By Eric Bradley
ANDY WARHOL’S POP-CULTURE image of a moonwalker was formerly owned by a moonwalker himself. Moonwalk, 1987 (above), came from the private collection of Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon. In May 2015, it realized $173,000 at Heritage Auctions, a record for the work.
American Indian Art
It’s not known exactly when cradleboards came into use among Plains Indians. But it’s likely the spread of equestrian culture played a role in the development of baby-carriers that protected infants and allowed mothers to travel or be mobile for work. Fashioned circa 1890 from wood, tanned elk hide and glass beads, the motifs and bead colors exhibited on this Rare Crow Cradleboard exemplify classic Crow beadwork. Standing 41½ inches high, this piece from the Valentine Pasvolsky Collection realized $137,000 at a May 2015 Heritage auction.
Prices for Americana collectibles were pushed to new highs after Heritage Auctions brought the Merrill C. Berman Collection to auction earlier this year. Among the museum-quality pieces in the collection was this rare 1844 Presidential Campaign Banner for James K. Polk, which set a record for the most valuable piece of political memorabilia ever sold at public auction. It realized $185,000 in June 2015.
Original Comic Art
Star Wars creator George Lucas credits Flash Gordon artist Alex Raymond for influencing generations of moviemakers and comic book artists. If you look at the bottom center panel of this Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim Original Sunday Comic Strip Art, published on May 21, 1939, you might see how Queen Fria’s “side bun” hairstyle is remarkably similar to Princess Leia’s hairdo in the original Star Wars movie. This piece sold for $155,350 in May 2015.
President John F. Kennedy’s selfless acts during World War II regrettably left him with a lifetime of back issues. His White House rocking chairs were more therapeutic than relaxing. President Kennedy’s Personal Back Brace, worn during his time in office, was gifted by Kennedy’s mother Rose to their family physician in the hopes it might ease another’s suffering. It sold for $20,000 in May 2015.
Gerhard Wagner spent his life amassing one of the finest collections of rare tourmalines. A crown jewel from the collection, Tourmaline with Quartz & Albite on Lepidolite, dubbed “Big Beauty,” was discovered in 2006 in the Pederneira Mine in São José da Safira, Brazil. It sold for $275,000 in June 2015.
Racing Sports Collectibles
The fire suit Mario Andretti wore during his only Indy 500 victory proved to be a rare find, especially considering the car he piloted is now housed at the Smithsonian. Andretti’s 1969 Indianapolis 500 Race-Worn Fire Suit sparked a bidding war between 10 collectors when Heritage Auctions presented it as part of the Dr. Harlen Hunter Collection of Racing Sports Collectibles in June 2015. It sold for $52,580.