Auction News

Swann Galleries – Modernist Posters

April 17th, 2012 by

Highlights among the scarce & cutting-edge posters designed by modernist masters include:

Typography-centric half-sheets, including two posters by Walter Dexel, a poster for a van Gogh exhibition in 1928 by Jan Tschichold, and the dadist Tanzstudio Wulff Basel, a poster for a ballet performace by Max Bill, 1931, shown left.

Several designs by A.M. Cassandre, including a Hermes silk scarf, three iterations of Cassandre’s recognizable compass design for Nord magazine, including the poster, and three original gouache maquettes, including Unic, 1932, left.

General Dynamics / Atoms for Peace and other posters designed by Erik Nitsche for the Atomic Energy Conference in Geneva in 1955.

Pop culture and comic book inspired posters, including A Marvel-ous Evening with Stan Lee, designed by George Delmerico, designed for an event at Carnegie Hall in 1972.

Posters for highly recognizable brands, including two versions of Paul Rand’s iconic design for IBM, both signed and inscribed by the artist, as well as designs for Dior, Chanel, Lavazza and more.

Sotheby’s New York – The Collection of Suzanne Saperstein: ‘Fleur-de-Lys,’ Beverly Hills, California

April 17th, 2012 by

Sotheby’s is privileged to offer the Collection of Suzanne Saperstein.  Carefully assembled over the course of two decades and housed in her celebrated Beverly Hills estate ‘Fleur de Lys,’ Ms. Saperstein’s impressive collection comprises mainly 18th century French furniture and decorative arts, as well as a selection of Italian and Russian works of art.

Sotheby’s New York – Old Master Paintings

April 17th, 2012 by

This season’s Old Master Paintings sale comprises a superb selection of works from schools throughout Europe.  Highlighting the June auction is an exquisite Flemish Still Life with a Terrestrial Globe, a Book, Shells, a Snake and Butterflies by Carstian Luyckx, an Adoration of the Shepherds from the School of Ercole de’ Roberti, possibly Guglielmo Giraldi, and an impressive and richly decorative Classical Garden Landscape with Mallard, a Golden Eagle and other Wildfowl in Flight by Melchior d’Hondecoeter.

Dino tracks lead to phenomenal Martian rock in Chait’s May 6 Natural History auction

April 10th, 2012 by

Tissint Martian meteorite that fell to earth July 18, 2011; believed to have solidified from lava 400-500 million years ago, extraordinarily rare, est. $200,000-$300,000. I.M. Chait image.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – I.M. Chait’s industry-leading Natural History sales are a showcase for once-in-a-lifetime specimens, like the spectacular meteorite from Mars that headlines the company’s May 6 auction. Extraordinarily rare, the fist-size rock that landed in an African desert last July 18 probably took hundreds of millions of years to travel from Mars to earth.


It is known as the Tissint Meteorite – a reference to the name of the Moroccan town nearest to where nomads in the Oued Drâa valley found the fusion-crusted stone after it made its dramatic landing. According to eyewitnesses, a yellow fireball streaked across the sky, turned a bright green color, then split into two parts as two loud sonic booms were emitted. Experts would later determine – amid much excitement – that the specimens found near Tissint had originated on Mars.


“Less than 0.1% of all known meteorites are recorded as Martian in origin, and since this was the first Martian meteorite fall to be observed since 1962, it is most likely the only such fall that will be observed in most current earth inhabitants’ lifetimes,” said Chait’s natural history director, Jake Chait.


Baby Triceratops prorsus skull – “Samantha” – approx. 68-65 million years old, found at Hell Creek Formation, Montana; skull measuring 36 in. long, 22 in. wide, est. $60,000-$80,000. I.M. Chait image.

The entire Tissint fall is thought to comprise little more than 10kg (approx. 22 lbs.) of material. London’s Natural History Museum holds a Tissint specimen weighing 1.1kg (approx. 2.4 lbs.) and considers it the most important meteorite of the last 100 years.


