Friday, August 2, 2013

LiveAuctioneers Unveils Sleek New Design Theme In Q2, Reports Significant Increase In Mobile Use

Tablet visits showed greatest gain, up 64% over comparable quarter of 2012

NEW YORK (LAPRS) – LiveAuctioneers, a Manhattan-based company that provides Internet live bidding services to more than 1,800 auction houses worldwide, entered its second decade of operation in Q1 2013 with a substantial increase in both international auction-house clients and new users outside the United States. During the second quarter, the firm unveiled a stylish redesign of its website that CEO Julian R. Ellison described as “smart and modern – right in step with our technology.”

The website’s new theme is spare and generously visual, with a homepage that offers visitors the option of viewing upcoming auctions in a grid-like format with four auctions displayed per horizontal line, or in the traditional LiveAuctioneers style that features one auction with five relevant highlight images per horizontal line. According to Ellison, this is just one example of the many changes LiveAuctioneers has implemented recently in direct response to feedback received from auctioneers and bidders.

“Our website redesign continues to evolve. We want to make LiveAuctioneers not only a place where bidders can enjoy browsing online catalogs and bidding live via the Internet but also a destination for useful information presented as they prefer to view it. That’s why we’ve placed such an emphasis on listening to input from those who rely on our services – the bidders and the auction houses,” Ellison said.

All bidder activities are now aggregated on a freshly designed bidder dashboard. At that location, a logged-in LiveAuctioneers user can check their inbox, view all saved items from future sales, manage their profile and auction alerts; and monitor approvals to bid online in upcoming auctions. They can also contact an auction house to pay for a recent auction purchase and even estimate shipping costs. Another valuable dashboard tool connects to an archive of past online purchases that the user can view chronologically with a single mouse click. The auction-purchase archive provides a valuable record of when the user made each of their purchases, for how much, and from which auction house.

LiveAuctioneers’ second quarter of 2013 was a period marked by significant growth in mobile and tablet use. As compared to Q2 2012, there was a 49.89% increase in mobile visits to, while visits through tablets jumped more than 64%. The average mobile visitor remained on the site 6.49% longer than in the comparable quarter of 2012.

Statistics indicated steady growth in many other key areas during Q2. Page views were up 6.98% as compared to Q2 2012, rising from 77,240,751 to 82,631,295. The number of overall visits to the site grew by 2.68% to 8,991,156; and the number of unique visitors rose 1.40% to 4,836,332. The average time spent on the site per visit increased nearly 10% over the comparable quarter of 2012.

“As these figures show, LiveAuctioneers has maintained a solid pattern of growth that has not wavered since the company was launched more than 10 years ago. We’re expecting a very busy fall and winter auction season, which should bring with it a surge of new-bidder sign-ups,” said Ellison.

Click to view a video that shows an auction in progress through the LiveAuctioneers bidding platform:

To contact LiveAuctioneers, email


The redesign of LiveAuctioneers’ website creates a richly visual environment in which to browse and bid online. Photo: LiveAuctioneers

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Manatee Galleries’ July 27 Auction Features Diplomat's Chinese Porcelain Collection

Manatee Galleries’ auction of the Ambassador Ragnar Petri and Mrs. Ingrid Burdin Petri 400-lot collection includes Asian treasures retained by same family for 100+ years

PALMETTO, FL – Only rarely does a collection come to the auction marketplace that can match for quality and provenance the one Manatee Galleries is offering on July 27th. The Ambassador Ragnar Petri and Mrs. Ingrid Burdin Petri collection of European and Asian fine and decorative art is a testament to the connoisseurship of two world travelers driven by a passion for beauty and cultural history.

“Ambassador and Mrs. Petri are both originally from Sweden and now retired in Florida. Ragnar Petri served as Swedish ambassador and consulate to many nations, including Japan, Ecuador, Germany, Spain and Colombia,” explained Adrienne Falconer, president of Manatee Galleries. “Ingrid Petri was born into a family of collectors. Her father was Gylfe Burdin, a prosperous Stockholm businessman and art aficionado who acquired only the finest antique Asian porcelain, which Ingrid eventually inherited.”

