Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The World's Most Expensive Car

If you love cars and auctions, you'll love this story from the DAILY MAIL, UK.

How do you drive the world's most expensive car? Answer - very, very carefully
Just before this 1957 Testa Rossa went up for auction, Ben Oliver took it on dangerous Italian roads for a test drive so exclusive even the billionaires about to bid for it were banned. Here is the full story.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Called That One. The First Jackson Auction

The auction world is not always a pretty one. No sooner had I predicted Julien's Auction House would try and sell Michael Jackson memorabilia than they did. They had an auction while his body was still warm! Very creepy. It turns out they had a number of pieces that came from a third party from David Gest. He's the ex-husband of Liza Minnelli, remember? Ugh.

He is now claiming that Julien's did not have the rights to sell the pieces and says he is going to sue. Gee, do you think he feels it was just in bad taste to sell the items so soon after Jackson's death or did he realize that their value had just increased exponentially?? Hmmm. Here's the story on this shameful tale.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Think The Prices Just Went Up

I posted this story back in February and followed the lawsuit stories over the past few months over who had rights to the property in question. The auction by Julien's Auction was eventually cancelled, though it seems they did have a contract. With today's news however, can you imagine, had the auction occured next week, what the prices would have been? I have a hunch, this auction will take place. RIP Michael Jackson.

LA TIMES April 13, 2009.The King of Pop's Neverland Ranch has been emptied, and its treasures are up for sale -- including the crystal-studded glove, paintings of MJ in royal regalia and fiberglass servant statues.
By Booth Moore fashion critic > > >

April 14, 2009

The gates of Neverland Ranch. The crystal right-hand glove worn in the video for "Billie Jean." An arcade's worth of video games and a small army of fiberglass butlers and other figures once scattered about to make the mansion feel less lonely. These are just a few of the 1,390 lots of Michael Jackson's belongings now on the auction block in Beverly Hills.

Collected from Neverland, which the pop star vacated after being acquitted of child molestation charges in 2005, the eclectic assemblage -- a catalog of the singer's career and eccentricities -- goes on view starting today at the former Robinsons-May building for an admission fee of $20. This despite the fact that Jackson is apparently having seller's remorse.

Representatives of his production company filed suit last month in L.A. Superior Court to stop the auction, claiming that certain items, including a carousel horse with an inscription from Elizabeth Taylor, are irreplaceable and that Jackson had not signed the auction contract. Although a judge dismissed the attempt to have the contract ruled invalid, the company is seeking a preliminary injunction to delay the sale. The battle is scheduled to continue in court on Wednesday morning.

"Our attorneys are working with their attorneys to resolve this," said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien's Auctions, which is handling the sale. "And we are focusing on completing the job we were hired to do per our contract." (Jackson representative Tohme Tohme declined to comment.)

The bidding's already begun at juliens- auctions.com, and barring an 11th-hour intervention, a live auction from April 22 to 25 will determine the winners. That famous glove is expected to go for $10,000 to $15,000. The crystal-covered tube socks, heavy-breathing life-size Darth Vader and gilded throne from Jackson's private quarters?

No one is sure quite how much of the star's debt-- estimated at more than $24 million -- those will retire. But organizers estimate the auction could fetch between $10 million and $20 million. The auction proceeds, less the auction house's commission, will go to Jackson and a music charity.

Representatives of the auction house spent three months clearing the Santa Barbara County property, now co-owned by Jackson and private equity firm Colony Capital LLC and known as Sycamore Valley Ranch. Workers gathered belongings from the main house, the theater, the office, the game room and guest cottages where luminaries such as Taylor and Marlon Brando stayed when they visited Neverland.

"We were told to take the hoods over the stove and the light fixtures, but we really wanted it to be a museum-quality project," said Darren Julien, president and chief executive of Julien's Auctions. (Still, what would the stove hoods have looked like? Italianate baroque?) "Michael Jackson is bigger than life. His collecting tastes say that as well. When he wanted something, he bought it."

The exhibition is loosely organized into three categories -- stage wear and music memorabilia, toys and Disneyana, and furniture and decorative arts. There are numerous music honors -- awards from People's Choice, Billboard, the NAACP, MTV and more -- record displays, a Madame Tussauds wax figure of the star and a letter from President Reagan. A ceremonial crown, scepter and faux ermine cape, cropped military jackets and costume brooches are reminders of Jackson's 1980s fashion icon status.

