A family in Edinburgh had this curious medieval chess piece, mostly tucked in a drawer, for more than 50 years since the grandfather, an antiques dealer, bought it for £5. Recently, his granddaughter had it appraised at Sotheby's where it was identified as one of the five missing pieces from the historically significant Lewis Chessmen from the late 12th/early 13th century and dug up on the Isle of Lewis in 1831. The single piece is expected to fetch £1 million at auction. The rest of the set is held by the British Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. From the BBC News:
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They are seen as an "important symbol of European civilisation" and have also seeped into popular culture, inspiring everything from children's show Noggin The Nog to part of the plot in Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone...
The newly-discovered piece is a warder, a man with helmet, shield and sword and the equivalent of a rook on a modern chess board, which "has immense character and power..."
The discovery of the hoard (of pieces) remains shrouded in mystery, with stories of it being dug up by a cow grazing on sandy banks.
It is thought it was buried shortly after the objects were made, possibly by a merchant to avoid taxes after being shipwrecked, and so remained underground for 500 years.
This Claude Monet landscape painting just broke a record by selling for $110.7 million dollars at auction. Read the rest
This would have been a perfect inclusion in someone's (oversized) Easter basket. The Jeff Koons stainless steel "Rabbit" (41" x 19" x 12", 1986) will be on the auction block at Christie's on May 15 during their Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale. The current owner purchased it from the Gagosian Gallery in 1992. It is expected to sell for between $50 million and $70 million.
According to Christie's, "this work is number two from an edition of three plus one artist's proof and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist."
If you can't afford this Rabbit for yourself, you can always visit one of the others for free at the truly fantastic Broad museum in Los Angeles. From The Broad's description of Rabbit:
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In 1979 Jeff Koons made Inflatable Flower and Bunny (Tall White, Pink Bunny), the seed for so much of his future work. This sculpture, also in The Broad’s collection, features two vinyl inflatable toys — a flower and a pink bunny — that sit on top and in front of four square mirrors. Seven years later, Koons ditched the flower, combined the mirror and the bunny, and created Rabbit. The switch from the word “bunny” to “rabbit” is intriguing. Bunny is cute and floppy; rabbit is quick and sharp. The carrot in the rabbit’s paw is wielded like a weapon, and the once soft, leaky, and cheap vinyl shell of the bunny has been replaced by armorlike, costly stainless steel, which reflects everything surrounding Rabbit and deflects any allusions to the sculpture’s interior.
Launched as a NYC skateshop in 1994, streetwear brand Supreme has become a religion for hypbeasts (and the flippers who serve them). Now, a private collector is auctioning off their collection of every single Supreme skate deck ever made, many of which are emblazoned with graphics from esteemed contemporary artists. The lot of 248 skateboard decks along with the Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with tool kit, trucks, wheels and shoulder strap is expected to bring around $1 million but I bet it goes for much more. From Sotheby's:
Supreme started producing their own skateboards in 1998 and have collaborated with many well-known brands over the last 20 years - most famously with Louis Vuitton. Supreme is also known for their artist collaborations, featuring the likes of George Condo, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Richard Prince, KAWS, Marilyn Minter, Nate Lowman, and Takashi Murakami, among others.
"Own the Entire Supreme Skateboard Collection, Now Open for Bidding" (Sotheby's, thanks Lux Sparks-Pescovitz!)
Decks by Marilyn Minter and Jeff Koons and Louis Vuitton Boite skateboard trunk with accessories:
Julien's Auctions is running a large auction of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner's stuff, including several pairs of his pajamas, board games, a pipe, and this sharp smoking jacket. Described as "a scarlet silk damask smoking jacket with shawl collar and self-tie belt closure," the high estimate is $5,000 but I bet it goes for much more. According to Julien's, "All proceeds of the sale will benefit the Hugh M. Hefner foundation in support of organizations that advocate for and defend civil rights, with special emphasis on first amendment rights and rational sex and drug policies since 1964."
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The lunar samples were originally presented by the Soviet government to Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, the widow of Sergei Korolev, the "Chief Designer" of the Russian space program. Under Korolev's direction, the Soviet Union successfully put the world's first satellite into Earth orbit and launched the first human into space. His unexpected death in 1966 came before he could see the outcome of the space race to the moon.
Four years after Korolev died, the Soviets launched Luna 16, the first of three robotic lunar sample return missions. Touching down after the U.S. Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 astronauts had come and gone from the moon, Luna 16 deployed an extendable arm to drill and extract a core sample 14 inches (35 centimeters) deep. The 3.5 ounces (101 grams) of soil and rocks that it collected were then deposited into a capsule for their return to Earth.
In the market for a Ferris Wheel? Carousel? Scrambler? Go-kart Fleet? How about just a Chili Cheese Dispenser? The entire contents of the Heritage Square Amusement Park in Golden Colorado will be up for auction on October 25. It's cash-and-carry (certified or cashier’s check accepted) but "buyers of large pieces will have additional time for removal." Whew. I've got my eye on that Space Shuttle Ride from 1980 and maybe the 1963 Tilt A Whirl.
You can own the reception desk from Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch! Hundreds of props from The Office are now up for auction. Items include the likes of Angela's stuffed cat, Dwight's wolf art, and myriad desk items like calculators, computer screens, desk lamps, files, keyboards, beets, bears, Battlestar Galactica.
