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Headlines and Highlights: Week of November 10th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of November 10th
November 10, 2023
Keenan Flack

Picasso Portrait sells for $139 Million in Fisher Landau Sale


A Picasso painting, "Femme à la montre" from 1932 featuring his 'golden muse' Marie-Thérèse Walter, fetched $139.4 million ($121M hammer price), marking the second-highest auction price for the artist's work. The piece was the star of the Emily Fisher Landau sale, held by Sotheby's who earlier secured the rights to manage Landau's esteemed estate. Landau, a board member of the Whitney Museum and a private museum owner, treasured this painting, displaying it prominently in her home.

The auction saw intense bidding, starting at $95 million and soaring to the pre-sale estimate of $120 million after a competitive session among bidders, including international collectors. Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s head of global fine art, secured the final bid for her client.

This is the highest price for a Picasso work at auction in eight years. The sale of Les Femmes d’Alger (Version ‘O’) in May of 2015 at Christie’s still holds the auction record for the Spanish artist. ARTNET

Rare stamp sells for $2 Million

Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries

The Inverted Jenny, a rare 1918 U.S. stamp featuring an upside-down airplane, has broken records by selling for $2 million at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York. This sale represents an enormous leap from its original cost of 24 cents, marking an extraordinary moment in philately.

The stamp gained its fame due to a printing error during the rush to release it for the inaugural airmail flight, resulting in the famed inversion. William T. Robey, a bank teller, purchased the only sheet of 100 error stamps and quickly sold them for a substantial profit, which then changed hands for even more.

The Inverted Jenny has since become a legend among stamp collectors, with various blocks and individual stamps from the original sheet fetching high prices at auction. The most recent sale of the position 49 stamp, known for its exceptional condition and "Mint Never-Hinged" status, set a new high for a single U.S. stamp. This particular stamp, stored in a bank vault for a century, was previously sold for $1.59 million in 2018 before reaching its record-breaking price in the latest auction, where an anonymous buyer prevailed in a competitive bidding.

Collectible Happenings

Items associated with the assassination of John F. Kennedy, including a section of the picket fence from the "grassy knoll" and a window from the Texas School Book Depository, are being auctioned by RR Auction, 60 years after the event. The auction, closing on November 8, also features Lee Harvey Oswald's first handgun, his jail call receipt, and JFK's 1945 personal diary. TMZ

Barbara Walters' estate, valued at around $8 million, is up for auction at Bonhams, featuring over 300 lots including American art, jewelry, fashion, and furniture from her Upper East Side home. Highlights of the auction, which runs through November 7 with a live event on November 6, include her audacious jewelry collection and a John Singer Sargent portrait, with net proceeds going to undisclosed charities. ARTNET

An extremely rare 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie trading card, once belonging to a Baltimore News newspaper boy and later housed at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, is now up for auction. With only ten known examples, this card, graded VG 3 by SGC, is the second-finest confirmed example and is expected to fetch a record-breaking price, reflecting Ruth's unparalleled legacy in baseball and the trading card industry. REA

During a drug bust in Melbourne's south-east, police seized an estimated $200,000 worth of Lego, along with methamphetamine, gemstones, cash, and an imitation firearm. A 36-year-old man faces multiple charges related to the bust, where the items seized are believed to be proceeds of crime. 9NEWS MELBOURNE

Thieves executed a well-organized heist at the Royal Lancers & Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum by cutting through the floor to steal "priceless" silver military antiques, including a rosewater dish similar to the Wimbledon women's singles trophy. The burglary, which included items of high sentimental value, occurred early Sunday morning, prompting concerns that the stolen artifacts might be melted down for their silver content. BBC

A federal judge has resolved a long-standing family dispute over the ownership of four Norman Rockwell drawings that hung in the White House, ruling in favor of William Nile Elam III. The case involved allegations of theft and concealed ownership, but the judge found insufficient evidence of these claims, concluding that the artworks had been legitimately passed down to Elam from his ancestors. ARTNET

 As New York's art auctions approach amid global economic uncertainties, major auction houses like Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips are cautiously pricing and securing top artworks, such as a Picasso valued over $120 million from the Emily Fisher Landau estate. The art market, currently valued at $60 billion, faces a potential down cycle, with signs of softening demand and a shift in buyer focus, despite expectations that the November season could generate significant revenue for the auction houses. NYTIMES

Geddy Lee, the famed lead singer of the rock band Rush and an avid baseball memorabilia collector, is putting his historic baseball collection up for auction with Christie’s and Hunt Auctions. The collection, featuring nearly 300 items including rare artifacts like a baseball signed by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and memorabilia from Negro Leagues legends, will be auctioned starting December 6, with public viewing from December 1-5. SPORTSCOLLECTORSDIGEST

CGC Video Games™ is now offering grading services for box-only submissions, allowing collectors to protect and grade individual components of their favorite games, including special limited-edition and display-only boxes. This service is available for games currently eligible for CGC Video Games’ certification, excluding items like Big Boxes, homebrews, and reproductions. CGC

A hoverboard prop used by Michael J. Fox's character Marty McFly in the sci-fi film "Back to the Future: Part II" was auctioned on Tuesday, June 21st, fetching $156,000. This iconic prop, a lightweight foam board painted pink and decorated with "HOVERBOARD" and Mattel logos, exhibits wear from use and age, including a repaired crack and repositioned footpad fastening strips. PROPSTORE

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