Many of the elaborately beaded tour jackets were designed by Bill Whitten. Others, such as a black suede jacket covered in miniature gold license plates and worn in a 1990 L.A. Gear ad campaign, were made by designers Dennis Tompkins and Michael Bush. (Jackson's "Thriller" jacket isn't here, though -- he decided to keep it.)

Heavy carved wood furnishings, marble tables and gilded statuary speak to the singer's ostentatious style. He is the subject of much of the art from his walls, painted as a king, leading a group of children at moonrise and being knighted.

Other decorative items include "little prince" and "little princess" chairs, civil rights and black history books with uncracked spines and a four-poster bed with a brocade bedspread more befitting a grandmother than the King of Pop.

"Neverland represents Michael Jackson's Xanadu," said Nolan. "There's something for everyone, from paintings to porcelain to bicycles." Also on offer: a tour bus, bumper cars and three- and four-wheel all-terrain vehicles.

"The bronze sculpture of an Indian with arms bound we estimate will go for $150,000 to $250,000. The 1989 Rolls Royce Silver Seraph limousine customized with 24-karat gold trim would cost $120,000 to $150,000 if you or I owned it," Nolan said. "Some of the jackets will go for $40,000 to $50,000. And we expect to get $20,000 to $30,000 for the gates. We've had worldwide interest in the gates already, with bidders from Italy to Australia."

The number of games, toys and amusements Jackson amassed is astonishing -- Disney figurines, many of Mickey Mouse, life-size "Star Wars" characters (including Han Solo in the frozen carbonite), Sega video games, pinball machines and a Neverland trolley. He also had a particular affinity for Peter Pan paraphernalia.

As for the figures of waiters, maids and butlers dispersed throughout the residence, Nolan says, "This place could feel quite lonely. I think Michael felt comfortable surrounding himself with loyal subjects like the little lady with the cup and saucer and another little lady and gentleman sitting by the fire." Apparently in the grand old days of Neverland, the waiter would have a fresh plate of cookies every day.

"That he's such an interesting character adds depth and duration to his legacy," says James Comisar, an L.A.-based curator and authenticator of Hollywood artifacts. Jackson recently announced a comeback tour to begin in July, and tickets sold out within hours. Wonder how long it will take to sell the figurine of Jackson as a California Raisin.
I know, some will say, "Oh Homer your an elitist," but I simply don't desire or would want anything from this auction. However it will surely attract much attention. To see what will go on sale in April click here. I need a shower.

75th Annual Grosvenor House Art & Antiques Fair

I have always loved the work of Sir Alfred Munnings. I grew up in horse country and have always been aware of his work. That said, I was so glad to see the Bearded Roman, one of my favorite blogs, agree with my thoughts of what a great painter he was. I put him right there with Sargeant for capturing a world long gone. The Bearded Roman has a great look at the Grosvenor House Art and Antiques Fair. Well worth your time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Banksy vs The Bristol Museum

From Wikipedia:Banksy is a pseudo-anonymous[2][3] English graffiti artist. He is believed to be a native of Yate, South Gloucestershire, near Bristol[2] and to have been born in 1974,[4] but there is substantial public uncertainty about his identity and personal and biographical details.[5] According to Tristan Manco, Banksy "was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England. The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s."[6] His artworks are often satirical pieces of art on topics such as politics, culture, and ethics. His street art, which combines graffiti writing with a distinctive stencilling technique, is similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris and members of the anarcho-punk band Crass who maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His art has appeared in cities around the world.[7] Banksy's work was born out of the Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.

Banksy does not sell photos of street graffiti or mount exhibitions of screenprints in commercial galleries.[8] Art auctioneers have been known to attempt to sell his street art on location and leave the problem of its removal in the hands of the winning bidder.[9]

A Fascinating artist and commentator...and a PR genius. Great video here.

Cash-strapped households sending their belongings to auction block

Vintage posters auctioned off at Swann Gallery with Nicholas Lowry conducting the action

By Phyllis Furman
Daily News staff writer

Monday, June 22nd 2009, 4:00 AM

Public relations exec Stephanie Rabinowitz stood in an East Side auction house and listened intently as the crowd was coaxed to bid during a sale of vintage posters.

“I wonder how much it will get,” she whispered, pointing to a poster she’d bought 10 years ago in Paris and was now selling.

“I need the money,” explained Rabinowitz, 41, who works for herself out of her Upper East Side apartment. “I need to pay my bills.”

The piece, circa 1960, by renowned French fashion illustrator René Gruau, fetched $425 that day. After paying a 25% commission and other fees to Swann Auction Galleries, Rabinowitz cleared $272, about $180 less than what she’d paid for it.

