June 2018

Vintage Movie Poster Collection Commands Center Stage at Gray's Auctioneers on July 11

Lady from Shanghai.jpgCleveland, OH - The art and design of classic, vintage, original movie posters will take center stage at Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers on Wednesday, July 11th, as over 100 original movie posters and banners will come up for bid online and in Gray’s showrooms at 10717 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. The posters are all out of an important single-owner collection from Ohio.

Certain to attract bidder attention will be lot 327, an iconic movie poster from the inimitable 1947 Orson Welles classic film, The Lady from Shanghai, starring Rita Hayworth. Like all the best movie poster designs, this one distills the essence of the moving image into a single frame, combining text, design, photography and advertising into a unique and unforgettable work of art. 

Another lot to watch is #290, a rare linen-backed movie banner for the early talkie The Saturday Night Kid (Paramount Pictures, 1929), starring Clara Bow, nicknamed “The It Girl” and the actress who came to personify the Roaring 20s and was its leading sex symbol. The Lady from Shanghai and The Saturday Night Kid are both graded B+ and carry estimates of $6,000-$8,000.

In all, more than 400 quality lots will come under the gavel, starting at 11 am Eastern time. “This delightful summer auction is filled with fine art, vintage movie posters, furniture and decorations consigned by collectors and estates from Cleveland and the surrounding area,” said Serena Harragin, CEO of Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers. Live online bidding is available now at Graysauctioneers.com.

Fans of silver will have much to consider, beginning with the two Wallace sterling silver Grand Baroque flatware services for 12 (lots 38 and 39), both produced in the 20th century and having identical estimates of $2,000-$4,000. The approximate troy weights are 131.53 oz. and 144.3 oz.

An exceptional German silver tea and coffee service by J.D. Schlessinger Sohne, Hanau (circa 1900-1920), comprising a kettle with a burner on a stand, coffee pot, teapot, creamer, sugar bowl and a waste bowl, all set on a matching oval tray with cherub handles and monogrammed, should realize $8,000-$10,000. All the pieces boast footed shaped ovoid bodies with acanthus reserves.

A charming set of four German rococo style .800 silver and gilt pepper shakers and salt cellars (circa 1900), possibly by J.D. Schlessigner, Hanau and having cherub supports and foliate designs, should breeze to $3,000-$5,000; while a Russian silver and cut glass 18-piece men’s grooming set (circa 1886), weighing 46.80 ozt., fully hallmarked, should make $2,000-$4,000.

A pair of horse racing-themed oil on canvas paintings by William Garrett van Zandt (Am., 1857-1942), both from the collection of Oliver and Joyce Murphy, are lots 11 and 12 and are estimated at $3,000-$5,000 each. One is titled Checkerberry (1913), 17 inches by 20 inches; the other Miss Harris M (1918), 18 inches by 25 inches. Both of the paintings have been artist signed and dated.

Other fine art star lots will include an oil on canvas by Louis Aston Knight (Fr., 1873-1948), titled La Chaumiere de Diane, Beaumont-le-Roger, Normandy, signed, measuring 42 inches by 55 inches framed (est. $8,000-$10,000); and an oil on canvas by Antoine Blanchard (Fr., 1910-1988), titled View of the Arc de Triomphe, signed, 15 inches by 30 inches (est. $5,000-$7,000).

Two artworks share the same $2,000-$4,000 pre-sale estimate. One is an unsigned figural oil on canvas done in the manner of John Singleton Copley (Am., 1737-1815), titled Gentleman and Lady with Children in a Courtyard. The other is a Floral Still Life oil on canvas painted in the manner of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (Fr., 1636-1699), unsigned, with inpainting and craquelure. 

Lot 27a is a fantastical untitled welded steel sculpture by an unknown artist, somewhat akin to a tree that has been twisted and curled around itself to a point of sublime abstraction. It’s nature rendered into the mechanical.  The 20th century creation, standing 64 inches tall by 58 inches wide and 28 inches deep, makes a strong artistic statement and is estimated to bring $400-$600.

Another astounding sculptural creation, this one lot 28 by Susie Frazier Mueller (b. 1970), has an enormous guitar sitting on a tubular steel stand as its focal point and is titled Imagine Harmony with Nature (Guitar Mania for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). The 2002 work, 10 feet 9 inches tall and made using slate roofing tiles, tree branches and mixed media, should hit $2,000-$4,000.

