Archive | September, 2011

John Wayne!!

30 Sep

Mark your calendars – The Personal Property of John Wayne will be sold next week, October 6 and 7, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.  Oh my goodness, the sale is finally here – I’m so excited!

The family of legendary actor John Wayne will be offering an expansive collection of never-before-released personal and professional memorabilia from the movie star’s personal archives for public auction this fall. Among the items in the collection are one of the iconic black eye-patches worn by John Wayne in his 1969 Academy Award® winning role in True Grit, the cowboy hat he wore in the film’s 1975 sequel, Rooster Cogburn, and more than 700 other costumes, scripts, personal documents and awards that will be available to fans for the first time.

“My father’s fans were very important to him. He was open and accessible to them, and making these items accessible to the public is something that feels right,” said Ethan Wayne, President of John Wayne Enterprises. “Museums have large collections of my father’s personal property, and our family has had a chance to select and keep items sentimental to us. There is no need to keep this memorabilia locked away when it can be enjoyed by his fans.”

Personal items include John Wayne’s cowboy boots and cowboy hats; saddle and stand; personal correspondence with U.S. Presidents and Hollywood’s biggest stars of the era; correspondence and awards related to his affiliation with the University of Southern California; John Wayne’s driver’s license, passport and American Express card.

Pre-sale estimates range from $100 to $50,000 each depending on the item. Items offered in the auction will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the Wayne family and Heritage Auctions.


Silver and Furniture and Paintings, Oh My!

28 Sep

The Fall Auction Season has officially opened for the Fine and Decorative Arts department at Heritage.  Monday saw a marathon 14-hour sale of Fine Silver and Vertu.  Tuesday saw a great crowd and fierce bidding in the 10-hour Estate Sale.  Results from both sales were fantastic. 

Fine Silver and Vertu – $1.3 million total (including BP)
91% sold by value
87% sold by lot

The Estate Sale – $1.6 million total (including BP)
91% sold by value
83% sold by lot
The Silver sale was led by a monumental pair of German silver fourteen-light candelabra, designed by Moritz Elimeyer in Dresden, Germany, circa 1890.  Estimated to sell between $30,000 and $50,000, the bidding soared to $86,638, including buyer’s premium.

This pair of monumental candelabra are based on a design by the Dresden silversmith Christian Heinrich Ingermann which were delivered to the court of Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony (Augustus III, King of Poland) on November 20th, 1747 as part of the Doppelt Matt Vergoldete service. In the late nineteenth century the Dresden silversmith Moritz Elimeyer revived the design in three forms, as four-light, seven-light, and fourteen-light candelabra. 

These are the only known pair of the fourteen-light version. Thus fierce bidding ensued.  The winner was exceptionally pleased with the purchase!

The Private Collection of Matchsafes also did very well at auction, selling 91% by value and 90% by lot.  Conservative estimates, rare pieces, and exceptional condition were highly rewarded.  With great results like these, we can be assured that matchsafes will continue to be part of Heritage’s Fine Silver and Vertu sales for a long time.


The Estate Sale featured a number of estate collections from all over the United States.  The highlight of the sale was property from an East Coast mansion, which included many fine examples of French furniture and decorative arts.  The cover lot, a pair of Sevres style porcelain covered urns, circa 1895, performed phenomenally.  Estimated to sell between $10,000 and $15,000, the fiercely-competitive bidding climaxed at $65,725, including buyer’s premium.

Why so much for these? The gilt bronze mounts were exceptionally cast and the delicate paintings of cherubs signed by the artist Charles Fuchs.  At 38 inches high each, these are certainly impressive and commanded an equally impressive price.

Match Safe Madness Continued…

26 Sep

Today’s the Fine Silver and Vertu sale featuring a large collection of matchsafes.  Bidding is phenomenal so far!  Lots of action on HA Live and mail bids.  Highlights thus far:


This fabulous work by Georges Le Sache for Tiffany and Company sold for $13,145. 




And this rare California gold and gold quartz work attributed to Shreve & Co. sold for $14,938!





More updates to come as the sale continues…

The Munsters Go to La Grande Jatte

23 Sep

I don’t know why – but I really love this work by Jim Beaman. 

It’s very well painted, it’s a total rip-off of Georges Seurat’s masterpiece in the Art Institute of Chicago, and most importantly it’s just fun. 