The Office auction (Screenbid)
In 1963, David Bowie (then David Jones), age 16, recorded a demo song “I Never Dreamed” with his band The Konrads. Long thought lost, Konrads drummer David Hadfield found it in the 1990s in an old breadbox. Until now he's kept quiet about the find but has decided to auction it off. It's expected to sell for £10,000. Above is a short clip of the tune. From Omega Auctions:
Hadfield recalls ‘Our agent, Eric Easton, who also managed The Rolling Stones, asked us to do a demo so he could try and get us an auction at Decca. So in early 1963 I booked into R.G.Jones small studio in Morden. In preparation for the demo David and our guitarist Neville Wills wrote 2/3 songs. We had decided that we would do a couple of guitar instrumentals and one original song. I chose “I Never Dreamed” as it was the strongest, the other two were a bit weak! I also decided that David was the best person to sing it and give the right interpretation. So this became the very first recording of David Jones (Bowie) singing 55 years ago! There is no other recording featuring David as lead in existence. Decca initially turned us down, but when they eventually gave us an auction later that year, vocalist Roger Ferris was the lead voice and David sang backing harmonies.’
(Thanks, Bob Pescovitz!)
The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than 100 were made. In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cameron's father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love. It is his passion... It is actually a Modena GT Spyder, and it's currently being put up for auction in California:
From Mecum Auctions:
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The three cars used in the film were not Ferraris at all, but rather three Modena GT Spyder Californias built by Modena Design and Development in El Cajon, California, were utilized. This is one of those cars used in the movie, complete with documents from Modena Design attesting to such. Modena incorporated a number of Ferrari-style elements, such as the windshield, turn signals, grille, hood scoops, fender vents and a custom fiberglass body that was supposedly modeled after an MG, creating a close profile to the original Ferrari. The chassis was of the rectangular steel-tube frame design, built by Bob Webb, who worked on Roger Penske’s Zerex Special. After nine months of refreshing and updating by one of the founders of Modena Design, Neil Glassmoyer, this car emerged looking stunning. Chassis No. 0003 of the 3 cars built, it is powered by a 5.0L V-8 engine fed by four downdraft carburetors, and the attention to detail throughout largely sets the Modena GT Spyder California apart from its competition. The engine uses black crinkle-finished valve coves, retina-searing red paint on the exterior, and the interior reflects all too well the timeless beauty of this machine with rich tan upholstery, exquisite gauges, inspiring switchgear, a period-looking radio and wooden steering wheel.
Zeigeisty-ist auction ever: Marie Antoinette’s Jewelry to Be Auctioned in Geneva This November. (Image: Mosiac36, CC-BY) (Thanks, Peter!) Read the rest
Next Thursday, Aston's auctioneers will sell off a private collection of cameras including some fantastic Soviet-era spy cams. According to the auction house's camera specialist, the most curious item is a camera containing a second camera (image below):
At first glance this appears to be a normal Zenith E camera it it's case, but opening it reveals a hidden miniature F-21 AJAX-12 camera. The camera is mounted so the f2.8 28mm lens is pointing out of the side edge of the case. On pressing a small button on the bottom of the case the internal mechanism cleverly raises a hidden internal flap, the camera shutters fires and the flap immediately closes shut. The user simply carries the camera over their shoulder in the normal way, but can take pictures at 90 degrees without raising any suspicion as it looks like the camera is in it's case and not being used. The camera uses 21mm film and has a clockwork drive for multiple shots without detection.
Two pages of Ludwig Van Beethoven's original musical manuscript for his Emperor Concerto (Piano Concerto No. 5) are up for auction. The 1809 document is expected to go for US$250,000-$350,000. The Emperor Concerto was the last piano concerto Beethoven completed. From Bonham's:
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The first page is a sketch for the second theme of the first movement. Orchestral exposition, beginning with bar 3 in E flat minor with the following major version in B flat major. The further course is noted in a very shortened form (partly within the bar line division no entries, partly pauses, partly obviously only bass tones). The second page contains ideas for the second and third movements. The material of the second movement (found on staves 1-7) is the earlier version of this movement which Beethoven wrote in theme and variations form. Time signature of 2/4 and in B major (but with only four sharps in the key signature). Including the autograph markings "pizz," "tutti" and "minore" (most likely referring to the envisaged minor-mode variation) and twice the notes "Solo" and "una corda." Staves 8-11 are a sketch for the transition to the 3rd movement, with a notation of the final theme - with a different rhythm and different metric at the end "dopo presto."
Rolly Crump (previously) was one of the weirdest, most bohemian of the original group of Imagineers; when he was tasked with developing concepts for the oft-stalled and perennially beleaguered Disneyland Haunted Mansion, he came up with the Museum of the Weird, a guided walkthrough spook house filled with mystical illusions, and psychedelic, daemonic imagery. Read the rest
Screenbid is holding an online auction for furniture, props, and other items seen on Mad Men. The high ticket items are Don's 1964 Chrysler Imperial (asking bid $40,000), Don's box of secrets from Adam Whitman (asking bid $2100), and the SCDP office sign (asking bid $1,900.) Don's office TV is pretty sharp though but apparently doesn't actually work.