Gray’s Auctioneers are open for in-person previews at the Cleveland showrooms July 5th-11th, from 10am -5pm Eastern; and Saturday, July 6th, from 12 noon ‘til 4 pm. The fully illustrated catalog is now online at GraysAuctioneers.com. Telephone and absentee bids are also accepted.

Gray’s Auctioneers are northern Ohio’s leading licensed auctioneers and appraisers of fine art, antiques, decorative arts, rare books, fine jewelry and antique rugs. The boutique auction house has over two decades of experience in the art business. Experts at Gray’s offer traditional real estate services and specialists there have worked with museums, educational institutions, corporations and private collectors to achieve the full value of collections at auction. 

Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers is always accepting quality consignments for future auctions. To inquire about selling a single piece, an estate or a collection, you may call them at (216) 226-3300; or, you can send an e-mail to Serena Harragin, CEO, at sharragin@graysauctioneers.com

To learn more about Gray’s Auctioneers & Appraisers and the live and internet auction planned for Wednesday, July 11th, at 11 am, visit www.graysauctioneers.com. Updates are posted often.

Image: Lady from Shanghai: Iconic movie poster from the inimitable 1947 Orson Welles classic film, The Lady from Shanghai, starring Rita Hayworth (est. $6,000-$8,000).

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Kiowa Warrior's Drawings of Captivity Bring $396,500 at Heritage Auctions

kiowa copy.jpgDallas, TX - A Kiowa warrior’s book of drawings documenting his captivity by the U.S. Army in 1875 sold for $396,500 in Heritage Auctions’ June 26 Ethnographic Art Auction, pushing the sale to more than $1 million.

The bound book of 33 images is a stunning discovery of the earliest recorded drawings by Etahdleuh Doanmoe, one of 71 tribal members imprisoned in an effort to force Western assimilation and crush resistance to reservations. The auction also offered Self Portrait, Etahdleuh Doanmoe, Kiowa, circa 1878  - the only known self-portrait by Etahdleuh in his full war panoply - which sold for $27,500, and Kiowa Ledger Drawing, circa 1878, also by Etahdleuh Doanmoe, which sold for $25,000.

“Etahdleuh is considered a master artist in a genre called ledger art, which is an extension of traditional paintings done on buffalo robes,” said Delia Sullivan, Senior Specialist of Ethnographic Art at Heritage. “The group was an exceptionally historic find.”

An imposing, hand-painted panel recording a scene from the Blackfoot War by a chief known as Big Spring, sold for $23,750. Measuring 103 inches wide, the war record panel is one of many painted by elderly Blackfoot warriors for display in the hotels at Glacier National Park.

Dated to the 1880s, an ornate Sioux Girl’s Beaded Hide Dress with Belt, ended at $10,625 and a fascinating Sioux Buffalo Hide Bow Case and Quiver, accompanied by three arrows and a sinew backed bow, closed for $10,000.

Among the highlights of the auction’s selection of tribal art, included a 36-inch long coil of Solomon Islands Feather Money from Tevau, Santa Cruze, which sold for $18,750. The currency was fashioned from wood, fiber and feathers from the scarlet honeyeater, whose red feathers were an insignia of rank and divinity in Polynesia.

A Gold Necklace dated to 200 to 400 AD from Calima, Colombia, brought $10,000 and a separate Gold Necklace from the same era, sold for $8,000. An Olmec Jade Scepter, from 1,000 to 500 BC, sold for $7,500. 

Additional highlights include:

·         Night Guard, circa 1985, a bronze by Apache artist Allan Houser, sold for $11,875.

·         A Sioux Beaded Hide Bowcase and Quiver with Recurved Bow and Arrows, circa 1880, brought $6,875

·         An Olmec Jade Blood-letter tool, from about 1,000 - 500 BC sold for $5,750.

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Potter & Potter Auctions' July 28 Sale to Feature a Collection of Hugh Hefner Letters, Artwork & Ephemera

hefner.jpgChicago — Potter & Potter Auctions is excited to present this extraordinary archive as part of the company's 619 lot Fine Books and Manuscripts Sale to be held on Saturday, July 28th, 2018. American entrepreneur Hugh Hefner (1926-2017) is best known as the original "Playboy" and the editor of the magazine of the same name. His over the top antics and personal and professional choices made international headlines for over half a century. He met Jane Borson Sellers at Steinmetz High School in Chicago in the early 1940s and maintained a close relationship with her over the course of his life. Sellers' collections of Hefner letters, drawings, cards, photos, and clippings capture the extraordinary nature of Hugh's lifestyle and career in touching, personal, and intimate ways. 

