Dali’s fingers chess set sold at auction

A chess set designed by Salvador Dali reproducing his own fingers sold for $23,400 at Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches.

A close-up look at the details of the digits of renowned artist Salvador Dali (Spanish 1904-1989) could be found in the chess set designed by Dali at the request of his friend Marcel Duchamp in 1964 for the American Chess Federation. All of the pieces of the set were modeled after Dali’s fingers except the two queens which used one of Dali’s wife’s fingers crowned with a tooth and the rooks which were modeled after the salt cellars of the Hotel Saint Regis in New York.
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The chess board illustrated with the Dali set was not part of the set and was sold as a separate lot. It was designed by Marcel Duchamp dated 1965 on the top edge of the board. Verso is pencil signed, dated, titled, and inscribed “American Chess Found. NY.” It sold for $3,042.

The set was consigned to Auction Gallery of the Palm Beaches from an estate on Palm Beach Island. venetian glass2 QU 2-1.jpgOne of the bidders in the room had flown in from New York for the sale and this was the only lot he bid on. He outlasted other bidders claiming the set for $23,400 including the buyer’s premium for the top lot of the sale.

Venetian glass – A Venetian glass vase, Italian of ovoid shape, decorated in yellow, black, white, orange, purple and pale blue, height 12 inches was estimated at only $150-$200 but lively action among three Internet bidders and several floor bidders chased the close to $2,574.

The Jan. 7 sale attracted more than 400 registered bidders. Auction owner Brian Kogan remarked that bidders were serious about quality items, often bidding above estimate. Included in the quality list was an oil on canvas by Nicola Simbari (Italian B. 1927), entitled Market and signed “Simbari” lower right. Estimated at $6,000-$8,000 Market sold in the room for $11,115. Other artwork included a watercolor on paper by Henry Martin Gasser (American 1909-1981) entitled Backyards in Winter. Estimated at $1,200-$1,600 it closed at $3,510. An oil on canvas by Johann Berthelson (American 1883-1972) called Central Park at Dusk sold online over estimate for $3,660.Buddha2 QU 2-1.jpg

(Left) A seated bronze Buddha, possibly Tibetan, with a crystal forehead inset on double lotus base sold for $4,575. (Below Right) This George VI Judaica parcel gilt sterling silver Torah breast plate, 1943, sold for $3,510.

Other lots included an eight-piece Royal Berlin Tete set, German circa 1840, with blue scepter, red orb and KPM mark selling for $6,435; Torah2 QU 2-1.jpgand a patinated gilt and polychrome bronze figure of Buddha, 17? inches tall, in a seated position holding implements, estimated at $1,200-$1,600 went for $4,575. A 15?-inch-tall pair of George V parcel gilt sterling silver Torah Rimonims, English, circa 1920, each with Torah finials hung with bells, applied with lions and surmounted by the star of David went for $3,510. A George VI parcel gilt sterling silver Torah breast plate, English London 1943, embossed with the lions of Judea, columns, book and a receptacle containing the four books, suspended from two chains, measuring 10? inches by 9 inches, closed over estimate at the same price.

A George III inlaid mahogany bookcase cabinet, circa 1810, with two glazed doors soared over the $2,500-$4,000 estimate to close at $7,137. A William IV figural mahogany diminutive sideboard, circa 1830, raised on short reeded legs was a pleasant surprise at $2,925.

For information about this and upcoming sales call 561-805-7115, email info@agopb.com or visit http://www.agopb.com. The Gallery is located at 1609 South Dixie Hwy, Suite 5, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.