52.jpgWest Palm Beach, FL - On April 18, runway action halted temporarily as fashionistas worldwide grabbed their mobile devices to bid in Urban Culture Auctions’ sale of original sketches by the late Chanel mastermind Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019). After weeks of relentless media coverage, the auction of fashion drawings from Lagerfeld’s days as a budding couturier had finally arrived. By the time the hammer came down on the last lot 4½ hours later, the auction had realized $247,520 and was 100% sold.

“The auction far exceeded our expectations. We had many new-bidder sign-ups, and from everywhere you can imagine - Russia, Australia, Japan, probably a dozen European countries, and all over the United States,” said auctioneer and Urban Culture Auctions co-owner Rico Baca. “Here at the gallery we served our Palm Beach-area guests refreshments of champagne, fresh strawberries and Godiva chocolates but didn’t serve a meal as we usually do, because there were only 125 lots. We thought the sale would be over in less than two hours, but we obviously underestimated the power of Karl Lagerfeld. He was in charge.”

All of the drawings were created in the 1960s when Lagerfeld worked for the House of Tiziani in Rome. Many bore his handwritten notations in the margins and some had swatches of original fabric attached. The artworks are especially rare because Lagerfeld routinely discarded anything he viewed as extraneous. “If those designs had not been kept in the Tiziani archive and preserved by two subsequent owners, they would have been lost forever. We hope some of them will end up in fashion museums, as they are so precious,” Baca said.

Most of the drawings ended up selling for about mid-estimate, and many sold for the high estimate or more. “We thought the bidding might calm down as the sale progressed, but bidding was intense to the very last lot,” Baca said.

Among the top sellers was a black-and-white drawing of a chic three-piece mini-skirted suit with matching hat, which sold for $4,550 against an estimate of $500-$1,500; and a similarly estimated full-color drawing of a floor-length peasant-style dress, which garnered $2,990. A sketch depicting a floaty off-white evening gown with feathery tiered layers adorning its A-line skirt and elbow-length sleeves was bid to $2,860; while a slinky depiction of a model wearing a black tee top and matching wide-flared trousers closed at $2,730. Both lots had been estimated at $500-$1,500.

To discuss consigning any quality item of vintage pop culture memorabilia to a future Urban Culture Auctions sale, call 561-586-5500 or email uca@modernauctions.com. Visit them online at www.urbancultureauctions.com.

All prices shown in this report are inclusive of a 30% buyer’s premium.

Image: Lot 52 - Karl Lagerfeld (German, 1933-2019), original drawing on card stock of elegant evening gown with feathery tiers and sleeve adornments.Sold for $2,860. Courtesy of Urban Culture Auctions, a division of Palm Beach Modern Auctions.

 

79.jpgFalls Church, VA - Waverly Rare Books, a division of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, will present a special Collectors Series Judaica auction on May 2 featuring historically important books, art, scrolls and artifacts. A prized selection of items comes from the estate of Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman (1919-2017), who had strong ties to the Washington, D.C., area.

Born in Austria, Rabbi Haberman was attending a Jewish rabbinical seminary in Europe when World War II broke out. He left for the United States and went on to spend 18 rewarding years as rabbi for the Washington Hebrew Congregation. His collection includes a fascinating variety of books on Judaism, Jewish history, literature, theology and 19th-century German philosophy.

Other featured items in the Rabbi Haberman collection include Hebrew prayer books, two 17th-century bibles printed in Amsterdam, a copy of Marc Chagall’s Illustrations for the Bible, the first publication of an essay by Edmund Husserl titled The Crisis of European Sciences. Devotional objects include Rabbi Haberman’s gragger, shofar, Scroll of Esther, and a pair of menorahs. Also coming to auction from the Haberman collection, and other consignors, are paintings and prints by Afroyim Soshana, Yaacov Agam, Caspar Mine, and Yosi Stern. 

A non-kosher Torah scroll originating from Eastern Europe is complete with modern rollers and mantel, and has sections that vary in age from earlier to more modern. It has an estimate of $4,000-$6,000. Also, a copy of the first American edition of Chagall’s Illustrations for the Bible (1956, Harcourt, Brace & Co., N.Y.), in a very rare dustjacket and featuring 17 lithographs in color (including the title page, plus 12 in black and white), should hammer for $1,500-$2,500.

A heavy wove construction artwork with serigraph by Yaacov Agam (Israeli, b. 1928-), titled Tribute of the People of Israel to the People of the United States (1985), #230 from an edition of 900, signed in marker and editioned in pencil, should hit $400-$600; and two signed works by Afroyim Soshana (Austrian, 1927-2015), both watercolor and gouache on paper and depicting the sin and impending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, carry an estimate of $300-$500.

