Published: December 24, 2018
A non-dancer who accompanies friends to a dinner club might be asked to “watch the bags,” but that would be quite the responsibility if the purse in question was the one that achieved a European record for a handbag sold at auction in this week’s lineup. The leading lot of a recent Christie’s sales was a 2010 Hermès matte Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware, which sold for an impressive $295,938. This and other thought-provoking sales will keep you reading in this week’s “Across the Block.”
LONDON – Antique arms, armor and militaria crossed the block at Thomas Del Mar on December 5, offering 348 lots and totaling $400,000. Fetching $75,000 from a private collector was a rare Nineteenth Century Siamese niello and silver-gilt mounted sword in the Japanese taste. A cased pair of 16 bore percussion officer’s pistols by Westley Richards, 1840, sold for $15,000. Following the sale, auctioneer and expert-in-charge Thomas Del Mar, commented: “Both the Siamese sword and the cased pistols reflect the ongoing desire for people to acquire great objects in excellent condition.” For information, www.thomasdelmar.com or +44 207 602 4805.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – Michaan’s December 8 gallery auction offered collectors everything from an original Tiffany Studios window to midcentury artwork. An oil on canvas by sold for $20,400. It was by Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer (American, 1912-1997), titled “Color Stripes #4” and measured 45 by 48 inches. Known as one of the most distinguished abstract painters of the American South, Kohlmeyer lived and worked in Louisiana, taking up painting in her 30s and achieving wide recognition for her work in art museums and galleries throughout the United States. For information, www.michaans.com or 510-740-0220.
WILLOUGHBY, OHIO – Milestone Auctions’ Winter Spectacular is always the company’s most eclectic sale of the year. Typically, it contains rare and exceptional items that have been reserved over the preceding 12 months to feature in the company’s big end-of-year event. This year’s 693-lot Winter Spectacular, conducted on December 8, was brimming with fine and decorative art; magic, circus, movie and travel posters; political and historical Americana; toys and Christmas antiques; and 20 lots of coins, from individual rarities to US Mint and proof sets. But it was an original, 24-inch Tiffany Studios “Fruit” table lamp, with a bronze base, 14 by 29 inches, in the form of a tree and marked Tiffany Studios New York 553, that lit up the sale. With a beautiful shade with an array of colors, the lamp sold well above its $20/30,000 estimate when bidders from far and wide chased it to $108,000. For information, 440-983-1890 or www.milestoneauctions.com.
BEVERLY HILLS – More than 30 bidders made a play for “Haunted Mansion Stretching Room,” a Disneyland painting original art (Walt Disney, 1969), driving its sale price to $72,000, more than doubling the painting’s estimate to claim top-lot honors in Heritage Auctions’ animation art auction, December 8-9. “The Haunted Mansion” tour opened in New Orleans Square in 1969; it began in the famous “Stretching Room,” in which the walls get larger and portraits appear to grow and change. The original hand painted “Stretching Room” painting on canvas, which was offered – the Elderly Widow, sitting on her husband’s tombstone – is very large, measuring 11 feet, 2 inches high by 3 feet, 10 inches wide; it includes a wooden pole across the top for mounting and is hand signed by the artist, Marc Davis. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
NEW YORK CITY – Al Hirschfeld’s “The Marx Brothers,” a pen and ink drawing, sold December 6 for $26,000 at Swann Galleries’ illustration art auction. The memorable and well-known pen and ink portrait of the Marx Brothers went well over its high estimate of $7,500. The work was used as the cover of Richard J. Anobile’s Why a Duck?, a 1971 book on the movies of the Marx Brothers, which broke down their most famous routines, frame by frame. For information, 212-254-4710 or www.swanngalleries.com.
NEW YORK CITY – A South German quarter striking astronomical table clock with alarm from the group known as “The Orpheus Clocks,” circa 1570, realized $275,000 at Bonhams’ December 6 sale of the Art of Time. This clock is the most recent addition to a group of German late Sixteenth Century horizontal table clocks. While no two clocks are identical, all share a case incorporating a finely cast frieze depicting the legend of Orpheus and Euridice. The couple inhabit a forest landscape populated by exotic African and European animals charmed by the music played by Orpheus. For information, www.bonhams.com or 212-644-9001.
LONDON – Christie’s winter season luxury sales on December 12 concluded with the handbags and accessories auction, which totaled $3,670,625 and achieved sell-through rates of 93 percent by lot and 89 percent by value. The leading lot of the sale was a 2010 HermÃ¨s matte Himalaya Niloticus Crocodile Birkin 35 with 18K white gold and diamond hardware, which sold for $295,938 and established a European record for a handbag sold at auction. For information, +44 20 7839 9060 or www.christies.com.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – On December 10, Michaan’s presented an exclusive collection of designer jewelry from the estate of a single San Francisco collector – 115 lots of striking taste and quality. The highlight of the sale was a ring centering a fancy yellow fine diamond of 10.47 carats, accented by two white triangular diamonds, each more than 1 carat. The emerald-cut yellow stone was GIA certified, VS2 clarity. Its $114,000 sale price aligns with the market’s appetite for fine, natural, fancy-colored diamonds. For information, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
SCHNECKSVILLE, PENN. – A routine outing to look at furniture from a small home near Blue Mountain Ski Resort yielded one of the most heavily watched lots in Tom Hall Auction’s final upscale antiques, art and jewelry auction of 2018 on December 11. Preparing for an out-of-state move, the consignor mentioned her decision to also let go of the painting that was passed down to her from her aunt. Signed by the American artist Henry Rankin Poore (1859-1940), the work features a cow in a field with soft pink nose and belly, blue sky behind her. With more than 800 bidders registered live and online from more than 11 countries, the lot sold in its 14-by-15-inch frame for $1,020. For information, 610-799-0808 or www.tomhallauctionsinc.com.
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