Weekly News Roundup: July 27-31, 2009

Topping art, antiques and collectibles news, we find bankrupt Lehman Brothers unloading its art collection, Brandeis University returning fire, stolen sports memorabilia and the Hermitage director banning the sale of nesting dolls.

From Bloomberg:
Lehman Mounts Art Bargain Auction With Lichtenstein, Bourgeois

More news on the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy—the biggest one in American history—front. Freeman’s of Philadelphia will be auctioning off the company’s contemporary and modern art collection at the end of the year. Before the company went belly up, its office walls were graced with work by Roy Lichtenstein, Arturo Herrera and Louise Bourgeois, among many others. In all, 650 lots will be on the block in three separate sales and are expected to bring in $1 million.

From The New York Times:
Education Before Art, Brandeis Says

Update on the Brandeis University/Rose Art Museum overseers fight: University officials have answered the lawsuit filed by three museum overseers, saying the needs of the students are more important than keeping the museum open and its collection intact. With the recession pounding the university’s endowment, its trustees decided in January that by closing the museum and selling the works, $350 million would be raised. The overseers, who include a member of the Rose family, maintain that was not the intention of the donors.

From Auction Central News:
Sports memorabilia valued at $50K stolen from Wichita bar

If someone sidles up to you in a dark alley offering to sell you a 1985 World Series championship ring, you might want to call 911 and not because you’re afraid of being bonked on the head. A Kansas City Royals ring along with other sports memorabilia worth $50,000 went missing from a Wichita sports bar. Police believe a more likely venue for sale of the items will be the Internet.

From The Art Newspaper:
Hermitage vs Kremlin in the battle of the dolls

Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky has taken issue with selling Russian nesting dolls in the museum’s gift store. He dismisses them as Japanese “rubbish” and not true Russian folk art. The government, on the other hand, has a more pragmatic view of them. They bring in cash during a recession that has hurt the tourism industry.

From Reuters:
Dillinger pistol sold at U.S. auction for $95,600

A Remington .41 caliber Double Derringer found in John Dillinger’s sock when he was arrested in Tucson 75 years ago was up on the auction block recently. The gun was estimated to sell at $35,000 to $45,000. Instead, it went for double that, and Johnny Depp didn’t even come with it.

From The Washington Post:
Dollar Sign Ascending

As reported earlier, the contents of superpsychic Jeane Dixon’s D.C. home—crystal ball included—went up for auction. Wonder if Dixon, who died in 1997, foresaw what her items would bring in. The crystal ball, alone, went for $10,000, and most of the other things—a wishing well ($18,500), a Charles X armchair ($9,250), a full-length portrait ($900)—sold above estimate.

From Reuters:
Erotic Madonna tapes, Hendrix contract in NY sale

Anyone other than Madonna might be embarrassed that the videos and audiotapes she sent to her bodyguard would become public. But it’s Madonna, so who knows? The tapes are part of an online auction. Not interested in Madonna’s billet-doux? Maybe you’ve always coveted a life-sized Terminator prop. Be prepared to cough up $150,000 to $200,000. And rock legend Jimi Hendrix’s first contract? That will probably put you back $250,000.

From The New York Times:
Lawsuit Seeks to Save Art Museum at Brandeis

In the ongoing saga of Brandeis University’s Rose Art Museum, overseers of the museum have turned to the court in an attempt to stop the university from selling off some of the art and closing it. In January, university trustees voted for the closure and said proceeds from any sale would be used to shore up the school’s endowment fund, which has taken a serious hit during the economic downturn. The three overseers don’t seem to trust the trustees.

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