But she was able to use the money to help pay her American Express bill.

With the economy retreating and several million Americans losing their jobs, New Yorkers are searching their closets, garages, basements and attics for collectibles and other household items that someone else might buy.

They are handing over vintage toys, sets of dishes, baseball cards, furniture and clothes to auction houses and online auction sites hoping to generate cash.

Despite the image of multimillion-dollar sales of 19th century masterpieces, auction houses often handle far more modest collections.

“An auction house is an extremely viable way to convert legitimate collectibles and antiques into cash,” said Nicholas Lowry, president of Swann, who appears on PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow.”

Philip Weiss, another “Roadshow” regular who owns an auction business in Oceanside, L.I., that specializes in sports memorabilia and vintage toys, said auctions can be a better alternative to selling through consignment shops or Craigslist.

“The value is you are getting your item to the right market,” Weiss said.

He’s been fielding calls lately from people who recently lost their jobs. “They don’t have to sell yet, but they’re making plans to sell in six months,” Weiss said.

Marcia Cooper, who runs GeneralEnterprises.net, a Fort Lee, N.J., business that’s acts as a middleman assisting eBay sellers, said her listings have surged 20% in the last year as more distressed sellers have tried to raise quick cash.

The people she guides in selling possessions run the gamut from middle-class New Yorkers to formerly upscale women now forced to sell their Gucci and Cole Haan shoes.

“People are saying, ‘I can do my supermarket shopping for a week by selling these boots,’” said Cooper, who also tutors eBay sellers. “They are going to get a faster turnaround on eBay than if they went to a resale shop.”

One of Cooper’s students, Christina Montayne, 40, of Allendale, N.J., turned to eBay six months ago, partly because the salary of her husband, Kevin, also 40, a retail footwear buyer, had been cut sharply. The couple fears losing their home.

So far they have raised $2,500 selling everything from kids shoes and toys to cookie jars. They even sold for $70 a pair of cleats that hikers attach to their boots, which Kevin had bought for $4.

“It helps buy the groceries,” Christina Montayne said of the money she’s raised on eBay. “It helps make ends meet.”

Auction houses typically charge commissions ranging from 10% to 25%, as well as other fees. Generally, the lower the selling price, the higher the commission.

Ebay usually charges 8% to 15% of the selling price, as well as a listing fee and a payment processing fee.

While eBay can match buyers and sellers quickly, it can take months from the time you hand over an item to an auction house till the actual sale. And, of course, there’s no guarantee your treasured possession will sell.
While Rabinowitz sold her French poster at a loss, others were much luckier.

One seller was a family who’d bought a tabletop at a flea market 25 years ago for $25. By chance, they recently found that stashed inside was a treasure trove of posters published by Charles Mather, a company known for 1920s work-incentive posters with phrases like, “Success is Built on Confidence.”

The 23 posters took in a total of $14,000.

“People don’t realize there is cash in their bookshelves,” Lowry said. “There is cash on their walls.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Chevy Chase Auction Results

Here are the results from the pieces I picked out from this past weekend's Sloan's and Kenyon Auction. There are some very lucky people who walked away with great buys. Remember these sold prices do not reflect a 19.% buyers premium. So the buyers had to add that and sales tax to their final purchase price.

Sale 43 Lot 2 CHINESE SANCAI FIGURE OF EQUESTRIAN, Tang Dynasty. - 14 in. high.
Estimate $500-700
SOLD FOR $500.00

Sale 43 Lot 250 CHINESE RED LACQUER BUTTERFLY MIRROR. - 39 1/2 in. x 25 1/2 in.
Estimate $300-400

Sale 43 Lot 273 CHINESE BLACK LACQUER FOUR-FOLD SCREEN, 20th century. Each panel applied with ivory female figures in garden - 72 in. x 16 in.
Estimate $400-600

Sale 43 Lot 393 34-PIECE FRENCH FAÏENCE DINNER SERVICE, 20th century. Service for six including: dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, coffee cups with saucers; coffee pot, sugar and creamer on small platter. Hand-painted polychrome whimsical hot-air balloon decoration- 10 1/2 in. diam., dinner plate.
Estimate $300-400
SOLD FOR $350.00. A nice deal.

Sale 43 Lot 457 CONTINENTAL NEOCLASSICAL STYLE INLAID FRUITWOOD ARM CHAIR, 20th century, with flame-stitch upholstery. Unusual six-splat chair, with uniform open-work design on back and sides; stuffover nailed seats; inlay throughout; canted sides and canted square tapering legs - 32 3/4 in. x 25 in. x 20 1/2 in.
Estimate $300-500
SOLD FOR $190.00. Such an unusual piece and I think thats a steal.

