Treasures: Prices Realized

Arizona artist Charles H. Pabst (b.1950) has garnered attention in the art world by interpreting monumental vistas and scenery of the American West. His oil on canvas The Winter Trek (detail above) surpassed its pre-auction estimate of $2,500 to realize $10,000 at a September 2017 Heritage auction.

JEWELRY

Collector demand for colored diamonds was evident at Heritage Auctions’ September 2017 fine jewelry auction. A 3.23-carat Fancy Blue Diamond, Diamond, Platinum Ring (pictured) realized $675,000, while a 5.04-carat Fancy Intense Purplish-Pink Diamond, Diamond, Platinum Ring sold for $372,500 at the same event.

AMERICAN ART

A Texas family that believed its Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was a print was surprised to learn it actually was an original piece, painted by Rockwell as a study for Tough Call, one of the artist’s most recognizable paintings. The study realized $1.6 million at an August 2017 Heritage auction.

HANDBAGS

Hermès Birkins continue their reign as the current “it” accessory, with first lady Melania Trump recently spotted carrying the designer handbag. An Hermès 30cm Matte Gris Cendre Himalayan Nilo Crocodile Birkin Bag with Palladium Hardware sold for $112,500 at a September 2017 Heritage auction.

RARE BOOKS

A world record was set when one of the 500 original, first-edition copies of J.K. Rowling’s 1997 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first novel in the Harry Potter series, was sold in September 2017 by Heritage Auctions for $81,250. It’s the highest price paid for an unsigned work of fiction published in the past 50 years.

FINE ART

Gertrude Abercrombie (1909-1977) was often called “the queen of bohemian artists,” known for her sparsely furnished interiors, self-portraits and barren landscapes. Her 1949 oil on Masonite Untitled (Woman in a crumbling cell), from a Chicago-area descendent of the artist, realized $35,000 at a September 2017 Heritage auction.

WORLD COINS

The Empire of Japan’s first coin denominated at 20 yen was issued in 1870, the third year of Emperor Meiji’s reign. This Meiji gold Proof 20 Yen Year 3 (1870), PR66 Cameo NGC, realized $470,000 at an August 2017 Heritage auction. Struck during the infancy of Japan’s opening to the West, proofs of any kind from the 19th century are extremely rare.

ASIAN ART

A thangka is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton or silk appliqué. They usually depict a Buddhist deity, scene or mandala. A Tibetan thangka, 36 inches high and depicting two abbots, possibly from the 13th century, sold for $642,500 at a September 2017 Heritage auction.

COMIC ART

After owning this piece for many years, singer-songwriter-musician Graham Nash finally auctioned this original cover art by Underground Comix legend Robert Crumb (b.1943). This 1967 work for Zap Comix #1 was unused, with the artist going with a less explicit image (the art here is cropped). This piece sold for $525,800 at an August 2017 Heritage auction.