07
Dec
16

5 Unique Items That Only Could Have Been Sold at Auction

Auctions regularly sell items that are unique, mysterious, intriguing, or just plain weird. The selling platform is perfect for these kinds of objects, as usually they were once part of someone’s collection or an eccentric’s estate. There is no other place in the world where items of both enduring value and unique provenance are bought and sold. Some examples of one-of-a-kind items sold at auction illustrate exactly why art auctioneers are the perfect place to find a gem with a story behind it.

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Thirty Nine Bushnell Foto Co. Glass Negative Plates From The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

One-of-a-Kind Items Sold by Art Auctioneers

Winston Churchill’s Set of False Teeth

He was the British prime minister during World War II, and Winston Churchill remains revered for his leadership during that time. He is perhaps the most famous prime minister ever to hold office in Britain, as he led his country to contribute to an Allied victory. Unsurprisingly, his dentures went for a steep price tag when they were sold at auction in 2010. According to the Daily Mail, the set of upper false teeth sold for 15,200 pounds.

The Violin That Serenaded the Sinking Titanic

A famous piece of the legend of the sinking Titanic involves a violinist leading his fellow band members in a rendition of “Nearer My God to Thee” in order to calm the panicked passengers. That man’s name was Wallace Hartley, who eventually died when the ship sank. His violin went up for auction in 2013. According to BBC News, it sold in just 10 minutes for a grand total of 900,000 pounds.

A Stuffed Ostrich from 1785

Representative of the opulence of the famous courts of the 18th century, a giant taxidermy ostrich from Italy’s “Little Versailles,” circa 1785, sold at a Christie’s “Out of the Ordinary” auction in London for $33,150. According to Christie’s, the bird measured 82.5 inches high — equivalent to almost seven feet tall – and was enclosed in an elegant walnut case.

This sale, in particular, is a prime example of some of the weird and wonderful items that can be found when one purchases from art auctioneers. Some of the other items included in the sale were a Victorian Gothic coffin stand, a bronze death mask of Napoleon, and a taxidermy peacock.

An Andy Warhol Line Graph

Pop artist Andy Warhol is famous for his Campbell’s Soup cans and his Marilyn Monroe screen prints, but one of his lesser-known works is a line graph drawing that depicts the U.S. unemployment rate from 1980 to 1984. Whether or not it was meant to be art is a mystery, but it sold at auction nevertheless for $32,500.

A Partially-Fossilized Elephant Bird Egg

Now extinct, the elephant bird of Madagascar was the largest bird of all time. The species could reach heights of 10 feet and weigh as much as 880 pounds, according to ZME Science. The elephant bird died out in the 17th century due to excessive hunting. One of these bird’s massive eggs, measuring roughly 9 inches in diameter and over a foot long, was sold at auction in 2013.

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30
Nov
16

Using Art Auction Houses as a Source for Interior Decorating

Auctions aren’t just for collectors. They aren’t even just for those with a lot of money. Surprisingly, more and more interior decorators are using art auction houses as a source for finding unique furniture and décor for their design clients. The right unique piece can add the perfect element of surprise and interest to any room, and savvy interior designers know this very well. Auction houses are treasure troves for art, antique pieces, items of historical value, and more — any of which can be used as décor.

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Sevres Style New Haven Clock Co. Gilt Metal Porcelain Mounted Clock Garniture

Reasons to Use Art Auction Houses as Sources for Interior Decorating

Most People Love the Idea of Owning Something One-of-a-Kind

Owning something no one else has, or something that is very rare, makes most people feel important and special. It’s something they can boast about, and it signifies their cultured status. The idea of the piece is just as important as the piece itself.

A Big Design Trend Has People Looking Backward

A design trend that is not going away anytime soon is vintage decorating. Large swathes of people enjoy combing flea markets and antique malls in search of unique items for their homes, ones they won’t find in modern stores. However, often a trip to a thrift store or flea market amounts to little more than sifting through piles of junk. In contrast, auction houses provide the best of both worlds: uniqueness and value. If something is not very desirable, it will not sell for much money. Truly valuable pieces go for higher amounts. Time is not wasted on items that belong at the garbage dump. Most of the items have historical value if not monetary value.