One quality that makes the Tissint Meteorite so significant is its freshness. Unlike meteorites that lay undiscovered for years – in some cases, thousands of years – it has not been contaminated by the earth’s soil, water or bacteria, and therefore is a very fresh and valuable resource for the study of its home planet’s geology. Tiny air bubbles trapped in the rock may even provide insight as to the atmosphere of the Red Planet. A truly superb specimen that weighs in at 10.5 oz. (298 grams), the Tissint Meteorite is expected to make $200,000-$300,000 at auction.


Leg from Tarbosaurus bataar (relative to the Tyrannosaurus), approx. 70 to 65 million years old, 79¾ in. long, est. $20,000-$25,000. I.M. Chait image.

During the prehistoric period that the Tissint Meteor(ite) is likely to have departed Mars, the earth was inhabited by early dinosaurs and other exotic reptiles. Now animal and mineral specimens of that fascinating era will come together on the same planet in the same place, at I.M. Chait’s May 6 auction.


One of the sale’s top zoological lots is the skull of a baby (10-12 years old) triceratops found at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, a site that produced many highly important fossils. The triceratops skull is one of very few of its type in existence. Its consignor acquired the specimen from the person who actually excavated it from the Hell Creek field. It will be offered with a $60,000-$80,000 estimate.


A jointed leg from a fearsome Tarbosaurus bataar (Tyrannosaurus) is more than 6½ feet tall and is presented on a custom metal armature. The leg dates to the end of the Cretaceous period, approximately 70 to 65 million years ago, and is in an exemplary state of preservation, from its warmly patinated surface to its wickedly curving, well-delineated claws. It could make $20,000-$25,000 on auction day.


Appropriately for the Year of the Dragon, I.M. Chait will auction a fossilized skull of a creature now known as an Ankylosaurid but originally thought to have been a dragon – and it’s easy to see why people of ancient times might have thought as such. The long snout, large spikes and cranial protrusions on the broad, flat-topped skull certainly suggest a dragon-like physiognomy. Very few Ankylosaurid remains have ever been found, more than warranting a $30,000-$40,000 presale estimate.


Fine and complete dinosaur skeleton, Psittacosaurus sp., Cretaceous, Central Asia, 39 in. long, est. $10,000-$12,000. I.M. Chait image.

A fine and complete dinosaur skeleton measuring 39 inches long would be the ultimate prize on any CEO’s desk. The specimen is a remarkably well-preserved, fully articulated skeleton of a Psittacosaurus, a primitive member of the Ceratopsia, or horned dinosaurs. In a forward-crouching mode, this beautifully presented skeleton has a large parrot-beaked skull with distinctive jaws that once grabbed and shredded leaves with ease. It has a presale expectation of $10,000-$12,000.


Sliced coprolite fossil from Sauropod, Jurassic, Tithonian stage, from Morrison Formation in Utah, est. $800-$1,000. I.M. Chait image.

In addition to their bones, dinosaurs left behind other evidence that they existed, like fossilized dung known in geological terms as “coprolites.” Two consecutive lots of coprolite fossils, cross cut and polished to reveal its inner coloration, are cataloged in the sale. A hefty 8-¼-inch wide multicolored specimen from the Morrison Formation in Utah is estimated at $800-$1,000; while a group lot of five coprolites, quite likely from ancient turtles, carries a $2,500-$3,500 estimate. Such specimens are very popular with collectors and always garner media interest. “Even a leading business publication featured a coprolite from one of our past auctions on its front page,” said Jake Chait.


Dinosaur eggs of various types and species also will be available, ranging in size from 3 to 4 inches in diameter all the way to 16 inches for an Asiatic Gigantaraptor egg. The latter is estimated at $3,000-$4,000.


Skull of Indarctos zdanskyi, predecessor to panda bear, approximately 5 million years old, est. $65,000-$80,000. I.M. Chait image.

Chait’s sale includes the only fossil of an Indarctos zdanskyi (predecessor to the panda) ever to be offered at auction. “There may be one in a museum somewhere, but if so, its existence is not commonly known,” said Chait. “We don’t even know of a private collection that contains an Indarctos zdanskyi.”


The 16-inch-long “panda” skull is around 2 million years old. Like the “dragon” in the auction, it was found in central Asia. Mounted with jaws agape, the skull displays outstanding three-dimensionality, fine bone texture and coloration. Estimate: $65,000-$80,000.


