Weekly News Roundup: Aug. 3-7, 2009

In art, antiques and collectibles headlines is Barbra Streisand selling items for good causes, a potential Chicago real-estate steal and bidding on a bard’s Bible.

From The Associated Press:
Barbra Streisand to auction items for charity

She may have started out singing “Second Hand Rose,” but over the years, Barbra Streisand didn’t shop at Goodwill. Now collector Streisand is clearing her closets of costumes, designer furniture, collectibles and paintings. She’ll be auctioning off 400 items in October. Proceeds will go to her foundation, which helps such causes as City Year, an organization that gets young people involved in community service; the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation—Streisand is especially interested in the foundation’s climate-change initiative; and women’s heart research. Good going, Babs.

From The New York Times:
Bids Start at $300,000 for Chicago’s Post Office

Ten miles of conveyor belts. Five thousand workers. Thirty-five million letters a year. Chicago’s nine-story, 2.7-million-square-foot old central post office was called the largest in the world during its heyday. It took 11 years to build (1921-1932). After 13 years of trying get someone to redevelop the property, it’s up for auction. And potentially, it could be yours for the mere $300,000 opening bid. Before you pull out your checkbook, keep in mind it will put you back more than $2 million a year just for utilities, security and upkeep.

From the BBC:
Bidders sought for Bard’s Bible

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to min’?” Poet Robert Burns small Bible hasn’t been forgotten. It will be auctioned this month during Bonhams Scottish sale. It’s expected it will bring in $3,300. Also offered is the manuscript of the lyrics to “Auld Lang Syne,” which Burns wrote in 1788. The winning bidder won’t be carrying the lyrics home. Instead, the purchase money will be given to a new Scottish museum that will take possession of the manuscript. It’s expected that the honor of being recognized as the patron will cost in the neighborhood of $84,000.

From The Art Newspaper:
The mystery of MoCA China’s fleeing founder

When realist painter Jeffrey du Vallier d’Aragon said he was going to establish several nonprofit Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in China, some naysayers doubted he’d manage one. But lo and behold, last October, one did open in a Hong Kong shopping mall. Then, in January, the museum closed, and Aranita was in Hawaii “ostensibly to receive medical treatment.” He left almost $260,000 in debts, and his former girlfriend holding the bag. One of the creditors has already gotten a favorable judgment.

From The New York Daily News:
Feds hunt for fraud at National Sports Collectors Convention

An FBI agent and a postal investigator were on the prowl at the National Sports Collectors Convention—for the second year in a row. As long as they were there, the feds handed out subpoenas for auction-house records. On the receiving end were Heritage Auctions, Hunt Auctions, Lelands, among others. Last year, the presence of the agents caused a stir. This year, not so much. The visit to the convention was part of an ongoing investigation into fake memorabilia.

From Reuters:
Rare “vivid pink” diamond could break sale record

A cushion-cut, 5-carat pink diamond goes up on the Christie’s Hong Kong auction block in December. The head of the house’s international jewelry section says, “It is extremely rare for a stone of such top quality to appear on the market with top notes in color, cut, clarity and carat weight. This 5-carat vivid pink gem combines the best of all criteria.” The rarity and quality means it might set a record, currently held by 19.66-carat gem that sold for $7.4 million in 1994.

From BBC News:
Attenborough-owned art to be sold

When Richard Attenborough wasn’t winning an Academy Award for “Gandhi” and appearing in “Jurassic Park,” Lord Attenborough was packing his house full of art. Now 85, the actor and director has announced he wants “to pass on these ravishing images for others to treasure.” By the way, he and his wife, Sheila, bought that house 60 years ago.

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