Published: March 15, 2011
The ballroom of the Marriott Hotel was standing room only on January 29, as bidders from across the United States converged for the evening to bid on and buy Western Americana art, artifacts and Hollywood memorabilia from America’s loved silver screen heroes. This year’s sale realized more than $2.1 million on 344 lots, scoring the second highest per lot average in High Noon’s 21-year history.
High Noon had designated this year’s event a celebration of the America Indian, bringing to the block one of the most important collections of American Indian offerings to ever come to market. Prices realized on this collection validated the fact that the culture, spirit and art of these nations is deeply woven and valued by collectors worldwide.
Linda Kohn Sherwood, co-owner of High Noon, opened the evening with her welcoming speech, a tradition for this High Noon event. Then auctioneer Troy Black and his ring men were off and running and bidder cards flew up. The tone of the excitement for the evening was set early when a pair of Star Spangles Banner boots by the Hyer Boot Company sold for $12,650, almost four times over their high estimate of $4,000. It happened again just a few lots later when a turn-of-the-century salesman sample windmill by the Woodmanse Mfg Co. of Freeport, Ill., earned $9,775 against its high estimate of $3,500.
Several important bronzes were offered at this sale and all earned impressive results. A bronze on wood base titled “Turning the Leaders” by John Hampton estimated at $6/9,000 sold for $12,650. This was followed by $13,800 achieved on a bronze on marble base by Harry Jackson titled “Two Champs II,” which was estimated $5/7,000.
Horse accoutrement performed equally strongly. A G.S. Garcia eagle bit sold for $8,050, and a pair of C.P. Shipley spurs went for $12,650. As expected, Edward Bohlin items performed well. A Bohlin Taxin model silver and gold parade saddle brought $63,250.
Starting off the American Indian category was a circa 1870 Blackfeet tomahawk and beaded drop. Expected to achieve $20,000 on the high side, this lot earned $37,950 after heated bidding from the floor and phones. Immediately following that, a Sioux pictorial beaded vest sold for $14,950 against its $7/9,000 estimate, and a circa 1860 Plateau pony beaded shirt sold solidly within estimate for $74,750. A Kiowa beaded model cradle, circa 1880, achieved $18,400, well over its high estimate of $12,000.
The name Edward Borein always draws competitive bidding, and this year particular excitement was seen on his ornate Charro jacket and vest. Acquired and personally worn by Borein, this ensemble sold for more than twice its high estimate, going for $21,850.
Turning to the fine Western art category, the room stood in applause as the hammer dropped on “Wild Horses,” a signed oil on board by Will James that would bring the highest price of the evening. Bidding on this work opened at $50,000 and quickly escalated into a bidding war, driving the final sale price to $149,500.
Kohn Sherwood in her opening speech teased the crowd that “tonight, the true Rooster Cogburn” would be revealed. Was it John Wayne or Jeff Bridges? That question might not have been answered, but it was great fun watching the crowd bid furiously on the original vest, shirt and scarf worn by Wayne in the original 1969 Paramount production of True Grit . It finished at $21,850, leaving auction patrons having to wait until Bridges’ ensemble comes to auction to see who is the “real Rooster Cogburn.”
The entire weekend was a celebration of Western Americana heritage. Thousands of shoppers filled the Mesa Convention Center for two days to buy from more than 100 dealers in Western Americana antiques and contemporary works. Across the board, vendors at the show reported strong sales on both mid to high priced items.
Prices reported reflect the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
For information, 310-202-9010 or www.highnoon.com .
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