This sale offers a dozen Hugh Hefner lots with materials dating from the early 1940s thorough 2017.  All eyes will be on lot #445, an archive of correspondence between Hefner and Sellers. This collection includes over 60 typed signed letters and autograph letters, dating from Hefner’s last year of high school in Chicago to his two-year service in the Army; snapshots of Hefner and other members of his high school gang; high school yearbook clippings; and a photo of Hefner’s 1949 wedding to Millie Williams.  Many of the letters are embellished with original ink cartoon drawings by Hefner. The whole collection is neatly and chronologically organized in a binder, as organized by Borson, with her typed summary of the letters.  The preface of the archive is a note from "Hef" on Playboy letterhead dated May 31, 2002, which states: “As I understand it, the contents of personal correspondence is the legal property of the person who wrote the letters, but you have my permission to do whatever you like with them. They are yours with my love—for all the dreams and memories we’ve shared.” This once-in-a-lifetime offering is estimated at $10,000-20,000.

Hefner was a talented amateur cartoonist and considered becoming one professionally.  He appreciated fine cartoon artwork, and his publication always featured cartoons by the most famous cartoonists of the era. Several of his original early cartoons are included in this sale and reveal a rather funny and playful side of the future Playboy.  Lot #449, an original Hefner High School Cartoon entitled “My Typical Day at Steinmetz,” is estimated at $1,000-2,000.  This two page ink and watercolor cartoon from 1943 includes a labeled, hand-drawn diagram titled “Dissection of Soft Shell Clam,” reflecting the curriculum of Hefner's zoology class that day.  

Another headliner in the Hefner collection is lot #452, Hugh Hefner's 1944 signed high school senior class sepia print photograph.  This handsome headshot measures 8-3/8 x 6-1/8 and is inscribed, “To one of the sweetest, swellest gals I know-/Hef.” Of course, the “gal” here is Jane Borson Sellers.  It is estimated at $1,500-3,000.

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "This archive reveals the private, personal, pre-Playboy side of Hugh Hefner - something very few, if any of his millions of fans got a glimpse of. Hefner lived on a grand scale, and was constantly in the spotlight, yet the letters he exchanged with his high school classmate show he was not just larger-than-life - he could also be down to earth. Offering historically significant, unique material of this nature is a true thrill." 

Image: Archive of Early Hefner Correspondence. Estimate $10,000-20,000

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Horse Racing, Railroads, Art History at National Book Auctions

June30_01_pics.jpgIthaca, NY — National Book Auctions, located just outside Ithaca, NY, announces the launch of their next auction catalog.  

This catalog features rare, antique and decorative books as well as select additions of ephemera. Featured are themed private libraries including titles relating to horse racing and art history. A selection of fine bindings will be offered, including antique fancy leather bindings and rare selections from the Folio Society and Easton Press.                   

Antique and rare books are numerous in this catalog. Among the earliest examples are the 1788 printing of Carey's "The American Museum or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces," and Longus' "Les Amours Pastorales de Daphnis et Chloe," produced in 1779 with engraved plates. Also offered are first printings of important modern titles such as J.M. Barrie's "Peter and Wendy," "Giant" by Edna Ferber, Hemingway's "Men without Women" and others. Additional rare and antique selections relate to travel & exploration, books-on-books, theology, children's, decorative antique sets, art history, special printings by the Folio Society and Easton Press, and beyond.                         

Several interesting collections will also be showcased. Highlighted is a substantial private collection of titles chronicling the history of horse racing. Topics covered include breeding, history, the Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby, and beyond. Another large collection includes an exhaustive art history reference library that belonged to a scholar who specialized in the work of Mary Cassatt. Two other private collections center on railroad history, including logging by railroad, and ornithological reference with titles examining the history of bird illustration.        

Found throughout this catalog are interesting ephemera offerings and many group lots of desirable titles.     

National Book Auctions is a public auction service specializing in books, ephemera, and art. National Book Auctions is a targeted service offering experience and expertise unique to marketing antique and modern books and ephemera for consignors and collectors alike. The upcoming auctions will feature a wide assortment of collectible, signed, and first edition books. For more information, please contact the gallery at 607-269-0101 or email mail@nationalbookauctions.com.

 

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Swann Galleries' Collection of William Wheeler III Sells 91%

131-Hayes copy.jpgNew York—On June 21, the auction of Revolutionary & Presidential Americana from the Collection of William Wheeler III at Swann Galleries saw a 91% sell-through rate for important autographs, letters and documents from some of the biggest players in American history. Wheeler, a manufacturing consultant from a long line of New Englanders, devoted much of his adult life to acquiring illuminating pieces of Americana from the Revolutionary War and nearly every president.

