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Europeans dominate a shaky new surreal world

19 February 2001

UK: PRESIDING auctioneer Jussi Pylkkannen should surely have entered into the spirit of things by taking off his black bow tie and putting a bowler hat or a lobster on his head.

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.

Andy Capp and Roosevelt

19 February 2001

UK: BOOKS were not really the main attraction in this sale, although it did contain a 1795 first edition of John Aikin’s illustrated Description of the Country... round Manchester. This was, however, an ex-library copy that had been rebound and had its share of stamps.

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.

The art of painting craft

16 February 2001

Peter Monamy: 1681-1749 and His Circle by F B Cockett

Valour diction

16 February 2001

British Campaign Medals, by Peter Duckers 1815-1914

Modest castaway is uncovered

12 February 2001

FRANCE: French auctioneer Jean-Emmanuel Prunier, whose saleroom is at Louviers in Normandy, spent several weeks researching the story behind a 19th century ship’s figurehead before his January 28 sale.

Early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table

12 February 2001

UK: Emblazoned with the full armorial of the Strutt and Galton families, this early 19th century Italian marble and pietra dura table stole the limelight at Short, Graham & Co.’s sale in Gloucester on January 23.

Jade chicken cup flies to £19,000

12 February 2001

UK: When a private UK vendor consigned a Chinese celadon jade cup to Christie’s South Kensington (17.5/10% buyer’s premium) at £400-600, he could not have hoped in his wildest dreams to sell it for almost 50 times the low estimate.

Ceramics take high ground in Devon floods

12 February 2001

Lambeth tugs and Staffordshire jug bring in bidders UK: THE Devon branch of Bonhams & Brooks were undoubtedly pleased to have disposed of their ‘Fine Furniture, Clocks and Objects’ before the floods, but in fact the weather did not seem to affect turnout for what looked more like an end-of-year clearance in December.

Instruments play second fiddle to bows

12 February 2001

THE Bath auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate (15 per cent buyer's premium), who have made musical instruments a widely and well-regarded specialist subject, saw a respectable 70 per cent take-up for their 317-lot event on 1 December.

Pinault must keep Pharaoh

12 February 2001

FRANCE: A Paris court has refused the request of Christie’s owner François Pinault to revoke the sale of a statue of Pharaoh Sesostris III on the grounds that it was not authentic.

British & Irish Sales 2000

12 February 2001

THERE are yet two major Sotheby’s sales of last December to report – the Travel & Map sale of December 14 and the English Literature & History sale of December 19 – but as there are no 2001 Sotheby’s sales scheduled until May, there is no fear of an overlap, and these sales aside, the three brief reports that appear below bring my wider coverage of the old year’s book sales to a close.

Aristocrats of design

12 February 2001

Robin & Lucienne Day: Pioneers of Contemporary Design by Lesley Jackson, published by Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 1840002395. £30 hb.

De Villa Dei's Doctrinale and Audubon’s Birds of America...

12 February 2001

US: ALTHOUGH literary manuscripts and first editions of the 19th and 20th centuries rather dominated the Christie’s New York sale of December 14, other areas of the market were represented in the catalogue, and illustrated here is a specimen of Dutch prototypography which sold at $26,000 (£17,930).

Judge lenient on price-fixing fine

12 February 2001

US: THE THREE year investigation into the price-fixing conspiracy between Sotheby’s and Christie’s entered its closing stages at a federal court in Manhattan last week as a federal judge formally accepted the criminal guilt of both auctioneers and no legal objections were raised to the terms of the $512m settlement in the civil lawsuit.

The sweet smell of Poésie’s success

12 February 2001

UK: ALTHOUGH not the highest grossing section of the four-day International sale at Sotheby's South, Billingshurst, the works of art section held on January 30 still saw a number of strong prices for sculpture and bronzes with the top seller this alabaster bust, right entitled Poésie.

The magic of Rackham

12 February 2001

UK: IN 1905, the Leicester Galleries, regular show place for Arthur Rackham R.W.S. (1867-1939) introduced Rackham to J.M. Barrie and as they say, the rest is history.

Computer-age factor causes bureau bids to crash

12 February 2001

UK: HARROGATE, in terms of preserved 18th century elegance, may be the North’s equivalent of Bath, but even here 21st century pressures apply.

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