A 20th-century oil-on-board artwork titled Portrait of a Rabbi by Caspar Mine (German-French, b. 1905-), is artist-signed and framed with a gallery label on verso. Its pre-sale estimate is $300-$500. Also, a papier-mâché, acrylic and wire sculpture depicting King David, created by the 20th-century American artist Phillip Ratner, is signed in gold at lower left and comes to auction with a $200-$400 estimate.

A folio leaf from the first issue (1611) of the King James Bible, The First Book of Moses (called Genesis 1: 1-18), framed together with a facsimile frontispiece, is expected to knock down $500-$700. 

Also from the Haberman collection, two kinetic brass menorahs with removable, rotatable arms will be offered as one lot with a $100-$150 estimate. An ideal placement might be atop Rabbi Haberman’s personal desk. Made by Sligh Furniture, the leather-topped kneehole desk has three upper drawers with brass handles over four lower drawers (two double drawers). Together with the chair Rabbi Haberman chose to use with the desk, the duo is paired at auction with an estimate of $200-$300. A wooden gragger for use during Purim, bearing Haberman’s initials, lotted together with another gragger and shofar, come to auction with an $80-$100 estimate.

Waverly Rare Books’ 171-lot specialty auction will be conducted live at Quinn’s Auction Galleries, 360 South Washington Street in Falls Church, Virginia, with all forms of bidding available. Bid absentee or live via the Internet at www.LiveAuctioneers.com . Previews will be held Monday, April 29 from 10-5, and Tuesday-Thursday, April 30-May 2, from 10-6.

For additional information about any item in the Thursday, May 2 auction, to leave an absentee bid or to reserve a phone line on auction day, call 703-532-5632, extension 575; or e-mail waverly@quinnsauction.com. Visit them online at http://www.quinnsauction.com. Waverly Rare Books is always accepting consignments for future auctions.

Image: Lot 79: First American edition copy of Chagall’s Illustrations for the Bible (1956, Harcourt, Brace & Co., N.Y.), in a very rare dustjacket and featuring 17 lithographs in color, est. $1,500-$2,500 https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/71197111_chagall-illustrations-for-the-bible-1956-1st-ed

Lot 251-Chambi copy.jpgNew York — Swann Galleries’ sale of Classic & Contemporary Photographs on Thursday, April 18 saw active bidding across all categories with early-twentieth-century photography, Humanist portraits and sublime images of nature making an impact. 

Vernacular photography led the sale with a personal album, compiled by Herbert Heard Evans, containing 118 silver prints depicting the city and region of Cusco, Peru, as well as other parts of Latin America in the 1920s. Sixteen of the images were attributed to Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi. Evans was the Assistant Superintendent of the Mechanical Division of the Panama Canal from 1919-42, and during his station he and his wife traveled extensively throughout South America. The album reached $58,750 after a lengthy bidding war, a record for images by Chambi. 

Early-twentieth-century works included Alfred Stieglitz’s publication Camera Work with Number 36, 1911, complete with 17 photogravures by Stieglitz, and Number 49-50, 1917, edited by Stieglitz with 10 photogravures by Paul Strand ($17,500 and $16,250, respectively). Also of note was an album of 55 photographs by Wilson A. Bentley, all but four of his groundbreaking images of snow crystals ($22,500) and Man Ray’s 1931 Electricité, with 10 photogravures after the artist’s Rayographs ($37,500).

Poignant portraits by Dorothea Lange proved be popular with buyers. Korean Child, printed 1960s, taken during Lange’s 1958 trip through Asia, set a record for the image at $20,000. Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940, printed circa 1966, brought $15,000. 

Additional works capturing quotidian subjects included Roman Vishniac’s 1936-38 portfolio The Vanished World, printed 1977, complete with 12 silver prints of people in Eastern Europe ($22,500); a choice suite of five silver prints from Graciela Iturbide’s 1979-89 series Mujeres de Juchitan, printed circa 1990 ($15,000); and Brassaï’s 1932 silver print of an amorous Parisian couple Couple d’amoureux, quartier place d’Italie, Paris, printed circa 1970 ($21,250).