Sale 43 Lot 461 NEOCLASSICAL STYLE MAHOGANY DAYBED. 19th century, with gilt-metal mounts. Paneled head and footboards; columnar supports; deep metal-mounts; on compressed ball feet
- 24 in. x 80 in. x39 1/4 in.
Estimate $400-600.
SOLD FOR $500.00. It looked like it needed work but pure Bill Blass Style. Now where do you find a mattress for it?

Sale 43 Lot 594 PAIR CHINOISERIE-DECORATED TOLEWARE TEA CANISTERS, 20th century. Mounted as lamps - 20 in. high, canister; 33 in. high, overall.
Estimate $300-400
SOLD FOR $250.00. Folks, whoever got those got the deal of the day. Lamps are easy to fix.

Sale 43 Lot 679 MAHOGANY FOLDING LADDER, circa 1900. - 67 in. x 19 in. x 5 1/2 in.
Estimate $400-600
SOLD FOR $550.00. Someone's Library will look great. What a nice buy.

Sale 43 Lot 681 PAINTED AND DECOUPAGE-DECORATED THREE-FOLD FLOOR SCREEN. With figural garden and scenic landscape appliques enriched by insects and exotic animals illustrating an "East meets West" theme - 67 1/2 in. x 57 in.
Estimate $500-1,000
SOLD FOR $500.00. Such a pretty piece.

Sale 43 Lot 689 GEORGE I STYLE ROUND-ABOUT CHAIR, 19th century, "as is". Unusual extended back-scrolled crest-splat; wrap-around out-swept scrolling arms; bowed serpentine seat; shell-carved cabriole legs - 38 in. x 30 in. x 16 3/4 in.
Estimate $500-700
SOLD FOR $225.00. A great conversation piece at that price

Sale 43 Lot 945 PAIR ITALIAN CLASSICAL STYLE TERRA COTTA URNS, 20th century. Vasiform vessel with gadrooned sides; mask mounts; swagging foliate garlands; fluted base; on square plinth

- 18 1/2 in. x 18 1/2 in. diam.
Estimate $800-1,200
SOLD FOR $850.00. Out of all the pieces I chose, these were the most expensive??

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Art Collectors..a blog

I've been reading about the sorry state facing the auction houses both here and across the pond especially with the upcoming sales of contemporary art. Bloomberg reports that estimates are down 70% from a year ago for prices on similar works and that guarantees by the houses are a thing of the past. While reviewing a few different stories I came across this new blog, at least to me, and it looks very interesting. The Art Collectors. Take a look. I'm going to link it in my sidebar.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is That Gassss I Hear?

Norman Rosenthal (left) and Jeff Koons in conversation yesterday ©Katherine Hardy

Jeff Koons: “If people say they don’t like my work, I feel like a failure.”

The Art Newspaper: "The usually enigmatic Jeff Koons grooves on Led Zeppelin, admires the French painter Poussin and spaghetti Bolognese is his favourite dish. And he recently bought a painting by Salvador Dalí. These were just a few of the intriguing details extracted by independent curator Norman Rosenthal during a freewheeling chat held yesterday morning, launching the week-long annual Art Basel Conversations series.

Rosenthal didn’t waste any time establishing Koons’s credentials as one of the most influential contemporary artists of the age. He described an early encounter in 1992 when he saw Puppy, a 40-foot tall sculpture of 60,000 flowers. “I screamed when I saw the thing,” said Rosenthal. “If Louis XIV saw this thing, he would have made him [Koons] a Marquise right away.”

Koons sounded Obama-like in response to Rosenthal’s queries, ducking controversy and remaining polished and thoughtful for the duration of the interview. On the subject of artists placing works directly at auction, as Damien Hirst did at Sotheby’s London last autumn, Koons said: “It’s open, I think it’s great—I don’t really think about it.” He did reveal elements of his personality and themes emerged. “If people say they don’t like my work, I feel like a failure,” says Koons.

When 17 of his sculptures—including Balloon Dog and Pink Panther—were installed among the gilded treasures at the Palace of Versailles, outside Paris, “The guards would walk around and hide their eyes,” Koons revealed. “A couple had to be fired,” he said, explaining that the guards were agitating visitors and the exhibition organisers were “worried something would be damaged”.

