Published: April 19, 2022
Inspirations from the natural world were a prominent theme of the past week’s top sales. A Chinese Qing dynasty imperial longpao robe, decorated with dragons, bats and butterflies, the jewel of Showcase’s April 10 auction. Speaking of precious stones, an 18k gold pinky ring once owned by celebrity hairstylist Kenneth Battelle emerged from Fox and Crane Auctions, its setting molded in the shape of a claw. An estate auction from Edward B. Beattie uncovered an early powder horn, carved with the artist’s name and delicate leaves. Finally, two KiKi Smith prints depicting women outdoors with woodland creatures on their lap exceeded their estimates and topped the Lotus International Supreme Spring sale. Enjoy the outdoors in this week’s Across The Block.
NEW YORK CITY – At Showplace on April 10, a Chinese Qing dynasty imperial embroidered peach-ground longpao robe sold for $13,750 to a bidder in the room. The piece is embroidered with five-clawed dragons clutching flaming pearls, bats, double peach sprays, wan symbols, butterflies and ruyi clouds; the bottom is decorated with a lishui stripe of diagonal rainbow stripes with rolling waves crashing against peaked rocks with precious items tossed upon the waves, embroidered silk with gold and multicolor thread. For information, www.nyshowplace.com or 212-633-6063.
KIRKWOOD, N.Y. – Terry McMurray presented a sale of patent medicines, apothecary/drugstore pills, tins and advertising items on March 26. A Dr Kilmer’s Standard Herbal Remedies advertising sign, 13½ by 2½ inches, a paper roll down canvas backed sign with original metal bands at top and bottom, copyrighted 1886 by Donalson Bros., was the top lot at $13,440. The sign showed Dr Kilmer (the invalids benefactor) at the top left corner with the original Dr Kilmer’s Dispensary at the top and the famous “Man in the Bottle” image at the center with advertising for all the known Dr Kilmer medicines at each area on the body. “With a nice period drugstore in the background, this sign has it all and is considered by most to be the top patent medicine advertising sign ever made,” said McMurray. For information, 607-775-5972 or www.mcmurrayauctions.com.
HAMPTON FALLS, N.H. – Edward B. Beattie Auctioneers conducted the estate sales of two coastal New England properties on April 7. The highest selling lots included Victor Issa bronzes, early American furniture and nautical instruments and Le Creuset enamelware. Among them was an early powder horn, signed by the artist, which sold for $355. For information, 603-770-9878.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – Cordier Auctions & Appraisals sold DC Detective Comics issue #225, November 1955, which had the first appearance of Martian Manhunter, aka J’onn J’onzz, on April 10 for $4,080. “Comic books continue to be strong, this collection performed well,” said the firm’s Melanie Hartman, director, catalog and specialty auctions. The character of Batman himself made his first appearance in the pages of Detective Comics in May 1939. For information, 717-731-8662 or www.cordierauction.com.
CLINTONDALE, N.Y. – The spirit of Christmas Past was in the gallery at Kensington Estate Auctions on April 11 as Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol In Prose, Leipzig, 1843, with a $200/300 estimate rose to $3,224. It was a copyright edition sanctioned by the author, first edition as published on the continent for international copyright protection, same year as earliest British printing (London, 1843). The publisher of the 78-page book with leather spine and brown cloth boards was Bernard Tauchnitz, and a hand-colored etching of “Marley’s Ghost” was used as the frontispiece. For more information, 917-536-3748 or www.kensingtonestateauctions.com.
GUILFORD, CONN. – The top lot in Lotus International Auctions’ April 9 Supreme Spring online-only sale of more than 460 lots was a group of two framed prints by Kiki Smith that nearly quintupled high estimate expectations and sold for $1,800. The lot brought the highest price in the sale that included works by Henry Gasser, Lowell Herrero, Louise Nevelson, George Braque, Wilson, Augustin Ferrando, Henry Irvine, Arthur Cummings and many others. For information, www.lotusauctions.com or 203-689-5062.
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. – Fox and Crane Online Auctions conducted an online auction on April 9, selling the many collections of a Hudson Valley estate. Among these were some personal items of celebrity hairdresser Kenneth Battelle (1927-2013), including his 18K gold pinky ring that realized $3,600, more than four times its $400/800 estimate. The second highest selling lot was $2,200 for a Joan Miró album of lithographs, complete with a signed frontispiece and original slipcover. For more information, 845-234-0083 or www.foxandcraneonlineauctions.com.
SOUTH GLASTONBURY, CONN. – That tiny stuffed Teddy Bear forever immortalized in A.A. Milne’s series of books dedicated to the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin exceeded the reserve of $4,100 to leave the auction block at $5,520 on April 8 at Connecticut River Book Auctions. The lot included When We Were Very Young, 1924, first edition, second state, signed by Milne on the title page; Winnie the Pooh, 1926, first edition in dust jacket; Now We Are Six, 1927, first edition in dust jacket; and The House at Pooh Corner, 1928, first edition in dust jacket. All four volumes were illustrated by E.H. Shepard. For more information, 860-908-8067 or www.ctriverbookauction.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Of the more than 400 lots offered by Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries in its April 9 estate sale that featured property from a Bronx collection, an upper East Side apartment and various Hudson Valley estates, one of the top lots was “Sugaring in Vermont,” by Emile A. Gruppe, which ran to $3,125 against an estimate of $2/3,000. The oil on canvas painting, which measured 24 by 20 inches, sold to a buyer in New England who lived near the scene depicted. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
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