Weekly News Roundup: April 13- April 17, 2009
Closing out this week’s art, antiques and collectibles news are a forgotten painting that sold for high five figures, claims of ownership for a painting put up as loan collateral and the last Titanic survivor sells her memorabilia.
From Auction Central News and the Associated Press:
Painting long stored in attic earns $96,600 at Kaminski auction
A recently discovered painting by Jessie Wilcox Smith that appeared in a 1914 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine sold at auction for $96,600. Found in a Vermont attic 30 years after its owner stashed it there, the mixed-media painting is typical of Smith’s work. After formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, she became famous for her illustrations in children’s books and magazines.
JPMorgan Chase Claims Rights to Rijksmuseum-Owned Painting
Recent news stories have shown that not even the wealthiest of collectors are immune to the financial and economic crisis. Case in point: JPMorgan Chase claims that a painting currently in the collection of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum was put up as collateral by Dutch businessman Louis Reijtenbagh, who then defaulted on his 2006 loan from the bank. Seems simple, save one complication—the museum purchased the painting, Gerrit Adriansz Berckheyde’s “De bocht van de Herengracht,” in 2008 from Reijtenbagh. No legal proceedings have been set in motion yet, and the Rijksmuseum contends that it acquired the painting through legal means and followed correct procedures.
Last Titanic survivor selling mementos to pay bills
Millvina Dean was a baby when she was rescued from the sinking Titanic in 1912, and her mementos from the ship’s disastrous maiden voyage are expected to fetch $50,000 when she puts them up for auction on Saturday. Dean hopes to make enough money from the auction to remain living in the nursing home where she currently resides. Among the items to go under the hammer is the canvas sack that supposedly carried Dean into a lifeboat.
Proxibid Breaks Auction Records in March and First Quarter
Proxibid, the online auction house, is setting all kinds of sales records. More auctions. More bidders. A higher sell-through percentage. Which just goes to show, if you make it easy for people to attend an auction—in the case of Proxibid, from the comfort of home—people will buy.
From BBC News:
Envelope fails to sell at auction
An envelope bearing some of the first stamps from the Straits Settlements—a British colony from 1867 until the end of World War II and now part of Malaysia—failed to excite bidders at auction. Expected to sell for £1,500 ($2,200), the envelope was mailed in 1868 and survived a voyage on the Red Sea, as well as an overland journey, on its way to being delivered to a woman in Northampton, England.
From Art Daily:
Tsarist Treasures to be Sold at Sotheby’s Russian Art Sales
Sotheby’s upcoming Russian art sales will feature a treasure trove of Imperial Russian antiques. Highlights of the sale include an 1879 silver tea service (estimated selling price: $320,000–$380,000) and a pair of porcelain vases made in the mid-19th century ($1,790,000–2,685,000).
From The New York Times:
They Came From Horrorwood: Ackerman Items On the Block
Pieces from the Ackermansion, the Hollywood home of the late Forrest J. Ackerman, will be center stage at an upcoming Profiles in History auction. Included in the auction preview are Bela Lugosi’s monogrammed ring from a 1948 Dracula movie, Lugosi’s Dracula cape, Lon Chaney’s fanged dentures, a set of comic-book drawings, autographs, newspaper clippings and thousands of other objects.
From BBC News:
Sale of Nazi housewife magazines
Next week, Mullock’s auctioneers in Shropshire, England, will auction off a collection of NS Frauen Warte magazine issues that is expected to fetch at least £500–£700 ($750–$1,050). NS Frauen Warte was the official women’s magazine of the Nazi party, published biweekly from 1935–1945 and featuring recipes and household tips—with a Nazi bent.
From The Associated Press via The New York Times:
Jackson’s Stuff Not For Sale Following Settlement
After being on-again, off-again for quite some time, Julien’s Auctions planned sale of Michael Jackson items and memorabilia is officially off-again. Jackson and Julien’s reached a settlement on Tuesday that allows Jackson to keep the items that were to go under the hammer later this month while the auction house carries on with what was intended to be a pre-auction display of the 2,000 items.
From BBC News:
Historic coins valued at £50,000
Several dozen 400-year-old gold coins found in Oxfordshire, England, have been given a presale value of £50,000 ($75,000) before they hit the auction block in June. A builder found the coins, minted during the reign of James I, 30 years ago, and the man’s grandson is selling all but two. The British Museum bought the two rarest coins, and the rest will be sold individually at estimates between £400–£2,500 ($600–$3,750) each.
