1920s, arcade-style shock machines were designed to, with the addition of a coin and turn of the crank, give a daring player a mild electric shock. The placard on this model directs a player to “Drop one cent in slot, grasp both knobs and turn right hand gradually to increase current as desired” and confidently proclaims itself, “A most excellent treatment for rheumatism, headache, neuralgia, nervousness, debility and all nervous disorders.” For information, www.pbagalleries.com or 415-989-2665.
EDISON, N.J. – Bodnar’s auction on March 17 was led by a Cartier lady’s Art Deco platinum ruby and diamond bracelet that sold for $38,940 against an $8/12,000 estimate. The 24 hinged link bracelet, 7¼ inches long, was set with 155 round full cut diamonds, color H-I, clarity VS2 – SI1. It also has three square cut rubies and 36 baguette rubies Estimated gem weight was approximately 9 carats and the clasp was signed Cartier. For information, www.bodnarsauction.com or 732-210-6388.
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. – Leading Burchard Galleries’ March 19 estate auction was an American black walnut long chair with single arm by George Nakashima that stretched its $3/4,000 estimate to finish at $35,400. The chair was accompanied by an original attribution letter signed by Nakashima’s daughter, Mira, and a quote for restoration at Nakashima Woodworkers. It was the top lot of nearly 500 lots of antiques, fine art and jewelry offered. For more information, 727-821-1167 or www.burchardgalleries.com.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – Two Tibetan panels featuring horizontally arranged Buddhist deities achieved, if not nirvana, at least the top price at Michaan’s Auctions’ March 19 Gallery auction when they rose to $13,530 from an estimate of $400/600. Each was framed with three layers of fabrics in multiple colors and came from a private collector in Northern California. It was the highest price in a sale of 502 lots. For information, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
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