Ansel Adams’ Portfilio Three:Yosemite National Park, 1929-50, printed 1960, complete with 16 silver prints, letterpress colophon and the title page with Adams’ introduction, brought $57,500. Other images capturing nature included Adams’ Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1960, printed 1979 ($22,500), and Untitled (snowy landscape), 1970-74, by Robert Adams ($13,750). Hiroshi Sugimoto’s 1991 Time Exposed portfolio, with 50 plates of dreamlike seascapes, earned a record for the set at $20,000.

Each of the five photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe sold: highlights included Lisa Lyon, an oversized silver print from 1980-82, that set a record for an image of Lyon at $50,000, as well as two male nude portraits: Eric, 1980, and an untitled silver print from 1981 ($11,700 and $12,500, respectively).

Daile Kaplan, Swann Galleries Director of Photographs & Photobooks, noted “The sale reflected competitive interest in blue chip materials, with works by Ansel Adams, Brassaï and Robert Mapplethorpe garnering strong prices, and portfolios by Man Ray and Hiroshi Sugimoto selling very well. Swann’s dedication to offering the best examples of vernacular photography attracted major American and European collectors, who continue to explore photography in relation to visual culture.”    

The next auction from Swann Galleries’ Photographs & Photobooks Department will be held in October 2019. The house is currently accepting quality consignments. Visit swanngalleries.com for more about selling at Swann.

Image: Lot 251: Album with 118 photographs, 16 attributed to Martín Chambi, depicting different regions of South America, silver prints, 1920s. Sold for $58,750, a record for images by Chambi.

Bond copy.jpgNew York - Nineteenth- and twentieth-century luminaries, science-fiction and more form Swann Galleries’ 19th & 20th Century Literature auction on Tuesday, May 14, with an impressive run of 14 James Bond novels by Ian Fleming. 

Significant material by the man behind James Bond includes a first edition of Casino Royale, 1953, Fleming’s earliest Bond novel (Estimate: $12,000-18,000). A first edition, presentation copy of Thunderball, 1961, features with an inscription to Charles Douglas Jackson, the Deputy Chief at the Psychological Warfare Division at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force in the U.K., and friend of Fleming’s who was revealed to be a CIA agent following his death in 1964. A first edition of Goldfinger, 1959, is signed and inscribed to Sir Henry Cotton, MBE, a noteworthy professional golfer ($12,000-18,000, each). Also present is the rarest Bond title of all: a first edition, first impression of The Man with the Golden Gun, 1965, that has the gilt gun stamped on the front cover ($6,000-9,000).

The sale is led by a scarce presentation copy of Security Analysis, 1934, likely the first known to bear the signature of its principal author, Benjamin Graham. This first edition, second printing, is inscribed to a Wall Street trader who was a contemporary of the author and is estimated at $18,000 to $25,000.

Early twentieth-century titles of note include the first American edition of Virginia Woolf’s first book, The Voyage Out, 1920, in the rare dusk jacket, of which only two have been traced at auction ($2,000-3,000). A first edition in the dust jacket with cover art that reproduces the frontispiece of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera, 1911, will have its inaugural auction appearance ($12,000-18,000). Also of note: a first edition of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, 1929, signed and inscribed to an Eleanor, with a note indicating that the book belonged to Eleanor Young-the niece of Georgia O’Keeffe ($3,500-5,000).

A signed first edition of Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124C 41+. A Romance of the Year 2660, 1925-one of the foundational texts in the science-fiction pantheon-comes across the block estimated at $7,000 to $10,000. Fresh-to-market Ray Bradbury material from the estate of Stanley Simon includes signed typescripts Way in the Middle of the Air and Payment in Full, late 1940s ($400-600 and $500-750, respectively), signed screen and stage treatments for Something Wicked This Way Comes, 1976, ($300-400), and all manner of ephemera. Also of note is a first edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others, 1939, with the author’s signature laid-in. The work is the first collection of Lovecraft’s writing as well as the first book published by Arkham House, and is expected to bring $2,000 to $3,000.

From the nineteenth century comes Ralph Waldo Emerson’s copy of the reconstituted issue of the Transcendentalist periodical The Dial: A Magazine for Literature, Philosophy, and Religion, 1860, with notations in his hand ($2,500-3,500). The publication features first appearances in print by Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. A signed author’s edition of Leaves of Grass, 1876, by Walt Whitman ($4,000-6,000), as well as the first American edition of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1885, with key first-issue points, will be on offer ($2,500-3,500). 

Spectacular bindings include the limited Saint Dunstan edition of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 1901, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet and illuminated throughout by Nestore Leoni. The present copy is 11 of 30, with 18 having been reserved for sale in America and 12 for Europe, estimated at $6,000 to $9,000. 

Exhibition opening in New York City May 10. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App. 

