The Oct. 10, 2008, auction was the most successful sale of ethnographic art at Michaans since 2003, with more than 60 percent of the 400 items sold, and a grand total of $120,000.
All of the 25 lots of Native American Indian and Eskimo art in the auction sold within or above estimate, led by a rare full-scale Inuit Eskimo sealskin kayak from the Bristol Bay region of Alaska, estimated to be more than 100 years old (lot #2177). Bidding was fast and furious and it quickly sold for $11,700 – the high end of its pre-sale auction estimate of $6,000 to $10,000.
Other sales included an ancient Mexican Pre-Columbian ceramic figure of a standing woman from the area of Chupicuaro (lot #2224). The somewhat Surrealistic flat figure sold for $6,250, well above its pre-sale auction estimate of $1,000 to $2,000.
The sale was dominated by the 55 Philippine and Indonesian tribal artworks and textiles. Most of these were fresh to the market and avidly sought after by both private collectors and tribal art dealers. A large “magic” box from the Philippines brought $1,600 (estimate $1,500-$2,000); and a modern Polynesian stone “poi pounder,” used for grinding taro paste, also brought a surprising $1,600 (estimate $200-$400).
Of special interest to weapons collectors were the 56 lots of tribal bows and arrows, spears, shields, and clubs. A rare Turkish sword, highly ornamented with engraved script and a silver filigree handle with inlaid semi-precious stones, sold for $900 (estimate $300-$400).
Prices realized are rounded and include the buyer’s premium of 17 percent. The Ethnographic Art Catalog and prices will remain online for review at www.michaans.com.