Published: June 11, 2019
The adage “it takes money to make money” was seemingly proven in this week’s Across The Block as a rare US gold coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1857 and recovered five years ago from a California Gold Rush shipwreck set a record price at $282,000. Equally impressive was a mixed-media work titled “Face of the King,” that set a new world record auction price for Neo-expressionist artist Bahram Hajou at $168,750, nearly 20 times the auction record for this artist. Former celebrity ownership surely lent some interest to bidding with a Catholic cross once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, bringing $9,375 at Mid-Hudson Galleries. And an African Mali Dogon tribal carved wooden ancestral figure from the estate of actor Miriam Colón sold for way over its $600/800 estimate to a phone bidder for $39,000. Read on for more details on these notable transactions and more.
NEW ORLEANS – A rare US gold coin struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1857 and recovered five years ago from a world-famous California Gold Rush shipwreck set a record price for any 1857 San Francisco Mint $20 denomination gold coin. It was sold for $282,000 in a public auction conducted by Legend Rare Coin Auctions of Lincoft, N.J., on May 16. The coin was recovered in 2014 from the S.S. Central America, the fabled “Ship of Gold, that sank in the Atlantic Ocean in 1857. The Supernova was discovered on the ocean floor among piles and stacks of coins that originally were in boxes of Double Eagles being shipped to New York by San Francisco businesses. The previous record price for any 1857-S $20 gold piece sold at auction was $152,750 in 2014. That coin also was recovered from the S.S. Central America. For information, 908-803-7066 or www.legendauctions.com.
LEWES, DEL. – A new world record auction price was established on May 26 for Neo-expressionist Bahram Hajou (b 1952). The mixed-media work, titled “Face of the King,” had been estimated at $40/60,000 but sold to an international collector bidding on the phone for $168,750, nearly 20 times the auction record for the artist, which www.askart.com lists at $9,000, set in 2013. For more information, 800-659-2094 or www.fordartauctions.com.
PLEASANT VALLEY, N.Y. – Mary Sue and Paul Peter Rosen have collected African art for more than 30 years, making nine trips to Africa to study the art in its cultural setting. In addition to publishing three African art books, curating exhibitions and giving public lectures, the couple consigned a selection of artworks to Absolute Auction & Realty for its online auction that ended on May 30. A wall plaque from the royal palace, Edo people, Benin (shown), sold for $920, while a rare masterwork ceremonial ax, Sapo-Sapo/Songye people, Congo, realized $690. For information, 845-635-3169 or www.aarauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – An African Mali Dogon tribal carved wooden ancestral figure from the estate of actor Miriam Colón raised the roof at Showplace Auctions’ June 2 sale. Estimated modestly at $600/800, the figure generated international interest, with more than 31 bidders following the lot online. It ultimately sold for $39,000 to a phone bidder, underbid by interest in the room, online and on the phones. A representative for the auction house said it was believed that the raised-arm figure had been made in the Thirteenth Century and had been stored in a cave to prevent deterioration. For information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshowplace.com.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Amero Auctions’ top producing lot in its June 2 auction was a Joseph Csaky “Le Baiser” bronze sculpture, which went to a phone bidder for $24,780. The second highest lot, however, was a pleasant surprise, according to the firm’s operations manager Dawn Freeman. A pair of Nineteenth Century Chinese wall panels (shown) sold to a phone bidder for $16,520. “We had them estimated at $800 – $1,200,” said Freeman. An online bidder won a Harvey Littleton art glass sculpture for $14,760. For information, 941-330-1577 or www.ameroauctions.com.
WINDSOR, N.Y. – A rare and special Catholic cross that was once owned by Diana, Princess of Wales, (born Diana Frances Spencer, 1961-1997), brought an above-estimate $9,375 at Mid-Hudson Galleries on June 1. The cross was given to Diana on one of her trips to India by a Sister Agnes. It was later given to a special friend who was very ill and later passed away. The item came with a photocopy of the original letter and the original envelope. The letter states, “Dear Irene, I am sorry to hear about your sad news. Please accept this special cross gifted to me from Sister Agnes from India. Love & Prayers, Diana. x.” Diana was involved with dozens of charities, including London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, of which she was president from 1989. She also raised awareness and advocated ways to help people affected with HIV/AIDS, cancer and mental illness. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Three Staffordshire figures, including a pair of roosters and a squirrel, shattered their $300/400 estimate to finish at $2,520 at Eldred’s auction of antiques and accessories on May 31. Eldred’s specialists attribute the high price to the rarity of the squirrel figure. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
SEABROOK, N.H. – Ed Beattie conducted a spring estates auction on June 23 at the Trinity Parish Hall, bringing across the auction block a diverse, eclectic selection of estate goods from the North Shore and the Merrimack Valley, as well as southern New Hampshire. It may not have been the sale’s top lot, but among a large collection of Native American items was a Native American basket, which attracted a lot of interest and bidding and sold for $517. For information, 603-770-9878.
PHILADELPHIA – Freeman’s International Sale on May 29 achieved significant results across departments. Most notably, the firm set a new auction record for artist Herman Kaulbach with “Ruhe auf de Fluct nach Egypt,” which realized $75,000. Translated as “Rest on the Flight into Egypt,” the 75-5/8-by-59-5/8-inch oil on canvas painting by the German artist (1846-1909) was signed bottom left and inscribed with title on partial label verso. It had been estimated $8/12,000. On the heels of the strong result, Freeman’s said it is seeking exciting and eclectic examples of British and European furniture, decorative arts and pictures; Islamic and Asian arts; arms and armur; silver; and objets de vertu and antiquities for its next international sale this fall. For more information, 215-563-9275 or www.freemansauction.com.
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
January 31, 2023
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