Published: April 8, 2008
On March 25, John Moran Auctioneers hosted its monthly fine antiques and estate sale at the Pasadena Convention Center. At the end of the evening, the sale resulted in the highest-grossing such sale in the firm’s 39-year history, earning more than $1.9 million on the 386 lots sold.
The sale’s 95 percent success rate, with more than 60 percent of lots selling above their high estimates, exceeded expectations. More than 800 floor, phone, absentee and Internet bidders registered for the event.
Moran’s third installment of offerings from the JD Trust, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., was 100 percent sold and provided the cornerstone of the 130 jewelry lots offered. Early in the sale, a 5.49-carat, emerald-cut diamond and platinum ring, estimated at $45/60,000, realized $97,750.
Heated bidding intensified over an 11.77-carat, pear-shaped diamond and platinum ring of H color and SI1 clarity with an alternate pendant mount. This, the sale’s cover lot, was estimated to bring $150/200,000. John Moran opened the bidding at $100,000 and the ring quickly surpassed its high estimate to sell to a floor bidder for $310,500.
Jewelry offerings continued to impress the crowd throughout the evening. But the most astonishing event was an unexpected major world record for artist Anton Robert Leinweber (Czech Republic, 1845‱921). John Moran routinely sets records at its tri-annual sales of California and American paintings, but setting such a major world record at one of its antiques auctions and for a European artist was definitely a departure from the norm.
The painting, “Arab Bazaar,” was signed, inscribed and dated lower left “Robert Leinweber Munich 1889.” The oil on canvas laid to canvas measured 72 by 53 inches. Based on Leinweber’s previous performance at auction on similar works, Moran assigned it a presale estimate of $15/25,000. The highest price realized for Leinweber at auction was $7,123, which was realized in 1990 at Christie’s London on his work titled “The Marketplace, Tunis.” Flash forward almost 20 years later, the estimate of $15/25,000 on a superior work was not unrealistic.
President and auctioneer John Moran, with an absentee bid in place, opened the bidding at the low estimate of $15,000. In almost what seemed like an instant, floor bidders were left in the dust and the fight to own “Arab Bazaar” became a fierce battle between two phone bidders. Up and up the increments climbed until Moran finally announced “sold” and dropped the hammer at $195,500 as the room broke into applause.
Rounding out the sale was a collection of Arts and Crafts pottery and furniture from a Los Angeles residence. A Gustav Stickley oak buffet brought $11,500. A Handel bronze and glass peacock lamp sold for $20,700.
Prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 626-793-1833 or www.johnmoran.com .
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