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image

Lot 130: Ian Fleming, The Man with the Golden Gun, first edition, first state with the golden gun on the front cover, London, 1965. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

Lot 124: Ian Fleming, Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, in unrestored first state dustjacket, London, 1953. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.

Lot 134: Ian Fleming, Thunderball, first edition, presentation copy, inscribed to friend & former CIA agent Charles Douglass Jackson, London, 1961. Estimate $8,000 to $12,000.

Hunter S Thompson Letter 56115b_lg.jpegLos Angeles - An pair of extraordinary letters by Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on April 25, 2019.

Thompson sent the letter being auctioned to his friend Paul Semonin in early June 1961 from Big Sur. Semonin was Thompson’s Louisville, Kentucky childhood friend.

The letter reads in part, “now midnight - up at 6:30 tomorrow for hard shot at $3.22 per hr. highway const. Job...am working fitfully on Great PR novel - The Rum Diary. Also building windows, skinning deer, scaling fish, raising one motherless fawn, building swimming pool, stalking boar & generally raising hell. Playboy bounced B.S. & it is now circulating for the booby prize...Anyway, pay your debts & come by for a visit. The Jew…”

Bidding for the letter begins at $2,500.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Hunter_S__Thompson_Autograph_Letter_Signed___The_J-LOT52055.aspx

Thompson wrote the  second letter being auctioned on the opposite side of a typed satire debate entitled ''THE GREAT DEBATE'', with a fictional exchange between Kennedy and Nixon. Thompson wrote regarding Kennedy's Presidential victory, ''Ok weedsucker - we got the touchdown - where do we go from here?'' 

Bidding for the letter begins at $2,000.

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Hunter_S__Thompson_Autograph_Letter_Shortly_After_-LOT52056.aspx

 

 

Lot 113-Wilson copy.jpgNew York - Swann Galleries’ Printed & Manuscript Americana sale on Thursday, April 16 was the house’s third straight sale is the category to finish over $1,000,000, bringing several significant records. Institutions made up the bulk of the buyers. Specialist Rick Stattler commented: “The market remains vigorous for scarce and important material, with five-figure highlights in all of our main subject areas: early American imprints, the American Revolution, Civil War, Mormons, the West, and Latin Americana.”

Mexican imprints proved to be popular with six earning top prices in the sale. Highlights included a first edition 1674 pamphlet by famed Mexican poetess Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, consisting of Christmas carols to be sung in honor of the thirteenth-century St. Pedro Nolasco. It set a record for the author at $45,000. Juan Navarro’s 1604 Liber in quo quatuor passions Christi Domini continentur, the first music by a New World composer printed in the Americas, earned $32,500, and a first edition of Alonso de Molina’s 1565 full-length confessional manual with instructions on the administration of the sacraments, written in Nahuatl and Spanish, brought $21,250. Mexican manuscripts featured an extensive illustrated file detailing a land dispute between a ranch owner and his Nahua neighbors, with 350 manuscript pages ($30,000).

“The successful sale of the Holzer Lincolniana collection last fall brought in a strong group of related material for this auction, including our top lot, a beautiful portrait of Lincoln by Matthew Henry Wilson,” said Stattler-the artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life set a record for Wilson at $55,000. Other Lincoln and Civil War material of note included a newspaper extra from Detroit announcing Lincoln’s assassination, which topped its high estimate at $15,000, a likely record for any newspaper with that news, and Benson Lossing’s Pictorial History of the Civil War of the United States of America, 1866-68, ($15,000). 

Texas material was led by the manuscript diary of William Farrar Smith documenting the 1849 Whiting-Smith Expedition to form a trail from San Antonio to El Paso ($47,500) and a first edition of Batholomé Garcia’s Manual para Administrar los Santos Sacramentos, 1760, the only early work published in the Pakawan language ($13,000). 

Lots relating to the early days of America included the May 6, 1775 issue of the Virginia Gazette which reports first-hand accounts of the battles of Lexington and Concord, at $12,500, and a journal of contemporary manuscript notes dated 1788, from the Massachusetts convention to ratify the Federal Constitution, emphasizing the need for a Bill of Rights and for sovereignty of the states, at $16,250.

Additional auction records included a rare corrected variant of the 1852 Liverpool Book of Mormon, which brought $41,600, a record for any European Mormon publication, as well as an 1850s whaling diary kept by captain’s wife Alida Taber, which earned the highest known price for a woman’s whaling dairy, at $15,000.