Over a period of 65 years, the Petris have formed an exceptional collection that blends the Gylfe Burdin collection with antiques judiciously purchased during their years of diplomatic travels. The collection has remained solely in the Petris’ hands, and they have never before offered it for sale. The majority of the art to be auctioned on July 27 is fresh to the market, and most of the Chinese pieces with provenance from the Burdin collection have been kept within the Burdin/Petri family by direct descent for more than a century.

Manatee Galleries has opted to place conservative estimates on all pieces. The Petris’ favorite Chinese work is a rare Chongzheng (1628-1643) transitional “Wucai boys” covered jar. The 11½-inch vessel is richly painted with a depiction of genteel ladies seated in a garden, watching boisterous young boys at play. A similar jar sold for HK$275,000 at Christie’s May 2012 sale in Hong Kong. It is entered in Manatee’s sale with a $3,000-$5,000 estimate.

An important famille verte covered jar, 18th/19th century, has a Chinese signature on the side of the jar and an underglaze blue double-circle mark, possibly of the Kangxi Period 1662-1722). Its motif depicts a robed dignitary holding a bolt of silk, followed by a servant with a large hand fan. Standing 8 inches tall, it is expected to make $1,000-$5,000.

Another famille verte highlight is the brightly enameled 17th-century Kangxi Period Chinese plate, 9¼ inches (dia.), with an image of two elegant ladies in a verdant pavilion garden. The wonderfully decorative border features four cartouches with colorful winged insects. A similar example sold for $17,276 at Christie’s South Kensington’s Sept. 19, 2012 Interiors sale. The plate from the Petri collection carries a $2,000-$5,000 estimate.

Manatee Galleries’ catalog describes a rare and important 17th-century Chinese verte covered box as having “the finest-quality painting [we] have seen on a piece that is well over 300 years old.” Its lid is vibrantly filled with the image of two boys – possibly twins – bound together at the waist but running in opposite directions. The 4.1-inch diameter box retains a 1950s label from the Amsterdam gallery “Kunstzalen A. Vecht” and is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

An eye-filling early 17th-century Ming Zhangzhou (Swatow) polychrome basin has steep flaring sides and is generously decorated in iron-red, green, turquoise and black enamels. Its central image is of a bird in full flight amongst peony blooms, and the medallions at each quarter turn bear Chinese marks. On verso, there are old collectors’ labels and a six-character Chinese mark. With no chips, cracks or repairs, the 15½in-diameter basin is entered in the sale with a $1,000-$5,000 estimate.

Yet another premier lot is a Chinese Guangxu blue and white dish with underglaze blue six-character mark, and of the period 1875-1908, featuring a central motif of a curled dragon and flaming pearl amongst thunderbolts. The 7¼-inch dish is estimated at $2,000-$3,000.

A showcase for Chinese artistry at its most appealing, an antique huanghuali wood screen is embellished with jade and hardstone on its panels, each with a lively scene of activities within an imperial or noble court. The multicolored screen measures 72 inches by 72 inches and is estimated at $4,000-$5,000.

Of the Asian scrolls to be auctioned, the most significant is a signed Kanou Motonobu (Japanese, 1476-1559) metallic scroll painting that measures 49 inches long by 19½ inches wide. Centered with an ethereal depiction of three horses standing in water – one of them leaning down to drink – the painting is of particular importance because it was created by the eldest son of Kano Motonobu, founder of the famous Japanese school of painting.

“The Kano family is one of the most important lineages in Japanese history,” said Adrienne Falconer. “They dominated the painting world from the end of the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) to the end of the Edo Period (1600-1868).”

The Motonobu Kanou scroll painting exhibits a technique known as wa-kan, a hybrid of Japanese and Chinese painting that requires careful brushwork techniques. The scroll is estimated at $3,000-$5,000.

The Petri collection also includes an outstanding selection of English Staffordshire, silhouettes and miniature paintings; and even some mid-century modern design. The star of the European antiques section, however, is a 19th-century “blue john,” white marble and slate urn on pedestal that has been electrified to function as a lamp. Blue john, which was discovered by the Ancient Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, is a rare natural variety of calcium fluorite known as “radix amethysti” for its distinctively colored deep purple veins. The only known deposit of this unusual mineral – also known as Derbyshire spar – was found in the hills of Derbyshire’s Hope Valley in England. Highly prized blue john was a favorite mineral of Birmingham silversmith and ormolu manufacturer Matthew Boulton, who used it in the production of candelabra, urns, candlesticks and other decorative and functional pieces.