A number of insects and taxidermied animals will be auctioned. Of particular note is a pair of large mosquitoes captured in amber resin while in the act of mating. Described in Chait’s catalog as “a perfect snapshot of prehistoric life,” the 2¼-inch-long golden-orange specimen of Baltic origin could realize $500-$700.


Mating mosquite pair captured in amber, Upper Oligocene Epoch/Paleogene Period, est. $500-$700. I.M. Chait image.

The Archaeological and Tribal Artifacts section of the sale includes an authenticated Egytian mummified human hand with a considerable amount of cloth wrapping still intact. It is at least 2,000 years old, putting it somewhere between the New Kingdom and Ptolemaic Eras. Estimate: $5,000-$6,000.


Other lots of interest include an attractive glass-encased display containing both hair and a tusk section from a Mammathus primigenius (woolly mammoth elephant), $1,200-$2,500); group lots of ancient arrow and spear points from North Africa, certified gemstones, and many other mineral specimens – from earth and beyond.


I.M. Chait’s Sunday, May 6 Important Natural History auction will commence at 11 a.m. Pacific time at the company’s gallery located at 9330 Civic Center Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90210. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through and


For additional information on any lot in the sale or to obtain a fully illustrated color catalog ($35 + shipping), call 1-800-775-5020 or 310-285-0182; or e-mail Visit the company online at

Morphy’s May 11-12 auction of toys, trains, dolls and famous airplane collection could be a high flier

April 6th, 2012 by

Marklin O gauge passenger train set, est. $2,000-$3,000. Morphy Auctions image.

DENVER, Pa. – A remarkable cross-category collection of vintage toy airplanes, three outstanding train collections and more than 400 lots of dolls and accessories will join a widely varied array of other fine toys to form the core of Morphy’s May 11-12 auction.


The Friday session starts with a major offering of antique and vintage trains that comprises a good 40% of the 1,615-lot sale. “Every train collector will find something that pleases them,” said Dan Morphy, CEO of Morphy Auctions. “There are hundreds of prewar, postwar and contemporary trains of many different gauges.”


Bing O gauge freight train set, est. $600-$800. Morphy Auctions image.

The railroad selection boasts many sought-after brands – Marklin, Bing, Ives, Dorfan, Lionel and American Flyer. There are even two rare sets by American Flyer’s predecessor, Edmond-Metzel – one with original box and three Chicago passenger cars.


Within the German train group are coveted early Marklin O gauge sets, a handsome Bing 1 gauge set, and half a dozen mostly hand-painted buildings and stations, including a Leipzig station. “Golden age” highlights include an American Flyer President’s Special with original box and a Lionel #400 freight set with some of its original individual boxes.


Marklin Leipzig train station, est. $4,000-$6,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Most of the early Marklin trains are from the Arizona collection of Ray Dextraze, while many of the Lionel and golden age trains came from New York-based collector Jack Moore. A Pennsylvania collector consigned the contemporary trains.


The stellar Geoffrey “GR” Webster collection is a comprehensive lifetime assemblage of American cast-iron, English die-cast, and pre- and postwar European and Japanese airplanes. More than 50 prized pieces – many of them reference book examples – will go under the hammer during the two-day sale.


Underside view of the top airplane in Morphy’s sale: Britains Short Bros. flying boat monoplane with 14.25-inch (36.2 cm.) wingspan, Bakelite and heavy tin, made 1936 only, one of the rarest and most valuable airplane toys ever made, est. $12,000-$16,000. Morphy Auctions image.

Webster is not only a collector but also a highly decorated wartime pilot, aviation scholar and author who built his panoramic collection with an eye toward rarity, originality and historical accuracy. His fascination for flight – which began during childhood as the son of a naval pilot – led to his amassing a world-class collection of aviation toys and models. Portions of the collection are documented in his 2009 book Collecting Vintage Aircraft Toys and a 2011 co-authored edition titled Dinky Toys Aircraft 1934-1979.


The top prize in Webster collection is an ultra-rare 1930s Britains Short Bros. Monoplane Flying Boat with original box. One of only three known to exist, the Bakelite and heavy tin plane is also the only example to be offered for public sale in the last 30 years.


