Elvgren, Bolles and Bonestell lead record-breaking $3.4 million+ Heritage Illustration Art Auction in Beverly Hills

May 12th, 2010 by

Martignette Collection dominates top offerings; New all-time auction price records set for Enoch Bolles, Chesley Bonestell and Coles Phillips

BEVERLY HILLS — Gil Elvgren’s landmark pin-up, Bear Facts (A Modest Look; Bearback Rider), 1962, brought $191,200 in Heritage Auction Galleries Beverly Hills’ record-setting May 6 Illustration Art Auction. The auction realized more than $3.4 million total, and continued the stellar rise of the Illustration Art market, dominated by the blockbuster Estate of Charles Martignette, which continues to produce examples and record prices. All prices include 19.5 Buyer’s Premium.

Bear Facts is a particularly important example from Martignette,” said Ed Jaster, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “Not only was it his favorite piece out of the more than 4,000 that he owned, it represents Elvgren at the peak of his powers and is viewed, by many, as the pinnacle of American pin-up art.”

More than 1100 bidders competed – in-person in Beverly Hills, via Internet, mail, phone bidding and Heritage LIVE! – on the 670 lots offered. The auction saw more than 90% of prices realized by value and more than 95% by lot total.

The good name of Elvgren produced several of the Top 10 lots in the auction, including his evocative 1961 masterpiece Jackpot, from another consignor, which soared to a $131,450 finish against its base pre-auction estimate of $30,000. The painting was not only the subject of intense bidding during the auction, it was also one of the most actively watched paintings in the entire auction, garnering more than 9,500 pre-auction page views on HA.com.

A world record price of $80,663 was realized for Enoch Bolles’ surreal October 1935 Sure to Make a Hit, Film Fun magazine cover, another of Martignette’s most important pieces. Determined bidders vied for several minutes over the suggestive painting, driving it far above its’ pre-auction estimate of $10,000-$15,000.

“Bolles’ profile has been steadily rising over the last several auctions,” said Todd Hignite, Consignment Director of Illustration Art at Heritage, “so it’s not surprising that a painting like this – one of his best examples – would be subject to intense competition. This price shows that Bolles has stepped up a rung in hierarchy of great illustration artists.”

Another of the few pieces to break the Top 10 lots of the auction that didn’t have Martignette’s name attached to it came in the form of Chesley Bonestell’s Saturn Viewed from Titan, c. 1952, realizing $77,675.

“This iconic image is perhaps the most famous and recognized image Bonestell ever painted, having been used no less than in 10 different publications in its 60 years,” said Jaster. “The painting represents the top offering in the auction from the famed Frank Collection, a gathering as important to sci-fi and fantasy art in its own right as Martignette’s collection is to the illustration art genre.”

One more record-setting painting also happened to be another of Martignette’s favorites, Coles Phillips’ 1922 Holeproof Hosiery Company ad illustration, one of the most famous images of the period, certainly one of the most controversial, and one of the earliest paintings that could be considered a pin-up. Amidst much wrangling from erudite collectors, it rose to a final price of $77,675.

Among others world record prices set for individual artists, demonstrating the strength of the Illustration Art market across genres, was one set for pulp cover artist Rafael De Soto’s New Detective, pulp cover, January 1948, which realized $28,680, another for pin-up favorite Henry Clive’s 1925 Sultana, calendar illustration, proving exceedingly popular with a record $22,705 final price and Golden Age great McClelland Barclay, whose Pictorial Review cover, September 1933, saw the same record price of $22,705.

Martignette’s gathering of Alberto Vargas paintings was also amply represented in the auction with several important works, but perhaps none so much as Vargas’ early, seminal circa 1932 watercolor, Reverie, which was the artist’s top example in the auction, making its way to $77,675, more than three times its pre-auction base estimate of $18,000.

Further Highlights include, but are not limited to:

Rolf Armstrong (American, 1889-1960), Twinkle Toes, c. 1947: Pastel on board, 38 x 28.5 in., Signed center right. From the Estate of Charles Martignette. Realized $56,763.