The blue john mines and seams are now largely exhausted, making the urn/lamp in the Petri collection all the more valuable. Its auction estimate is $3,000-$5,000.

Manatee Galleries’ auction of the Ambassador Ragnar Petri and Mrs. Ingrid Burdin Petri collection will take place on July 27, 2013, starting at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Preview July 24-26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., on July 27 (auction day) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment. The gallery is located at 1007 10th Avenue West in Palmetto, Florida 34221. All forms of bidding will be available, including absentee, phone and live via the Internet through, and The online catalog may be viewed online at any of these three websites.

For additional information on any item in the auction, to leave an absentee bid or to book a phone line, call 941-722-4800 or email Visit Manatee Galleries online at


Chinese Chongzheng (1628-1643) transitional “Wucai boys” covered jar, 11½in, similar to an example that sold for HK$275,000 at Christie’s May 2012 sale in Hong Kong. Est. $3,000-$5,000. Manatee Galleries image.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Art from Ancient Civilizations join Natural History Treasures in Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 Auction

Highlight: Extraordinarily rare King Tut royal seal mold from early Cairo collection are included in this outstanding selection of natural history and mineral specimens.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – Two premier collections of art and artifacts from ancient civilizations combine to form the core of Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction, which also includes an outstanding selection of natural history and mineral specimens. Many of the 400 lots entered in the absentee, phone and Internet auction come from the meticulously documented, investment-grade collections of two Hollywood insiders – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers. Part I of both these collections anchored Antiquities Saleroom’s extremely successful Feb. 1 auction.

“This is our largest auction ever and contains some of the finest classical antiquities we’ve ever had the pleasure of offering,” said Antiquities Saleroom co-owner and acquisitions director Bob Dodge. “Every category contains pieces that collectors dream of owning but never see at auction or anywhere else.”

The session will open with gems and minerals, led by a beautiful pallasite meteorite, 4.5 billion years old, which quite literally is the remnant of an early planet in our solar system. The iron-based meteorite is infused with amber-hued olivine gem crystals and was discovered in Russia in 1967. The consignor is a well-known dealer who has conducted business with Antiquities Saleroom for many years. The specimen is estimated at $1,000-$2,000 – a very affordable price range, Dodge noted. “In all of our sales we make an effort to include nice pieces for every level of collector. In our June auction there are things that will sell for well under a thousand dollars, and for the advanced collector, there are highly important pieces valued in the tens of thousands of dollars.”

The sale will then move into human cultures, with the highlight being a fantastic Egyptian rarity – a pottery seal mold from “The Boy King,” Tutankhamun (1332-1323 BC). The pottery mold from Tut’s royal workshop is deeply impressed with four elements: ra (sun), kheper (beetle), men (upward rake) and neb (bowl).

These four symbols and their specific arrangement uniquely represent Tutankhamum, Bob Dodge explained. “Pottery molds were used to create scarabs, seals or anything with the pharaoh’s cartouche or name on it. This particular mold probably would have been used to create faience amulets that were passed out as souvenirs to commemorate the reign of a pharaoh, in this case King Tut. In the 25 years I’ve been in this business, this is the first time I’ve seen a genuine King Tut artifact come to auction. It’s from the most important period in terms of Egyptian art, and it’s insanely rare,” Dodge said.

The mold comes directly from the family of the late Philip Mitry, who was an antiquities dealer in Cairo during the 1950s. At that time, the sale of Egyptian antiquities was legal and, in fact, state sponsored. When Mitry moved to the United States in the 1950s, he brought his massive collection with him. The King Tut mold, which became part of Mitry’s collection in 1953, will be auctioned with documentation from Mitry’s family and a lifetime certificate of authenticity from Antiquities Saleroom. The estimate on the piece is $10,000-$20,000, but as Dodge explained, “We think of this as being priceless. It could go far in excess of expectations.”

Another Egyptian rarity is a large scarab impressed with the very clear cartouche of Thutmose III – who, like Tut, was an 18th Dynasty pharaoh. It retains a narrow band of gold on its exterior, and at the bottom is a scene of a monkey in adoration of a horse, symbolizing Thutmose’s much-admired military prowess. A book example, it is expected to make $3,000-$5,000.