Ingap Italian M-202 lithographed-tin friction airplane with 9.5 in. (24 cm.) wingspan, est. $800-$1,200. Morphy Auctions image.

“James Opie, who authored the premier guide on Britains soldiers, rates this toy at the top of rarity for Britains,” said Morphy. “GR’s book example might even reach $20,000.”


A fleet of iconic 1920s cast-iron aviation toys is led by a Hubley America, the largest cast-iron plane ever made. There’s also a massive Hubley Friendship float plane with Amelia Earhart’s silhouette in one window; a Spirit of St. Louis, and numerous other period cast-iron tri-motors and gliders.


Prewar German tin planes include Tippco productions from 1935 to 1942, including a Junkers JU-52, a Siebel twin-engine transport, and the only known surviving example of a Heinkel He-100. There are also rare prewar Rico (Spanish) and Ingap (Italian) craft, including the only known original examples of the CR-42 biplane fighter and the Macchi C.202; and a seldom-seen Chein tinplate Martin seaplane. Arguably the largest tin toy ever produced, a Yonezawa tinplate 10-engine B-36 bomber had plenty of room to spread its expansive wings in the Webster collection. Two boxed prewar Dux constructor planes depict a German Stuka divebomber and civilian Messerschmidt ME109.

Yonezawa B-36 tin bomber with 26-inch (66 cm.) wingspan, est. $600-$900. Morphy Auctions image


“Usually toy plane collectors focus on one category, for instance American cast-iron or British planes. There aren’t many who collect all toy planes, but GR was one of them. His collection is an overview of aviation history in toy form,” Morphy said.


Early German toys include a 1st series Marklin battleship, Fleishmann and Carette boats; and many tin autos by such makers as Bing and Fisher. A hand-painted late-19th-century Marklin firewagon, Lutz hansom cab, 30 lots of penny toys and a rare Uberlacher swimming toy set with original toy boats and tin animals round out the selection.


Uncle Remus cast-iron mechanical bank, est. $2,000-$3,000. Morphy Auctions image.

The Saturday session is led by cast-iron still and mechanical banks, including an Uncle Remus, and Hen on Nest; as well as vehicles and airplanes from the Webster collection. An Ives Phoenix horse-drawn fire-ladder toy is another cast-iron highlight.


More than 400 lots of fine dolls, doll clothing, accessories, furniture and wardrobe trunks represent a 200+ year timeline, ranging from 18th-century Queen Anne wood dolls to modern artist dolls. One of the finest dolls in the sale is a 1910 Kammer & Reinhardt 101X – a rare boy character doll with composition body, bisque head and flocked hair. In beautiful condition, it is expected to make $5,000-$6,000.


Kammer & Reinhardt K*R 101X German bisque character doll, est. $5,000-$6,500. Morphy Auctions image.

A 12-inch Simon & Halbig 153 boy with molded hair, also known as a “Little Duke” doll, was found in a dry attic. It commands an $8,000-$12,000 estimate. Two 1910 composition Munich Art dolls – a boy and girl – are considered to be forerunners to bisque character dolls. Each is estimated at $5,500-$8,500. A large black stockinet Beecher baby was handmade by members of an Elmira, N.Y., church group between 1893 and 1910 to raise funds for missionaries. Estimate: $3,000-$5,000.


Also poised for success are an all-wood Schoenhut “bonnet doll, French dolls, including a 33-inch Steiner child, est. $8,000-$10,000; Ideal Toni dolls, and two Miss Ondine swimming dolls patented in 1878. German dolls [Kestner, Heubach, Kley & Hahn, etc.], French Jumeaus, SFBJ children, Kathe Kruse, Lenci, and Barbie dolls; wax and papier-mache dolls; and an array of artist dolls also will be offered.


The May 11 session starts at 10 a.m. Eastern Time; the May 12 session at 9 a.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through Morphy Live or Tel: 717-335-3435; e-mail

Mosby & Co. to auction fine and decorative art, Chinese soapstone collection, hundreds of early posters on April 28

April 3rd, 2012 by


Cased circa-1870 faro set, includes engraved Moore’s patent Derringer. Mosby & Co. image.