J.C. Leyendecker (American, 1874-1951), Record Time, Cool Summer Comfort, House of Kuppenheimer ad illustration, c. 1920: Oil on canvas, 21.5 x 20 in. Not signed. From the Estate of Charles Martignette. Realized: $47,800.

Earl Moran (American, 1893-1984), A Mere Maid, Brown and Bigelow calendar illustration, c. late 1930s: Pastel on board, 38 x 29 in. Signed lower right. Truly one of the great pinups in all of the genre. This masterpiece is truly “the Great American Pin-Up” personified. Realized $35,850.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com

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I.M. Chait presents Natural History on Artfact Live!

May 11th, 2010 by

(Boston MA) Artfact Live! is pleased to announce the I.M. Chait Natural History Auction on May 16, 2010 is available for online bidding exclusively through Artfact Live! The auction offers over 350 lots including: gems, meteorite jewelry, zoology, fossils, natural gold nuggets, ancient Egyptian dynastic artifacts and more. If you can’t join the live auction action in Beverly Hills, CA, visit Artfact.com, or its sister site in the UK, Invaluable.com, to login or register free to bid live online at this exceptional auction. If you’re not ready to bid, simply watch the activity live from the auction floor using the Artfact Live! console. You can view the complete catalog on Artfact

Highlights of the sale include:
Lot 357 is the day’s spectacular top lot, a complete “duck-billed” Hadrosaurid dinosaur skeleton. This is one of the most complete specimens of the species Maiasaura peeblesorum ever to be offered to the public. The Maiasaur was one of the numerous “duck-billed” dinosaurs that roamed the plains of Asia, Europe and North America in massive herds during the Upper Cretaceous period 99-65 million years ago. The present example is a sub-adult, named “Cory,” and cuts a strikingly impressive figure, at over 15 feet long and with a superb woody patina to the bones. Mounted on a wheeled metal base in a highly life-like pose, this rare and unusually complete specimen has been prepared to the highest of standards. Bidding for this world-class specimen will begin at $250,000.

Lot 90 is a large gold nugget from Paraburdoo, north Western Australia. This gorgeous nugget has it all: huge size, bright color, lovely smooth burnished surfaces, deep depressions and caves, the protected areas display a delicate-looking brittle texture like crushed gold leaf. Of a fascinating folded, twisted form, it is attractive and evocative from any aspect, 4 5/8 x 3 1/4 x 2 inches, 5,965 Ct. (42.08oz). Bidding will open at $35,000.

Lot 356 is a large and rare partial pterodactyl skeleton. Pterodactyls, properly described as “pterosaurs”, flourished during the late Cretaceous Period of North America, and represent the first vertebrates to make the transformation to flight. With hollow bones and delicately lightweight construction, their preservation in the fossil record is scarce. This Pteranodon longiceps specimen was discovered in Custer Co., South Dakota. The skeleton comprises skull, rib and arm sections and three fingers with their distinctive curving claws. Lovely bone texture throughout is enhanced by a fine aged patina that stands out strongly from the dark gray matrix, presented on a pale gray plaster backing, approximately 96 x 64 inches. Minimum bid for this piece is set at $25,000.

Lot 343 is an exceptional gemstone ammonite. Gemstone ammolite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world, formed from the nacreous shell linings of Cretaceous ammonites in only one small area of North America. It is prized for its fantastic display of shimmering colors, created by impurities in the incredibly thin layers of aragonite. This specimen has a full covering of multi-colored iridescence on both sides, it also displays unusually large areas of the much rarer purple and electric blue colors. A superb specimen, it measures 20 1/4 inches wide. Bidding will begin at $20,000.

To research natural history items and view over 50 million auction price results visit artfact.com and search the industry’s leading auction database. Typing “dinosaur” into Advance search displays over 3,000 past auction price results.

Since the departure of eBay Live Auctions, Artfact Live! has taken the lead in the live auction arena by partnering exclusively with the world’s most prestigious auction houses to host their online auctions. As it continues to build the world’s most affluent and knowledgeable bidding community, Artfact offers free registration, offering unlimited access to Artfact Live! partner auctions and free searching of the past 12 months of price results in its auction records database. Artfact’s Advanced Search allows users to narrow searches by entering keywords, price range, auction date range, or auction house name.