The Greek section contains two impressive battle helmets, each exhibiting a different style. One is a Corinthian helmet with a distinctive long nose bridge, 6th to 5th century BC. “It would have been worn by a Hoplite soldier. They would walk in unison in a group of 20 to 100 men, each carrying a 16-foot-long spear. Then they would hunker down and, at the right moment, attack. In their day they were invincible,” Dodge said. The helmet’s estimate is $30,000-$50,000.

The second helmet is Illyrian and made during the same time period as the Corinthian helmet, but of bronze. It features a squared-off style with interior leather padding. Its estimate is $20,000-$30,000. Another helmet of note is French, of hand-hammered steel with handmade rivets and a retractable visor. Although a much later production that the other two helmets, dating to the 14th-15th century, it is a rarity, as few French or British helmets of that period have survived. Estimate: $10,000-$20,000.

Approximately nine rare and desirable pieces of Greek pottery will be auctioned, including three Athenian (Attic) vessels. One is a slender jar known as a lekythos, which was designed to hold precious oils. Considering how Attic art can run into the millions of dollars, it presents a rare buying opportunity with a presale estimate of $9,000-$14,000. A particularly fine kylix wine cup, 4th-6th century BC, features black images on red, against a black ground. Estimate: $20,000-$30,000. The third example is an oinochoe, from which wine was poured at the dinner table. Its estimate is $11,000-$16,000.

The Roman category contains one of the most exciting museum-quality artifacts ever to cross the auction block at Antiquities Saleroom. From the 1st century BC, Lot 89 consists of a pair of large, highly detailed bronze fittings that would have adorned either side of a chariot’s hub. The decorative fittings depict the mighty Pericles (Hercules). “The Greeks were superb with pottery,” Dodge said, “but the Romans may have outdone them with bronze work. This pair of fittings is truly gorgeous. It came from a New York City dealer who obtained them from a private collection on the East Coast.” The estimate for the pair is $40,000-$60,000.

The auction also includes three Roman marbles. A 2nd century marble head of Eros is estimated at $14,000-$20,000, while a smaller marble head of Jupiter from the same century is expected to make $5,000-$7,500. A double-faced marble head of the god Janus could easily surpass its estimate of $3,600-$5,400.

The next portion of the sale is devoted to selections from the “Hollywood” Pre-Columbian art collections mentioned above, with additional choice consignments. Virtually every Pre-Columbian culture is represented, in silver, copper, gold, stone, pottery, textiles and wood. There are 3000 BC artworks of the Valdivian (Ecuador) culture and Peruvian artwork and pottery dating from 1200-1500 BC. A wonderful collection of Pre-Columbian gold includes earrings, a crown, and an exceptional 3-dimensional bird inside a gold ring, with dangling objects beneath it. Dodge believes it may have been an earring or perhaps a temple ornament. The beautifully detailed bird appears in the book Oro del Antiguo Peru and is estimated at $15,000-$30,000.

Of the Mayan pieces in the sale, Dodge is most enamored of a set of four circa 500 BC carved stone monkeys from Mezcala, Mexico. “They’re incredibly well detailed, with very thin tails and openwork. Even modern carvers with sophisticated tools would have difficulty creating pieces like this. To think that carvers with such rudimentary tools did this work is remarkable,” Dodge said. The lot is estimated at $15,000-$25,000.

A prominent politician’s collection of West Mexico pottery is also featured in the sale. The collection includes Colima figural dogs and a rare, 14-inch-long standing duck vessel with a spout in its mouth for pouring fermented beverages. “I’ve seen small ducks and double or triple ducks, but this large duck standing on legs is very unusual. I could see it blowing through its $5,000-$7,000 estimate,” Dodge said. Another important pottery work, a seated shaman is entered with hopes of reaching $6,000-$9,000.

Antiquities Saleroom’s June 13-14 auction will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time on both days. Bids may be placed absentee (including absentee online), by phone or live via the Internet on auction day through The entire auction catalog may be viewed online at Tel. 720-890-7700 or 720-502-5289. Email Web:


Incredible Nazca/Huari golden miniature head, est. $30,000-$50,000. Antiquities Saleroom image.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

LiveAuctioneers Publishes Free Digital Arts Magazine ‘Live2012’ to Commemorate Company’s 10th Anniversary

Stylish 48-page publication includes auction highlights + features on Asian antiques, contemporary art and other in-demand collector categories

NEW YORK – LiveAuctioneers (, the Manhattan-based technology company that provides Internet live-bidding services to 1,695 auction houses in 42 countries, has issued a collector-oriented digital magazine to mark its 10th anniversary. Titled “Live2012,” the 48-page full color publication is available to download free of charge either as a PDF or HTML5 page-turner.

