A Zuni jewelry set of a necklace and earrings made by Dan Simplicio and Leekya Deyuse sold for $12,500 (est. $6000/9000) to a dealer from the East Coast.
A Chumash polychrome basket sold on the phone for $35,000 (est. $40,000/60,000). Bayuk collection.
Bonhams, San Francisco, California
by Alice Kaufman
Photos courtesy Bonhams
"If we'd had the Trader Bob sale five or six years ago, we would have done much, much better, but times are tough," said Jim Haas, referring to the $1,976,900 (includes buyers' premiums) total for sales at three auctions. The first, the Nancy Sue and Judson C. Ball collection of Native American art, took place at Bonhams' upmarket salesrooms in New York City on May 14 and was heavy on kachinas to appeal to European buyers. Many Indian art dealers believe that French and German collectors collect kachinas, which they find "sculptural." But the sale was a disappointment.
The other two Native American art auctions, one of the collection of Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk, were held at Bonhams in San Francisco on June 4 and were more successful. The June 4 auctions were, Haas told M.A.D., "fairly well attended, but a few people I count on to be there were either not there or didn't participate."
Talking about the San Francisco auctions, he said, "We did well. People seem to be regaining confidence in the market. Some pieces that were priced right did well, and some did better than that."
An Arizona dealer who attended the auction had a less sunny report. "Most of the 'Bob' stuff sold under the low estimate," he said. "And nothing happened all the way through that part until the prehistoric pottery in the second part. Prehistoric pottery no less! The rare baskets and the good historic pottery sold for much less than expected."
Bonhams' next Native American art auction is scheduled for December 3. For more information, contact Bonhams at (415) 503-3294; Web site (www.bonhams.com).
A Chumash lidded polychrome basket sold to a California dealer for $18,750 (est. $30,000/50,000). Bayuk collection.
A 33½" high Apache olla (est. $50,000/70,000) sold to an Arizona collector for $31,250. Bayuk collection.
A southwestern dealer buying for a client purchased the unusual Anasazi black-on-white jar for $16,250 (est. $1500/2500).
A large Dogoszhi black-on-white olla sold for $50,000 (est. $20,000/30,000). To quote the catalog, "The olla was reported to have previously hung from the rafters at the Hubbell Trading Post." It sold to a southwestern dealer buying for a client.
A Powhoge storage jar sold to a private collector for $43,750 (est. $25,000/ 35,000).
A Yokut bottleneck basket sold to a private collector for $11,250 (est. $15,000/25,000). Bayuk collection.
A Plains beaded blanket strip sold to a private collector who specializes in Plains material for $15,000, well over its $5000 high estimate. The bidding was "highly contested," said Haas, but the eventual selling price was no surprise as the blanket strip came from an estate and was very conservatively estimated.
A Saltillo serape sold for $37,500 (est. $10,000/15,000) to a Mexican collector.
A pair of Plains parfleche flat bags sold for $17,500 (est. $5000/8000) to a dealer/ collector bidding in the room.