Monday, September 19, 2016


Today was "........."(I don't say where I buy) Quarterly Fine Arts Auction. Darren and I went bright and early. I usually skip the Quarterly Auction and stick with Thursdays, but thought that there might be a few things that I could bring home.
......But today was just not my day! Another dealer that I know was bidding against me on just about everything and I do not get into ego-based bidding wars. And besides, there is always more.......
I thought I would post about a couple of lots that drew exceptional interest and exceedingly high prices.
First a little background

I reserved seats for us and Darren and I were seated in the middle of the third row (my favorite spot); so our view was great. I'll introduce you to some of the guys that have become my true friends after going to auction almost every Thursday for 24 years. On the far left (and half-hidden) is Robert II, next is Miguel who is the floor manager and organizes the positioning of the items on the floor and is in charge of the team. Miguel looks chubby, but he is one solid mass of muscle and stands over 6 feet tall. Miguel can pick up just about anything--never get on the wrong side of Miguel. Bobby is holding the painting that is being auctioned (more on this particular painting later) and then there is Steve--another gentle giant. Steve and I joke around a lot.
Now back to lot items. First up:

This is a very unusual gold and rock crystal necklace by the famous American expatriate, William Spratling who, in the 1940's and 50's, resurrected Mexico's silver industry and turned Taxco into the creative silver capital of Mexico. His silver pieces are widely known and are collected by all the elite silver connoisseurs. Spratling was not well-known for his gold pieces, but they are highly desirable. This beautiful piece came from the Estate of Millard Sheets, a well-listed Plein Aire California artist. The necklace was estimated to sell for between $8,000 and $12,000. I think the bid opened at $2000 and shot beyond the $12,000 high estimate is less than a minute. On and On and On and On the bidding went with the energy rising with every bid. The winning bid was $132,500 or 11 times its high estimate. And remember on top of the bid amount is the buyer's premium of 10%, bringing the total amount to $147,500.....and then (if it was a retail buyer), an additional sales tax amount of 9% for a grand total of $160,750. I'm pretty sure that this was an auction record for any Spratling work.
Next Up

This 15" x 25" painting by Czech artist Vaclava Spala may appear inconsequential, but it sold for $67,500 (plus 10% lot fee) or about 5 times its high estimate. That's a lot of spare change, although I did love the work--post impressionists paintings are some of my favorites.  

There was an update on Kiki's post surgery recovery--she is looking so much more perky, but she's still in ICU. Please continue to pray for this little one, as her recovery will be an up hill journey.

And finally,

This pretty 19th c. Chinese Coromandel screen did not receive a single bid today. I think I'll call Don, the owner of the auction house, to see if I can buy the screen tomorrow. It's not super big--measuring 43"h x 86"w. Wish me luck.

Thanks for following along with me in the twists and turns of this crazy business.
Mary & Jones & Cole

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