About Artfact
Founded in 1989, Artfact is the largest global marketplace of fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles, and estate auctions. On January 1, 2009, Artfact launched Artfact Live! and Invaluable Live!, its proprietary live auction bidding platforms, enabling users to bid in real-time on auctions being held around the world by its prestigious auction house partners. Currently, over 1,000 fine auctioneers actively list their catalogues with Artfact.com and its U.K. sister site Invaluable.com, reaching the Artfact community of more than 10 million knowledgeable collectors and dealers worldwide. Artfact’s industry leading database includes more than 57 million complete auction results totaling more than $204 billion in value, including information on more than 500,000 international artists. In 2006, Artfact acquired RFC Systems, the leading provider of enterprise software developed specifically for the fine art and antique auction house industry. RFC helps prestigious aucti!
on houses around the world manage their businesses by automating their day-to-day operations.

Editor’s Notes
- Additional background information available.
- Interviews with Doug Ellinger, VP Marketing, dellinger@artfact.com, (617) 746-9882
- Complimentary media subscriptions to the Artfact database available.

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Rare 1782 American Bible has the last word at William Bunch Auctions, earning $78,975

May 11th, 2010 by

The title page of Robert Aitken’s Bible, which was printed in Philadelphia.

CHADDS FORD, Pa. – On a day when a trio of high-profile consignments brought outstanding prices at William Bunch Auctions’ April 13, 2010 sale, friends and former customers of the late Fred Peech showed their respect for the longtime antique dealer from Marmora, N.J., with strong bidding for the best pieces from his home.

“It was just a nice sale where a lot of I’ll say ‘the old guard’ of the antique business came together to pay homage to Fred,” said auction house owner William Bunch. He was a nice guy, very humble fellow, very well liked, who had a lot of product knowledge.”

The top piece of furniture was an early 18th-century walnut William & Mary stretcher-base tavern table with one full drawer. This Pennsylvania piece sold for $21,060. (All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of 20% buyer’s premium.)

Exhibiting a crusty finish, a small walnut stretcher-base joint stool measuring 16 1/2 inches by 10 1/2 inches by 20 1/2 inches high rose to $9,945.

“A good Philadelphia dish-top tea table with a single-board top had a little repair to it, but brought a respectable $9,300,” said Bunch.

“It was the typical sale one has today where the brown furniture that has a few apologies doesn’t do as well as you’d like it do,” said Bunch, “but the things that are sweet, that are still charming, still attract a lot of attention and command a lot of competition … and good prices as well.”

Three separate consignments performed particularly well at the sale, starting with a Bible printed in Philadelphia by Robert Aitken during the American Revolution. With its cover detached, the well-worn volume looked much like any other old family Bible that might have been found in an attic.

“It was literally contained in a one-gallon baggie. It was a humble-looking book, just octavo size, which is 6 or 7 inches,” said Bunch, who quickly learned the Bible was rare and valuable.

Of the 10,000 printed in 1782, significantly fewer than 100 remain, with only a handful in private hands. It is significant in that it is the first Bible containing both the Old and New Testaments ever printed in English in America. It was sanctioned and supported by the U.S. government. George Washington said of the Bible, “It would have pleased me well, if Congress had been pleased to make such an important present (a copy of the Aitken Bible) to the brave fellows, who have done so much for the security of their Country’s rights and establishment.”

Only one of Aitken’s Bibles has surfaced in recent years at auction, bringing $57,000 in 2008. Bunch assigned an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000 on this copy.

“It has some potential to bring into five figures,” he had told the consignor, who is a descendant of the original owner.

Bunch, who was hoping to attract several interested parties to make the bidding competitive, was surprised by the broad response. “I landed eight phone lines, three active bidders on LiveAuctioneers … and I had three people in the room who that had looked at the Bible and were seriously interested. And I had an absentee bid in the neighborhood of $50,000,” said Bunch.

It finally came to a battle between two phone bidders, with a rare book dealer winning the Bible for $78,975.

“It’s hard to say if he was bidding for a client. I didn’t ask and they don’t like to say,” said Bunch.

