Gavels and Paddles
Recent Antique & Collectibles Auction Results From Around the World

by Ken Hall
Updated February 2015

Nobel Prize in Medicine, $4.757 million, Christie's
The 1962 Nobel Prize Medal in Medicine (or Physiology) given to James Dewey Watson for his work in the discovery of DNA structure, 23kt gold, sold for $4.757 million at an auction held Dec. 4 by Christie's in New York. It was a new world auction record for any Nobel Prize. Also, the manuscript of Watson's acceptance speech for the award, written on Grand Hotel Stockholm stationery and dated Dec. 9, 1952, went for $365,000; and the manuscript of a lecture on DNA given by Watson on Dec. 11, 1962 made $245,000. Prices include a 20 percent buyer's premium.


Babe Ruth baseball cap, $303,277, Grey Flannel
A baseball cap worn by Babe Ruth during the historic 1934 U.S. All Star Tour of Japan sold for $303,277 in an absentee, phone and internet auction held Dec. 16-17 by Grey Flannel Auctions, based in Westhampton, N.Y. Also, a baseball signed by 23 of the 1932 New York Yankees (including Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other Hall of Famers) topped out at $115,242; a circa 1980s Julius “Dr. J” Erving Philadelphia 76ers game-worn uniform attained $44,428; and a 1950s jacket worn by Roy Campanella made $71,554. Prices include a 20 percent buyer's premium.


Piano from Casablanca, $3.4 million, Bonhams
The iconic salmon-colored piano from Rick's Cafe in the film Casablanca, on which Dooley Wilson plays As Time Goes By (and in which Humphrey Bogart hides the precious transit papers), sold for $3.413 million at a Hollywood Memorabilia Auction held Nov. 24 by Bonhams in New York City. Also, the Cowardly Lion costume Bert Lahr wore in the movie The Wizard of Oz rose to $3.08 million; Dorothy's dress, worn by Judy Garland, fetched $245,000; and a costume worn by Rita Hayworth went for $114,000. Prices include a 15 percent buyer's premium.


19th century Russian icon, $24,400, Crescent City
A 19th century oil on curved panel Russian icon, possibly of St. Maximus the Confessor, 12.25 inches by 10.5 inches, sold for $24,400 at an Estates Auction held Nov. 15-16 by Crescent City Auction Gallery in New Orleans, La. Also, a small, circa 1898-1908 Russian icon of Christ Pantocrator in a sterling and enamel riza, by Nicolay Kemper, rose to $14,760; an oil-on-canvas painting by Alberta Kinsey (1875-1952) made $3,075; and a French Louis XVI-style carved rosewood triple-door armoire hit $3,081. Prices include a sliding-scale buyer's premium.


E. Howard No. 47 clock, $356,950, Fontaine's Auction
An E. Howard & Company No. 47 wall-hanging astronomical regulator clock, one of only three known, sold for $356,950 at a Clocks and Watches Auction held Nov. 22-23 by Fontaine's Auction Gallery in Pittsfield, Mass. It was a new auction record for an E. Howard & Company clock, eclipsing the previous record of $277,300 paid for a No. 68 astronomical floor clock, also at a Fontaine's Auction clock sale. Also, an E. Howard & Company No. 25 drum head astronomical regulator changed hands for $121,000. Prices include a 21 percent buyer's premium.


Tiffany Dragonfly lamp, $142,200, James D. Julia
A Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp with a conical shade of mottled blue panels, completed by a chain of seven leaded mottled glass dragonflies, on a bronze trumpet base, sold for $142,200 at a Glass & Lamp Auction held Nov. 12-13 by James D. Julia, Inc., in Fairfield, Maine. Also, a Tiffany Studios chandelier with an openwork bronze top and a curtain of prisms descending from the cap rose to $45,662; and a Daum cameo glass and enameled rain scene lamp with pointed dome shade lit up the room for $36,735. Prices include an 18.5 percent buyer's premium.


Action Comics #1, $310,700, Heritage
An unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938), the most desirable comic book in the hobby, graded 3.0 by CGC, sold for $310,700 at a Comics Auction held Nov. 22-24 by Heritage Auctions (based in Dallas, Tex.) in Beverly Hills, Calif. Also, copy of Pep Comics #22 (graded 7.0) hit $143,400. Prices quoted include the buyer's premium.


