Thursday, December 15, 2011

Unpaid Winning Bids Change Terms of Auctions

The most expensive Chinese work of art, sold in November, 2010, in London for $83 million, had not yet been paid for according to a Bloomberg News article. It is one of many unpaid for purchases by the Chinese bidders.

Some auction houses now ask for deposits before the auction for very expensive items. This delayed or non-payment habit reaches into lower than the million dollar range and auction houses tell us that they are having trouble collecting for some items selling at $100,000 or less.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If Pepsi-Cola is your favorite, how about bidding for a 2 1/8-inch brooch shaped like a Pepsi bottle. It's a gold, ruby, emerald, and diamond piece of jewelry that belonged to Joan Crawford. Some of her belongings are being auctioned Dec. 7 by Doyle New York.

Topped by an accented ruby bottle cap and set throughout with emeralds and diamonds, this tiny Pepsi bottle brooch owned by Joan Crawford would make a great lapel pin, according to Louis LeB. Webre of auction house Doyle New York.

Photo Courtesy of Doyle New York

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Record Set for a Folk Art Painting

A 1786 folk art painting of Abigail Rose sold at a Skinner auction in Boston for a record $1,271,000. It broke the previous record for an American folk art painting, $1,248,000, set at Christie's in 2007.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The 10 Stupidest American Holidays

Columbus Day

The problem with Columbus Day isn't just Columbus himself (though celebrating him is dicey), or the Italian-Americans who enjoy celebrating one of their cultural heroes. The problem is that not everyone gets today off. You know just what I'm talking about, as you sit in your cubicle reading this because half of the people you need to talk to to get your job done have today off. Schools are out, the government is closed, but your office is open. That means you have to find a place to put the kids all day and listen to people talk about their long weekend plans while you have to work and hope it rains and ruins everyone's free day off. That's quite a legacy to leave, Columbus.

Flag Day

Do we really need a whole day to celebrate our flag? It's great that we have a symbol for our country, but why go out of our way to recognize it in some way? Every other country has a damn flag, it's not like having a flag makes us special. And just look at our flag. It's kind of a design nightmare. It's got all these bars and stripes and different colors and strange angles. As far as flags go, ours is a little cluttered. Maybe every year on Flag Day we should have a design competition to come up with something new? I'd support that.

Father's Day

This is such pandering. It's like Gillette and the American Tie Federation saw how much success Hallmark and 1-800-FLOWERS had with Mother's Day and decided to horn in on the action. Most dads could care less about getting presents or attention or brunch or anything. They probably appreciate that you call them, that's nice. Either that or your father was an asshole who treated you badly and divorced your mother for some new bitch with kids of her own and he doesn't even really talk to you that much anymore. What an asshole! Who needs to be reminded of that?

Groundhog Day

Who the hell even came up with this holiday, and what does it even mean? On February 2, there's this critter in Pennsylvania who comes out of his hole and either sees his shadow and get scared and something happens or he doesn't see his shadow and then nothing happens. No one understands it. Not even the news stations that cover it every year. There are more rules to this than Ultimate Frisbee. It's supposed to make spring come more quickly or something. It doesn't. It's February! We still have two more months of cold. How about giving us "Take a Trip to Florida" day? That's all I really want in February.

Patriot's Day

This is a day that is only celebrated in Massachusetts, our second Least worst state, but it doesn't mean they need a whole day off just to themselves. The Patriots, they're good and all, but they're not all that. They haven't won a Super Bowl in six years! Look at Tom Brady these days. He's making more headlines for his hair and loving Uggs and being a prolific babydaddy than he is for making passes and touchdowns. Stop being so cocky, Boston, your team isn't that important.

Arbor Day

A day for the planting and caring of trees? Really? What, have we been hijacked by Greenpeace? Do you have to hug the trees after you plant them? And what good are trees if they won't take care of themselves? You want trees to sit in your yard or on the street or wherever and just grow and be strong and not have to be tended to like some blooming invalid, right? What happens when the GOP finds out about this and tries to shut it down because it's some pro-environmental action? Won't they try to do the same thing to Arbor Day that they did to ACORN? Too many questions!

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Yes, mateys, this is stupid. And if you keep trying to make it happen, you're going to have to walk the plank.

Confederate Memorial Day

Ostensibly this is a day to commemorate all the lives lost by the Confederacy during the Civil War. While people dying in war is always sad, these people were defending, you know, slavery. So, um. Yeah. Remember that.

Casimir Pulaski Day

This is a holiday in March that is celebrated in the Chicago area, mostly by the large Polish population. That's fine, but Pulaski—a Revolutionary War hero—also has a federal holiday in October. I don't want to discount the great things this gentleman did to win our freedom, but does he really need two holidays? I mean, the only other person who gets two holidays is Jesus. Oprah doesn't even have one. Do something about that, Chicago.

Mardi Gras

Alright, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is fine. If you want to go and wade through streets paved in vomit and bad decisions and show off your body parts, be my guest. Actually, be New Orleans' guest. If you want to do it anywhere else, then you're just a drunk who is looking for an excuse to get shitfaced on a Tuesday. How about going to celebrate your first day of sobriety at a meeting instead? Then you'll have a nice, easy to remember anniversary to celebrate every year. If drinking a hurricane on Fat Tuesday means that much to you, then take your tourism dollars down to New Orleans. They'd be happy to take them.

thanks to GAWKER

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reality TV Shows for Collectors

ABC The Great Big American Auction, in production

A & E Storage Wars, Wednesdays 10 p.m.