The next auction from Swann Galleries’ Books & Manuscripts Department will be 19th & 20th Century Literature on May 14. Visit swanngalleries.com or download the Swann Galleries App for catalogues, bidding and inquires.          

Additional highlights can be found here.

Image: Lot 113: Matthew Henry Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, oil on canvas, an artist’s copy of the last portrait rendered from life, 1865. Sold for $55,000.

Albert Einstein Letter Signed 57934b_lg.jpegLos Angeles - A fascinating letter by Albert Einstein on the Jewish People’s rights to defend themselves will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on April 25, 2019.  
Albert Einstein wrote the June 10, 1939 letter, postmarked from Princeton to E.J. Brown of the famed Arnold Constable & Co. department store, who worked on behalf of the refugees during Dedication Week. Einstein wrote in full, “May I offer my sincere congratulations to you on the splendid work you have undertaken on behalf of the refugees during Dedication Week.  The power of resistance which has enabled the Jewish people to survive for thousands of years has been based to a large extent on traditions of mutual helpfulness. In these years of affliction our readiness to help one another is being put to an especially severe test. May we stand this test as well as did our fathers before us. We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause. It must be a source of deep gratification to you to be making so important a contribution toward rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future...[signed] A. Einstein.''

Einstein had long worked to save European Jews by issuing affidavits.

Bidding for the letter begins at $20,000. In March, Nate D. Sanders sold a similar Einstein letter for $134,344. https://natedsanders.com/LotDetail.aspx?inventoryid=51535

Additional information on the letter can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Albert_Einstein_Letter_Signed_During_WWII______The-LOT51535.aspx

2010_4_125.jpgAmherst, MA --The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art celebrates the golden anniversary of William Steig's seminal book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Steig's famous fable tells of Sylvester Duncan, a donkey who discovers a magic pebble and accidentally turns himself into a rock. With humor and pathos, Steig illustrates an emotional tale of discovery, loss, and reunion. Above all, it is a story about the love of family. William Steig's Sylvester and the Magic Pebble: A Golden Anniversary is on view from May 4 to December 1 in The Carle's Central Gallery. 

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble has held a special place in readers' hearts for 50 years. Contemporary illustrators often cite the book as one of their greatest influences. The Carle is fortunate to have in its permanent collection Steig's preliminary sketches and dummy books related to the publication, thanks to the generosity of Jeanne Steig who donated over 1,000 art works by her late husband. The artist's daughter Maggie Steig has generously loaned the original published illustrations--along with her father's paints, tools, personal family photographs, and his prized Caldecott Medal--to the exhibition. 

"We have deep holdings of work by Steig in our collection," says chief curator Ellen Keiter. "It is an honor to care for his art and to share it with our guests, particularly during a special anniversary year." In addition to Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, The Carle holds Steig's art for 39 other titles, such as The Amazing Bone (1976), a Caldecott Honor book; Abel's Island (1976) and Doctor De Soto (1982), both Newbery Medal honor books; and Amos & Boris (1971), Dominic (1972), and Caleb & Kate (1977), all National Book Award honorees. Other favorites include CDB! (1968), Brave Irene (1986), and Shrek! (1990), an adaptation of which won an Oscar for best animated film of 2001.

Steig had a prolific and acclaimed career in the arts. Hailed as the "King of Cartoons," he produced a staggering 1,600 drawings and over 100 covers for The New Yorker during his lifetime. At age 61, Steig embarked on a second career as a children's picture book author and illustrator. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was the third of his 40 books for children. 

The Carle has featured Steig's art in numerous exhibitions, most recently in Treasures from the Collection: A 15 Year Celebration. In 2004, the Museum organized the retrospective Heart and Humor: The Picture Book Art of William Steig. For this presentation, The Carle designed a charming tableau vivant of Steig's picnic scene--including a "Sylvester rock"--to engage visitors of all ages.

About The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art: 

The mission of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. A leading advocate in its field, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture-book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

Eric Carle and his wife, the late Barbara Carle, co-founded the Museum in November 2002. Carle is the renowned author and illustrator of more than 70 books, including the 1969 classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Since opening, the 43,000-square foot facility has served more than 750,000 visitors, including 50,000 schoolchildren. The Carle houses more than 11,000 objects, including 7,300 permanent collection illustrations. The Carle has three art galleries, an art studio, a theater, picture book and scholarly libraries, and educational programs for families, scholars, educators, and schoolchildren. Bobbie's Meadow is an outdoor space that combines art and nature. Educational offerings include professional training for educators around the country and Master's degree programs in children's literature with Simmons College. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm, Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, and Sunday 12 pm to 5 pm. Open Mondays in July and August and during MA school vacation weeks. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for children under 18, and $22.50 for a family of four. For further information and directions, call (413) 559-6300 or visit the Museum's website at www.carlemuseum.org.