Wheeler harbored a special fascination with the life and deeds of Andrew Jackson, which led to a run of 34 significant letters and documents signed by the president, 88% of which found buyers. Highlights included a retained copy of a letter to be published by editor Thomas Eastin, providing his own account of the altercations that would lead to his killing Charles Dickinson in a duel. One of two known complete drafts, it reached $7,000. An 1833 autograph letter signed as president to his adoptive son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., a request that he go to their plantation (the Hermitage) in response to reports of grieving and ailing slaves, sold for $9,375.

The 1876 presidential election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden was overshadowed in South Carolina by the gubernatorial contest on the same ticket. An archive of 153 items relating to the election, which resulted in riots, lynch-mobs and a contested victory for the governorship, topped the sale at $23,400.

Also available was an autograph letter signed by Patrick Henry to Colonel William Fleming requesting that the militia in Montgomery County, Virginia, be prepared in the case of an attack by Native Americans in 1778. The letter more than doubled its high estimate, selling after breakneck bidding to a collector for $16,250. Additional Revolutionary highlights included a brief autograph letter signed to Ira Allen, the brother of Ethan Allen, from Thomas Paine, concerning a missed connection at the subversive Caffe Boston in Paris in the 1790s ($10,000), and a pay order signed by 15 members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives “to defray [the] costs” of express rider Jonathan Park on his urgent ride to Philadelphia in May 1776 ($13,750).

In addition to fresh perspectives on monumental events, the auction provided an endearing human side to some of history’s most well-known players. A fine example is a heartfelt letter from Charles Pinckney to Tobias Lear, George Washington’s secretary, upon learning of the first president’s death in 1799. He wrote, “I shall not attempt to express my feelings on this occasion: language cannot describe them. In him I have lost a friend & father. Say everything proper for me to Mrs. Washington & Mrs. Lewis. I cannot console them; but I can weep with them." This rare missive was purchased by an institution for $16,250, above a high estimate of $10,000.

Specialist Marco Tomaschett was especially pleased with the institutional attention to the auction, saying, “Museums and archives recognized the historical significance of the personal correspondence featured in this sale, especially the letter from Pinckney acknowledging the death of Washington.”

The next auction of Americana at Swann Galleries, featuring The Harold Holzer Collection of Lincolniana, is scheduled for September 27, 2018. The next auction of Autographs at Swann Galleries will be on November 8, 2018. The house is currently accepting quality consignments for autumn auctions.

Image: Lot 131: Rutherford B. Hayes, archive related to the 1876 election in South Carolina. Sold June 21, 2018 for $23,400. (Pre-sale estimate $5,000 to $7,500)

 

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Sylvia Plath's Pulitzer Prize in Poetry to be Auctioned

Sylvia Plath Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 54980b_lg.jpegLos Angeles - The Pulitzer Prize in Poetry awarded to Sylvia Plath posthumously in 1982, will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on June 28, 2018.

Plath was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for “The Collected Poems,” which was edited by her English poet husband, Ted Hughes. Hughes was presented the Pulitzer Prize on behalf of his late wife. The certificate was inherited by Plath and Hughes’ daughter Frieda Hughes.

Plath lived a short, but productive life. She was born in Boston in 1932 and studied at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts as well as Newnham College at the University of Cambridge. She received critical acclaim for popularizing “confessional poetry” in the 1950’s. Plath’s best-known works were the Bell Jar, The Colossus and Ariel. Sylvia Plath committed suicide in 1963.

The certificate was signed by Pulitzer President Michael Sovern and is stamped with the gold Pulitzer seal.  

Bidding begins at $40,000.

Additional information on the model can be found at 
https://natedsanders.com/Sylvia_Plath_s_Pulitzer_Prize_in_Poetry-LOT49694.aspx

Plath’s Driver’s License.

Also going under the hammer is Sylvia Plath’s 1958 driver license. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts license was issued on October 27, 1958. Plath signed her name twice as “Sylvia P. Hughes.” Bidding begins at $8,000.

