The Nancy Sue and Judson C. Ball collection of Native American Art comes to Bonhams New York

The Nancy Sue and Judson C. Ball collection of Native American Art comes to Bonhams New York

NEW YORK — Bonhams is pleased to announce The Nancy Sue and Judson C. Ball Collection of Native American Art auction taking place on May 14. The Balls' enthusiasm for and knowledge of Native American culture is apparent in the excellent and diverse collection they have assembled over several decades. Three distinct sections of the Ball collection are represented in the auction: kachina dolls, Southwest baskets and weavings, and New Mexican religious art, to be offered along with a handful of Northwest Coast and other items. Each section is an exploration of culture and evidence of a great passion for collecting.

Leading the auction is an unprecedented compilation of fine kachina dolls from the late 1890s through the 1960s, ranging in pre-sale estimates of $1,000-1,500 to $15,000-25,000. This is the largest selection of antique and semi-antique dolls to ever come up for auction. The Balls' avidly collected Hopi and Zuni katsina (variant of kachina) since the 1970s, with Judson Balls' interest starting as a child in the 1950s when he visited a Hopi reservation. Over the years, he met notable carvers such as Wilson Tawaquaptewa and Jimmie Kewanwytewa, who are both represented among other artists in the auction. Mr. Ball has explained that they were drawn to these simple carvings because not only were they attractive toys, but also because "they represent the continuum or circle of life."

Katsina carvings represent the Katsina dancers and figures that are at the heart of the Hopi religion. The Ball collection is large and of very high quality, representing several "categories" of Katsinam such as chiefs, celestial figures, ogres, animal spirits, maidens, clowns and representations of other Native American tribes, to name a few. This is an incredible opportunity for buyers to create their own collection by participating in this one-day auction.

Also in the auction is an impressive collection of extremely fine Navajo blankets, including Chief blankets, children's blankets and women's dresses. The Navajo blankets in this auction were produced by people who had just returned from the 1868 Long Walk from the Bosque Redondo on the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico. The blankets can be viewed as works of art on a wall or draped around the body - and coupled with their impressive provenance, would be a welcome addition to any collection. A true highlight of the group is a red and blue Navajo double saddle/child's blanket illustrated in George Wharton James' 1904 book INDIAN BLANKETS AND THEIR MAKERS (pre-sale est. $50,000-70,000).

The third section to the auction is The Ball Collection of New Mexican Spanish Colonial religious art, consisting of a dozen antique retablos (icons painted on wood) and bultos (sculptures of saints). Relatively unknown in the broader context of the American art world, these icons were commissioned by people for their adobe homes, personal chapels, moradas and churches within the provinces of New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Bonhams invites you to preview the complete auction May 5–14 at 580 Madison. To view and purchase the auction catalogue, please visit

Press Contacts:

Julie Saunders Guinta
(917) 206-1681


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

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