Image: William Steig, Preliminary illustration for Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1969). Gift of Jeanne Steig. © William Steig.

 

Lot406 copy.jpgPhiladelphia — On Wednesday, April 10, Freeman’s had the privilege of auctioning nearly 500 lots from the Collection of Ambassador & Mrs. Alexander Weddell, deaccessioned by the Virginia House Museum to benefit future preservation, acquisitions and care of collections. With an impressive 98% sell-through rate and unprecedented registration from online bidders, the single-owner sale nearly doubled its pre-sale high estimate, totaling $1.57 million. 

Though originally chosen to describe the diverse contents that were collected by the Weddells during their personal and professional foreign travels, the auction’s overarching title: Across Continents equally befits the strong international interest that the sale ultimately generated. After a comprehensive marketing campaign targeted to a global audience, both new and established bidders from around the world actively participated in the sale, vying to acquire the fresh-to-market furniture, decorative arts, paintings, textiles and books from this time-capsule collection.  Members of the trade, private collectors, and institutions alike expressed serious interest in the collection, either with the intent of bidding or of furthering academic studies and contributing to existing scholarship.  

“This sale provided a rare opportunity to combine rigorous art historical research with the client service and global outreach that Freeman’s is known for,” says Head of Sale Tessa Laney, “Working on this extraordinary and important collection was a true dream for any auction specialist and an honor for us at Freeman’s.”

Success with Ottoman Decorative Arts

Top price was achieved just over eight hours into the marathon auction by Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress. Exciting a full bank of active phone and internet bidders, the rare book — containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed — sold to a prominent private collector in the room for an impressive $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000).  Costume albums by Mehmed are in the Istanbul University Library, the Topkapi Palace, and the Rahmi Koç Collection.  This climactic moment crowned a series of strong prices achieved for Ottoman decorative arts, preceded by the back-to-back sales of Lots 155: A large pair of 17th/18th century Ottoman cast and turned brass candlesticks, which realized $25,000 (estimate: $1,000-2,000)  and 156: An early 19th century Ottoman gilt-copper (tombak) ewer and basin that sold for $48,750 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). Decorative arts from the Far East also performed well, led by Lot 199: A finely cast and engraved Tibetan gilt copper alloy figure of a seated Buddha, 16th/17th century or earlier, that realized $42,500 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).  

Furniture Highlights

In spite of a market that is all too frequently bemoaned, furniture from the Weddells’ collection performed remarkably well, with many lots exceeding their estimates. Lot 49: A Nasrid-style early marquetry and ivory inlaid cassone, Venice or Barcelona, late 15th century, skyrocketed past its pre-sale estimate of $6,000-8,000 to sell for $59,375. Bearing similarities to examples found in notable institutions such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, this early and extraordinary chest elicited strong interest from national and overseas parties.  Other furniture highlights included Lot 296: An impressive Spanish Renaissance carved walnut refectory table, 17th century, that sold for $37,500 (estimate: $5,000-7,000) and Lot 309: A fine Spanish Baroque iron-mounted and velvet-lined parcel-gilt walnut Vargueño on stand, 17th century, that realized $28,750 (estimate: $8,000-12,000).

Strong Prices for the Arts of Colonial and Latin America

The arts of Colonial and Latin America emerged as a particular area of interest to collectors. Many of the lots the Weddells acquired during their time in Mexico City and Argentina with the help of Austrian art dealer Rene d’Harnoncourt, the former director of MoMA, sparked competitive and lengthy bidding wars. The pattern emerged early when Lot 40: A Spanish Colonial polychrome lacquer tray, second half 18th century, made over thirty-six times its estimate to sell for $11,050. This was succeeded by the lively sale of Lot 234: A Mexican biombo with emblems from Otto Van Veens Horattii Emblemata, 18th century, that brought $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000) and Lot 242: A Mexican silver eight-light votive lamp in the Spanish Colonial style, bearing marks for Cayetano Buitrón, likely late 19th century, that achieved $17,500 (estimate: $2,000-3,000). 