FREDERICK, Md. – Ask any regular who attends auctions conducted by Mosby & Co., and they’ll tell you what the Maryland-based company is best known for: everything. Owner Keith Spurgeon makes a point of personally selecting only the most interesting, best-quality pieces from dozens of collecting categories for his well-attended sales.


Spurgeon’s April 28 Spring Antiques Auction, which will be held at the Mosby & Co. gallery in the Washington suburb of Frederick, Md., features 550 lots that range from sculptures, clocks and an old collection of Chinese soapstone to toys, historic Americana and a spectacular assortment of 19th- and early 20th-century posters.


The approximately 100 pieces of soapstone, to be apportioned into 30 lots, are from a single-owner collection that was started 60 years

‘Two Old Timers,’ Western bronze by Frank Polk, one of eight bronzes in the sale. Mosby & Co. image.

ago. “It’s a completely unpicked collection. It hasn’t been touched in 30 years,” said Spurgeon, who regards the contents as a buying opportunity for dealers or those who may be seeking a way to get into the Asian art market.


Sculptures from multiple consignors represent both European and American artists. Among them are three Frank Polk Western bronzes, including one of a cowboy and horse titled “Two Old Timers.” A bronze depicting a male archer is signed “Schwatenberg, Germany,” likely referring to Spiro Schwatenberg (1898-1922). Another noteworthy sculpture was created from wood by the Lithuanian artist Romas Kvintas.


Eighteenth-century Continental painting, possibly Dutch. Mosby & Co. image.

The auction features several paintings and prints by listed artists, including a late 18th-century French religious genre painting of the Holy Family and John the Baptist; and a Dutch oil on canvas depicting a man praying before a meal. A small collection of mantel and wall clocks, mostly American in origin, are entered in the sale, as are a dozen pieces of fine porcelain, including a large Rosenthal nude with horse.


Around 110 lots are reserved for toys. The lineup includes Easter Parade toys (new/old stock), a turn of the 20th-century Buster Brown and Tige cast-iron pull toy by Watrous, a near-mint/boxed Popeye Express with circling airplane, and an Effanbee Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll that is part of a small collection of McCarthy toys, including automotive types. Also in the mix are a Lionel 2271 train set with GG1 locomotive, and a collection of Punch and Judy toys, books, inkwells and cap guns, including an American-made figural example by Ives. A collection of toys simulating insects includes examples from as early as the 1890s.

Cast-iron Buster Brown and Tige pull toy by Watrous (American). Mosby & Co. image.

A full set of 12 carved wood folk art figures, probably from the 1970s, portrays the cast of characters from the Popeye cartoons. They include some of the more offbeat characters, such as Sea Hag, Alice the Goon, and The Three Birds, with the largest figure standing 89 inches tall.


More than 50 original animation cels will be offered. Most originated at Warner Bros. Studios, and some date to the 1940s.


1899 original Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca, untouched condition. Mosby & Co. image.

The highlight section of the sale is the posters. Among the top lots is an untouched 1899 Alphonse Mucha poster of Sarah Bernhardt in La Tosca. The consignor, a Hollywood producer, purchased the poster in Paris in the 1950s and has owned it ever since.


A complete set of Richard Avedon Beatles posters published in 1967 by the German magazine Stern will be offered as one lot. Each of the now-famous, vibrantly hued psychedelic posters measures 19 x 27 inches.


A tremendous variety of posters will be auctioned: circa-1890 Buffalo Bill Wild West Show promos from the showman’s French tour, a circa-1895 La Marque Georges Richard poster with artwork by “PAL” of both a bicycle and early auto, and many others with a circus, magic or transportation theme. An 1896 two-sheet panoramic published by Strobridge for Barnum & Bailey is a scrupulously detailed and colorful depiction advertising a traveling Indian village whose home life and occupations are “revealed to Christian eyes in living groups of strange and curious people.”


Among the best of the magic posters is an 1870s three-sheet that came from a Florida collection. The woodblock print advertising Samri S. Baldwin, a k a “The White Mahatma,” measures 81 x 42 inches.