BBC Antiques Roadshow UK, day varies, 11 p.m. (reruns)

Discovery American Treasures, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.
Auction Kings, Tuesdays 10 p.m.
Oddities, Thursdays 10:30 p.m.

Fox Buried Treasure, Wednesdays 8 p.m.

HGTV Cash & Cari, Sundays 7:30 p.m.
Cash in the Attic, Wednesdays 8 p.m.

History American Pickers, Mondays 9 p.m.
American Restoration, Fridays 10 p.m.
Pawn Stars, Mondays 10 p.m.

Lifetime Picker Sisters, Tuesdays 10 p.m.

National Geographic Auction Packed, Tuesdays 8 p.m.

NBC It's Worth What?! Tuesdays 8 p.m.

PBS Antiques Roadshow, Mondays 8 p.m. (check local listings)
History Detectives, Tuesdays 8 p.m. (check local listings)

Spike Auction Hunters, Tuesdays 10 p.m.

Syfy Hollywood Treasure, Wednesdays 10 p.m.

TLC Auctioneer$, Saturdays 10 p.m.

My Collection Obsession, in production

Tru TV Hardcore Pawn, Tuesdays 9 p.m.

Network TBD Antique Warriors, in production

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jewelry dating from ancient Egypt to modern day will be displayed in the new jewelry gallery at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibit, 'Jewelry, Gems and Treasures: Ancient to Modern,' will run from July 19, 2011, to November 1, 2012. Of special interest is the studio jewelry selected from the Daphne Farago Collection of about 650 pieces. The collection is the most complete ever assembled of studio jewelry. It was donated to the museum in 2006 and 150 pieces were exhibited in 2007-08. It has been in storage since then. The collection includes jewelry by Alexander Calder, Man Ray, Sam Kramer, Art Smith, Harry Bertoia, Margaret de Patta, Ed Wiener, Betty Cooke and many other studio artists.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A $5 Million Desk and a Chair From Salem Made a Record-Setting Pair at Christie's

Courtesy Christie's Images LTD 2011
This Chippendale block-and-shell carved and figured mahogany bureau, attributed to John Goddard, sold for $5,682,500 at auction.

Courtesy Christie's Images LTD 2011
This Federal-era carved mahogany side chair that craftsman Samuel McIntire sold for $662,500.

NEW YORK— The recently wobbly American furniture and folk art segment of the auction market received a big jolt of confidence on Friday when an 18th-century Chippendale block-and-shell mahogany desk attributed to Newport, Rhode Island, cabinetmaker John Goddard, sold for a whopping $5,682,500 at Christie's. Dating from circa 1765, the figured knee-hole desk — or bureau — rocketed past presale expectations of $700-900,000 and easily crushed the result made during its last auction appearance, when it sold for $940,000 at Sotheby’s New York in January 2005.

Multiple bidders chased the piece to the $3 million threshold, where the battle was taken over by American furniture dealers C.L. Prickett and William Samaha, both known for having deep-pocketed clients, who drove it to the $5 million hammer price (before the hefty buyer’s premium). Prickett was the winner, sending a handsome return to the table's Midwestern seller, considering that the piece had appreciated sixfold in that many years' time.

Though it stands as a record in American furniture for the bureau form, and the fourth priciest piece of American furniture to sell at auction, it lags far behind the most expensive ever sold, the so-called Nicholas Brown Chippendale block-and-shell desk and bookcase, also made in Newport in circa 1760-1770, that fetched a staggering $12.1 million back at Christie’s New York in June 1989.

During the 18th century, the Rhode Island port city was a bustling hub, flush with rich merchants, and cabinetmakers there had the pick of the finest imported woods available. Goddard was one of the best-known American craftsmen from that period.

The record bureau carries the "attributed to" tag since the piece isn't signed by Goddard, but it was undoubtedly made by him, since he presented it to his daughter, Catherine Goddard on the occasion of her marriage. It stayed in her family through several generations of descendants until it was sold by the maker's great-great-granddaughter in the early 1900s. A surviving handwritten label affixed to the top drawer of the table indicates that the elaborately carved and appointed desk was a wedding gift.

"This desk bears all the unique characteristics and quality of construction that make Newport furniture of this era so highly prized among collectors," said John Hays, the deputy Christie's Americas chairman who took the sale.

The Goddard desk was the sole lot of the 280 offered that hit the seven figure mark. The entire sale made $12,766,625, with a buy-in rate by lot of 20 percent and, by value, six percent.
Another record of sorts was realized by a Federal-era carved mahogany side chair that craftsman Samuel McIntire is believed to have finished for Salem resident Elias Hasket Derby in the last decade of the 18th century. It made $662,500 against a puny $30-50,000 presale estimate, a record for any piece of Federal furniture.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Damaged Warhol Painting Gets Top Dollar

Collectors rarely shoot holes in expensive art, but Dennis Hopper, the actor and art collector, thought his Andy Warhol screenprint of Mao Zedong looked dangerous one dark night. He shot two bullet holes in the picture. Warhol thought it amusing and signed one "warning shot" and the other "bullet hole." The picture, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000, sold for $302,500 at a Christie's auction on January 12, 2011. It is a one-of-a-kind because of the artist-signed bullet holes, so the "damage" didn't lower the value.