Additional information on Plath’s driver’s license can be found at https://natedsanders.com/Sylvia_Plath_Twice_Signed_Driver_s_License_From_19-LOT49695.aspx

  

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Frank Frazetta Original Cover Art & CGC-graded Comic Books Headline Hake's July 10-12 Pop Culture Auction

1584-003.jpgYork, PA - So far this year in the world of pop culture, only Avengers: Infinity War has been able to rival the excitement level generated by Hake’s record-setting March auction. Led by a fresh-to-the-market issue of Detective Comics #27 that sold for a staggering $569,000, the sale took in $2.35 million and emphatically validated the demand for Golden and Silver Age comics and original comic art. Once again it’s time for collectors to fasten their seat belts, as Hake’s rolls out a blockbuster July 10-12 online-auction event brimming with rare memorabilia from hundreds of popular categories.

The insatiable demand for original comic art and the prices such works are realizing at auction indicate the gap is closing between comic and mainstream fine art. An excellent case study may be in the making with the original art for two Frank Frazetta covers entered in Hake’s July auction. Frazetta, who died in 2010, was best known for his fantasy and horror art, but his gift was not confined to those genres. The two auction lots represent the color covers for issues #2 and #4 of Blazing Combat, a comic/magazine published from October 1965 to July 1966. The publication featured war stories in both contemporary and period settings, but its run was short, lasting only four issues. Each of the Frazetta cover artworks from this obscure publication is offered with a $75,000-$100,000 estimate. “If someone were to acquire both of the artworks, they would own fifty percent of the title’s run,” said Alex Winter, president of Hake’s Americana. “That’s very desirable and almost unheard of in comic-art collecting.”

The Ron Lim original pen-and-ink art for page 9 of Silver Surfer, Vol. 3 #36, published by Marvel in April 1990, delivers a double dip of mutant superhuman and Titanian Eternal, Thanos. One panel of the 11 1/8 by 17-inch storyboard shows Thanos with his Star Gem, while another depicts a raging battle scene with Thanos going toe to toe with Thor in the center of the action. This significant page, which offered a portent of things to come in The Avengers’ universe, is estimated at $5,000-$10,000. 

Another important artwork is Alex Ross’s original color page created in 1994 for Marvels, a four-issue comic series that examines the Marvel universe, its superheroes and supervillains from the perspective of an “everyman” character. The gouache-over-pencil art from issue #4, page 41 consists of six panels with images of various Marvel characters. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000. Also at the top of the art category is Greg Hildebrandt 2017 acrylic-on-canvas painting of Wonder Woman in Golden Age attire. Created as a tribute to Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary, it could hit $10,000-$20,000.

An outstanding lineup of 1,300 comic books from the Golden through Modern Age will be auctioned, and of those, 450 are CGC certified. Many are first issues or represent the first appearance of a key character, as is the case with Detective Comics #38, which introduces Batman’s sidekick Robin the Boy Wonder. Published by DC in April 1940, this comic - which is CGC-graded 5.5 Fine - explains Robin’s origin and features the likable new character in boldly colorful cover art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. “This comic, which is completely fresh to the market, is part of a recently discovered Golden Age comic book collection whose original owner purchased the comics new off the rack in the 1930s and ’40s,” said Winter. Compared to the aforementioned Detective Comics #27 that Hakes sold for well over half a million dollars, there are only around a dozen more known copies of Detective Comics #38, per the CGC worldwide census. “It could far surpass its auction estimate of $50,000-$75,000,” Winter said.

Hake’s also will be offering another helping of impossibly rare action figures from the renowned Russell Branton Star Wars collection. Highlights include: a 1977 Kenner Star Wars Darth Vader action figure, AFA-graded 95 Mint and encapsulated on 12 Back-A blister card, $20,000-$35,000; an AFA-graded 80 Near-Mint Luke Skywalker in 12 Back-C blister card with original Double-Telescoping Lightsaber, $10,000-$20,000; and an Anakin Skywalker prototype for Kenner’s 1985 Star Wars: The Power Of The Force toy line, marketed after it was offered as a Return Of The Jedi mail-in offer, $20,000-$35,000. In March, Part two of Branton’s collection beat the overall high estimate by 40 percent, inspiring Hake’s to conduct podcasts focusing on the July selection.

Movie and concert posters have attracted a legion of loyal fans to Hake’s sales. This time the auction house has amassed over 200 choice examples from all eras and genres. The movie section includes some key sci-fi pieces, such as a one-sheet for the 1951 film Man From Planet X, $2,000-$5,000; and a lobby card set for MGM’s 1956 classic Forbidden Planet, $2,000-$5,000. Concert posters are led by a boxing-style window card for “The Biggest Show of Stars for 1960,” starring Frankie Avalon, $10,000-$20,000; a 1964 Sam Cooke poster, $2,000-$5,000; and an important 1966 Frank Zappa Mothers of Invention poster from the band’s first New York City appearance, $2,000-$5,000.