Koons told Rosenthal that he made art as “a journey of removing anxiety”, sounding like a man on the therapy couch. “A lot of people get destroyed because they don’t accept themselves,” said Koons. “This is a journey of self-discovery.”

Reminiscing, he said he was raised “to be self-reliant”, which prompted him to sell candies and gift-wrapping paper for pocket money as a boy. Later, as a young artist trying to fund his work, he took a job at New York’s Museum of Modern Art selling membership. He was such a successful salesman that Blanchette Rockefeller, president of the museum’s board, appointed the 23-year-old Koons as the museum’s “senior representative”.

The artist’s working method was another topic. Koons relies on computers, but he doesn’t wield the mouse. “I have people who know how to activate and use different programmes,” he said. “I’ll sit and say: ‘Add a little more magenta or green,’ or tell them about scale.”

Koons employs 120 people and keeps a tight rein over his operation. “It is my work and everything is controlled by me,” he said. “I get nervous when I am away for more than a couple of days.”

Koons revealed that he feels these days his art is becoming “a little abstract, but everything is figurative based”. There are fewer layers of images in his paintings, which are becoming “more minimal."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Great Find

If your like me, a lover of great novels; but you work hard everyday and by the time you'd like to take thirty minutes in bed to read, your eyes and body says,"no way," then here is a great comfort and a solution. It's called Great Books Audio, and I just found it. Last night I listened to the first chapter of "The Great Gatsby," one of my favorites. To be honest I don't remember its' close..but then, I guess I've read it ten times, so nothing lost. There is a great collection to listen too and I plan to fall off to sleep listening to great literature for a while to come.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A View Of The Future..Take a Look.

I'm sure some of you have seen this video. Sony played it at their Executive Meeting this year, so I'm told. Either way its an amazing look at how fast our world is changing and will put lots of questions before you. I found it profound.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Car Auction Sale Was A Mixed Bag

From the motion picture Great Gatsby starring Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterson and Bruce Dern
1928 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom I Ascot Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton
Coachwork by Brewster

It was a beautiful day for a car auction in Connecticut but the times and the cash have changed the desire for such beautiful and expensive toys. Close to half my picks did not sell but that didn't keep the crowd from enjoying a spectacular June Day amidst such beautiful automobiles. Here are the results.

A minor note on the lack of posts this past week plus. The back problems threw me off my game more than I imagined and sitting at the computer has been a task but enough with all that, lets see what these fabulous cars brought at auction

Bonhams:"The collection of Rhode Island based collector the late Ted Leonard will lead our annual auction at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance in Connecticut, on Sunday June 7th. Built over a number of years, Mr. Leonard prided himself on acquiring cars that had been owned by celebrities or had starred on the ‘Silver Screen’.

Footnote - The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance was established and is run by Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom of Greenwich, CT and is considered one of the top ranked events of its kind in the United States. 2009 celebrates its 14th year of paying tribute to American and European vintage motorcars, motorcycles, boats and planes, a must for enthusiasts of all ages it is even listed in the book of 1000 places to see before you die!"

Lot No: 287
1950 Chrysler Town & Country Newport

Estimate: $75,000 - 85,000

Lot No: 266
1953 Jaguar XK120 Roadster

Estimate: $100,000 - 125,000
SOLD FOR $106,470.00

Lot No: 251
1955 Jaguar XK 140SE Open Two-Seater (OTS)

Estimate: $125,000 - 150,000

Lot No: 240
1967 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2 Roadster

Estimate: $70,000 - 90,000
SOLD FOR $67,860.00

Lot No: 228
1948 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet
Chassis no. 876H.56.913

Estimate: $40,000 - 50,000
SOLD FOR $29,250.00

Lot No: 218
Featured in the PBS Production of Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth

Estimate: $30,000 - 40,000
SOLD FOR $54,990.00

Lot No: 212
1903 Ford Model 'A' 10hp Four Seater Rear Entrance Tonneau
Engine no. 370

Estimate: $150,000 - 170,000

Lot No: 207
1963 Ford Falcon Squire Station Wagon
Chassis no. 3T26U174155
The original Ford Falcon could hardly have differed more from the Chevrolet Corvair, its main competitor. Both compact nameplates were introduced as 1960 models. While the rear-engine Corvair was inspired by European intruders like the Volkswagen Beetle, the new Falcon was essentially a typical rear-drive American car—in 7/8ths scale.

Estimate: $20,000 - 25,000

Lot No: 201
1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen Replica

Estimate: $30,000 - 35,000
SOLD FOR $40,950.00