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  • Originally published 08/08/2013

    NH auction offers Schindler documents, including letter paving way for Jewish workers’ rescue

    CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire auction house is offering a collection of documents from Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved more than 1,000 Jewish workers at his factories during World War II, including a letter he signed that paved the way for the rescue chronicled in the 1993 movie “Schindler’s List.”The letter, dated Aug. 22, 1944, describes permission to move his enamelware factory, workers included, out of Krakow, Poland, to Czechoslovakia, a move that historians say allowed him to save the workers....

  • Originally published 07/22/2013

    Blower Bentley heading to auction was modified

    An extremely rare Blower Bentley will cross the auction block at a Bonhams sale scheduled for Aug. 16 in Carmel, Calif. Experts agree on its rarity, but differ on how pristine an example this machine truly is.In the 94-year history of Bentley Motors, perhaps none of its creations is held in more esteem than the Blower Bentley.The more powerful supercharged version of the 4.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine was the idea of Tim Birkin, who along with Dudley Benjafield and Woolf Barnato, comprised the original “Bentley Boys” team of racers. The Blower was fast, but it consumed profligate amounts of fuel and was not particularly reliable. Ettore Bugatti derided the Blower Bentley as “the world’s fastest truck.”...

  • Originally published 07/14/2013

    Debt-ridden Harrisburg to auction Wild West memorabilia

    One of the world's largest collections of Wild West memorabilia, including a poker table that belonged to Wyatt Earp and weapons from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of Little Bighorn, is to be auctioned off next week, to help pay down a Pennsylvania city's burgeoning debts.A former mayor of Harrisburg, Stephen Reed, amassed the artefacts with a view to displaying them in a museum he wanted to build, in order to draw in history-seeking visitors and help revitalise the fortunes of the economically depressed city. But with Harrisburg's debts passing $370m, city leaders voted to put the collection under the hammer. The auction represents an attempt to recover $8m in redevelopment funds that Reed spent on about 10,000 items, during a buying spree in western states."Every item you're able to purchase is an investment in our future," said Linda Thompson, the city's new mayor, who is a vocal opponent of Reed's museum project. "These artefacts had been in the city's archives for a very long time. Here we are at that important moment to see what Harrisburg's history looks like and the opportunities ahead."...

  • Originally published 07/08/2013

    Up for auction, Frank Miller’s cover of ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ No. 2; near-mint ‘Batman’ 1

    PHILADELPHIA — It is the comic book cover that captured the grim visage of an older, wiser — and meaner — Batman.Now, the 1986 pen and ink creation — drawn by writer/artist Frank Miller — that is the cover to “The Dark Knight Returns” No. 2 will be sold next month in Dallas by Heritage Auctions.It’s the first cover from DC Comics’ 1986 four-issue “Dark Knight” miniseries to be sold and is expected to go for more than $500,000.Miller’s story “radically altered the direction of comics,” said Todd Hignite, Heritage’s vice president....

  • Originally published 05/31/2013

    Lee Harvey Oswald house in Dallas to go up for sale

    DALLAS -- A small nook off a dining room with just enough space for a twin bed has made a Dallas boarding house a point of fascination for the last 50 years, because of one man who occupied it for about six weeks in 1963: Lee Harvey Oswald.The house has been in Patricia Hall's family since about 1942, but she has decided that it's finally time to let it go – as long as a buyer wants to preserve it and offers the right price for the onetime home of the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy."I understand the significance of the history of this house," said Hall, 61. "It doesn't matter if you believe in a conspiracy or the lone gunman. The fact is that Lee Harvey Oswald lived here."...

  • Originally published 05/28/2013

    Canadian history on the block, cheap

    A huge cache of Canadian history, stored for 200 years in three wooden chests held at a British estate, is set to be auctioned next month in London — a possible test of whether the controversy-plagued, funding-challenged Library and Archives Canada is still in the business of acquiring newly available treasures of documentary heritage. An extensive and important collection of letters, maps and other original artifacts left to posterity by Sir John Coape Sherbrooke — the Nova Scotia governor who conquered Maine during the War of 1812 and later served as Canada’s governor general — is to be sold on June 19 as the showcase lot in a major Bonhams auction of rare books and manuscripts.A large, coloured and “exceptionally fine” map of the village of York and the Lake Ontario shoreline that was created for Sherbrooke in 1817 — showing the future Toronto in such minute detail that individual homes are depicted — is a highlight of the sale, appearing on the cover of the auction catalogue.

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    Illustrated letters go on sale at Sotheby's

    On a hot Provencal day in July 1890, Vincent van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo – blocking out, as he often did, space for a drawing. In it a black cat stealthily circles a dead painter’s garden. The portentous ink was set: four days later van Gogh had shot himself. Now a collection of papers, for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on Wednesday 8 May, shows that many of the artist’s contemporaries shared his epistolary flair.Letters by Manet, Picasso, Renoir, Signac, Matisse, Chagall and Gauguin are composed not only of the articulated preoccupations of the artist (Picasso and Renoir are fixated on culinary pursuits) but also their visual riffs. Snapshot compositions sketched on the fly and odd motifs punctuate these sheets.

  • Originally published 05/08/2013

    Rare Hawaiian surfing book expected to sell for $40,000

    COSTA MESA, Calif. — A book about surfers in the early 1900s is expected to sell for about $40,000.A copy of “The Surf Riders of Hawaii” will go before bidders Saturday at the Surfing Heritage Vintage Surf Auction. The auction will include more than 60 vintage surfboards and other items.The book is one of eight made by hand by A.R. Gurrey Jr. between 1911 and 1915. Gurrey is considered the father of surf photography. The book helped spread surfing’s appeal from Hawaii to the mainland.It is composed of six leaves of heavy brown woven paper, with eight mounted gelatin-silver photographs of native Hawaiians surfing Waikiki. Among them is Duke Kahanamoku, the Olympic medalist swimmer who helped popularize the sport....

  • Originally published 02/21/2013

    Lincoln artifacts appraisal released

    Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball. A guitar once owned by Eric Clapton. A model of the Starship Enterprise.These are among the items that an appraiser used in 2007 to establish the value of a collection of Lincoln documents and artifacts held by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.Appraiser Seth Kaller accepted the asking price of $23 million as the fair-market value of the collection sold by Louise Taper, a California collector, to the museum's private fundraising foundation, which is now raising money to retire the debt.Kaller, who owns a business that acquires historic artifacts in New York state, wrote in his appraisal that he accepted the museum's claim that the items are authentic and that his assignment did not include authentication....

  • Originally published 01/29/2013

    Rare 1913 Liberty Head nickel to fetch millions at auction

    RICHMOND, Va. — A humble 5-cent coin with a storied past is headed to auction and bidding expected to top $2 million a century after it was mysteriously minted.The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it’s the coin’s back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal.It all adds up to an expected sale of $2.5 million or more when it goes on the auction block April 25 in suburban Chicago....