Published: September 24, 2019
A rare French steam car offered at Cordier proved that things can retain their value — and then some — as interest from collectors across the United States drove the final gavel on this 1902 Gardner-Serpollet model from an a high estimate of $30,000 all the way to $109,200. Native American art brought healthy bidding as well. The painting “Screaming Indian” by Fritz Scholder led Bonhams’ Traditional/Individual: Modern Native American Art sale with a closing bid of $47,575. A new artist record was set at John Moran’s by the painting “Cosmic Aspirations” from John Nieto as it was pursued by two phone bidders until one finally took the prize for $28,750. More art, collectible toys and Tiffany silver round out this week’s notable sales.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – Sold for $109,200, a 1902 Gardner-Serpollet steam car left other lots in the dust at Cordier’s deaccession auction for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission on September 14. The brothers Leon and Henri Serpollet spent years perfecting the flash tube boiler. In 1898, they met wealthy American Frank Gardener; Gardener-Serpollet began producing vehicles in 1900. With the flash boiler, the Serpollet-powered cars featured some of the most impressive ranges for horseless carriages in their day. This specimen was deaccessioned from the commission and offered with other deaccessioned items from across the state. It was offered with an estimate of $15/30,000 and drew attention from collectors across the United States. For information, 717-731-8662 or www.cordierauction.com.
LOS ANGELES – A group of three Nineteenth Century Russian icons soared to $25,000 at Andrew Jones Auctions’ September 15 sale. The lot, which had been valued modestly at $300/500, included an icon of Christ Pantokrator in a silver oklad dated 1888, an icon of an archangel and an icon depicting three saints. A European collector bidding on the phone won the lot. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
SARASOTA, FLA. – A diaphanous work by Le Pho (French-Vietnamese, 1907-2001), “La Cueillette des Lotus” nearly quadrupled its high estimate, selling for $21,000 at Helmuth Stone’s September 15 auction of fine art, antiques, jewelry and more. The oil on board painting (sight size: 10 by 6 inches) depicting a female figure gathering lotus amid a watery background, had been exhibited at Galerie Romanet in Paris and came from the collection of the artist’s son, Pierre Le Tan. For information, 941-260-9703 or www.helmuthstone.com.
POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – Country Americana, firearms and collectibles were all part of the mix for Hyde Park Country Auctions on September 14. The firm was selling the partial contents of several Hudson Valley estates and private collections. Notable among the lots across the block, according to Dom Navarra, was a Black Forest sculpture of a steer’s head, late Nineteenth Century, that sold for $5,700. Black Forest carvings generally depict forest animals, mainly bears, and also trees, branches and leaves. In Europe, such carvings became a symbol of luxury and wealth and were often found in royal and elite collector’s homes. During the Nineteenth Century, their popularity grew in many overseas markets, including America. For more information, www.hpcountryauctions.com or 845-471-5660.
THOMASTON, MAINE – A wide range of plastic toys, most in the original packaging, almost exclusively cars, and one specialty issue Lionel Legend in tin, a jet fighter, many Snoopy toys, Transformers, Rolls Royce radio, including a Transformer Bumblebee and a Mirage, which were factory-sealed, surprised at Thomaston Place’s September 12 auction when the lot sold at $3,360. The collection of 1970s and 1980s mostly automobile-related toys came to the block with an estimate of $200/300. Something in the mix caught collectors’ eyes and sent the opening $20 bid flying. Park Morrison of Thomaston Place said many inquiries were about the factory-sealed Transformers, so they might have been the “hot toys” in the lot. For information, www.thomastonauction.com or 207-354-8141.
MONROVIA, CALIF. – Moran’s Art of the American West auction on September 8 closed out the summer with more than 350 lots of fine art, objets d’art and jewelry from the leading artists and craftsman of the American West. Works by Modernist artists achieved some of the strongest prices of the day. A new auction record was set by “Cosmic Aspirations” from John Nieto. Vividly painted, it was pursued by two battling phone bidders until one finally took the prize for $28,750. For information, 626-793-1833 or www.johnmoran.com.
LOS ANGELES – Bonhams’ sale, Traditional/Individual: Modern Native American Art, including selections from the L.D. “Brink” Brinkman collection, on September 16, offered 78 lots, featuring works by artists of Native American descent working in a variety of media. The sale was led by “Screaming Indian,” a painting by Fritz Scholder, 1970, which sold for $47,575. This work was influenced by Francis Bacon’s famous series of screaming popes as it showcases the subject’s contorted appearance, discarding the stereotypical stoic Indian portraiture. Acquired directly by the artist, the painting was purchased during a visit to Scholder’s studio in Taos in 1970 and had hung in the family home ever since. For information, 212-644-9001 or www.bonhams.com.
CRANSTON, R.I. – Taking top honors at Bruneau & Co’s auction on September 14 was a Wendell Castle (American, 1932-2018) wood and metal biomorphic-form jewelry box that sold for $11,400. The box, which had been in the collection of a Medfield, Mass., gentleman, had been estimated at $2,5/4,000. It sold to a private buyer from the United States bidding on the phone. When asked, a representative for the auction house said interest in Castle’s work has increased following his death. For information, 401-533-9980 or www.bruneauandco.com.
BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – A Collectors’ Passion auction featuring a broad and diverse group of curated treasures from prominent estates and private collections was conducted on September 18 by Nye & Company Auctioneers. Silver pieces on offer featured a Tiffany sterling silver coffee pot in the Mooresque pattern, designed by Edward C. Moore and made by John C. Moore for Tiffany. Among the sale’s strong results, the piece handily exceeded its $3/5,000 estimate to finish at $13,750. For information, 973-984-6900 or www.nyeandcompany.com.
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