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (English, 1889-1946) painted this oil on canvas titled Canal at Ghent about 1912. The 30-inch by 22-inch work sold for $70,200.

The top painting at Bunch’s auction was an impressive work by Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946), an English-born artist who studied at the Academie Julien in Paris. He was interested in Cubism and Futurism, styles that are evoked in the painting titled Canal at Ghent, a 30-inch by 22-inch oil on canvas.

The painting was consigned by a grandson of Charles Hovey Pepper, 1864-1950, who was an American artist trained in New York and Paris and was a member of “The Four Boston Painters,” founded in 1913 by Carl Gordon Cutler and including Maurice Prendergast and E. Ambrose Webster, all Academie Julian graduates. Pepper was also an avid collector, and his grandson has consigned works to Bunch in recent years that were collected by Pepper.

After discussing the painting with a British art scholar who had written books on Nevinson, Bunch estimated the painting at  $60,000 to $90,000.

“I had a lot of interest from London, but they were scared off a little by my estimate,” said Bunch. “I didn’t think I was too high; maybe I was a little optimistic.”

After a collector from the West Coast and a London gallery chased the painting to $55,000, one of Bunch’s regular customers in the gallery jumped into the fray and trumped them with a bid of $70,200.

“She buys expensive things but surprised me by buying that particular painting, but I’m glad she did,” said Bunch.

All original, this 1958 Ford Custom 300 Custom had only 5,333 actual miles on the odometer. The two-door sedan was equipped with a straight-six engine and standard transmission. A Georgia bidder paid $25,740.

The third major consignment of the sale was what Bunch described as a “rare survivor” – an all-original 1958 Ford Custom 300 two-door sedan in like-new condition.

The original owner purchased the car from Keyser & Miller Ford in Pottstown, Pa., on July 30, 1958.

“The story goes he and his wife took a trip to Florida. She didn’t like the car, so the fellow parked it and didn’t drive it much after that,” said Bunch.

The consignor’s father purchased the car from the original owner in 1973, but drove it little and kept it garaged.

“It wasn’t the most desirable model as ’50s and ’60s cars go – you’d rather see a convertible or a hardtop – but to find a car with barely 5,000 miles on it of any model is rare and unusual,” said Bunch. “Other than a little peeling paint on the engine block it was in beautiful showroom condition.”

A man from Georgia bought the classic Ford for $25,740.

For additional information contact William Bunch by calling 610-558-1800 or e-mailing info@williambunchauctions.com.

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$131,450 Factor Diamond leads $1.75 million Heritage Jewelry and Timepieces auctions

May 10th, 2010 by

Rolex trio leads solid fine timepieces portion; American pocket watches show increased demand

DALLAS, TX – A stunningly beautiful 11.99 carat pear-shaped diamond and platinum ring, from the Dorothy & Sidney Factor Collection brought $131,450 – with all proceeds going to charity – to lead Heritage Auction Galleries’ May 3-4 Signature® Fine Jewelry and Fine Timepieces auctions. All prices include a 19.5% Buyer’s Premium.

“This amazing diamond is the crowning jewel of the Factor Family Collection,” said Jill Burgum, Director of Jewelry Auctions at Heritage, “and, as such, it’s no surprise that it would lead the auction. The family has always been amazing philanthropists, and with the donation of the proceeds to charity, this just further burnishes their already sterling reputation.”

The fine jewelry portion of the auction finished with a $1.045 million total, while the fine timepieces came in at just more than $750,000. More than 950 bidders competed for the assorted gems, jewelry and watches.

A rare 5.60 carat Lucida ™ diamond set in platinum from Tiffany & Co. added plenty of excitement to the proceedings as the final lot in the auction, selling for $101,575, while strong interest sparked a bidding war on a Diamond, Gold Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels, which rocketed past its starting bid of $6,000, to hammer at $16,000.

“We had a fabulous turnout with an audience of floor bidders competing strong against both phone and Internet bidders,” said Burgum. “Along with the high gold market, it appears that the economy is improving and that helped achieve significant results.”

