Sotheby’s London – Modern & Post-War British Art

April 27th, 2012 by

In our auctions of Modern & Post-War British Art in London this May we are thrilled to present so many works unseen in public for generations – from two very rare early Vorticist works by William Roberts ( Lot 1) and Frederick Etchells (Lot 2) to a group of superb paintings by Peter Lanyon, Alan Davie and William Roberts deaccessioned from a North American Institution (Lots 4, 5 and 17). The sale also includes an exciting group of monumental sculpture from the Jerwood Sculpture Collection that provides an exceptional insight into sculptural practice in Britain since the Second World War (Lots 18-22; 148-160).

The sales cover the breadth of British art in the 20th Century – from superb Modernist examples by Ben Nicholson, to Post-War abstracts and sculpture by Sir Terry Frost, William Scott, Lynn Chadwick, Henry Moore and Dame Barbara Hepworth, and into the last twenty years with two monumental canvases by Sean Scully.

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Material Culture’s May 5 auction debut to reflect ‘borderless’ approach to art, antiques

April 18th, 2012 by


Material Culture’s founder/owner George Jevremovic with a few of his May 5 debut auction’s predicted top lots, including a 19th-century Samuel Robb cigar store figure, est. $40,000-$60,000. Material Culture image.

PHILADELPHIA – Renowned for its art institutions and rich multicultural heritage, Philadelphia will soon add another very colorful feather to its cap. Material Culture, the city’s popular 60,000-sq.-ft. showplace for antiques, textiles and handcrafted decorative arts, will introduce its new auction division on May 5, 2012 with a 500-lot sale titled “New World Orders.” All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet through


Material Culture’s wealth of experience and loyal following of customers, advisors and associates worldwide set the stage for the company’s entry into the auction arena, said founder/owner George Jevremovic.

Samuel Robb 19th-century cigar store figure, 77 inches tall, the greeter at Reese’s Antiques in Philadelphia since the 1940s. Est. $40,000-$60,000. Material Culture image.


“Our relationships with collectors and other friends in the business have been built on a basis of mutual trust over 30-plus years. I’ve been reaching out to them over the past two years, and our May auction debut is a tribute to those people and connections,” said Jevremovic.


No matter how broad a descriptive brush one uses, it is a formidable challenge to categorize the mix of artworks in the May 5 sale. Lot after lot, the word “unique” springs to mind, whether it’s a mystical 12th-century carved marble relief from northern India or a brilliantly-hued Felipe Jesus Consalvos cigar-band artwork.


Material Culture has always been thought of as something of an eclectic wonderland for decorators and homeowners seeking offbeat artworks and one-of-a-kind statement pieces.


“Our aesthetic knows no boundaries – it runs from Asian antiquities to classic Nakashima furniture to outside-the-box creations by self-taught artists,” said Jevremovic. “Now we have the opportunity to share our discoveries with the world via the auction route.”


Felipe Jesus Consalvos (Cuban-American, 1891 – c. 1960), ‘Guitar,’ mixed media. Est. $6,000-$8,000. Material Culture image.

A survey of the array of international treasures chosen for Material Culture’s auction premiere starts with the predicted top lot: an original 19th-century Samuel Anderson Robb cigar store Indian. For many decades, the masterfully hand-carved figure greeted visitors entering Reese’s Antiques on Pine Street in Philadelphia. Appearing to have all-original paint, the 77-inch-tall statue has been in the same owner’s hands since the 1940s and has never before been offered for sale. An American folk art classic, it is entered in the May 5 auction with a $40,000-$60,000 estimate.


Cuban-American artist Felipe Jesus Consalvos (Cuban-American, 1891 – circa 1960) was a cigar roller whose natural talent as an artist was not widely known until after his death. Consalvos presciently created modernist collages that incorporate cigar bands and cigar-box paper as well as photographs, postage stamps and magazine images. His mixed-media depiction titled Guitar – one of several Consalvos artworks in the sale – could make $6,000-$8,000.