Black Forest hall rack, $19,600, S & S Auctions
An antique Black Forest hall rack, rare and highly collectible mainly for its finely carved, life-size dog (30 inches tall), sold for $19,600 at a Cataloged Auction held Nov. 16-17 by S & S Auctions, Inc., in Repaupo, N.J. Also, an Emile Galle etched art glass vase, just 3.25 inches tall, realized $14,700; an antique gilt carved center table with pietra dura (“hard stone”) top brought $11,025; and a French Chronos & Amour gilt and patinated figural bronze clock on a bronze mounted marble base rose to $13,475. Prices include a 22.5 percent buyer's premium.


Winchester Model 1873, $149,500, Rock Island
A deluxe, special order Winchester Third Model 1873 rifle with fine case sold for $149,500 at a Premiere Auction held Dec. 6-7 by Rock Island Auction Company in Rock Island, Ill. Also, a Colt Pythons Silver Snake Edition rang out at $14,950; and a pre-war, Colt SAA with carved pearl grips and factory engraving by Master Wilbur Glahn hit the mark for $51,750. Overall, the auction grossed about $11.4 million and, with it being Rock Island's final sale of the year, the total gross for 2014 was $47.5 million. Prices include a 15 percent buyer's premium.


Smokey and the Bandit car, $450,000, Julien's Auctions
The Trans Am car that actor Burt Reynolds drove in the movie Smokey and the Bandit sold for $450,000 at an auction of items from Reynolds' estate and career held Dec. 11-12 at Julien's Auctions in Las Vegas, Nev. Also, an 18kt gold pocket watch given to Reynolds by Sally Field achieved $13,750; the canoe made for the movie Deliverance went for $17,500; and Reynolds' Golden Globe Award breezed to $21,250. Prices include a 20 percent buyer's premium.


Natural saltwater pearl, $813,750, Rago Arts
The largest known near-round natural saltwater pearl, also known as the Putlov Pearl Brooch, sold for $813,750 at a Jewelry, Couture & Objets de Vertu Auction held Dec. 7 by Rago Arts & Auction Center in Lambertville, N.J. It was the most ever paid for one lot at a Rago auction. Price includes a 25 percent buyer's premium.


Harry Bertoia sculpture, $48,800, Palm Beach Modern
Three monumental sculptures by Harry Bertoia (including the one in the middle, which sold for $48,800) were a huge hit at a Modern Art, Decorative Art & Sculpture Auction held Nov. 1 by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Fla. It was a new auction record for a work by the artist using the spill cast technique. Price include a 22 percent buyer's premium.


Ward Brothers pintails, $105,000, Guyette & Deeter
A pair of circa-1932 pintail decoys by the Ward Brothers sold for $105,000 at a Fall Decoy Auction held Nov. 12-13 by Guyette & Deeter, Inc. (based in St. Michaels, Md.) at the Talbot County Community Center in Easton, Md. Also, a circa-1880s widgeon drake by the Stevens Brothers brought $35,075; and a pair of circa-1900 canvasbacks by Mitchell Fulcher (Stacey, N.C.) realized $28,750. Prices include a 15 percent buyer's premium.


Patek Philippe watch, $23.2 million, Sotheby's
A Patek Philippe watch completed in 1932 and called The Henry Graves Super Complication sold for $23.2 million at an Important Watches Auction held Nov. 11 by Sotheby's in Switzerland. It was a new world auction record for a timepiece. Prices include a 20 percent buyer's premium.


Paul Evans cabinet/dry bar, $48,800, Palm Beach Modern
A mixed-metal cabinet/dry bar designed by Paul Evans (Am., 1931-1987), one of 11 of his “Cityscape” pieces up for auction, sold for $48,800 at an autumn-themed auction held Nov. 22 by Palm Beach Modern Auctions in West Palm Beach, Fla. Also, a pair of large, five-arm Stilnovo sconces fetched $20,740; a monumental “Sputnik”/starburst chandelier with illuminating glass spikes coasted to $19,520; a pair of Marco Zanuso “Milord” lounge chairs made $11,590; and an Emil Stejnar chandelier hit $7,625. Prices include a 22 percent buyer's premium.


Zhang Daqian scroll, $236,000, Michaan's
A hanging scroll by the 20th century Chinese artist Zhang Daqian titled, Horse, and depicting a lone horse, sold for $236,000 at a Fine Asian Works of Art Auction held Dec. 15 by Michaan's Auctions in Alameda, Calif. Another hanging scroll by Daqian, titled  , went for $177,000; a set of four gilt-silver filigree and enameled female warriors chalked up $32,450; a gilt-bronze figure of Yama and Chamunda also brought $32,450; and one lot of four carved snuff bottles, with a jade toggle, made $26,550. Prices include a 17 percent buyer's premium.


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