Published: March 12, 2019
Sometimes you stumble across an old penny and you can tell it’s been around from the wear & tear exhibited on its surface. But a hand-hammered ancient coin of Judean Rebellion flipped across the Skinner block recently in better condition than lots of modern day money, selling for $8,610. And speaking of handcrafted quality, Burchard Galleries saw a rare Shaker Nineteenth Century Sister’s sewing desk go to a happy collector for $6,500 — likewise for a walnut stepback cupboard at Locati’s February online auction. Carved shore birds that flew past their estimate, a rare Rodin lifelike casting, and 1914 Braves pennants that were rescued from a dumpster round out this week’s notable sales.
BOSTON – Skinner’s online coins and currency auction, February 13-22, was led by a Judaea, Bar Kokhba revolt, AR Sela, undated issue of year 3, which sold for $8,610. The Bar Kokhba revolt took place during the rule of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Many of the coins issued during the Bar Kokhba war contained devices of the Jewish Temple and associated ritual objects. Department specialist Kyle Johnson commented, “Hand-hammered coins from the ancient world can be inconsistent and examples without real circulation or wear adds to the success of their sale – many sold in the mid-high end of estimates as a result.” For information, 617-350-5400 or www.skinnerinc.com.
MAPLE GLEN, PENN. – Locati presented its online sale February 4-18. The sale included more than 5,000 registered bidders, and 85 percent of the available lots were sold. According to Michael Locati, the firm’s co-owner, “A desirable walnut stepback cupboard that we estimated at $1,5/2,500 sold for $2,800. It’s good to see that level of interest. As usual, Asian items sold well, especially in the porcelain category.” For more information, 215-619-2873 or www.locatillc.com.
PLEASANT VALLEY, N.Y. – A lot of antique felt pennants hit a home run on February 26. The pennants, including Boston Braves baseball examples and dated 1914, sold for $3,680 in Absolute Auctions’ online Connecticut estate auction. Almost as an afterthought the sellers of the estate had asked auctioneer Paul Stansel over to take a last look before they tossed the remaining items in a dumpster as a part of a house cleanout. Up in the attic, inside an antique steamer trunk with broken hinges were several faded, moth eaten, felt pennants. The auctioneer thought this might be a grand slam and he was right. The Boston Braves pennant featuring a slugger and two “Braves 1914” pennants caught the attention of several bidders. Just as the Boston Braves performed one of the most memorable reversals in major league baseball history, going from last place to first place in the 1914 World Series, the lot started at $1 and through a series of competitive bidding reach its final $3,680 price. For information, 845-635-3169, 800-243-0061 or www.aarauctions.com.
CHICAGO – Potter and Potter Auctions’ midwinter sale on February 23 delivered outstanding temptations as well as sales results. After a long and exciting day, 80 lots realized $1,000-$5,000, 16 lots made $5,001-$9,999 and four lots broke the $10,000 mark. This sale dazzled enthusiasts with nearly 100 lots of vintage magic props and materials by legacy manufacturers Thayer and Owen. A 1930s-40s collection of 130 original cloth “negatives” used to create the famous master blueprints sold through the company’s catalogs sold for $13,200. The illusions explained and diagrammed include many of the firm’s most famous tricks, including the Mummy Case, Buzz Saw and Morritt Cage. For information, www.potterauctions.com or 773-472-1442.
NEW YORK CITY – Realizing $5.2 million, Phillips New Now auction on February 27 offered 168 lots and posted sell-through rates of 85 percent by lot and 93 percent by value. Top lot was Mary Weatherford’s “Truxtun,” 2012, which finished at $325,000, going to an online bidder. Sam Mansour, Phillips’ head of New Now, New York, said, “The results from this sale confirm a vibrant middle market as we begin the 2019 season. Collectors demonstrated confidence in artists at all price points across a breadth of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century artistic movements. Strong prices were achieved for established artists like Frank Stella, Larry Poons and Andy Warhol, as well as for mid-career artists, such as Mary Weatherford, Jenny Holzer and Kehinde Wiley.” For information, 212-940-1200 or www.phillips.com.
LONDON – A bronze cast of one of Rodin’s most famous sculptures, “L’Age d’airain (The Age of Bronze),” sold for $345,000 at Bonhams Impressionist and Modern art sale on February 28. It had an estimate of $130/200,000. Conceived between 1875-1877, “L’ Age d’airain” caused great controversy when it was first shown. The figure was so intensely realistic that critics initially refused to believe Rodin had not simply made a cast of his model. The version of “L’ Age d’airain” in the sale was cast between 1935 and 1945 by the Alexis Rudier Foundry in Paris and had resided in a private collection for generations. For information, +44 20 7447 7447 or www.bonhams.com.
LITCHFIELD, CONN. – A Chinese white-glazed Dingyao flask-shaped vase with subtle raised designs of dragons, clouds and geometric patterns brought unexpected color to Litchfield County Auctions’ February 23 sale. Bearing a modest estimate of $700-$1,000, the monochromatic vase from New York City estate of Asian arts collector and dealer Gerald Malina caught the sharp eyes of bidders, who competed vigorously online and in the room before a trade buyer bidding in the room won the lot for $13,000. For more information, 860-567-4661 or www.litchfieldcountyauctions.com.
ST PETERSBURG, FLA. – “There were a lot of great deals,” said Jeff Burchard of Burchard Galleries about his February 24 sale of vintage estate antiques, fine art and jewelry. An example was a rare Shaker sister’s sewing desk from the Nineteenth Century that left the gallery for $6,500. Of pine and birch, the desk had six upper drawers, a pull-out surface over three drawers, three front side drawers and three drawers at the right side. With dovetailed and wood peg construction, turned handles and scattered traces of green paint, the desk measured approximately 40¾ by 32 by 26¼ inches. For information, www.burchardgalleries.com or 727-821-1167.
WOODBURY, CONN. – Eight carved shore birds, estimated at just $200/300, took off to a winning bid of $7,930 from one of six phone bidders. The Schwenke Auctioneers auction on February 27 comprised a diverse group of more than 400 lots consigned from several separate estates and consignors from Connecticut and New York. Included was a designer collection, American country and formal furniture and decorations, American folk art, Asian and Midcentury Modern decorative arts and more. For information, www.woodburyauction.com or 203-266-0323.
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