It’s humorous and erudite.  It’s something you would expect to be in The New Yorker, yet it was published in the May 1965 issue of Playboy

Titled Playboy’s Art Gallery: Afternoon at La Grande Jatte: The Munsters, this oil painting is a terrific parody of Seurat’s most famous work, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte from 1884.  All the of figures are essentially a direct copy of the original, but for the central figures, which have now been replaced by Herman and Lily Munster.  Hilarious!  I love that one of art history’s beloved masterpieces has been rendered to star one of television’s most beloved couples.

Estimated to sell between $1,000 and 2,000, this work is a bargain!  It leads a selection of original artworks from the Playboy archives being auctioned by Heritage on October 22nd in New York.  Check out other great paintings and drawings from the Playboy archives, from the Estate of Charles Martignette, and from other private collections at

UPDATE:  This lot sold for $2,629 including buyer’s premium to a very happy client.

Spotlight on La Pierre Mfg Co.

21 Sep

I’m in love with this vase, lot 68192, in our upcoming sale of Fine Silver and Vertu on September 26th.  The emerald green color is stunning, the silver overlay enhances the beauty of the design, and the shape is so very elegant.  I noticed the piece right away, but I didn’t recognize the maker – La Pierre Manufacturing Company.  So I decided to investigate.

According to, the La Pierre Manufacturing Company was founded by Frank H. LaPierre in 1885 in New York City at 18 East 14th Street.  In 1893, the company was relocated to Newark, New Jersey, and then incorporated in 1895.  They were primarily manufacturers of sterling dresser sets, hollowware, and novelties.  The company was purchased by the International Silver Company in 1929 and moved to Wallingford, Connecticut.  (Aha!  A name I do know!)

Not much else is known about the company, but it seemed to have produced little gems like the vase pictured here.  Estimated to sell between $3,000 and $5,000, bidding opens at $1,675.  It’s definitely one for silver collectors and glass collectors alike to take note!

Oh yeah, there’s another La Pierre piece in the sale, too, lot 68193 – a cranberry glass pitcher, but I like the green vase better.   🙂

Word of the Day: Eglomisé

21 Sep

Eglomisé is the French term for glass that is gilded.  It is the process in which gold or another metal leaf, is adhered using a gelatin adhesive, which results in a mirror-like, reflective finish in which designs are then engraved. The metal leaf may be applied using oil-based adhesives to achieve a matte finish. The gilding may also be combined with reverse painting on glass.

The technique dates back to the pre-Roman eras, but its name is derived from 18th century French decorator and art-dealer Jean-Baptise Glomy (1711–1786) who is responsible for its re-popularization.

Heritage’s Estate Sale on September 27th offers this attractive American Painted and Mirrored Bar Cabinet with Eglomisé  Panels, lot 86294. Dating to circa 1950, this piece has lovely detail work in the decorative panels.  The horizontal crack through the left  door is disappointing and unfortunately not fixable without replacing the entire panel.  I find it charming and well loved.  It has character and perhaps a hidden story or two from the past.

World Auction Record Set for a Single American Firearm

19 Sep

Pretty freakin’ cool! An 1836 Colt Revolver from the Al Cali Collection sets a World Auction Record for a Single American Firearm. 

The revolver, with a 9-inch barrel and attached loading lever, is the finest known surviving example of Samuel Colt’s first revolver, produced by the legendary gunsmith in Paterson, N.J. in 1836.  Estimated to sell between $700,000 and $900,000 – fierce bidding drove the final price realized to an astounding $977,500 (including 15% buyer’s premium).  It was purchased by an unidentified West Coast collector — a Silicon Valley mogul.

 “This is as desirable as any piece that exists, and as desirable as any piece I’ve seen in my more than 40 years of buying and selling the very best firearms in existence,” said Greg Martin, President of Arms & Armor at Greg Martin Auctions/Heritage Auctions. “Out of maybe 3,000 similar pieces made, with most likely less than 300 surviving, this is clearly among the very best , and the market realized that.”

This lot was just one of a phenomenal sale put together by Greg Martin and his team of specialists.  The auction, altogether, realized more than $8 million, with 583 bidders vying for 378 lots, translating into a 90% sell-through rate by lot value.  As evidenced by this sale, the market for rare firearms seems to be doing just fine.  Like everything else – rarity, condition, and provenance play a huge role in items selling for outstanding prices.