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Headlines and Highlights: Week of March 15th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of March 15th
March 15, 2024
Keenan Flack

Phillips Evening Sale Finds £13.7 million, Marking a Downtrend From Last Year


Phillips's London evening sale of 20th century and contemporary art on March 7, which garnered £13.7 million ($17.3 million), failed to meet its presale estimate and fell short compared to the previous year’s equivalent sale. However, this event demonstrated some optimism for the art market in 2024, particularly within the contemporary sector, with new records set for artists Jesse Mockrin and Kehinde Wiley. The sale highlighted Phillips's year-on-year improvement among the major auction houses and introduced a successful bid for contemporary Saudi Arabian artist Alia Ahmad's work, indicating a positive reception for emerging artists.

The auction featured several standout sales, including Alia Ahmad's debut work which exceeded expectations, selling for four times its low estimate at £80,000 ($101,600), showcasing strong international interest. Additionally, Marina Perez Simão’s work doubled its low estimate, confirming the continued market heat for the Brazilian artist. A notable mention also goes to the sale of a portrait of Princess Diana by Andy Warhol, which sold for £2.4 million ($3.1 million), surpassing its estimated range and marking a high point for the artist’s market regarding Princess Diana-themed works.

Moreover, the auction presented a diverse array of works that captivated buyers worldwide, from Salvo's Mediterraneo fetching an estimate-doubling price to Jordan Wolfson's work almost doubling its presale estimate. ARTNET

Civil War Era Postage Stamp May Break Multi-Million Dollar Record

Siegel Auctions

In June 2024, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York will auction off an extremely rare 1868 one-cent “Z-grill” stamp featuring Benjamin Franklin from the collection of William H. Gross, the founder of Pimco. This stamp, one of only two known to exist and the only one available to collectors, is expected to fetch between $4 million and $5 million, potentially setting a new record for the highest price ever paid for a U.S. postage stamp. The sale will include 100 lots from Gross's prestigious stamp collection, with the auction taking place over two days at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel and the Collectors Club of New York.

The “Z-grill” stamp is distinguished by its unique embossed grill pattern, an anti-fraud feature introduced by the U.S. Post Office following the Civil War to prevent the reuse of stamps. This stamp, along with a few others featuring different grill patterns, represents a rare and significant period in philatelic history. Gross, who has been a major figure in stamp collecting, acquired the Z-grill in 1998 for $935,000, completing his collection and leading to a waning interest in further acquisitions. The upcoming sale of Gross's collection, expected to realize between $15 million and $20 million, marks a significant event in the world of stamp collecting, offering a rare opportunity to own a piece of postal history. ARTNET

Collectible Happenings

A rare, 14-karat gold Lego Bionicle Hau mask discovered in a donation box at a Goodwill store in western Pennsylvania sold for over $18,000, marking it as one of the most expensive individual Lego pieces ever auctioned. The piece, originally made as a limited edition prize for Lego competitions in 2001, was unknowingly listed on ShopGoodwill and fetched a final sale price after attracting significant attention and bids, with proceeds going to support Goodwill's charitable mission. ARTNET

RMSotheby’s Monaco sale will feature the collection of 1979 WDC Jody Sheckter, including multiple Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren automobiles. With the top lot expected to be 1979 Ferrari 312 T4, which is Enzo Ferrari’s last F1 World Championship winning car; estimated at between €5,250,000 - €6,500,000 EUR. RMSOTHEBYS

Rally’s Lamborghini Countach received a buyout offer earlier this week for $1 million. Following that offer they received something of a bidding war that found the car reaching a price of $1,181,250; resulting in a return of +86% since IPO and +125% since last trade. RALLY

An "ultra-specialized" gang of thieves stole a collection valued at around €1.2 million ($1.3 million), including jewelry and gold statues, from the Museo d'Annunzio Segreto at the Vittoriale degli Italiani in northern Italy, leaving behind significant damage to Umberto Mastroianni’s artistic legacy. The heist, carried out with meticulous planning and execution, has prompted an investigation by Italy’s specialized Carabinieri unit, amid concerns that the stolen artifacts may already have been melted down for their gold. ARTNET

Rally will be sending their NASA Apollo 11 Buzz Aldrin Control Stick to auction at RR Auction after an investor vote received 79.85% approval. RALLY

Steve Aoki’s vinyl grading service, Audio Media Grading (AMG), has acquired competitor Tuned in Grading. TWITTER

President of PSA, Ryan Hoge, was interviewed by NYPost about Caitlin Clark cards and their massive surge in value. YOUTUBE

ARTEX Stock Exchange begins trading with their Francis Bacon Canvas. ARTEX YAHOOFINANCE

Robert Edward Auctions is hosting a sale featuring over 3,400 items, including a vast array of baseball cards from historical figures like Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth, modern football cards such as a 2000 Bowman Chrome Tom Brady Rookie, and a selection of vintage unopened material from various sports. Highlights include a 1911 Sporting Life Honus Wagner Cabinet card, rare Babe Ruth strip cards, and highly graded cards of baseball legends, offering collectors a unique opportunity to acquire rare and iconic pieces with starting bids at $10, running through March 24. SCDAILY

Topps signs deal with Team Great Britain for the Olympics. SCDAILY

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