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Auction Report

From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

(continued from page 2)

Television toys made their second appearance as a collectibles category at Christie's South Kensington on July 20. "Action Man Space Capsule," in its original box, and with the astronaut-costumed figure outfitted with deep-sea diving equipment and other thrilling accessories, sold for a dramatic $2,460 (est.$300­$450). A Batman Corgi gift set, including Batmobile, Batboat and trailer, and another Batmobile containing a secret instruction kit, all housed in their original boxes, zoomed to $1,581 (est. $300­$450).   Another Corgi gift set, based on the 1960s British hit "The Avengers" and featuring John Steed's vintage red Bentley and Emma Peel's white Lotus Elan (with two umbrellas, of course) in its original box, sold for $739 (est. $300­$450). From another BBC cult favorite, a replica red-and-silver Dalek, a kind of robotic warrior from a Raymond Cusick design for the program "Dr. Who," rolled to $2,109 (est. $750­$1,200).    

AUCTION PREVIEWS  

AMERICANA On November 29, Sotheby's New York offers the Americana library of collector Laird U. Park Jr., a staggering trove assembled over a 50-year period and chock-full of books, letters and manuscripts, largely by or about Benjamin Franklin and early Philadelphia. One gem is a letter written by Franklin on February 19, 1776, to Gen. Charles Lee, introducing his friend Thomas Paine as "the real author of Common Sense" (est. $120,000­$180,000). Speaking of Paine, another letter, from George Washington to James Madison, dated June 12, 1784, discusses a fund to help the down-and-out writer (est. $200,000­$300,000). The collection is estimated to fetch between $4 million and $6 million. Viewing is at Sotheby's on November 25 and 27, 10 a.m.­5 p.m., and November 26, 1­5 p.m., with the auction on the 29th, 10 a.m.­5 p.m. Contact: Selby Kiffer at 212/774-5322. 

AMERICAN PAINTINGS On November 28, history painting comes alive at Phillips New York with Benjamin West's Death of General Wolfe, featuring the British commander lying mortally wounded as his troops vanquished the French on Quebec's Plains of Abraham on September 13, 1759 (est. $180,000­$200,000). The viewing is on November 21­24 and 26­27, 10 a.m.­5 p.m., and November 25, noon­5 p.m., and the auction is on the 28th at 2:30 p.m. at Phillips New York, 406 East 79th Street. For more information, contact Lyle C. Gray at 212/570-4830. 

AVIATION Billed as the largest single-owner sale of its kind, Butterfields' November 14 auction at its San Francisco headquarters features some 1,000 items of First World War aviation memorabilia from the collection of Floridian Norm Flayderman. Gems from the collection include a rare, shot-glass-sized engraved silver trophy cup that the Red Baron (German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen) commissioned after each kill (est. $10,000­$15,000) as well as documented fragments from his downed Fokker triplane (est. $400­$600). Viewing: November 10­13, 9 a.m.­5 p.m, auction: November 14, 10 a.m. at Butterfields, 220 San Bruno Avenue. Contact: Greg Martin at 415/503-3341.  

BOOKS AND MANUSCRIPTS Literary lions take over at Christie's New York on December 14, led by a rare first edition of Edgar Allen Poe's 1843 Prose Romances, which contains literature's first detective story, "Murders in the Rue Morgue" (est. $120,000­$180,000). An extensive selection of Walt Whitman material includes a first edition of Leaves of Grass (est. $50,000­$70,000). James Joyce's previously unknown first draft for Ulysses' "Circe" chapter leads the twentieth-century entries. It takes the book's Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus through Dublin's red light district (est. $600,000­$900,000). On the political side, a 1792 letter written by George Washington to an aide about the new federal city of Washington and the dismissal of French-born architect Charles Pierre L'Enfant from the project offers a fascinating window into that time (est. $250,000­$350,000). Viewing: December 9­12, 10 a.m.­5 p.m.; December 13, 10 a.m.­2 p.m.; auction December 14, 10 a.m. at Christie's New York, 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Contact: Chris Coover at 212/636-2669 or Thomas Lecky at 212/636-2666.  

CONTINENTAL FURNITURE AND ANTIQUE SWORDS A rich armada of property de-accessioned by the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization founded in 1783 by Continental officers of the American Revolution, goes on the block at Sloan's Auction Galleries in Washington, D.C., on December 5. Items include a sword once belonging to Jean Lafitte, the storied eighteenth-century pirate and mercenary (est. $25,000­$35,000). Furniture includes a Louis XIV­style carved giltwood marble-top center table (est. $12,000­$18,000) from the late nineteenth century. Proceeds will benefit the society's permanent collection. Viewing: November 28, December 1­2, 10 a.m.­5 p.m.; November 29­30, 10 a.m.­9 p.m.; December 3, noon­5 p.m.; December 4, 10 a.m.­4 p.m., with the auction December 5, 10 a.m., at Sloan's, 4920 Wyaconda Road, N. Bethesda, Maryland. Contact: Colin Clarke at 301/468-4911.  

FILM AND ENTERTAINMENT Christie's South Kensington plays Hollywood and beyond on December 12 with a wardrobe of vintage props and costumes, including a raspberry-colored two-piece Givenchy suit worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 romantic thriller Charade (est. $4,500­$7,500).   For sheer entertainment, a circa 1912 poster of Harry Houdini depicts the padlock-bound showman hung upside-down in a water-filled tank performing his "Chinese Water Torture" act (est. $3,000­$4,500). Viewing: December 10, 1­4 p.m., December 11, 9 a.m.­7:30 p.m.; auction: December 12, 11 a.m.­2 p.m. at 85 Old Brompton Road, London. Contact: Sarah Hodgson at 44/20-7581-7611.  

FIREARMS A sale of firearms dating from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries from the noted collection of William Keith Neal, the late British antique gun authority and historian, takes place at Christie's London on November 9. Highlights include a German double-barreled over-and-under pistol dated 1548 (est. $37,500­$45,000) and a pair of flintlock carriage pistols in pristine condition by H.W. Mortimer, London, circa 1795, in their original case (est. $18,000­$22,500). Viewing: November 5, 2­5 p.m.; November 6 and 8, 9 a.m.­4:30 p.m.; November 7, 9 a.m.­8 p.m. at 8 King Street, St. James, London. A New York City viewing will be held October 13­14 and 16, 10 a.m.­5 p.m., and October 15, 1­5 p.m., at 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Contact: Howard Dixon at 44/20-7389-2022.  

FOUNTAIN PENS Bonhams will stage an online auction of modern limited-edition pens in mid-December. Items include a blue marbled Parker Duofold Centennial from the 1990s (est. $150­$225) and a jet-black Montblanc "Agatha Christie" piece from 1993 (est. $300­$450). Contact: Alexander Crum Ewing at 44/20-7393-3950 or Julie D'Arcy Evans at 44/20-7393-3919. 


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