Auction Pieces Add Character to an Otherwise Bland Interior

Modern homes often suffer from a certain amount of sterility. They usually lack the architectural detail of homes built earlier in the 20th century, and can all appear alike. Interior decorators who wisely insert unique pieces from auctions into their designs bring life and character to these otherwise bland spaces. The resulting look is warmer and more inviting than could be achieved with modern furniture and décor alone.

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

French Walnut Standing Cheval Mirror

Mixing Style is an Effortless Design Trick

Designers who boldly mix styles of art, décor, and furniture create an effortlessly stylish look for their clients. For example, mixing 19th century antique chairs with a modern table, or using a vintage trunk as a coffee table or end table with a modern couch. This juxtaposition creates interest, not to mention serves as a conversation starter. This design technique therefore proves to be anything but boring.

The art of using unique pieces to accent interior design is an old designer’s trick. However, sourcing these pieces can often prove difficult. In these cases, auctions can be an indispensable source for purchasing the perfect one-of-a-kind find, artwork, antique, or collectible item that sets off a room’s style and acts as the finishing touch.

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23
May
16

Charles in Charge

Loft looking a little bare?  Furnishings by world-renowned dealer Charles & Charles will now be sold exclusively at Michaan’s Auctions.  Michaan’s has been selected as the only venue to handle the liquidation of Charles & Charles remaining inventory, as the firm is closing their showroom doors after 40 years. This auction collection will offer many excellent buying opportunities, as estimates will be mere fractions of Charles & Charles original retail prices.

Cal King walnut veneer and brass hardware bed.

Cal King walnut veneer and brass hardware bed.

 

English country sheesham dining refectory table.

English country sheesham dining refectory table.

 

Upholstered armchair.

Upholstered armchair.

 

Brushed chrome adjustable desk lamp.

Brushed chrome adjustable desk lamp.

 

Ostrich print.

Ostrich print.

 

Solid walnut and cast iron planter.

Solid walnut and cast iron planter.

 

For more information on this exciting auction series, Charles & Charles inventory to be offered, as well as assistance with placing a bid, please call (510) 740-0220 ext. 0, e-mail info@michaans.com or visit us on the web at www.michaans.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 
12
May
16

Michaan’s June 2016 Fine Sales: Don’t Box Me In

From historic ties…

Pocket watch of captain Myles Standish with provenance package (June 13, $50,000-100,000).

Pocket watch from the family of captain Myles Standish with provenance package (June 13, $5,000-7,000).

 

…to gems at half bloom.

Tremblant diamond, enamel and 18 karat yellow gold articulated flower brooch (June 13, lot 2040, $4,000-6,000).

Tremblant diamond, enamel and 18 karat yellow gold articulated flower brooch (June 13, lot 2040, $4,000-6,000).

 

Fine artists of the Philippines…

Vicente Manansala oil painting Preparing Dinner (June 13, $80,000-120,000).

Vicente Manansala oil painting Preparing Dinner (June 13, $80,000-120,000).

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo oil painting Portrait of a Woman (June 13, $20,000-30,000).

Fernando Cueto Amorsolo oil painting Portrait of a Woman (June 13, $20,000-30,000).

 

…to a rare light at the table…

Pair of Tiffany Studios Jeweled candlesticks (June 13, $37,500-42,500).

Pair of Tiffany Studios Jeweled candlesticks (June 13, $37,500-42,500).

 

…and into the spirit world.

Yup’ik shaman spirit mask accompanied by two artworks (June 13, $15,000-20,000).

Yup’ik shaman spirit mask accompanied by two artworks (June 13, $15,000-20,000).

 

An impressive work by a modern master…

Pang Jiun oil painting Wild Chrysanthemums (June 20, lot 9236, $40,000-60,000).

Pang Jiun oil painting Wild Chrysanthemums (June 20, lot 9236, $40,000-60,000).

 

…as well as the beauty of traditional Asian art.

