Published: August 7, 2001
RENO, NEV. -More than 600 bidders packed the sales room at the Silver Legacy Resort on July 28 for the annual Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, featuring 250 lots of classic western, wildlife, and sporting art.
Records were broken for several artists, but none more dramatically than the $2,310,000 paid for the cover lot, Charles M. Russell’s watercolor dated 1908, entitled “A Disputed Trail” (est $600/900,000).
Considered by many experts to be Russell’s finest watercolor, the 24 by 18-inch work from the estate of Florence and Joseph O’Connor of Vancouver soared past the previous record of $1,100,000 for a Russell watercolor, which was set at the same sale last year, and was ultimately sold to an anonymous bidder on the telephone.
Five additional Russell watercolors from the O’Connor estate realized remarkable prices, along with two Russell bronzes, “When Best of Riders Quit” at $308,000 (est $60/80,000) and “Enemy Tracks” at $60,500 (est $20/30,000).
Of particular interest was a 1921 oil painting by American sporting artist Philip R. Goodwin, entitled “Into New Country.” The 24 by 33-inch oil was the subject of considerable national attention when the consignor failed to sell the painting for $5 at a garage sale in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. She turned down an offer of $3, and located the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction on the Internet.
“It was just a fluke,” Bugher told the Associated Press. “I was just playing. I looked behind me at the painting, put the artist’s name in and found out it might be valuable.”
A buyer from Montana paid $55,000 (est $30/50,000) for the work.
Bob Drummond of Coeur d’Alene Art Auction reported that 50 percent of the buyers were people they didn’t even know. “This was not the same old crowd,” he said. “A lot more people are getting into this field of collecting,” he continued.
Most of the 250 lots were bought on the floor, about 80 percent, figured Drummond. There were only six no-sales in the entire auction.
Drummond has tried other venues for their once-a-year auction, but now puts Reno on the top of the list. The auction company is based in Hayden, Idaho; however the accessibility of Reno’s airport and the plentiful hotel accommodations they have made it a convenient location for buyers.
Other highlights of the sale included Charles M. Russell’s oil “The Scouting Party,” $935,000; his watercolor “Tricks in All Trades,” $825,000; and “Roping a Wolf,” $605,000.
A Guy Coheleach oil, “Eye to Eye,” sold for $110,000, and a Carl Rungius collection of 42 etchings brought $275,000. Robert Griffing’s “The Winter Trade” sold for $137,500, and Oscar E. Berninghaus’ “Traveling Pueblo Indian” brought $132,000. Maynard Dixon’s “The Lost Tribes,” oil, five by eight inches, brought $41,250; Thomas Hill’s “Yosemite Valley,” $143,000; and Alfred Jacob Miller’s “Encampment of the Indians” achieved $143,000.
The total for the sale was $14,092,320. All prices quoted include the ten percent buyer’s premium.
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