Fine Art hailing from the region also fared well, with Lot 260: Cuzco School (18th century), The Death of the Virgin, selling for $26,250 (estimate: $12,000-18,000) and Lot 232: Mexican School (18th century), The Virgin of Ocotlán, realizing $15,000 (estimate: $3,000-5,000). The highest price for a work of art in the collection was achieved by Lot 253: Le Désenchanté  (The Disillusioned), a root wood sculpture by Stephen Erzia (Russian 1876-1960), which sold for $71,500 (estimate: $15,000-25,000). The Weddells purchased the work directly from the artist, whom they met in Argentina in the 1930s. Alexander and Virginia purportedly purchased three other sculptures by Erzia, which they donated to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 

Institutional Acquisitions

Numerous lots from the sale will be finding new homes in institutions, both within the United States and abroad. Most notably, several objects - including Lot 79: A Flemish mythological or historical tapestry, mid to late 16th century - will be returning to their former neighborhood of Windsor Farms in Richmond, Virginia, having been acquired by Agecroft Hall and Gardens - the historic mansion directly adjacent to Virginia House.  Additionally, Lot 78: Portrait of a Court Lady, Bust-Length by Franz Kessler (1580-1650) will be presented in a couple of months to the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne, Germany, where the artist was born and spent most of his life.  

Concluding Statements

The consistently strong performance of this varied collection that spanned countries, centuries and collecting-genres is testimony to Freeman’s success with single-owner sales, to its commitment to the proper and careful handling of institutional de-accessions and to its truly international reach. “It was a great pleasure working with the Virginia Museum of History and Culture on this de-accession,” remarks Freeman’s Vice President and Southeast Representative Colin Clarke, “This collaboration and the opportunity to handle such rare, first-rate material has definitely been one of the highlights of my professional career. It resulted in a beautiful exhibition, an in-depth and scholarly catalogue, and an exciting sale with results that speak for themselves."  

Image: Lot 406: A book of various types of Ottoman dress containing 148 original watercolors by a follower of the artist Fenerci Mehmed, sold to a private collector for $137,500 (estimate: $4,000-6,000). 

Brady Portrait copy.jpgDallas, TX - Consignments from five private collections, including one of the most comprehensive private compilations of Robert E. Lee photographs (many of which are signed by Lee) ever assembled, will be among the highlights in Heritage Auctions’ Americana & Political Auction May 4-5 in Dallas, Texas.

“The Dr. Donald A. Hopkins collection of Lee photos is remarkable both for its depth and breadth,” Heritage Auctions Americana Director Tom Slater said. “The auction includes some 100 lots, many of which contain multiple images, and includes numerous signed photos, rare poses, and images by noteworthy photographers both North and South.”

A diligent scholar of his subject, Dr. Hopkins authored the book Robert E. Lee in War and Peace, which is extensively illustrated with examples from this collection.

Among the top lots in the auction from the collection of Dr. Hopkins:

·         Robert E. Lee: Mammoth Mathew Brady Photograph is a double-matted and framed photo showing a full view of Lee seated next to a table topped with an elaborate clock. This is not the same pose as the commonly seen “clock portrait” because of the position of Lee’s elbow in relation to the clock on the table, and other details.

·         Robert E. Lee: Full Standing "Blockade Portrait" Carte-de-Visite [CDV] by Vannerson & Jones is a post-war printing of the 1864 studio portrait by Vannerson, one of two taken for use by 19th-century artist E.V. Valentine as models for his sculpture. The offered image was printed from Vannerson’s original negative after he entered into a partnership with Jones.

·         Robert E. Lee: Unpublished, Boldly Signed Carte-de-Visite [CDV] is a vignette bust of Lee, taken during fall and/or winter of 1865-66 by Isaac N. White and Joseph Kelley, who took one outdoor view of Lee atop Traveller, Lee’s most famous horse during the American Civil War, and two indoor shots. It has a cancelled two-cent stamp on verso, and is inscribed “White & Kelley.” The offered CDV was kept by the Alexander family in Stuart’s Draft, Augusta County, Virginia from 1866-2013. It descended through the family and was found secured in the Alexander library inside a copy of General Lee: Great Commander Series by Fitzhugh Lee.

Other diverse categories strongly represented in the auction include political and presidential collectibles, Old West artifacts, items from the early days of the Woman’s  Suffrage movement, and antique advertising.  A rare Punch Cigar Store Advertising Figure Cast in Zinc, Circa 1885. Fashioned in the form of one half of the Punch and Judy puppet show, the Punch figurine remains the most elusive for collectors, and rarely comes to the auction market in such exceptional condition. Depicting Punchinello, the Lord of Misrule, with cigars in his right hand, the figure has “Wm. Demuth & Co. Manufacturers New York” cast in the base. A notorious distributor of pipes and cigar store trade figures, Demuth entered into a partnership in 1863 with Brooklyn-based foundry operator Moritz Seelig, to produce cast metal trade figures to sell through Demuth’s catalog.