There was plenty of significant bidding action on the various fine timepiece offerings, with solid prices realized across the board. Of the watches performing particularly well, a trio of rare Rolex’s showed particular strength, bringing in almost $60,000 total, very respectable prices on today’s market.

“The trio of vintage Rolex sports models performed very well,” said Jim Wolf, Director of Fine Timepieces as Heritage. “The reference 1655 ‘Steve McQueen,’ the Ref. 1019 Milgauss and the Submariner Ref. 5512 were actively tracked by hundreds of collectors around the world and bidding was very spirited. They brought $19,718, $16,730 and $20,315, respectively.”

The American pocket watch market was bolstered by exceptional results as a rare Nashua Watch Co. watch brought $26,290 and a rare model 72 Waltham reached a record price of $14,340 after the gavel went down.

“I was very pleased with the attention these American pocket watches received,” said Wolf. “When truly rare American timepieces, like these beauties, are offered for sale the notice they bring is considerable, and the prices are commensurate.”

European watches were solid throughout the auction with the featured lots in particular drawing the eyes of collectors. A James Nardin, Locle, Extremely Fine Gold Minute Repeating Pocket Watch with Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar & Moon Phase, circa 1880s, rose to a $21,510 finish, while a Swiss Extremely Fine & Massive 18K Rose Gold Minute Repeating Watch With Chronograph, Perpetual Calendar And Moon Phases Made For Beyer, Zurich, circa 1896, found a new home with a $29,875 price tag and a Patek Philippe & Cie Rare & Very Fine Gold Trip Minute Repeater, Two Train Tandem Wind Pocket Watch, circa 1904, showed considerable strength as it finished as the top watch of the day with a $32,863 price realized.

Heritage Auctions, headed by Steve Ivy, Jim Halperin and Greg Rohan, is the world’s third largest auction house, with annual sales more than $600 million, and 500,000+ registered online bidder members. For more information about Heritage Auctions, and to join and gain access to a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit HA.com.

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Submit Your Travel Stories

May 9th, 2010 by

Share your antiquing travel stories here!

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Smile, and the whole Steiff world smiles with you

May 8th, 2010 by

Steiffgal is nothing but a big toothy grin this week after receiving a positive report about a family member who soon will be returning to good health. No one can disagree that a smile certainly looks better, and feels so much better, than a frown! In celebration of good news – and the hopes that some is also headed to each and every SteiffLife reader – the time is certainly right to quick look at some vintage Steiff collectibles known especially for their distinctive smiles and gleaming pearly whites!

Let’s first give a hand to terrifically toothsome Hand-Wolf Loopy or Loopy wolf puppet. Loopy is 18 cm and made from white and gray mohair . His face and the tips of his paws, ears, and nose are detailed with lightly applied black airbrushing. Loopy has green glass pupil eyes and a black stitched nose. His most prominent feature is certainly his mouth; it is open and lined in peach colored felt. He has a pinkish colored tongue and four not-so-sharp plastic canine teeth. Loopy as a puppet appeared in the Steiff line from 1956 through 1978; this model was also produced in 1964 as a full fledged standing item in 25 and 35 cm.

This next item is “long in the tooth”, both literally and figuratively! Here we have Paddy Walross or Paddy walrus, with his remarkably long white wooden tusks. Paddy is 14 cm and made from dark tan mohair that has been airbrushed with brown shading and spots. He is in what Steiff refers to as a “begging” position. Paddy has black and white googly eyes, a pink stitched nose, and mono-filament whiskers. His “moustache” is made from longer, stiff mohair, which has the look and feel of the mohair used on Steiff hedgehogs over the years. Paddy was made from 1959 through 1965 in 10, 14, and 22 cm.

Care to share a “spot” of tea with this smiling Englische Bulldogge or English Bulldog? This champion canine is 18 cm, standing, and head jointed. He is made from tan mohair that has been very carefully hand detailed with multicolored airbrushed “spots” over his body and tail end. He is has the most “sturdy” look and feel about him! His face is also painted with “wrinkles” on his forehead. He has black and white googly eyes, a black stitched nose, and outstanding mouth-area “jowls”, much like a real bulldog. He has an open, peach colored felt mouth with two lower pointy canine teeth. And just to prove he’s top-dog, he sports a red leather collar and a horse hair ruff. This English Bulldog was made from 1956 through 1961 as a United States exclusive, most likely appearing on the shelves of high end retailers such as FAO Schwarz.