Circa-1910 linen mounted poster of skeleton holding ‘Wheel of Death’ velodrome with three riders on early motorbikes, printed by Adolph Friedlander for English market, 37½ x 28 inches. Mosby & Co. image.

Lithographed by Friedlander, a 1910 Wheel of Death motorbike-racing poster presents a bizarre scene of a skeleton holding a wood-slatted velodrome with three riders going full throttle around its inner sides.

The sale also includes a large selection of black Americana, including slave collars and shackles; a 19th-century faro gambling set, complete with a Moore’s patented Derringer; and a Virginia Confederate ballot for the election of Jefferson Davis. An Indy 500 “Pacemaker” medallion awarded to driver Paul Russo will be auctioned, as well. These medallions are presented exclusively to drivers who have led laps at the famous car race, and it is known that Russo qualified for the award both in 1956 and ’57.


Mosby & Co.’s Spring Antiques Auction will be held on Saturday, April 28, 2012 commencing at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the company’s gallery at 5714-A Industry Lane, Frederick, MD 21704. Preview hours are noon till 5 p.m. on Friday, 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, and by appointment during the week prior to the sale. Catered food service will be available during both auction sessions.


All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through either or For additional information, call 240-629-8139 or

Sotheby’s London – Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints

April 3rd, 2012 by

To view results from this sale visit

Sotheby’s Paris – Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie

April 3rd, 2012 by

The forthcoming auction of Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie will take place in Paris on 12 June, 2012.

Swann Galleries – Alfred Hitchcock Posters from a Filmmaker’s Collection

April 3rd, 2012 by

Film producer and director Gary Winick died last year at the age of 49 and left behind collections of photographs, fine art prints, move posters, books, and personal memorabilia.

Highlights from the collection include:

Photographs by William Eggleston, Harry Callahan, Walker Evans and others, including Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Swan lake, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, silver print, 1954, printed 1980s, shown top left.

Prints and drawings, including Shoe Design for Redbook Magazine by Andy Warhol, gouache, circa 1955.

Movie posters, over 20 posters for Hitchcock films like Vertigo and other classics.

The afternoon session of 19th & 20th Century Photographs & Photobooks features vintage photographs by Edward S. Curtis (Chief of the Desert, Navajo Orotone, 1904, shown left,) Stieglitz, Wilson A. Bentley and others.

Among the photobooks, Robert Frank’s The Americans, first American edition, New York, 1959.

Sotheby’s New York – Magnificent Jewels

April 3rd, 2012 by

This spring the New York sale of Magnificent Jewels is distinguished by the many beautiful, fresh-to-the-market signed jewels from prominent Estate collections. From Dallas philanthropist Nancy B. Hamon to Valerie Pascal Delacorte, benefactor of the Norton Museum of Art, the collections offered in the April sale reflect the style and taste of accomplished women who loved to wear their jewelry.  Leading the Estates are the jewels of Eunice Joyce Gardiner, a former model, whose interests ranged from exquisite antique and Art Deco pieces to the bold designs of David Webb. Collectors of period jewels will find a remarkable group of Jewels from a New York Estate representing two centuries of jewelry history including pieces from Mauboussin, Boucheron and Sterlé.

This sale also provides an in-depth look at many of the best jewelry designers of the 20th century.  The cover lot, an extraordinary brooch conceived by Cartier in 1920, features a beautiful Mughal carved emerald elegantly framed by calibré-cut sapphires and emeralds. This jewel exemplifies Cartier’s unsurpassed talent for merging  Eastern exoticism with avante garde design during the Art Deco period. The signature styles of Suzanne Belperron, Flato and Verdura are also well represented in the sale, as are the bold, architectural jewels of the Art Moderne movement.

For the gemstone connoisseur, the sale offers a superb selection of important diamonds, gem-quality colored stones and natural pearls.  Highlights include a 20-carat sugarloaf cabochon Kashmir sapphire ring mounted by Cartier, a Fancy Blue diamond ring in a turn-of-the-century Tiffany & Co. setting, and a 13-carat Cartier Colombian emerald ring, as well as an impressive 23-carat Fancy Vivid Yellow diamond ring. The core of the sale is formed by an extensive selection of white diamonds, from charming antique cuts to more contemporary shapes in sizes of up to 30 carats.