From The Boston Globe:
Obama ‘Hope’ artist sees new Boston charges
Shepard Fairey, creator of the iconic “Hope” Barack Obama campaign poster, is facing new charges in Boston. Adding to several existing charges of felony vandalism, a judge added 10 more counts of the same on Tuesday. Fairey has pleaded not guilty to the previous charges, which include alleged vandalism in conjunction with his street-art campaign in Boston. The artist is also in litigation with the Associated Press dealing with violations of copyright law stemming from Fairey’s appropriation of an AP photograph for the “Hope” poster.
From The Telegraph (UK):
Royal wedding cake from 1871 goes on sale
A slice of cake from the wedding celebration of Queen Victoria’s daughter will go under the hammer in Birmingham, England, with a price tag of £145 ($217). The 1871 nuptials between Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne stirred up substantial debate as it was the first marriage between a royal and a commoner in more than 350 years. Despite the controversy, the queen made the event an extravagant affair, and the inch-wide slice of cake on sale was part of a 5-foot-tall confection.
From The Irish Times:
Acclaimed Irish art on show ahead of Sotheby’s auction
A preview of the upcoming Sotheby’s sale of Irish art will be in Dublin next weekend featuring works by William Scott, Sir William Orpen, Daniel O’Neill and Roderic O’Connor. The collection paintings, which range from 18th-century to present day, is estimated to be worth about €8 million ($10,578,800). The first auction house to hold a sale dedicated to Irish art, Sotheby’s set a record in 2001 for the most money paid for an Irish painting. The work was Sir Orpen’s “Portrait of Gardenia St George,” which fetched £1,983,500 ($2,974,500) at auction.
From The New York Times:
MoMA Sued Over German Works
Two paintings and a watercolor by German expressionist painter George Grosz are at the center of a lawsuit filed by Grosz’s heirs against the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Grosz’s heirs want the works returned to them, but MoMA refuses to do so. The lawsuit claims Grosz left the works with his dealer, Alfred Flechtheim, in Germany when he fled the country in 1933. Flechtheim died in 1937, and the paintings found their way to New York after that.
Buyer Pays $460,000 for Roy Rogers’ Martin Acoustic
Results from the auction of Roy Rogers’ guitar. The guitar was sold to an anonymous bidder for $460,000—more than 15,300 times what Rogers paid for it at a California pawnshop back in 1933. Only one of 15 OM-45 Deluxe acoustic guitars that Martin produced in 1930, Rogers’ guitar was one of the most rare, coveted guitars in the world.
From BBC News:
Egg art auction raises thousands
More auction results, this time from Scotland. The online auction of more than 50 elaborately painted ostrich eggs raised more than £6,000 ($9,000) for Mary’s Meals, a food charity. All the eggs were decorated by leading Scottish artists, and the top two sellers (£200, or $300, each) were painted by John Lowrie Morrison and Lonnie Fiord.
From The Guardian (UK):
Charles Darwin egg leaves Cambridge museum thrilled after cracking code
A volunteer at the Cambridge University zoology museum found what is thought to be the last egg of a batch that Charles Darwin brought back to England after his explorations around the world on the Beagle. The tinamou egg bears cracks 150 years old and was donated to the museum by Darwin’s son, Frank. Volunteer Liz Wetton came across the egg as she was working on cataloging and repackaging the museum’s extensive egg collection.
Gallery Director Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Records
Steven Harvey, director of the recently troubled Salander-O’Reilly Galleries in Manhattan, has plead guilty to charges of falsifying records. Apparently, Harvey entered the plea March 13, weeks before the Manhattan gallery’s proprietor, Lawrence Salander, was arrested for allegedly stealing $88 million from investors, collectors and the Bank of America Corp. Harvey left Salander-O’Reilly in 2007 to open his own art dealership.
From TVNZ (New Zealand):
Rare, old books heading under the hammer
A collection of 180 rare books will be auctioned at Dunbar Sloane Auction House in Wellington, New Zealand, later this month, with expected sales of $250,000 NZD ($146,600). The private collection of Australasia books includes 1,000-year-old manuscripts, tomes from the 12th and 13th centuries and a page from one of the world’s first printed books.
From The Associated Press via Auction Central News:
Czech police recover stolen surrealistic painting by Toyen
An important surrealist painting by Czech artist Toyen was recovered 17 years after it was stolen from a private collection. Czech police recovered “Northern Landscape” last week when two suspects attempted to sell the painting, which is thought to be worth around $305,000. Another work by Toyen—neé Marie Cerminova—sold last month at auction for about $1 million.
Elizabeth Hendley is a WorthPoint writer based in Seattle.
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