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Before we get to New Zealand

26 March 2001

The principal focus of the Christie’s Los Angeles sale of February 22 was a collection of Pacific voyages, with particular emphasis on New Zealand, and I shall return to that sale next week (see issue no. 1483) – but there were a few other things as well.

Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding

26 March 2001

A 1690 first of Locke’s Essay Concerning Humane Understanding, bound in contemporary English mottled calf gilt and formerly in Sir Isaac Newton’s library, that reached $190,000 (£131,035) was acquired by Freilich at the Haskell F. Norman sales of 1998, when the price was $200,000.

Faulkner and the Battle Hymn

26 March 2001

US: WILLIAM Faulkner’s books have been selling very well in recent times, and a January 25 sale held by Pacific Auction Galleries saw bids of $1300 (£895) for a first trade edition of The Hamlet, 1940, in a very bright jacket, and $2500 (£1725) for a copy of one of his earlier works, Mosquitoes of 1927, again in a jacket. However, while modern firsts overall certainly did well at this sale, the day’s top lot was a 19th century manuscript of American historical interest.

Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine ...

26 March 2001

One of 194 full-page engraved plates from a 1588 first of Ramelli’s Le Diverse et artificiose machine..., a study of the science and technology of machines in the Renaissance and one of the more famous illustrated books of the 16th century.

Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae...

26 March 2001

Pictured here is the title page of one of the more important publications in the history of science – Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae... of 1735, which laid the groundwork for the systematic classification of plants and animals.

Hevelius’ Selenographia...

26 March 2001

Sold at $75,000 (£51,725), at the Freilich sale which took place at Sotheby’s New York on January 10 and 11, was a superb copy of the first complete lunar atlas, Hevelius’ Selenographia... of 1647.

Seventeenth century diversions on a dextrous and mysterious art

26 March 2001

US: THE FIRST sale of 2001 at the San Francisco rooms of Pacific Book Auction Galleries – who recently announced that they had acquired significant additional private funding with the aim of extending their marketing and professional services – took place on January 18 and offered one man’s angling library.

Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle

19 March 2001

US: BOUND in late 17th century French red morocco gilt, this is the five-volume Aldine editio princeps of the works of Aristotle, the 1497-98 first edition in Greek and, in the amount of research and editing that went into its creation, let alone the fine typography, the greatest printing project of the 15th century.

Cincinnati Museum project turns up unknown miniatures by Hilliard, Cosway and Cooper

19 March 2001

A MAJOR cataloguing project at the Museum of Cincinnati in Ohio has authenticated up to 15 very important and hitherto unrecorded portrait miniatures by the likes of Nicholas Hilliard.

Objects of desire: American dogs...

12 March 2001

US: THERE may be plenty of people talking about economic downturn in the US but, for the moment at least, American dog lovers retain a healthy enthusiasm for their particular corner of the picture market.

All eyes are on the baseline

05 March 2001

Sales in the USA 20th Century Lighting and Quality Antiques was the title of the $2.2m (£1,549,295) January 27 sale conducted by Fontaine Auction Gallery (12 per cent buyer’s premium) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, but it was certainly the former that made this quarterly catalogue so noteworthy. Of 497 lots offered, almost 200 were occupied by table/boudoir lamps, light fittings shades and stained glass panels by the likes of Handel, Pairpoint, Suess and, of course, the Tiffany Studios.

In a climate of fear, the rich men’s staples sell

26 February 2001

US: FEARS of an economic downturn seem to have almost as much effect in the United States as any downturn itself, and there was much talk of recession in the run-up to this year’s Palm Beach International Art and Antiques Fair, the Florida phenomenon which organiser David Lester has taken to the premier league in just five years.

$280,000 Fragonard sketch

26 February 2001

US: OVERLOOKED in our recent report on the New York Old Master sales, this Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) oil sketch for a much-admired, but now lost painting of The Visitation is worth putting on the record after it fetched an upper estimate $280,000 (£197,185) at the New York rooms of Doyle’s (15/10 per cent buyer’s premium) on January 24.

US ban Italian antiquity imports

20 February 2001

NEW regulations intended to ban the import of looted archaeological items from Italy into the USA are likely to increase the burden of documentation on antiquities dealers.

Recession proof?

19 February 2001

US: RECENT jitters about the health of the US economy have had a noticeably negative effect on several sectors of the international auction market. The US wine market, however, seems to be relatively untouched as yet.

Izannah Walker’s Painted Ladies

19 February 2001

US: AN IZANNAH WALKER doll from Rhode Island was the star turn in a Toys & Collectables sale held on December 9 in the Bolton (Massachusetts) rooms of Skinners and brought a bid of $21,000 (£14,480). Made around 1870, the 18in (46cm) tall doll illustrated right, wearing a grey-green plaid dress of silk taffeta, and with a pair of period ice skates with red leather straps strung over her shoulder, has an oil painted cloth body – even the hands and face are made of painted cloth.

Double eagle has a happy landing at last

19 February 2001

US: A LONG-running legal dispute has been sorted out in the United States. Unusually for such a contest I understand that everybody is happy.

Lighting-up time...

19 February 2001

US: HIGHLIGHTS – in every sense – from the January 13 sale of Furniture & Decorations held by Sloans of Washington D.C. are pictured here.

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and the top people’s vet…

16 February 2001

UK: Dr Leonard Levine, who died last year, was known on New York’s Upper East Side as the “Veterinarian to the Rich and Famous”, but he was also an avid Walt Whitman collector.

Lester aims for US ‘destination event’

12 February 2001

USA: FLORIDA-based organiser David Lester plans to move into the North East of the United States this autumn with the launch from October 4 to 14 of The New York International Fine Art Fair in Westchester County, New York State.

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