Chock-full of insightful content created by editors and columnists from LiveAuctioneers’ digital arts newspaper “Auction Central News,” the magazine includes 2012’s most exciting auction highlights plus feature articles on Asian art, pop culture, antique toys, and contemporary art’s triumph over Wall Street. Additionally, there are special reports on last year’s high-profile auctions in Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom; and a Q&A feature called “Eye on Design,” which includes interviews with acclaimed interior designers and self-confessed Internet auction “addict” Whoopi Goldberg. LiveAuctioneers’ boutique publicity firm, LiveAuctioneers PR Services is showcased with a report on its most successful campaign of 2012 – promoting the auction of the late Steve Rubell’s personal archive of Studio 54 memorabilia.

The keynote article is LiveAuctioneers CEO and co-founder Julian R. Ellison’s narrative retrospective of LiveAuctioneers’ first 10 years. In his memoir, Ellison recalls his fledgling company’s initial five years in partnership with eBay Live Auctions, and the lessons learned after LiveAuctioneers lost the benefit of eBay’s powerful platform and global exposure.

“When eBay dissolved its Live Auctions division, we were suddenly on our own and scrambling to develop our own live-bidding technology,” Ellison writes in his revealing retrospective. “While we went about this, we were forced to use an interim third-party bidding system that nearly finished us off. It took us a year to build and test our own technology…At least we came out of the experience with an awareness that our own technology had to be the most dependable and robust available. We believe that today it most definitely is.”

Live2012 also showcases LiveAuctioneers’ latest technology suite, from its interactive live-bidding mobile app – the only one of its type in the auction business – to its sleek new website and bidder dashboard, designed by Katana, London.

To view the page-turning version of Live2012:

To download the free PDF:

Visit LiveAuctioneers online at

Live2012, the digital magazine published by LiveAuctioneers to commemorate its first 10 years of operation

Monday, March 25, 2013

Myers presents fresh-to-market selection of paintings direct from artists’ estates in April 7 Fine Art Auction

350+ ‘private reserve’ artworks from N.Y., USA & Europe to make their public debut

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – Nearly all artists of renown have a private reserve of paintings they display in their own homes but never offer for public sale. Myers Fine Art’s April 7 auction features a connoisseur’s selection of artworks that qualify for this elite category. Almost every painting, sculpture or work on paper was obtained directly from a noted artist’s estate or from the recipient to whom the artwork was gifted or bequeathed. A sizable portion of the fresh-to-market auction trove comes from the estates of New York artists, with the remainder representing private holdings from now-deceased American and European painters. While all schools converge in this sale, with a dateline from the early 17th through early 20th centuries, the selection is “predominantly modern,” said Myers co-owner Mary Dowd.

The largest grouping from a single artist is the collection of 15 works by 1960s abstract minimalist Leon Polk Smith (Native American, 1906-1996). Influenced by Piet Mondrian, Smith’s highly original style is associated with the hard-edge school, of which he is considered a founder. Smith spent most of his life in New York City, with the only breaks being a two-year tenure at Rollins College in Florida and a brief period of residence in Cuba. His influence and importance are validated by the many museums whose permanent collections include his paintings, such as the Whitney, the National Gallery of Art, and the Guggenheim, where Smith received a coveted fellowship.

Among the Leon Polk Smith paintings in the April 7 sale is a signed 1970 acrylic on shaped canvas painting from Smith’s acclaimed Constellation series. Measuring 19 inches square, it is estimated at $4,000-$6,000. Also, a 31½in diameter oil and collage on canvas titled “Vermilion Black” is signed on verso and carries the inscription “Gift to Bob Jamieson 1956.” It is expected to make $6,000-$9,000.

The legacy of New York artists continues with three quintessential Johann Berthelsen (American, 1883-1972) oil-on-board snow scenes of Manhattan landmarks: Washington Square Park (18¾in x 22¾in sight, est. $4,000-$6,000), the Empire State Building (19 7/8in x 24in sight, est. $4,000-$6,000) and Central Park. Each of the paintings is signed and attractively framed.

