Weekly News Roundup: January 31 to February 4

Heading up art, antiques and collectibles news are two ceremonial masks, some sneaky gambling aids and the Mormon Madoff.

From the Winston-Salem Journal:
Eskimo masks a highlight of Winter Antiques Show

The Winter Antiques Show in New York had a couple of big winners. Two Yup’ik Eskimo masks used in, appropriately enough, winter ceremonies went for $4.6 million. The previous owner was surrealist painter Donald Donati, who is said to have thought they were “more surreal than the surrealists.” The sale was the first time in 50 years the masks were on public view.

From The Chicago Tribune:
Crooked gambling devices up for auction

Need a little help at the gaming tables? Maybe not kosher help, but help. Then check out what is being offered at Chicago’s Potter and Potter auction. How about an antique brass holdout that attaches to your shirt and puts out the cards you need while hiding the ones you don’t? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have magnetic dice that will fall the way you want with your own remote-controlled electromagnet? Just don’t get caught.

From The Denver Post:
Auction sells off Ponzi-schemer’s wealth

Dubbed the Mormon Madoff, Shawn Merriman Ponzi-ed a lot of people, including former members of his congregation, to the tune of $37 million. On his victims’ list was legendary Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, who reportedly went in for $15 million with a business partner. While Merriman’s auction was certainly not on the grand scale of Bernie Madoff’s, there were some cool items that Merriman no longer has use for as he serving a 12-year sentence.

From Reuters:
Christie’s auctioneer posts record sales in 2010

Way to go Christie’s. Sales in 2010 were up 53 percent from 2009, topping at a whopping $5 billion. And Jussi Pylkkanen, president of Christie’s Europe, thinks it’s only going to get better because of the number of new clients. “It’s that rise of new registrants which really for me signals both sustainability and actually further potential growth,” he said.

From The Montreal Gazette:
Early Canadian map back on auction block

It’s ba-a-a-a-ck. Yep, that historical map of Canada found behind a Scottish estate’s water heater, which sold only last month for an unexpectedly high $320,000, is on the block again. This time it might go as high as $600,000 or more. So what made the difference in so short a time? A thin red line. It’s believed that the map was made just when Canada was to be divvied up between England and France. The line indicates were the division would be made, giving the 1699 “Thornton map” even greater significance.

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