The November 9 and 10 Arts of the American West auction at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers was conducted to a standing room only crowd in the Denver saleroom. The sell-through rate and a number of high prices realized led to a sale total over $1.3M, marking the highest grossing auction in firm history for the Denver office.
“The energy of the saleroom was palpable,” said Maron Hindman, VP West and Southwest. “We were happy to see a crowd gather to bid at the auction in-person, contributing to a record sale for the department.”
The top selling lot of the sale was Frederic Remington’s The Rattlesnake, which realized $225,000, surpassing its presale estimate of $100,000 – $200,000. The iconic bronze sculpture, portraying a cowboy and his startled horse, was initially competitive due to a number of aggressive absentee bids that kicked-off bidding. Phone bidders excelerated the bidding, eventually selling over the phone to a gallery in New York. The Rattlesnake #69 holds particular significance because it was the first of Remington’s bronzes to be cast at his favorite foundry, Roman Bronze Works. Additionally, the piece depicts a variation of the same subject matter as Remington’s most popular sculpture, The Bronco Buster.
Property from the estate of Steve and Peggy Fossett, from both their Beaver Creek and Carmel, California homes, drew interest through the entirety of the auction. Steve Fossett was most well-known as a ground-breaking adventurer who set records in aeronautics, air ballooning and cross-country skiing. The highest selling lot from the estate, a Navajo Second Phase Variant chief’s blanket, realized $57,500. A Lakota Sioux Buckskin war shirt once owned by venerable collector George Gustave Heyes sold for $52,500. Also, exceeding expectations was a Tlingit Chilkat dance blanket that sold for $50,000 against a presale estimate of $8,000 – $12,000 and a Navajo child’s wearing blanket that sold for $30,000 against a presale estimate of $20,000 – $25,000.
“The caliber of property included in the auction was spectacular,” said Hindman. “We were privileged to handle important collections from across the country and see it all culminate in good company.”
Additional highlights from the auction include Olaf Wieghorst’s Buckin’ for Bucks from the collection of M. Anthony Greene of Jackson, Wyoming. Realizing $68,750 and exceeding its presale estimate of $30,000 – $50,000, the painting tied as the second highest selling lot in the sale. The other, which also realized $68,750, was a Thomas C. Molesworth club chair and ottoman, which surpassed a presale estimate of $15,000 – 25,000.
The full sale results can be viewed at www.lesliehindman.com. The Arts of the American West Department is currently seeking consignments for the 2019 auction schedule.