Archive for August, 2011

Rago Arts and Auction Center – Great Estates Auction

August 22nd, 2011 by

Rago Arts

Sotheby’s – New York – Contemporary Art

August 22nd, 2011 by

Contemporary Art Auction being Held on September 22nd at Sotheby’s New York

California gold rush leads to Don Presley’s Sept. 3-4 auction featuring retired prospector’s personal collection

August 22nd, 2011 by

Six gold nuggets ranging in size from 2 ozt. to 12.86 ozt. Don Presley Auctions image.

ORANGE, Calif. – Gold is the commodity on everyone’s minds these days, and bidders could very well strike paydirt over Labor Day weekend, Sept. 3 and 4, when southern California auctioneer Don Presley offers nuggets and other specimens from the private collection of a retired professional prospector.


Now in his late eighties, the prospector – who traded in precious metals and sold mining equipment for a living – built a special reserve collection over his lifetime that consisted of exceptional geological specimens. He is now liquidating his collection to provide for his grandchildren.


“Over the years, he has prospected all over the world, and this is the first time he has ever sold anything at auction,” said Don Presley. “Some of the pieces in his collection are just fabulous.”


White quartz specimen, total weight 59.2 ozt., containing 29.5 ozt. of gold. Don Presley Auctions image

Headlining the gold lots is a spectacular white quartz specimen with a total weight of 59.2 ozt. that contains a gold chunk weighing 29.5 ozt. “A specific gravity test makes it possible to determine the weight of gold when it is suspended in quartz,” Presley said. “The way the price of gold is going, it would have a melt value of close to $60,000, but I don’t know why anyone would want to melt it; it’s a fantastic thing to look at.” Presley has estimated the item at $60,000-$90,000.


Three nuggets have been consigned by the prospector, the largest weighing 12.86 ozt. (or 400 grams) and estimated at $25,000-$40,000. Presley said that because it is a solid nugget, it has more value than scrap gold of the same weight. An 8 ozt. nugget is estimated at $16,000-$20,000; while a 2 ozt. nugget that was made into a beautiful pendant enhanced with sapphires is expected to pan out at $4,200-$6,000.


Other, smaller gold-quartz specimens have been consigned to the sale, as well. An example weighing 29.58 grams (20 grams gold) is estimated at $1,500-$2,500; and one with a total weight of 20.96 grams (13 grams gold) is expected to fetch $800-$1,500. Reasonable estimates have been placed on all of the gold and gold quartz lots, with opening bids just under the melt value.


“The prospector’s collection has turned out to be quite a shrewd investment. Gold is on the rise, so his consignments have gone up in value without a single bidding paddle being lifted,” Presley observed.


Other valuable “metal” in the sale includes a selection of silver coins and an elegant 1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur motor

1988 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur. Don Presley Auctions image.

car, which is estimated at $20,000-$35,000. Sparkling estate jewelry featuring sizable diamonds and emeralds are on the roster, as well as watches and a separate collection of Tiffany pocket watches.


Following in the footsteps of previous Don Presley sales, there will be a wealth of fresh to the market fine and decorative art from which to choose on Sept. 3-4. Many exquisite items came from a residence in the exclusive southern California enclave of Palos Verdes.


Linke-inspired glass-topped table with gilt bronze and hand-painted porcelain plaques and cartouches, paw feet; one of two to be auctioned. Don Presley Auctions image.

A grand array of 19th-century French furniture is to be offered, including cabinets, armoires, and an ornately hand-carved bed. Presley said two similarly decorated Linke-style tables deserve special attention. One is sized perfectly as an entry table, while the smaller of the two could even be used as a lamp table. Each of the glass-topped tables is richly adorned in gilt bronze with hand-painted porcelain plaques and cartouches.


Art glass includes pieces by Tiffany Studios – including a few Tiffany lamps – Galle, Steuben, Quezal, Wavecrest and more. Porcelain entries include designs by Sevres, Limoges and KPM, with the addition of two Dresden lamps.


An outstanding collection of Chinese ivories will be auctioned, including king and

Selections from a vast array of Asian carved ivory that includes king and queen figures, a set of 7 immortals, chess set and collection of 100 netsukes. Don Presley Auctions image.

queen figures, a set of seven Immortals and a superbly crafted chess set. From a separate consignor comes a collection of approximately 100 netsukes that will be apportioned 12 to a lot. An impressive pair of 34-inch-tall Chinese gilded-wood foo dogs on 30-inch pedestals will cross the auction block, together with Chinese jade, scrolls and ivory fans.


The gallery will be alive with the sounds of ticking and chimes from a panoramic array of clocks. Of special note is a collection of desirable hunting clocks. A Steinway & Sons baby grand piano and many other outstanding artworks and bronzes complete the auction lineup.