Other premier auction items include a fresh-to-the-hobby original 1913 photo-postcard depicting the multi-racial All-National Baseball Club, $10,000-$20,000; and a boxed Donald Duck Rocket tin-litho friction toy of unknown French manufacturer. One of only two such examples encountered by Hake’s in 51 years, it is estimated at $2,000-$5,000.

For the political memorabilia connoisseur, Hake’s offers an extraordinary rarity - a 1916 campaign button with American patriotic imagery around a portrait of Republican presidential candidate and Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes. While Hughes was unsuccessful in his run against the incumbent Woodrow Wilson, the only known example of his ”Give Me Hughes” campaign button is a landslide winner with collectors and commands a $10,000-$20,000 estimate. 

Hake’s Americana Auction #224 has opened for bidding by phone, mail or online at hakes.com. The first session will close on July 10, 2018, while the second session will conclude on July 12. July 11 is an interim day in which bidders can peruse the catalog and prepare for further bidding. To request a free printed catalog or for additional information on any item in the sale, call toll-free: 866-404-9800 or 717-434-1600. Email: hakes@hakes.com

Image: 1584: Frank Frazetta (American, 1928-2010) original art for cover of Blazing Combat #2, Jan. 1966, 23 x 23.75in. (framed), Frazetta family endorsement. Est. $75,000-$100,000. Courtesy of Hake’s Americana

 

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Heartfelt Reagan Letter Among 100+ Significant Letters from the Victor Niederhoffer Collection up for Auction 

75c6a5b578d417f90f99878c5709e9dc26757f84.jpegBoston -  Victor Niederhoffer is more than a well-known hedge fund manager, champion squash player, bestselling author and statistician. He is also a world-class collector. 

RR Auction is pleased to present more than 100 rare and significant letters from his vast collection beginning June 22 - June 28. Niederhoffer only selects content-rich and historically vivid correspondences, and these offerings are the best examples of the diverse writers featured, from the arenas of politics, science, sports, literature and more. From Werner Heisenberg to Thomas Jefferson to Charles Darwin, each intimate letter sheds a rare light on their personal day-to-day lives. In Victor’s own words:

“Books and letters have always been an important part of my family life. My father was a policeman in the book publishing area of east New York. In those days, they didn’t sell their overstock - they dumped them in the East River. They hired policemen to do the unloading. My father was paid 50 cents an hour to dump them in the river; instead, he saved them. Our house of about 750 feet, plus wife and two children, had his book collection. The whole house and basement were lined with books.” 

“Letters were always a traditional highlight of our family. The parents, the adults have always written letters supporting their children. My grandfather sent one to the coach of the Brooklyn College team when his son was taken out of the football game; I wrote my first letter when my daughter was taken out of a third grade talent contest.” [You can read about both of these, and the uproar they caused, in the Niederhoffer memoir, "The Education of a Speculator," pg. 115-116.]

“When I learned that books and letters were available, I started collecting at 25. Very eclectic interests. The publishers and sellers have told me that often people collect one or two fields; what’s unique about me is that I collect in every field. Each week, the sellers would come to my office. If I’d had a good week in the market, I’d use my entire winnings. I bought them from key sellers in the area, and from auctions.”

“I collected for about 20 years, buying most in the 1970s. I kept them in archival volumes and often looked at them with great longing and nostalgia. I gained a lot of happiness looking through them and sharing with my family.”   

“The letters form a real tapestry of history. Nothing was bought just to fill a hole. They all show a tremendous vitality and the key events of their time."

“What’s amazing is that all the writers were very salient; e.g., presidents Grant or Monroe or Jackson, you never think of them as great intellectuals. Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt… they always wrote great, poignant letters. I prefer letters to historic documents, because by the time they come to the president, they’re antiseptic and for posterity. Letters explain how people were really feeling. It gives you a feeling of what the normal day-to-day life was.”

A highlight of the collection is a Ronald Reagan heartfelt and heartbreaking letter to his daughter. Written during a particularly trying period, this emotional letter captures Reagan reflecting on his family’s history as well as on his own mortality.