Chen Baochang enameled porcelain plaques (June 20, lot 9196, $4,000-6,000).

Chen Baochang enameled porcelain plaques (June 20, lot 9196, $4,000-6,000).

 

Please join us on June 13th for the fine jewelry, art, furnishings and decorative arts auction and on June 20th for the Fine Asian Works of Art auction!

 
18
Mar
16

Pritikin’s Pets: Trio of Bufano Animal Sculptures Debut at Michaan’s

The Pritikin Museum, a private, not-for-profit institution located on Chenery Street, is one of the largest private estates in the city of San Francisco. The Pritikin Museum at Chenery House’s art collection was recently estimated to be valued at over $50 million, accounting for a mishmash of different periods, styles and curiosities. Michaan’s Inspiring Interiors auction of April 8, 2016 highlights three excellent Beniamino Bufano sculptures from the Pritikin consignment, kicking off offerings stemming from the institution’s collection. The animal depictions, streamlined, stylized and elegant, include the stone Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000), the carved marble Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000) and bronze Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000).

Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000)

Mole (lot 2300, $10,000-15,000)

 

Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000)

Owl (lot 2298, $10,000-15,000)

 

Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000)

Partridge (lot 2299, $8,000-12,000)

Select Asian works of art, collectibles and fine art from the Pritikin consignment will also be made available in Michaan’s estate auction of April the 9th, one day after the Inspiring Interiors sale. Additional Pritikin lots will also be sold in Michaan’s May estate auction, with a William Trego oil painting titled Fort Haskell 1865 ($20,000-25,000) debuting in the June fine sale as well. The illustrated auction catalogs will be posted online at www.michaans.com when they become available. Previews for the Inspiring Interiors auction will be held on April the 2nd, 3rd and the 8th, the day of sale. Previews for the April estate auction will be held on the 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 9th, the day of sale. For general information please call (510) 740-0220 ext. 0 or e-mail info@michaans.com. Michaan’s Auctions is located at 2751 Todd Street, Alameda, CA 94501.

 
08
Mar
16

California Auctions are Really Exciting

Let’s face it; if you are a collector of the most beautiful and rare stuff, whether it is exquisite antiques or masterful artwork, you will need to participate in the auctions to obtain the rarest items.

The really rare and wonderful things in the world are almost always sold by auction.

The auction process is not for the faint of heart, because you will be going up against others that are well- funded and maybe even more well- funded than you are when the richest of the rich want something, they will pay whatever it is necessary to get it.

The billionaires use brokers to make bids for them so they can, for the most part, remain anonymous. Every once in a while the story leaks out about who the actual bidder was that won the rare item at an extraordinary high auction price.

One example of this, is when Bill Gates, through a broker paid US $30.8 million for a set of hand written notes, called the “Codex Leicester,” made by Leonardo Da Vinci. Gates bought this notebook in 1994. He was a billionaire at the time, but still paid over thirty million for such ancient hand scribbled notes. This does seem slightly eccentric.

Auctions of the Most Rare Stuff Make History

Buying something at an auction for a price that seems outlandish is a bit about getting bragging rights and beating the other bidders. When a Van Gough painting sold for over $82.5 million at an auction in 1990, this news made world headlines. Please note that the only painting Van Gough ever sold while he was alive was one bought by his brother Theo for just the equivalent of a few dollars. Van Gough died as an insane, poor person, that never for any recognition whatsoever for his creativity while he was alive.

Sticker Shock

If the price of the Van Gough paining impresses, just look at what happened since then:

10. EDVARD MUNCH “The Scream”, painted in 1895, sold in 1992 for $119.9 million
9. GUSTAV KLIMT “Adele Bloch- bauer I”, painted in 1907, sold in 2006 for $135 million
8. ILLEM DE KOONING “Woman III”, painted in 1952-53, sold in 2006 for $137.5 million
7. JACKSON POLLOCK “Number 5, 1948”, painted in 1948, sold in 2006 for $140 million
6. Francis Bacon “Three Studies of Lucian Freud” Painted in 1969, sold in 2013 for $145 million
5. PABLO PICASSO “La Réve (The Dream)”, painted in 1932, sold in 2013 for $157.5 million
4. AMEDEO MODIGLIANI “Nu couché (reclining Nude)”, Painted in 1917-18 , sold in    2015 for $170.4 million
3. PABLO PICASSO “Les Femmes d’Alger (Version “O”)”, painted in 1955, sold in 2015 for $179.4 million
2. PAUL CÉZANNE “The Card Players”, painted in 1892/1893, sold in 2011 for $250 million

And the highest price paid so far for a single painting is….