Howard Gardiner Cushing’s (American, 1869-1916) signed oil-on-board “Portrait of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney” depicts the famous New York art patron and museum founder in a fanciful Leon Bakst-designed costume. A pencil notation on the back of the 18in x 13¼in (sight) painting reads, in part, “Bought by Mrs. Delano, 131 E. 36…” It is estimated at $5,000-$7,000.

“It is interesting how the artworks acquired from completely different estates somehow came together in this sale so many years later,” Dowd said. “The ‘Mrs. Delano’ who purchased the Cushing painting was the wife of architect William Adams Delano of the firm Delano & Aldrich. After Howard Cushing died, Mrs. Whitney helped fund a gallery at the Newport Art Museum to memorialize Cushing’s work. Mrs. Whitney’s good friend, William Delano, was chosen to design the gallery.’

“We’re also auctioning some beautiful New York City architectural prints by Chester Price, who, coincidentally, worked for Delano & Aldrich for many years,” Dowd added. “And bringing it full circle, the sale also includes a collection of artists’ books, one of which is filled with colorful plates depicting some of Leon Bakst’s Ballets Russes costumes similar to the one Gertrude Whitney wore for her Cushing portrait.”

A Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971) woodblock print titled “Cholla and Sahuaro” vividly showcases several varieties of cacti, some of them flowering, in a Southwestern desert setting. Pencil-signed with the artist’s chop mark, the 20in x 19in (framed) work is numbered 49/125 and expected to realize $10,000-$15,000 at auction.

Distinctly the work of Balcomb Greene (American, 1904-1990), a dramatic oil-on-linen artwork depicting craggy rocks and chilly waters is titled “The Cove.” It measures 60in x 54in, is artist signed and estimated at $4,000-$6,000. A more placid water scene is William Allyn Nichols’ (American, b. 1942-) signed 53in x 78in (sight) oil on canvas titled “Japanese Foot Bridge,” which is entered in the sale with a $6,000-$8,000 estimate. Making it a marine trifecta, Emile A. Gruppe’s (American, 1896-1978) 1958 oil painting “Shelling Longboat Key” is offered with a $4,000-$6,000 estimate.

Alfonso A. Ossorio’s (American, 1916-1990) signed and dated 1952 freeform watercolor titled “Mononucleosis” measures 40in x 26¼in (sight) and could bring $3,000-$4,000 at auction. Another compelling contemporary work is the Louise Berliawsky Nevelson (American, 1899-1988) oil on canvas titled “Cats.” Signed but unframed, it measures 20in x 38in and is estimated at $2,000-$4,000.

Heading the European art section is a Joan Miro (Spanish, 1893-1983) aquatint etching “L’aigrette Rouge,” signed and numbered 15/50. Sized 64in x 46in (framed), it is estimated at $10,000-$15,000. “It is unusual to encounter a Miro from such a small edition,” Dowd noted.

Because the April 7 event is Myers’ first specialty fine art sale in more than three years, co-owners Mary Dowd and Michael Myers were both selective and inclusionary in their final choices. The auction features many excellent, fresh-to-market works by lesser-known artists in addition to elusive paintings by avidly collected, high-profile names.

Myers Fine Art’s Sunday, April 7 auction of fine art from New York, American and European artists’ estates will commence at 12 noon Eastern Time. A preview will be held from 10-6 on Saturday, April 6, and from 10 a.m. till noon on auction day. The gallery is located at 1600 4th St. North in St. Petersburg, FL 33704. All forms of bidding will be available including live via the Internet through For additional information, call 727-823-3249 or e-mail Online:



Gustave Baumann (American, 1881-1971), ‘Cholla and Sahuaro,’ one of three Baumann woodblock prints in the auction, signed and titled, 49/125, 18¾in x 22¾in framed, est. $10,000-$15,000. Myers Fine Art image.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Cheers! Calif. Vineyard Goes Under The Hammer At Government Auction, Mar. 24

TEHACHAPI, Calif. – In addition to a large collection of gold coins, Rolex watches, jewelry and antiques, Government Auction's March 24 auction will present something unusual and very special to bidders – an actual California vineyard.