The one-page letter on both sides of his personal letterhead signed “Love, Dad,” and is dated December 24,1989. Letter to his estranged daughter, Patti Davis, in full: "Alright I’ll quit bothering you but I had more in mind than arguing politics. The line in the song says it all; 'The days dwindle down to a precious few.' On Feb. 6th I’ll be 80 years old. Your mother and I are hard put to understand the separation between us and our first born. It didn’t just happen with your growing up and leaving home. I can recall your mother coming home in tears after driving you to school. She couldn’t understand your complete silence even to the point of your not saying 'goodbye.' Was it having to share with a newborn brother? I remember a loving daughter who never let us leave the house without waving goodbye from the window. We have some snapshots that reveal a difference in a little girl. We ask ourselves, 'what did we do wrong?' We were once a loving family. Well as I said earlier 'I’ll stop bothering you' but I don’t understand the separation of our family. I recall a little girl sitting on my lap and asking me to marry her. Her mother across the room behind her signaled me to say 'yes.' So I did and explained we’d have to wait til she was a little older."  Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, addressed in Reagan's own hand and bearing a pre-printed free frank. Also includes a handsome leatherbound presentation folder. (Estimate: $20,000+)

“It’s a moving letter from father to daughter in the hopes of reconciliation, which would come at last in the mid-1990s following the news of his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction.

Additional highlights include:

General Washington Revolutionary War-dated letter resupplying his troops prior to the 1779 Sullivan Expedition. (Estimate: $20,000+)

Thomas Jefferson letter successfully reducing taxes on American cargo with the aid of the Marquis de Lafayette. (Estimate: $25,000+)

Werner Heisenberg on the atom bomb and the Nazi government: "I was never in doubt about the fact that the German regime consisted in its most official positions of fools and scoundrels.” (Estimate: $30,000+)

Charles Darwin replies to a German physician: "Such cases certainly occur in non-Jewish families.” (Estimate: $7,500+)

Louis Pasteur writes a page of "Notes on the Cell Structure of the Silk Worm.” (Estimate: $15,000+)

“I’m pleased that these letters are going to contribute to awareness of the greatness and impact of these people. I hope the recipients enjoy them and will share them with their colleagues and families, the same way I have,”  said Niederhoffer. 

The Significant Letter Collection of Victor Niederhoffer will be auctioned beginning June 22 and will conclude June 28. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com

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The Plantin Polyglot Bible: On View at the Plantin Museum in Antwerp, June 21-22, Prior to Sale

Polyglot copy.jpgLondon - Christie’s is pleased to offer discerning collectors the opportunity to view and acquire the Plantin Polyglot Bible during its summer auction of Books and Manuscripts on 11 July in London (estimate: £400,000 - £600,000). Produced by the Plantin Printing workshop in Antwerp almost 450 years ago for King Philip II, this monument of biblical scholarship is now returning from where it originated and will be on public view at the Plantin Museum on 21 and 22 June*. 

Also known as the Biblia Regia, this is considered the greatest achievements of the Plantin printing press. Printed in its original languages and the Latin Vulgate, this polyglot Bible features beautiful and exotic types and exemplifies an epitome of typographical design. 

King Philip II of Spain had originally commissioned 13 copies on vellum for his personal use, and only 11 of these sets survive today. Sent to him by Plantin in 1572, it remained in royal ownership until c.1788 when Charles III gave it to his son, which then followed on by descent to the present owner. This is the only copy in private hands as all other copies are owned by institutions. Seven are located in Spain, while the others reside in London, Turin and the Vatican. 

Meg Ford, International Director Books and Manuscripts comments - “The Renaissance press of Christopher Plantin set out to produce the finest Bible in all Christendom, and Christie’s is exceptionally pleased to bring back for the first time in almost 450 years, a deluxe vellum copy of this masterpiece to its place of origin and the very presses that printed it. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for collectors and bibliophiles to view the deluxe Biblia Regia at the Plantin Museum on 21 and 22 June and Christie’s look forward to offering this set with royal provenance in its auction in London on 11 July.” 

Museum Director Iris Kockelbergh says - “The return of the Biblia Regia in its original home is an emotional moment. Seeing this masterpiece on paper is extremely moving and the version on parchment, on show now, surpasses this experience. We look forward to welcoming local and international viewers on 21 and 22 June to the Plantin Museum, a Unesco World Heritage site, where they can explore the world of the influential Plantin and Moretus family. 

Senior Curator Dirk Imhof, Plantin Museum, Comments - “Language can scarcely do justice to its extraordinary beauty and perfection of condition” a quote of Thomas Dibdin when he saw a version of the Biblia regia on parchment, The Bibliographical Decameron, Londen, 1817 

*The Plantin Polyglot Bible will be on view at the Plantin Museum on 21 June from 10.00am to 17.00pm and on 22 June from 10.00am to 12.00pm. 

