Under The Hammer – Antique Auction News (April 2010)
~ On March 23 at Swann Galleries’ auctioned The Stephen L. White Photograph Collection; the collection had been on exhibit at Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum in 2001. From the collection, a half-plate daguerreotype of American statesman Henry Clay attributed to Montgomery P. Simons, circa 1848, sold for $24,000 (including buyer’s premium). Also, James Wallace Black’s portrait of Kit Carson, the last known image of the frontiersman before his death, albumen print, 1868, hammered at $48,000.
Other notable early works were: a 1973 printing of a 13-part panorama of San Francisco, photographed in 1878, and offering a visual record of the city before the 1906 earthquake, $7,995;Andrew J. Russell’s “Golden Spike Ceremony with Flag and Camera, Promontory Point, Utah,” documenting the completion of the transcontinental railroad, albumen print, 1869, $43,200; and two images by Edward Steichen, “Isadora Duncan at the Portals of the Parthenon,” toned silver print, 1921, printed 1960s, $21,600, and “Bergdorf-Goodman models dressed in Vionnet,” silver print, used in “Vogue” magazine, 1930, $10,200.
~ An extraordinary pair of gold-and-silver-inlaid flintlock pistols, made by Nicholas-Noel Boutet, was sold for $437,000 by James Julia Auctions during the Annual Spring Firearms auction March 15 and 16. Boutet of Versailles, France, was perhaps the finest gunsmith in history. His extraordinary high-art creations were sought by the aristocracy, and figures of state, including Napoleon, often used Boutet’s work as gifts to other prominent figures.
These pistols were from the collection of the late H.H. Thomas of Kentucky. Another pair of high-art Boutet cased pistols realized just under $100,000.
~ On March 24 Fine Snuff Bottles From The Collection of Margaret Polak, consisting of more than 100 bottles, auction for $911,005. The top item was a Suzhou agate bottle that sold for $42,700 against an estimate of $6,000-$8,000. An unusual blue overlay glass bottle more than tripled its estimate of $6,000-10,000, fetching $36,600.