“Every wine aficionado has dreamed of owning a vineyard. Now there’s a chance to make that fantasy a reality,” said Government Auction’s Chris Budge. 

The star of this Sunday’s auction is a California vineyard of almost 60 acres that has garnered numerous awards in recent years. The Souza Family Vineyard is located in the picturesque Cummings Valley near Tehachapi, Calif. The vineyard’s first crush, its 2005 Primitivo Zinfandel, earned a silver medal at the 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, as well as a gold medal for its 2007 release.

The property comes with a tasting room, three living quarters that include a Victorian-era main house, caretaker's cottage and bunkhouse. The property is also used for weddings, fundraisers and other special events. Estate amenities include a large gazebo, dance floor, pergola, fountain, detached bathhouse with showers and RV hookups. The cottage and bunkhouse are fully furnished.

As always, Government Auction will offer a selection of elite timepieces, including an exceptional Rolex Submariner wristwatch. Introduced in 1953, the Submariner has been a favorite with collectors and outdoorsmen alike. Water-resistant up to 100 meters, the watch in the sale is two-tone stainless steel and 14K gold with a steel sundial and lapis blue disc. This watch comes in its original box with papers of authenticity.

Another fine luxury watch is a gold men's Rolex. The watch is a stunner with 14K rose gold band and face. This watch also retains its original box with papers of authenticity.
The auction house will also be selling an extensive selection of jewelry. A standout piece is a 9.95-carat mixed cut tanzanite and diamond ring. The piece is composed of 14K white gold with a large sky-blue tanzanite as the featured stone. The 9.95-carat stone measures 14mm x 11mm and is surrounded by 16 prong-set, round, brilliant-cut diamonds with a total carat weight of 1.34 carats. Tanzanite is a rare gemstone found only in the African nation of Tanzania. Discovered in 1967 by Tiffany & Co., the gem occurs in gray, brown, violet, blue, purple and green varieties. What makes the gem interesting is its ability to exhibit multiple changes of color when rotated.

Offered for auction in the coin category is a 1909-D $5 U.S Indian Head gold piece, a highly sought-after coin among collectors and investors. The Indian Head “half eagle,” as the coin is also referred to, was minted from 1908 to 1916 and again in 1929. Unlike traditional coins minted in this era the Indian Head gold coins featured a design where the main features of the coin were struck sunken into the coin (incuse) rather than a relief. As a result these coins exhibit less wear and usually survived with greater details intact. The coin features the profile of an American Indian wearing a full feather headdress on the obverse, and a standing eagle on the reverse. The coin was designed by Bela Lyon Pratt and contains .2419 troy ounces of gold.

Luxury handbags are an increasing popular item in Government Auction's events. Numerous styles are offered in Sunday's auction. A standout is a Prada jeweled clutch. The elegant evening purse is a vibrant green and adorned with a multitude of faux gemstones that enhance its chic design. The Prada logo is prominently featured in gold on the front of the clutch.

Additional auction highlights include a brass Model 130 NCR cash register, a 5.00-carat princess-cut diamond and an 1891-CC Morgan silver dollar.
For additional information on any lot in the sale, call Debbie at 661-823-1543 or e-mail

View the fully illustrated auction catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live via the Internet through


Souza Family Vineyard and tasting room near Tehachapi, Calif. Government Auction image.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wovensouls’ April 6 debut auction features private collection of antique textiles, Asian cultural art

80+ auction lots include treasures from Tibet, Borneo, Ladakh & Hilltribe cultures

SINGAPORE – Discovering and learning about remote Asian cultures has long been a passion of Jaina Mishra’s. An award-winning photographer and travelogue writer, Mishra has spent the past 10 years reverently documenting what she describes as “vanishing cultures.” While immersing herself in the decade-long odyssey that took her to faraway mountains and valleys that few tourists visit, Mishra also collected tribal textiles, jewelry and folk art objects she felt were special. And although she never previously attempted to make her living from the sale of Asian cultural art, Mishra, an MBA whose fascination with distant places and people dates back to her childhood in India, is now taking that logical next step. She will share her remarkable finds with the rest of the world in an April 6 online-only auction conducted through

Mishra chose the business name Wovensouls because her collection began with textiles and later expanded to include other artforms. “Textiles are the woven expression of the soul of a tribe, so the name appealed to me,” she explained.