1. PAUL GAUGUIN “Nafea faa ipoipo? (When will you marry?)”, painted in 1892, sold in 2015 for $300 million.

All we can say is WOW!

 
04
Mar
16

Buying Art at Auction Instead of a Gallery

Auctions are typically a wonderful way to access artworks from private and institutional collections that have a known provenance. However, not all auctions and art auctioneers are created equal, and there are many factors that make purchasing art at auction different from buying out of a commercial gallery.

The Ability to Plan

With commercial galleries and even at art fairs, buyers may not know in advance what the dealer has available or what additional inventory he or she may have. An auction, on the other hand, allows purchasers to plan and research potential pieces of interest in advance. Art auctioneers publish catalogs of upcoming sales and the items included, so that potential buyers will be able to make a plan before attending the sale.

The Buyer’s Premium

Depending on the auction platform, buyers will likely be responsible for paying an additional fee—or buyer’s premium—that will be a percentage of the final hammer price. Sometimes these amounts are set percentages while other houses may cap premiums at a certain amount, particularly when handling high value sales.

A Central Marketplace

Particularly in art, auctions can serve as a transparent marketplace for purchasers. While commercial galleries may never release sales figures, auction houses will typically post the information publicly following a sale.

At the same time, it can be impossible to figure out what budgets a gallery caters to without knowing each artist’s individual market, so an auction may allow purchasers of all budgets access to a range of works across different styles.

Research Resources

Since art auctioneers publish catalogs before sales, potential buyers have the opportunity to do in-depth research on the artists or work they are interested in. This may mean accessing an online database to see past sales history, or talking with professionals in the art field about the specifics of a piece.

Furthermore, works at auction will typically come with appraisals and provenance details for each work. This allows purchasers both before and after a sale to know how long the work has been available, where it has been shown, and any prominent collections or institutions it has been part of.

 
02
Mar
16

How Auction Houses Help Heirs Deal With the Contents of an Inherited Home

When a loved one passes away, it is typically left up to the heirs and/or the executor of an estate to determine what should be done with the contents of a home. This can be a very emotionally wrenching and difficult task. Homes, especially those of the elderly, often contain thousands of items and while many items will probably end up being worthless, there is always the chance that other things could potentially be worth a lot of money.

On the other hand, there are also items in a home that may seem valuable to an heir that may in reality have little to no value. For example, the deceased may have left a set of chairs that the heirs have always been told were Chippendale and possibly worth tens of thousands of dollars. Yet, when the heirs try to sell them, they learn that the chairs are merely cheap reproductions.

So how should a person go about determining what items in an estate are actually valuable and what may be worthless? If there is the possibility that the home may contain valuable antiques, the heirs may want to consider hiring a professional auction house to come to the house to appraise the contents. They will have the expertise to determine whether or not an heir has inherited treasures or trash.

Even estates that may seem to contain nothing of value may hold surprisingly valuable items. For example, in 2000, a man purchased two boxes of glass plates containing images of Yosemite National Park for $45 at a garage sale. Those plates later tuned out to be negatives take by iconic American photographer Ansel Adams and were estimated to be worth $200 million. Sadly, the original owner of the plates lost out on making any real money on these treasures. Money they might have been able to keep for themselves if they had just hired an auction appraiser. Because chances are that a knowledgeable appraiser would have recognized the true value of these extraordinary plates and not have sold them for $45.

In some cases, auction houses will also list and sell items for an estate—in effect, becoming estate liquidators—which can be a real bonus for heirs or executors who just don’t have the time to deal with disposing the contents of a home on their own.

