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Skinner Hosts Auction Of American Indian & Ethnographic Art



BOSTON, Mass. – April 23, 2008 – – Skinner, Inc., one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art, will host an auction of American Indian and Ethnographic Art on Saturday, May 10th at 10:00 a.m. in its Boston gallery.  According to Douglas Deihl, director of Skinner’s American Indian and Ethnographic Art department, “This is one of the best quality American Indian and Ethnographic sales Skinner has ever had.”

American Indian

From the Plains and Great Lakes area comes a number of beautiful beadworks, including moccasins, bandolier and pipe bags.  In total, 150 plus lots will be offered from the region including a Plains pictorial muslin tepee liner (lot 295, est. $30/40,000), depicting a warrior’s exploits.  Also featured from the Plains is a collection from Mordecai Thomas Bartram, a Quaker employed at the Great Nemaha Agency from 1871 -1873 who was in charge of the government store among Indians in Nohart, Nebraska.  Bartram’s collection descended within his family and includes a prairie painted parfleche trunk (lot 256, est. $20/30,000); a carved elk horn quirt (lot 257, est. $20/30,000); a beaded buffalo hide possible bag (lot 258, est. $25/35,000); and a carved elk horn hide scraper (lot 259, est. $40/60,000).

Lots of interest from the Great Lakes include an early beaded cloth shot pouch and powder horn set from the first quarter of the 19th century (lot 335, est. $15/25,000); silk appliqué beaded cloth leggings and pony beaded sash (lot 336, est. $10/15,000); and a Southeast beaded cloth bandolier bag from the Seminole tribe (lot 337, est. $8/12,000).  Also being offered is an exceptional group of sashes, many from the late 18th to early 19th centuries (lots 322-332, estimates ranging from $600 on the low end to $20,000 on the high).

From the Northwest Coast area, highlights of note include a rare carved stone mortar (lot 345, est. $5/7,000); a carved wood totem pole (lot 348, est. $6/8,000); a canoe-shaped carved wood bowl (lot 363, est. $8/12,000); a pair of painted hide leggings (lot 369, est. $5/7,000); a Kwakwaka’wakw carved wood mask (lot 372, est. $10/15,000); a unique pair of Southern Northwest Coast carved wood dolls depicting two infants strapped into cradles (lot 375, est. $3/5,000); a very nice rattle (lot 376, est. $15/20,000); and a number of carved horn spoons, the most exceptional being a ladle carved in two pieces  (lot 362, est. $6/8,000).

Several stunning pieces of Navajo jewelry will be offered including a number of Southwest silver and turquoise bracelets (lot 389-392, estimates ranging from $1,000 on the low end to 2,500 at the high end); also a number of Concha belts (including lots 406 and 407, est. $6,5/7,500 and $5/7,000 respectively), the highlight being a first phase Concha belt circa 1870 (lot 411, est. $8/12,000).  In addition, many nice squash blossom necklaces will be offered.

From the Southwest comes two New Mexican retablos, both depicting the Virgin Mary: the first possibly by Jose Rafael Aragon (lot 432, est. $6/8,000) and another possibly by The Quill Pen Santero (lot 433, est. $3/4,000).

A number of fine Navaho textiles will be offering such as a Germantown weaving from the late 19th century (lot 438, est. $8/12,000); and several pictorial weavings (lots 447, 448, 440, 443, and 445 with estimates ranging from a low of $1,000 to a high of $6,000).

Examples of Southwest pottery worthy of attention include three black on black plates by Maria (lots 454, 455 and 456, estimates of $5/7,000, $8/12,000 and $3/4,000 respectively).  Other pieces to be featured are a Hopi jar (lot 461, est. $1,5/2,000), pottery olla from the Zuni tribe (lot 464, est. $5/7,000) and two Acoma ollas (lot 470 and lot 472, each estimated at $6/8,000).

Finally, rounding out the offerings is a small but nice collection of baskets.  Key pieces include a California coiled basketry jar (lot 480, est. $4/6,000); a California coiled basketry bowl (lot 481, est. $2,5/3,500); a pictorial beaded basketry bowl with alternating images of a warrior and large butterfly (lot 488, est. $1/1,500); and an Apache bowl with rows of various sized animal and human forms (lot 492, est. $4/6,000).

Pre-Columbian, African and Polynesian

More than 60 lots of Pre-Columbian material will be offered featuring fine Mayan pottery.  Of particular interest are a group of items circa 550-950 A.D including a cylinder (lot 41, est. $10/15,000) depicting a coronation ritual; a tripod plate (lot 40, est. $5/7,000); a figure of a prisoner (lot 46, est. $2,5/3,500), with legs painted with stripes; a figure of a male dignitary with elaborate headdress (lot 47, est. $3/5,000); and another figure of a warrior (lot 48, est. $10/15,000).

90 lots of African art grace the sale.  African highlights included a carved wood helmet mask (lot 111, est. $10/15,000) surmounted with four stylized heads; a cast bronze leopard (lot 114, est. $3/5,000); a carved wood and hide harp (lot 116, est. $20/30,000), purportedly collected during a National Geographic expedition; a rare South African carved wood Zulu figure (lot 150, est. $6/8,000); and a carved wood commemorative statue (lot 152, est. $8/12,000) from the Republic of Cameroon.

Two lots will be of great interest to collectors of Polynesian art – a New Zealand carved wood bowl, Maori, 19th century (lot 162, est. $2,5/3,500); and a New Zealand carved wood hand club with stylized human figure (lot 165, est. $7/9,000).

Preview and catalog information

Previews for the auction will be held from 12 to 5 p.m. Thursday, May 8th, 12 to 7 p.m. Friday, May 9th, and 8 to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 10th.   Illustrated catalog #2408 is available by mail for $32 ($39 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 978-779-6241 x240.  It is also available at the gallery for $29.  Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale.  For more information, visit  Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, and order catalogs online.


About Skinner

Skinner, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art.  With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices.  Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business.   Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Silver, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Science & Technology, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, and Discovery.  Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Bolton, Mass.  For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site

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