Strong results achieved at Bonhams African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian art auction

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
12 May 2012
New York

New York—Bonhams is pleased to announce a successful African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art auction that took place May 12 in New York. The sale was the department's highest grossing one to date, with more than 190 lots sold for over $1 million. The sale saw new buyers, both domestic and international, including private collectors and museums.

Fredric Backlar, Senior Specialist at Bonhams, noted that "Bonhams continues to witness very strong demand for fresh-to-the-market, quality works of art at all price levels, as well as a steady growth of new buyers and collectors."

Leading the sale was a rare Kuba Figure of a King, Democratic Republic of Congo, which sold for $182,500, doubling its pre-sale estimate for $60,000-80,000.

Another highlight of the sale was a rare and historically-important Barbed Spear from the Hawaiian Islands, obtained on Captain James Cook's final expedition to the Pacific Ocean in 1779-1780, which sold for $56,250. Oceanic Art continues to be very strong, with over 80% sold, including an Important Sepik River Mask from Papua New Guinea, which exceeded its pre-sale estimate of $10,000-15,000, by selling for $22,500. Another Oceanic highlight was a Maori Greenstone Amulet, hei tiki from New Zealand, one of three works of art offered by Mark and Carolyn Blackburn to benefit the Hawai'i Wildlife Centre, which sold for $21,250, nearly doubling its pre-sale estimate of $8,000-12,000.

The auction saw spirited bidding both in the sales room, online and on the telephone, with collectors vying for a Rare Honduran Marble Vessel, ca. A.D. 900-1100, which sold for $62,500 (pre-sale est. $50,000-70,000) and a Bamana Antelope Headdress, which sold for $31,250 (pre-sale est. $15,000-20,000).

Pre-Columbian art also enjoyed success, with the sale of a Veracruz Stone Palma, Late Classic, ca. A.D. 550-950, for $27,500 (pre-sale est. $25,000-35,000) and a Monumental Jama Coaque Figural Double Vessel from Manabi, ca. 500 B.C.-A.D. 500, which went for $16,250 (pre-sale est. $15,000-20,000).

African Art was also well-represented at auction. Highlights included a Dogon Equestrian Figure from the Republic of Mali, which sold for $20,000 (pre-sale est. $18,000-24,000) and a wonderful Vili Maternity Figure from the Ukongo Region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which sold for $16,250 (pre-sale est. $15,000-20,000).

Rounding out the sale was the successful sale of property from the Norman Hurst Collection, featuring a wonderful array of South African Art, with over 85% sold.

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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