Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches MARCH ESTATES AUCTION
Mar 02-02, 2019Applebrook Auctions Presents A HIGH END ESTATE AUCTION
Feb 21-21, 2019
Published: July 10, 2018
By Walt Borton
SANTA FE – The Cody Old West Auction, founded 29 years ago in Wyoming by Brian Lebel, got a warm welcome to its new home in Santa Fe on Saturday, June 23, as more than 275 patrons jammed the convention center’s auction hall and the nearly three-hour sale hammered in just shy of $800,000.
The star of the show was a spectacular silver saddle, bridle and breast collar created for television and film’s original Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, by Edward Bohlin, king of the parade saddle. Selling for $154,300, double the high estimate, this set prompted aggressive live and phone bidding. Auctioneer Troy Black told the crowd it was the most important saddle he has auctioned since he brought the hammer down on Pancho Villa’s saddle for a record $737,500 at the 2012 High Noon auction in Mesa, Ariz.
Sixteen other vintage saddles added $105,264 to the bottom line. Among the strongest, at $18,880, was an ornate Mexican saddle with saddlebags, lavishly embroidered with piteado (cactus fiber) and decorated with stunning repoussè silverwork on the horn, swells and cantle. Together, saddles, tack and bits – amounting to 28 of the auction’s 228 sold lots – dominated the night, coming in at $281,456.
Fame also mattered for antique and classic Western firearms, the second largest sales category. Twenty-six lots, including 14 revolvers and pistols, garnered $176,426. A pair of pearl-handled Smith and Wesson revolvers carried by Texas lawman Clint Peoples took $64,900, more than four times high estimate. During his 60-year career, most of it as a Texas Ranger and federal marshal, Peoples not only put bad guys away, his handling of the famed Chicken Ranch case inspired the Broadway and film hit The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Buyers were discerning though, as seven pricey revolvers, most reserved between $5,000 and $25,000, went unsold, as did a Winchester 1860 musket.
Santa Fe’s status as a major market for fine art guided buyers in the auction’s next strongest field: flat art and bronzes, mostly Western. Forty-eight lots left the room at reasonable prices, totaling $128,060. While many of these works were in the $500 to $1,000 range, an unusual pen and ink on paper drawing by Taos, N.M., illustrator Frank Hoffman, “Fox Hunt,” sold for $2,360. There were only a few buy-ins, but in a town where price competition is fierce, it is no surprise that the unsold lots were at substantial reserves. Passed lots included oils by Terri Kelly Moyers ($30/40,000) and James Bama ($18/22,000) and a Maynard Dixon watercolor ($25/30,000), added after the catalog was printed.
Cowboy attire, buckles, boots, chaps and spurs made up 66 lots, achieving $127,653. A handsome pair of H.H. Heiser batwing chaps stood out for their bull’s eye design inside diamonds. The chaps sold for $2,655. Every pair of spurs that came to the podium sold, save one. The stand-outs included two pairs of Canyon City, Colo., prison spurs, each pair selling for $7,080, and a pair of very scarce, eye-catching Kelly Bros. No. 90 spurs that commanded $17,700. The lone buy-in in this category was a pair of late Twentieth Century Jeremiah Watt spurs ($14/18,000) with engraved and inlaid rowels.
Surprisingly, there was no demand for a strong collection of seven Pueblo pots. Only two Native American beadwork items – a fringed drum beater and an Arapaho elk antler quirt – sold from a field of eight works offered.
Basketry, which did very well at the auction’s adjacent Old West Show, was represented by only one piece, an exceptional Apache bowl. It made $2,950, more than twice its high estimate.
The charity portion of the auction offered items from the Jackie L. Coles collection, yielding nearly $10,000 in support of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Asked about this first-year auction in Santa Fe, Brian Lebel said, “In recent years, successful auctions have been moving more toward just the best of the best, and that was our intention here. The results were very good, but we were a little disappointed in the number of passed lots. We usually pass no more than five percent of offerings.” However, as Melissa McCracken reminded us, the figures are still preliminary. “When you’ve got absentee bids, phone bids, internet bids and live bids, it just takes more time to get to a final number.”
Launched in Cody, Wyo., Old West Auction moved to Denver in 2000 and to Fort Worth in 2015. At the final Fort Worth sale last year, the Old West Auction sold 396 lots for $938,821. When compared to this year’s results, with 228 lots yielding nearly $800,000, the Lebels can be very pleased with their decision to relocate the show and auction to Santa Fe, which is now, happily, their hometown.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, are as reported by the auction house.
Old West Events is at 3201 Zafarano Drive. For information, www.oldwestevents.com or 480-779-WEST (9378).
February 12, 2019
February 12, 2019
February 12, 2019
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