Published: July 16, 2019
Magic is in the air this week as three complete sets of significant, early Magic: The Gathering (MTG) cards from 1993 – the Alpha, Beta and Arabian Nights sets, each with many BGS-graded examples – sold for a combined $608,215 at Weiss Auctions on June 26. In another slight of bidding, a circa 1900 clown magician musical automaton made in Paris by Leopold Lambert, conjured up $13,200. Other notable sales included a Tiffany Dragonfly Lamp bringing $75,000 at Treadway, a solid gold pre-Columbian pendant realized $50,000 at Heritage Auctions and more.
DALLAS – A surge in demand for pre-Columbian art made of solid gold lifted Heritage Auctions’ ethnographic art: American Indian, pre-Columbian and tribal art auction to more than $1 million on June 25. A large gold pendant from the Central American Diquis culture more than doubled its high estimate when it drew $50,000 to claim top-lot honors in the sale. The rare pendant, from a private collection in Atlanta, can be traced back to Enrique Vargas Alfaro, who sold pre-Columbian art to prestigious collections and to those that appeared in museums such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Denver Art Museum and the William C. Carlos Museum, Atlanta. For information, www.ha.com or 877-0437-4824.
BEVERLY, MASS. – Leading Kaminski Auctions’ June 29-30 sale and selling for $26,250 was a Puiforcat French first standard .950 silver flatware set for 18 in its original oak box. The set, which comprised 330 pieces, had come from a Palm Beach, Fla., estate and carried an estimate of $10/20,000. According to a representative for the auction house, the lot “got 215 hits in KaminskiLive alone” and sold to an online bidder. For more information, 978-927-2223 or www.kaminskiauctions.com.
LYNBROOK, N.Y. – Three complete sets of significant, early Magic: The Gathering (MTG) cards from 1993 – the Alpha, Beta and Arabian Nights sets, each with many BGS-graded examples – sold for a combined $608,215 at Weiss Auctions’ on June 26. Magic: The Gathering complete 1993 Alpha card set (shown) was the top lot of the auction, finishing at $423,750. It was the first set for MTG, with a print run of just 1,100 rare cards. The set was complete with 295 black bordered cards; there were 39 cards that had been BGS-graded, including many rare and powerful cards, and there were also 249 ungraded cards. These cards are popular and highly sought after by collectors. “These cards were offered as complete sets and not broken up into multiple lots. That gave investors a chance to get a complete set in one fell swoop,” said Philip Weiss of Weiss Auctions. For information, 516-594-0731 or www.weissauctions.com.
INDIANAPOLIS, IND. – A pictorial needlework sampler completed in 1835 by Sarah Ann McCoy under the instruction of “Mrs Davis” sewed up the top lot in Ripley Auctions’ June 22 sale when it sold for $4,800 against an estimate of $500/600. The work, which had descended in an Indiana family and featured a large colonial house, a horseback rider and a shepherd with his flock as well as a verse, saw competition from bidders in the room, on the phone and from absentee bidders. In the end, it went to a private collector bidding on the phone. For information, 317-251-5635 or www.ripleyauctions.com.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – Twentieth Century art and design was on parade at Treadway when the firm hosted a decorative arts auction on June 30. At the head of the procession was a Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp, New York City (shown), that sold for an above-estimate $75,000. The leaded glass and bronze example featured shade and base signed, 25 inches high by 20 inches diameter. Following close behind was a Sargent Johnson (1888-1967) teapot, 1941, a ceramic piece signed and dated, 5 inches high by 8½ inches long and 4 inches wide. It sold for $50,000. For information, 513-321-6742 or www.treadwaygallery.com.
CHICAGO – Potter and Potter’s early summer auction on June 29, featuring the second installment of rarities from the Jim Rawlins collection, offered nonstop surprises and excitement from start to finish. After the hammer fell for the last time, 58 lots realized between $1,000-5,000; seven lots realized between $5,001-$9,999; and one lot broke the five-figure mark. That was a circa 1900 clown magician musical automaton made in Paris by Leopold Lambert. Estimated $8/12,000, he conjured up $13,200. The rarity depicted a magician, nodding his head and sticking out his tongue, waving his wand and producing a dove, three baubles, a rabbit and a die on his table. For information, www.potterauctions.com or 773-472-1442.
HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – Time & Again returned, brought out of retirement to work with Robert McCook on one more auction. On June 29, an absolute, no-reserve sale was highlighted by the estate of Ella Mae Dembrowski, late widow of wine collector Andrew Baron Dembrowski. More than 250 lots came up for bid from this Bernardsville/Mannehawkin, N.J., estate. More than 100 bronzes, serigraphs and original signed works by Erté (Romain De Tirtoff, 1892-1990) were offered, and the top selling one, at $2,200, was “Day Dreamer,” a bronze sculpture of woman reclining on decadent couch with long cigarette holder, shoulders draped in gold link chains, with a 23K yellow gold leaf finish with gold and red patina and embellishments. For information, 609-426-0820, 908-862-0200 or 908-227-4440.
ATLANTA – Ahlers & Ogletree’s two-day auction on June 29 and 30 included original Tiffany lamps, three large signed paintings by Antonio Jacobsen and a Sonambient Tonal sculpture by Harry Bertoia, yet it was a Pavvo Tynell (1890-1973) circa 1950s snowflake chandelier with floating brass mesh accents that froze out the competition when it exceeded its $30,000 high estimate to sell at $51,425. The Midcentury Modern snowflake chandelier has an impressed manufacturer’s mark on bottom light fixture “OY Taito” AB Made in Finland 9014. For information, 404-869-2478 or www.aandoauctions.com.
GUILFORD, CONN. – Lotus International Auctions conducted an online-only fine art auction on June 30, offering more than 370 artworks, oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, lithographs, photography, sculptures and Stickley Brother’s Co furniture. Selling for $7,187 was Henry Raeburn’s (1756-1823) portrait of “James Harrower of Inzievar.” Raeburn, who lived in Scotland, was known for portraits of prominent persons. The original invoice for the 36-by-27-inch oil on canvas from October 3, 1963, from J. Gordon & Gordon Antiques, Edinburgh, shows the painting bought by Gordon Harrower, family member, and shipped to Connecticut. The painting was later given to his nephew, Norman Harrower, also of Connecticut. For information, 203-689-5062 or www.lotusauctions.com.
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