 

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Results of Potter & Potter's Auction Featuring the David Baldwin Magic Collection

255.jpgChicago, IL — Potter & Potter's recent magic sale offered collectors a phenomenal selection of automatons, apparatus, ephemera, Houdiniana, broadsides, and mystery clocks, many from the David Baldwin Magic Collection. David M. Baldwin (1928 - 2014) had a lifelong passion for magic and a remarkable eye for the extraordinary; Potter and Potter also sold highlights from this collection in October, 2016.  After the hammer fell for the last time, 33 lots made $1,000-1,999; 26 lots sold for $2,000-$9,999; and six lots lapped the five-figure mark!  Prices noted include the company's 20% buyer's premium. 

A trio of Baldwin's outstanding antique mystery clocks took the top spots in this sale. Lot #28, a lavishly decorated Robert-Houdin glass column mystery clock, made $36,000. It told time via a single arrow-shaped hand, which was set against a gilt-brass framed glass dial with Roman numerals.  Coming in second was lot #30, a two handled Robert-Houdin square dial mystery clock which sold for $24,000. This gilt-framed example featured a beveled dial with Roman and Arabic numerals and a dotted minute track, a marble platform, and two decorative swans.  And things were on the move with lot #32, a c. 1860 French magician automaton mantel clock. This breathtaking timepiece featured a magician who on the hour - or at will - turned his head and produced and transposed objects from his table.  It surpassed its high estimate to realize $21,600.  

Old and newer magic apparatus, with many fine examples from legacy manufacturers, was another spellbinding category in this sale.   Lot #1, c. 1890 European card bouquet, formerly owned by the proprietors of the Petrie-Lewis (P&L) magic company of New Haven, CT, made $11,400 on its $6,000-8,000 estimate.  This mechanically complex device was believed to be the only known example of this effect.  Lot #12, a German c. 1900 spirit bell and clock dial combination made by Carl Willmann more than doubled its low estimate to ring in $10,800. Lot #170, a modern Pillar of the Magi by John Gaughan & Associates modeled on an Otto Maurer design climbed to $10,200 on its $3,000-5,000 estimate.  Lot #197, a surprise Fabergé-Style Egg from Pywacked Magic in Germany beat its high estimate four times over to make $4,560. And lot #67, a c. 1930's American wooden “Sure Shot” dice box changed hands at $900 on its $100-200 estimate. 

Merchandise - including props, ephemera, and personal items -  associated with the legendary magician The Great Raymond (Maurice Francois Raymond, 1877-1948) proved quite popular with collectors. Lot #255, an important scrapbook of Raymond’s early escape act clippings and ephemera from the 1906-08 timeframe sold for $9,000 on its $1,000-2,000 estimate.  This archive included some of the earliest and perhaps only extant material from this period of Raymond’s career.  Lot #263, another archive of Raymond materials consisting of 1930's era clippings and playbills, made the cut at $2,160. Lot #246, a collection of professional correspondence and letters to The Great Raymond delivered $3,600 on its $200-400 estimate.    And lot #277, Raymond's fine English alligator wallet carried the day at $1,800.  This handsome accessory was detailed with a central “R” medallion and sterling silver corners bearing Birmingham hallmarks. 

This sale came full circle with museum-quality selections of books, posters, photos, and other magic rarities.  Lot #231, an archive of Del Ray (Raymond Petrosky, c. 1927-2003) photographs and ephemera, and a draft biography by Spooner soared to $4,560 on its $150-250 estimate. The collection included Del Ray’s gilt metal Lifetime Membership card in the Academy of Magical Arts.  And lot #316, a pair of 1922 Houdini Shelton Pool stunt news photos picturing the escape artist outside and within the coffin sold for $1,800 on their $250-350 estimate. These glossy silver prints had their news service hand-stamps and annotations on verso. 

According to Gabe Fajuri, President at Potter & Potter Auctions, "The sale marked another strong showing for items from David Baldwin's collection. We were particularly pleased with the results for the Okito-made props, and Del Ray-owned items. Houdini proved to be a hit, too. All in all, it was a very good day for magic collecting and magic collectors alike." 

Potter & Potter, founded in 2007, is a Chicago area auction house specializing in paper Americana, vintage advertising, rare books, playing cards, gambling memorabilia, posters, fine prints, vintage toys, and magicana - antiques and collectibles related to magic and magicians. The company's next sale, featuring fine books and manuscripts, will be held on July 28, 2018. For more information, please see www.potterauctions.com

Image: Earliest Archive of Raymond Ephemera. Realized $9,000

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