Presley noted that 90% of the goods in his Sept. 3-4, 2011 sale will be auctioned “absolute,” without reserves or minimums. All forms of bidding will be available, including Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers or Proxibid. For additional information, call Don Presley at 714-633-2437 or e-mail Visit the company’s website at

Cowens’ MVP Award takes top prize at Grey Flannel’s Basketball Hall of Fame Auction, sells for $156,000

August 22nd, 2011 by

1972-73 Dave Cowens Boston Celtics MVP Award, $156,000. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The MVP Award won by Boston Celtics center Dave Cowens in the NBA’s 1972-73 season sold for an astonishing $156,000 at Grey Flannel’s Sixth Annual Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Auction held Aug. 12 in Springfield. The 170-lot auction conducted onsite at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame grossed more than $1.8 million, inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.


Hall of Famer Cowens’ MVP trophy was the first of its kind ever to make an appearance at auction. The 3ft. 9in. trophy was tipped to be the sale’s premier lot, and it did not disappoint, attracting 47 bids before hammering $156K.


“The price paid for the trophy shocked us,” said Grey Flannel Auctions’ president Richard E. Russek. “It was the last item in the sale, and after it hammered, the whole audience stood up and started clapping.”


Russek said phone lines were “jam-packed” throughout the auction, with bids coming in from many different countries. “Basketball is no longer just an American sport,” he said. “There are leagues in Europe and Israel, and it’s huge in Asia. It’s a great international sport, now, and the crush of bidders from other nations in our auction was tangible proof of that.”


The enduring popularity of superstar Julius Erving was evidenced by the $132,000 price paid for an ABA Eastern

1974 Julius “Dr. J” Erving ABA Eastern Conference All-Star game-used uniform, $132,000. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

Conference All-Star uniform game-used by “Dr. J” in 1974. The striking red, white and blue uniform embellished with stars, Erving’s name, his number “32” and “ABA” was one of a number of items in the auction that came from the collection of veteran TV commentator and 25-time Emmy® Award winner Al Trautwig.


Another item that generated tremendous bidding interest was the only Lenny Wilkens game-used St. Louis Hawks road jersey known to exist. “It had all the bells and whistles – rarity, provenance, the connection to a Hall of Famer and Top 50 player, and a letter of authenticity from Lenny himself,” Russek said. Entered in the auction with a minimum-bid requirement of $10,000, it soared to a winning bid of $78,000.


The competition for rare jerseys was “frenzied,” Russek said. “Collectors knew what they wanted, and they went for it full bore.” Among the top apparel lots was a 1971 Wes Unseld Eastern Conference All-Star game-used and autographed uniform, $60,000; and a 1984-85 Michael Jordan rookie Chicago Bulls game-used and autographed road uniform, $54,000. A Dan Issel ABA Eastern Conference All-Star game-used uniform was close behind at $51,000.


1971 Wes Unseld Eastern Conference All-Star game-used and autographed uniform, $60,000. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

Celtics fans cross several generations. This led to five-figure prices on several items displaying the fabled Boston team’s green and white motif. A 1973-74 Dave Cowens Boston Celtics game-used home jersey, which was offered together with a pair of Dennis Johnson’s game-used home shorts, scored $39,000. A treasure from 1980 was the Celtics home warm-up jacket worn by former collegiate superstar “Pistol” Pete Maravich, who joined the Celts that year as a free agent after playing 17 early-season games. With the Celtics team name emblazoned on the front and the name “Maravich” on the back, the jacket’s visual appeal was further enhanced by a shamrock logo on each of the sleeves. Fans pushed the bidding on the jacket to $60,000.

Of the five championship rings offered in the sale, Robert Horry’s dazzling 2005 San Antonio Spurs World Championship ring fared best. The weighty 14K white gold player’s ring with diamonds totaling 2.55 carats came with its original wood presentation box and letters of authenticity. Described in Grey Flannel’s catalog as “the finest-looking NBA championship ring this auction house has ever seen,” it flew past its $5,000 reserve to reach $48,000.


The evening prior to the auction, Grey Flannel hosted a star-studded Reunion Dinner on Center Court at the Hall of Fame. It was attended by 2011 Hall of Fame inductees, returning Hall of Famers and a who’s who of other basketball dignitaries.


“This was our sixth year to host the pre-Induction dinner, but we’ve actually had a close association with the Hall of Fame

1971 Wes Unseld Eastern Conference All-Star game-used and autographed uniform, $60,000. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

for 25 years,” said Russek. “Many of the players at the dinner thanked us for our support, which was very gratifying. The association we enjoy with the Hall of Fame is very important to us. We’re in it for the long haul.”


Grey Flannel’s next event will be its annual Holiday Auction, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15, 2011. Additional information will appear soon on the company’s website at To contact Grey Flannel Auctions, call 631-288-7800 or e-mail

Cast-iron toys ruled the roost at Bertoia’s million-dollar summer sale

August 22nd, 2011 by

Hubley Ingersoll Rand cast-iron truck, $13,800. Bertoia Auctions image.

VINELAND, N.J. – Hefty cast-iron trucks, banks and figural doorstops found favor with bidders who congregated at Bertoia’s New Jersey gallery for a lighthearted summer auction of ‘Toys with Character.’ The June 10-11 sale grossed $1,014,000, with above-estimate and even world-record prices achieved on many of the 1,481 lots offered. All prices quoted in this report include a 15% buyer’s premium.