 
01
Mar
16

Art Auction Houses and the Sales Catalog

One of the biggest advantages to purchasing artwork at auction is that art auction houses publish catalogs well in advance of each sale that describe each piece. Often each listing will have images, estimated sale amounts and notes on the piece’s condition. For many collectors the sales catalog becomes a collection piece in and of itself, particularly for notable sales at houses that still publish printed books.

However, the catalog is equally important to the auction house as well. First of all, it provides a detailed record of what was listed at every auction. Second of all, it allows for easy organization and access for processes like sales order and price recording.

Creating the Catalog

Art auction houses may have a dedicated team of employees that specialize in producing catalogs for each auction category. Often these individuals have advanced degrees in their respective field, and they have experience writing about the history and market of art. By having art professionals who specialize in particular market areas, the auction houses can help to ensure that the objects they have listed are appropriately categorized and valued.

The catalog will typically list items in the order that they will appear in the sale. This means that the layout of the sale needs to be determined before the catalog can be published.

Catalogs as Research Resources

A huge benefit of auction catalogs for both collectors and art researchers is that they allow for the tracking of previous sales history. This is an essential tool for determining an item’s accurate provenance. Most art auction sales are typically based on a certain style or time period- such as an Old Master’s sale or an American Art sale. Therefore, it is easy to search catalogs by keyword or subject in the same way one would find any other references.

The Library of Congress has started to record catalogs of prominent art auctions throughout history. This serves as a database of resources for researches of provenance and for those looking for relative market values throughout history. Similarly, most major art museums and university libraries contain significant holdings related to art auction houses’ catalog history.

 
29
Feb
16

An Exceptional Opportunity March 7, 2016: The Naomi Lindstrom Collection – Rare Worldwide Beads & Multicultural Art Auction

Michaan’s Auctions is proud to present a most singular offering on Monday, March 7, 2016, at 10 am: an auction of the prized worldwide bead and extensive art collection of Ms. Naomi Lindstrom. Collectors and lovers of extraordinary beauty will be awestruck at these objects that are steeped in cultural and historical significance.

The World’s Most Significant Bead Collection

Selling in over 290 lots, Ms. Lindstrom’s rare beads comprise the most significant collection in the world and originate from over 50 regions. One of the highlights is a set of rare Tibetan corals that Ms. Lindstrom acquired when she spent time working with the Dali Lama’s brother and sister.

Ms. Lindstrom became a renowned expert on the beads she collected, and was a sought after lecturer by museums and cultural centers around the world. She created necklaces from her beads which were true to the cultural heritage of their country of origin.

Treasured Art & World Ethnographic Objects

In addition to the stunning worldwide bead collection, Michaan’s Auctions will also offer rare items from Ms. Lindstrom’s Asian Art collection. The distinctive nature of these pieces provide buyers with opportunities to own some of the most treasured Asian Art (including figural sandstone pieces). Also for sale will be a collection of over 80 lots of world tribal and ethnographic objects.

Another incredible highlight of this auction will be over 31 lots of artwork from Ms. Lindstrom’s personal collection. Buyers can look forward to bidding on art by John Chin Young, Oscar Edwards, Fernand Leger, Jean Charlot, and many other noted artists.

The public is encouraged to attend the preview events at Michaan’s Auction House leading up to and including the day of the sale:

Friday, March 4, 12pm – 5pm

Saturday, March 5, 10am – 2pm

Sunday, March 6, 9am – 5pm

Day of sale, beginning at 9am

and by appointment.

A Truly Magnificent Auction of Exquisite Art & Rare Items

Beads, art and rare objects from Pre-Columbian, Roman and other historical periods will be featured at this auction, plus items from Africa, India, China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and many other regions will be offered. Fine art, furniture and many more intriguing and exquisite objects round out this incomparable sale. This is a truly one-of-a-kind auction that will appeal to a wide audience.

Please review our catalog that fully describes The Naomi Lindstrom Collection and plan to attend one of Michaan’s Auctions’ preview events for this March 7, 2016 sale.

 



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