In addition, General George Washington’s “Christmas Miracle” Crossing the Delaware and the Stunning Victory at Trenton is one of what is believed to be only three known copies of this exceptionally rare broadside hand-bill, titled “Fresh Advices from the Westward…” from the office of The Providence Gazette. American newspapers traditionally did not print Sunday editions in the 18th century because of the Sabbath, but the magnitude of the news in this rarity justified an exception to the rule. The only two other known copies are housed in the Rhode Island Historical Society and at the American Antiquarian Society. This is believed to be the only copy ever to sell publicly, having appeared in the American Art Association’s 1921 sale, “Americana Rarissima: A Notable Selection of Books, Broadsides, Letters.”

Other noteworthy offerings include:

Henry Clay: A Marvelous Rare and Highly Distinctive 1844 Campaign Flag Banner is the first example of this flag seen other the one pictured in Threads of History, which now resides in an institutional collection. The flag features a unique “folk art” portrait of Clay, and each corner of the canton contains part of the slogan “A Natural Currency / Revenue and Protection / Encouragement to Agriculture / Manufactures and Commerce.”

James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok: Perhaps the Most Important Known Autograph Letter Signed from this Old West Legend set a world record when it was purchased for $190,400 at auction by the consignor in 2003. Hickok wrote the letter to his wife, Agnes, in June 1876 at Omaha, Nebraska, where he was trying to put together a prospecting expedition to the Black Hills. He wrote the letter just a month before he was fatally shot by Jack McCall while playing poker, as he held a hand - aces and eights - that became known as the “dead man’s hand.”

John A. Sutter: A Superb Engraved Sword Presented to this Famous California Gold Rush Figure by the Sutter Rifles Militia Group is one of the great early California relics, having sold in 2008 for $172,000. Sutter owned the mill where James Marshall first discovered gold in 1848, and rose quickly to prominence, becoming one of the faces of the California Gold Rush and then becoming a (perhaps honorary) general in the California state militia. A unit known as the Sutter Rifles presented him with this sword, the scabbard of which was engraved with “Presented to Major General John A. Sutter / by Captn / A. Andrews / Sacramento City 1853.”

Zachary Taylor: Only Known Example Campaign Banner for the 1848 Whig Candidate and 12th President is in the style of campaign banners that attained extreme popularity in the 1840 and 1844 political seasons, but many seemed to disappear during the following two presidential elections. They enjoyed a resurgence in 1856 and rode the new wave of popularity through the remainder of the 19th century. This is the only example that Heritage Auctions ever has seen, in private or public collections, making this one of the most important political flags ever to reach the auction market. The flag is emblazoned with “Brave Old Zach” on the front, and “He protected the children” on the back - almost certainly a reference to the first event which brought Taylor national attention - as an officer in his first battle in the War of 1812, he commanded Fort Harrison, which came under attack by Indians who were siding with the British. Taylor rallied the troops, fending off the attack while allowing no harm to the women and children.

Among the 995 lots in the auction are more than three dozen Texana lots, including:

·         William Barret Travis: Legal Document Signed "W B Travis"

·         G. Woolworth Colton. Colton's New Map of the State of Texas

·         Texas: Circa 1840 Map by George Conclin

·         Sam Houston: Receipt Signed as President of the Republic of Texas

·         Texas and Rio Grande Land Grant Certificate

In the  Woman’s Suffrage category, the auction features the widely respected collection of Jeannine Coup of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the founder and editor of The Political Bandwagon, which reports on activity in the world of political items collecting. Highlights include:

·         Boldly Colored Trumpeter Button

·         Angelic Trumpeter Slogan Button

·         Rare Enamel Brooch

·         Susan B. Anthony Birthday Teaspoon

·         Billowing Pennant Enamel Brooch

Other top lots include, but are not limited to:

·         Cox & Roosevelt: An Almost Certainly Unique Black and White Variant of the Customarily Brown Whitehead and Hoag 7/8" Jugate

·         Jordan B. Noble: African American Drummer in the War of 1812 Personally Owned Snare Drum

·         George Washington: A Superb, Large, Signed Oil on Canvas Portrait by Philadelphia Artist Robert Street

·         U. S. Flags: Circa 1845 27-Star Flag

·         Sam Houston: Fabulous Life-Size Pastel Portrait by Harriet Anderson Stubbs Murphy

Auction Guide