Contemporary Chinese painter Guo Runwen’s early oil on canvas titled Standing Nude with Back View was purchased directly from the artist in 1988 at his studio in Guangzhou, China. Fresh from a Delaware collection, the 31½- by 21½-inch artwork is estimated at $30,000-$40,000. Another 20th-century Chinese painting, Fan Zeng’s (b. 1955-) ink and color on paper titled Zhong Kui Shen Wei, is signed and bears two seals. In vertical format measuring 53 by 26 inches, it carries an estimate of $6,000-$8,000.

Guo Runwen (Chinese, b. 1955-), ‘Standing Nude with Back View,’ oil on canvas, 31½ x 21½ in. Est. $30,000-$40,000. Material Culture image.


There are many early Asian works scheduled to cross the auction block, including a dimensionally carved 12th-century marble relief from Jain in northern India. Featuring deities, elephants and other animals in a temple setting, it measures 30½ by 10 inches and is 7 inches deep. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Also to be offered is a finely carved 18th-century Chinese ivory vase estimated at $4,000-$6,000.

The Dream of the Abiku Childby acclaimed African artist Prince Twins Seven-Seven (Nigerian, 1944-2011) is a stunning mélange of fantasy and color. The 40- by 27-inch artwork was created in ink, watercolor and oil on brown wrapping paper and glued to plywood. The human subject, wearing intricately patterned clothing adorned with stars, seems to leap from the setting, which also features multiple fish and a dot pattern similar to that seen in Australian aboriginal paintings. One of three works in the auction by Prince Twins Seven-Seven, it is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.


Prince Twins Seven-Seven (Nigerian, 1944-2011), ‘The Dream of the Abiku Child,’ ink, watercolor and oil on brown wrapping paper glued to plywood, 40 x 27 in. Est. $4,000--$6,000. Material Culture image.

Furniture lots cross a wide spectrum of styles. A late-19th-century Syrian mirrored cabinet, crafted of walnut with mother-of-pearl and bone inlay, comes from a collection of antique Damascus furniture in the auction. The cabinet is expected to bring $8,000-$12,000. Dating from the Art Deco period, a pair of perennially stylish Bauhaus tubular steel and leather lounge chairs will be offered with a $2,000-$4,000 estimate.


Idaho-born artist James Charles Castle (American, 1899-1977) was born profoundly deaf, and it is not known to what extent he could read, write or use sign language, but he had an innate talent for creating art from found objects of humblest origin. Today, Castle’s works are found in many institutions’ collections. In 2008-2009, the Philadelphia Museum of Art organized a Castle exhibition that toured nationally. Material Culture’s May 5 auction features a James Castle drawing on paper titled Labor Day. It comes with provenance from the J Crist Gallery in Boise and could realize $4,000-$6,000.


Material Culture’s Saturday, May 5 inaugural live auction will commence at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Preview: April 22-May 4, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. The gallery is located at 4700 Wissahickon Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144. All forms of bidding will be available, including phone, absentee or Internet live bidding through For additional information on any lot in the sale, email or call 215-849-8030. Visit the company online at

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Sotheby’s – Chagall Through the Decades: A Selling Exhibition

April 17th, 2012 by

La Nuit enchantée of 1964 isa quintessential example of Chagall’smastery in assembling an array off olkloric images in a dense and colourful composition. This work contains several of the most important elements of hispictorial iconography; the bride, the clown-musician, the goat, the bouquetof flowers and the rooster. Each figure is masterfully rendered through a matrix of intense colour and spatial experimentation that epitomised Chagall’s work, reflecting his own very personal delight in the act of artistic creation. As Susan Compton wrote in the catalogue of the Royal Academy Chagall retrospective: ‘Throughout his life certain themes recur in the work of
Chagall: the circus, lovers and peasantstake their place beside more sombre scenes of suffering and death […]
‘For the themes in Chagall’s art are timeless, not confined to a single epochof history, but reminding man of the continuity of  life for generation after generation, since the earliest days of recorded time.

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Phillips de Pury – Modern & Contemporary Editions

April 17th, 2012 by

Catalogue  now online at  PHILLIPSDEPURY.COM

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Phillips de Pury – Contemporary Art Sale

April 17th, 2012 by


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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