Treasures: Prices Realized

Merryl Israel Aron was an amateur golf champion and New Orleans resident with an eye for important French Belle Époque painters. Her family trust released selections from her collection, including Sur les Champs Élysées (above, detail), an 1892 oil on canvas by Jean Béraud (1849-1935). It realized $322,000 at a December 2016 Heritage auction.

LUXURY ACCESSORIES

The Hermes 30cm Matte White Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin Bag is among the most sought-after handbags on the luxury accessories market. This example, featuring two rolled handles, Palladium Hardware, and an interior done in Gris Cendre Chevre leather, realized $93,750 at a February 2017 Heritage auction.

SPORTS

Evel Knievel (1938-2007) is regarded as the world’s greatest stunt performer, with his daredevil feats including more than 70 motorcycle jumps and a failed attempt to jump across Snake River Canyon in a steam-powered rocket. His motorcycle leathers are among the most recognizable garments in sports. Leathers he wore in 1972-73 realized $108,000 at a February 2017 auction.

GOLD

The SS Central America was a steamer that operated between Central America and the east coast of the United States before it sank in a hurricane in September 1857, taking with it 30,000 pounds of gold. Since its discovery in 1988, the wreck has yielded numerous pieces, including this “extremely large size” 327.97-ounce gold ingot with a Justh & Hunder hallmark. It sold for $564,000 in January 2017.

CURRENCY

For years, a prime attraction at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas was a display of $1 million in cash – made up of 100 $10,000 bills, first installed in the late 1950s. Hidden among the New York Federal Reserve Notes were a few numismatic gems. One bill, graded PCGS Gem New 65, sold for $158,625 at a January 2017 Heritage auction.

COMIC ART

Robert Crumb (b.1943) is the undisputed master of underground comics. Even relatively recent original pieces command high collector interest. Original art for a four-page story that appeared in 1992’s Hup #4 (Last Gasp) – in which Crumb attempts to explain his fascination with women of Amazon proportions – sold for $155,350 at a February 2017 auction.

U.S. COINS

Faced with a copper shortage at the beginning of World War II, the U.S. Mint authorized experiments to make pennies from other metals, plastic and rubber. A 1942 Experimental Glass Cent failed so spectacularly that only one known unbroken piece remains. It sold for $70,500 at a January 2017 Heritage auction. The consignor had purchased the piece at a small online auction for “several thousand dollars.”

SPORTS

There’s a good reason why a pair of old golf shoes might cost you $66,000, reports Golf Magazine. It’s because they were worn by the late Arnold Palmer (1929-2016) when he won the 1958 Masters. On top of that, they were later signed by the legend himself. His distinctive black and white wingtip shoes were auctioned by Heritage in February 2017. 

AUTHORS

Literary fans pounced on a pair of historic typewriters author Larry McMurtry used to write Lonesome Dove, with the winning bid reaching $37,500 at a March 2017 Heritage auction. The Swiss-made Hermes 3000 was introduced in 1958 and was noted for its simplicity and ease of maintenance. McMurtry kept one at his home in Archer City, Texas, and the other in Washington, D.C.