Before formally launching her business, Mishra tested the commercial waters by selling a few pieces privately. Then, at the end of 2012, came an important breakthrough. Mishra sold a piece to one of the world’s most prestigious museums. That particular sale was a validation to Mishra that she had achieved the level of sophistication required to identify and deal in top-quality Asian cultural art.

“It made me think, ‘If a top-class museum is buying from me, then the only thing standing in the way of Wovensouls becoming a successful venture is my own lack of effort.’ Up until that time, I wasn’t really sure if my eye was good enough. I had always bought using my eye and instinct, and only once had I bought an item solely because of its provenance or because someone else said it was good,” Mishra said.

All of the pieces offered in the April 6 auction are from Mishra’s 10-year personal collection and nearly all were obtained firsthand during her travels. The carefully assembled auction selection includes jewelry, hand-painted art objects, manuscripts and, of course, textiles. The cultures represented are largely Tibetan and Ladakh (an Indian culture influenced by Tibet), with the addition of pieces from Borneo (Dayak), India and the Golden Triangle of northern Thailand, South Vietnam and Laos. The latter region is home to the Yao and Attapeu Hilltribe peoples.

The collection also includes art from the Indian Gujarat culture. “Gujarat art is very beautiful and, I believe, undervalued,” said Mishra. “Some of the Gujarat people are descended from Romany gypsies. Their art is unique and deserves further research.”

Among the most impressive items in the sale are three decorative antique peraks, or headdresses, from the Himalayas. Peraks – which can weigh as much as 29 lbs. each – are usually passed down from mother to daughter until there is a generation with no female child. In such cases, the perak is donated to a monastery after a ceremony and subsequently auctioned. Lot 102 is from the Zanskaar Valley and is embellished with old turquoise stones, coral, silver and lapis. Its two side panels are adorned with rows of pearls, which are rarely seen in peraks. Estimate: $6,000-$8,000. Another fine Zanskaar Valley perak has similar decorative elements, but with highly prized coral rather than pearls on its side panels. Its estimate is $8,000-$12,000. The third example is from the Changthang region and has pearl borders along the hood and small, suspended coral chains that serve as a veil. This particular perak could make $9,000-$12,000.

Lots 113 and 115 are 19th-century Tibetan noblewomen’s headdresses known as pat’h. “These pat’h are very rare. Once they are gone, I doubt I’ll ever be able to find any others,” Mishra noted.

Photos of Tibetan pat’h are seen in the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford and in the Schuyler Jones book “Tibetan Nomads.” Status symbols in their culture, pat’h were used to support elaborate hairstyles and typically were enhanced with coral, turquoise and pearls. The two examples in Wovensouls’ auction are estimated at $12,000-$16,000 and $10,000-$15,000, respectively.

Presale interest has been shown in many lots containing woven Tibetan garments and accessories. They include bags and pouches, yak-wool pants, a bridal coat, kaabo cummerbund, and a costume set consisting of a coarse wool chooba and baku.

Pabuji-ki-phad are large, beautifully hand-drawn and hand-painted folk art textiles used as a backdrop mural for devotional performances by “bhopas.” Each narrates a story about the lok deva, or folk gods. Ancestral phads are passed from father to son and used over three or four generations. Lot 131, executed in stunning rose, green and blue shades, was acquired from one of the few surviving phad artists and is estimated at $5,000-$8,000. Lot 132 was created by the renowned phad master artist the late Shri Jadau Chand Shrilal, who work is displayed at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Its estimate is $4,000-$8,000.

There are seven palm leaf etchings in the collection, all from Odisha, India. Several of these fascinating hand-inscribed works narrate legends or folk tales. Others relate the story of a journey to Java Sumatra, are etched with writings about medicine, or, in one case, display content from the Kama Sutra, therefore classifying the etching as erotica.

Wovensouls’ April 6 online-only auction featuring the personal collection of Jaina Mishra will commence at 10 a.m. Pacific Time (1 p.m. Eastern). For questions about any item in the sale, e-mail or call Singapore 011 659 824 2864. Prompt international shipping.

Log on to to view the fully illustrated catalog and sign up to bid absentee or live online during the April 6 auction. Visit Wovensouls online at



Himalayan perak with old turquoise stones, silver, lapis and coral; Zanskaar Valley. Estimate $8,000-$12,000. Wovensouls image.