Topping the roster of prices realized was a circa-1933 toy version of an Ingersoll Rand Mack truck with painted driver figure. Made by Hubley, the richly hued green and red truck with spoked nickel wheels featured an open-frame body that exposed a well-detailed nickel compressor. In pristine to near-mint condition, it rumbled past its $8,000-$10,000 estimate to settle at $13,800.


Cast-iron safe-shape still bank with bust of Grover Cleveland, $11,500. Bertoia Auctions image.

An extensive selection of still banks featured as its centerpiece the Guy and Kim Zani collection. The tightly focused collection consisted entirely of antique banks shaped as safes, some with padlocks, others with combination locks. A rare and unusual entry, a J.M. Harper safe bank topped with a well executed bust of President Grover Cleveland was described in the auction catalog as “reportedly one of two known,” and was bid to $11,500 against an estimate of $8,000-$9,000.


Just as desirable as the mechanical banks that were cast from it, a complex brass three-dimensional pattern for J. & E. Stevens’ “Cat and Mouse” bank was in excellent, complete condition. It earned more than twice the low estimate at $8,050.


Bertoia’s is known as a premier source for early cast-iron doorstops. The company’s owner, Jeanne Bertoia, is a noted expert on the subject and has spent years collecting, studying, writing about and selling the very best doorstop examples at auction. Some 75 doorstops were entered in the summer sale, and predictably, a Hubley Art Deco design of two bathing beauties under a parasol, signed “Fish,” created a bidding frenzy.


“The Bathing Beauties doorstop is an extremely popular form with collectors, and this example was in particularly nice

Hubley cast-iron Bathing Beauties doorstop, design by Fish, $10,350. Bertoia Auctions image.

condition,” said Bertoia. “It was estimated at $3,000-$4,000 and sold for $10,350, which we believe to be a world auction record.”


Another doorstop that may well have set an auction record was the Hubley/Fish Messenger Boy. A classic depiction of a Deco-era bellboy holding a wrapped bouquet of flowers, its bright colors and near-mint condition helped elicit a winning bid of $8,050 against an estimate of $4,000-$5,000.


A flotilla of handsome toy boats commanded a first-class fare from bidders. The flagship turned out to be an early 20th-century Bing (Germany) clockwork King Edward gunboat. Made of hand-painted tin and measuring an impressive 29 inches in length, it retained its original guns, funnels, masts and lifeboats. The boat sold within estimate for $8,625. Both a Bing Leviathan painted-tin clockwork oceanliner and Buddy ‘L’ pressed-steel tugboat achieved a closing price of $6,900.


Distler Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy with miniature dancing Minnie Mouse, $8,050. Bertoia Auctions image.

Tinplate character toys finishing in the top dozen lots of the sale were led by an all-time favorite with Disney collectors – a Distler (Germany) tinplate clockwork Mickey Mouse Hurdy Gurdy with tiny dancing Minnie Mouse on top of the barrel organ. A highly sought-after toy, it exceeded estimate to close at $8,050. Joining the beloved mice were two other coveted German clockwork toys: a boxed Lehmann Masuyama, which depicts a Japanese woman being transported in a rickshaw; and an extremely rare Eppie Hogg in Auto, made by Nifty. Each of the toys made $6,090.


Collectors had a superb array of comic and other character toys from which to choose at the June auction, since the section contained part one – approximately 300 toys – from the renowned Ronnie and Sandy Rosen collection. Bertoia’s is auctioning the Rosens’ wonderfully varied 1,200-piece personal collection in three segments, with parts II and III yet to come.


Bertoia’s will conduct a Sept. 23-24 auction featuring the cast-iron automotive toy collection of the late Fred Castan, and the eclectic American and European toy collection of the late Ralph Tomlinson. Additional information is available online at Tel. 856-692-1881 or e-mail

Sotheby’s – Musical Instruments

August 17th, 2011 by

The Musical Instruments department holds two auctions each year in March and October in London and specialises in brokering high-level private sales throughout the year.

Southeby’s – 19th Century European Art

August 17th, 2011 by

NEW YORK, NY.- On 4 November, Sotheby’s 19th Century European Art auction will feature select works by important and popular artists, schools and styles of the genre. The curated sale, consisting of 82 lots with a pre-sale estimate of $20/30 million*, contains eight works with high estimates at or above $1 million*, and will be exhibited in Sotheby’s New York galleries 29 October – 3 November, timed to coincide with Sotheby’s auctions of Impressionist & Modern Art. This exciting week at Sotheby’s promises visitors a full picture of the fine arts in Europe–in particular in Paris–in the nineteenth century.

Sotheby’s – Contemporary Art / Arab & Iranian

August 17th, 2011 by


Ivey Selkirk – August Jackson Rooms

August 15th, 2011 by

Catalogue Online at

Auction August 17th & 18th at 9:30am

Sotheby’s New York – A Mid-Century Eye: The Collection of Colleen Sullivan

August 15th, 2011 by

Auction September 21st 10:00am