PASADENA, Calif. – Following a short summer lull in their event calendar, John Moran Auctioneers is gearing up to enter a whirlwind autumnal auction season. The first of these events, the Sept. 29 Decorative Art Auction, offered some stellar highlights and definite surprises. With over 230 cataloged lots, the sale offered interesting buys for collectors of Native American basketry, jewelry and Navajo textiles, for California and American art enthusiasts, as well as for traditionalists seeking Continental decorative arts and silver. Ngeearts.com provided absentee and Internet live bidding.
One of the most anticipated items in Moran’s September sale was a Navajo second phase chief’s blanket (above). Bidding opened at $13,000 and finally topped out at the high estimate. The winning bidder paid $43,750. Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
A collector of Native American textiles snapped up a room-size gray-field Navajo rug with geometric diamond designs in back, red and white for $4,375 (est: $1,000 to $1,500), while a finely woven rug in the form of a 48-star American flag flew to $5,100, many times the initial $400 to $600 estimate.
Navajo, Zuni and Pueblo jewelry achieved strong prices throughout the evening. A stone-inlaid silver Zuni belt accompanied by a first-place ribbon from the 1975 Los Angeles American Indian Western Relic Show was conservatively estimated to earn between $600 and $800, but wound up going to a collector for $1,476. A handsome Navajo turquoise and silver cuff (below) bearing the mark of an unidentified artist inspired competition between multiple online bidders and hammered at the high estimate, realizing $840 (est: $500-$700).