Steiffgal always likes to end on a high note, but in this case our final item today is truly out of this world – both in terms of looks and scarcity! This majorly-toothed martian is Steiff’s Gruenes Maennchen, or Little Green Man. He is 35 cm tall and made from green colored trevira velvet. His proportions are much like Steiff’s iconic “lulac” animals, with their long torsos and dangling limbs. His arms and legs have wire armature so they can be posed in playful ways. His face is utterly charming. He has enormous black and white googly eyes, one thick black strand of “hair” on his forehead, pert ears, a prominent bulbous nose, and an open mouthed ear-to-ear grin. And of course… a huge set of white felt buck teeth. Little Green Man was designed for Steiff by the Belgian artist Mallet and was in the line from 1982 through 1984. It is most unusual for Steiff to produce items designed by people outside the company so his pedigree, in combination with his limited time of production, puts him on the “wish list” of many collectors around the world.

Mother Teresa once said, “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
Steiffgal hopes this column gave you a smile, and that you pass that goodwill onto someone else today, too!

Have a question about one of your Steiff treasures, toothy or otherwise? Let’s talk! Click here to learn more.

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Bonhams – Fine Jewelry & Jadeite Auction – Hong Kong

May 8th, 2010 by

Catalog Now Online

Auction May 28th 2010

Jw Marriott Hotel – Hong Kong

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Picking with Reyne – Vol 2 – By Reyne Haines

May 7th, 2010 by

As summer nears, we find more outdoor flea markets and antique markets opening with more dealers and larger crowds.  Surely there is a bargain out there to be found!

Before you set the alarm the night before, what are some “tools” of the trade you need to make sure to have with you on your picking journeys?

Below is my list, and I’d love to hear some of yours!

  1. A good night’s rest.  All serious buyers know the early bird finds the Declaration of Independence hidden in a frame behind the cheap painting.  If you arrive later in the day, all you will find to buy is a grilled burger and a Coke.
  2. Comfortable shoes.  Now, I am the first one to wear heels at the airport, walking around New York City, and to the grocery store, but I draw the line with flea markets and antique shows.   If the show is any good, you’ll be walking for miles; and if you are an early bird you will be running once the gates open!
  3. Cash – The offer to pay in cash can often get you a better deal than paying with a credit card or check.   In fact, there are many dealers that don’t take other forms of payment.
  4. Your cell phone!  Most phones have internet browser capabilities should you need to do some quick research.
  5. A pocket size measuring tape.  If you are trying to determine if something has been cut down, or if you want to call a client and sell an item on site, you’ll need to know what the measurements are.
  6. A loupe.  This handy little pocket magnifying glass helps you read hallmarks, tiny script signatures, and also helps us find chips & cracks and repairs which can often be hard to spot at first glance.  There is nothing worse than getting home with your bag full of goodies only to later determine there was a hairline crack you missed!
  7. A portable black light – Restoration can be easily missed, especially in the early morning hours.  Black lights give you the ability to spot restoration to paintings, pottery, glass, and more.

I would love to hear some of your picking tips – respond to the blog here!

Flea Markets – Antique Markets for the month of May:

Urban Market – Houston, Texas  May 15-16th

Brooklyn Flea – Brooklyn, NY – Every Saturday and Sunday

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Dargate Auction Galleries & Artfact – Spring 2010 Auction

May 7th, 2010 by

Auction May 14th, 15th & 16th  10am

Featuring Objets D’Art, Art, Furniture & Accessories, Glass & Porcelain

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Crescent City Aucion Gallery – May 8th auction – New Orleans

May 6th, 2010 by

Featuring Property from a New Iberia Estate, the Estate of Donald Schenk (Part II), items from the Estate of Joseph Francis Deynoodt (N.O City Attorney During the Morrison Administration), a Washington Ave. Estate and Numerous Local Estates

Auction: May 8th 10am

Exhibition thru May 7th 10am to 5pm

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