Navajo child's blanket leads Bomhams $1.28 Million Native American Art sale in San Francisco

Native American Art
3 Dec 2012
San Francisco

San Francisco — Bonhams is pleased to announce its Native American Art auction, December 3 in San Francisco, achieved more than $1.28 million, with 90% of the lots sold. The sale brought strong bidding across categories, by clients in the auction room, as well as on the phones and Internet.

The star lot of the auction was a very tightly woven Navajo classic child's blanket, featuring end bands of alternating chevrons and stripes and a diamond band centre, in indigo, recarded pink, ravelled cochineal-dyed and handspun yarns, sold for $60,000 (est. $20,000-40,000). The Weavings category of the sale also included many other examples that sold well, such as a Navajo late classic chief's blanket in a nine-spot pattern of diamond-form lozenges, overlaid on striped ground, sold for $17,500 (est. $10,000-15,000); a very tightly woven classic Saltillo blanket, with two sections joined at the centre, and a densely striped field overlaid by a central medallion of boldly serrated concentric diamonds, sold for $13,750; a Navajo late classic woman's chief's blanket with a 12-spot block pattern of thin concentric diamonds over the finely striped ground, sold for $11,875; and a large Navajo Two Grey Hills rug by master weaver Grace Nez, in a grid pattern of alternating intricate diamond medallions, enclosed by a Greek key meander border, sold for $11,875 (est. $4,000-6,000).

Strong sales continued from the category of Eskimo, Northwest and California property, with such highlights as a Haida or Tlingit bentwood box, featuring totemic animal faces on its end panels and a raven and other animal clan symbol on its sides, sold for $21,250; a Haida argillite figure, depicting a female figure in Anglo-European costume, holding a similarly-attired child, sold for $16,250 (est. $8,000-12,000); a Haida or Tlingit mask, sold for $15,000 (est. $7,000-10,000); and an Osuitok Ipeelee soapstone sculpture from Cape Dorset, depicting a musk ox, sold for $11,250 (est. $5,000-8,000).

There were a great many basketry highlights in the winter sale, as well. Among them was a Yokut polychrome "gambling" tray which was a prime example of made-for-sale art during the golden age of California basketry, dating to the first quarter of the 20th century, sold for $22,500 (est. $15,000-20,000); a Yokut polychrome bottleneck basket, sold for $12,500; a Paiute/Miwok polychrome lidded basket by Lucy Telles, from the Robert "Trader Bob" Bayuk Collection, sold for $22,500; a Washo polychrome basket, attributed to Maggie James, sold for $13,750; and a collection of 26 Pima and Papago miniature horsehair baskets by Annette, Rose and Norma Antonne, Ruby and Dorina Garcia and other unidentified weavers, displaying human figures, snakes, deer, horses, a butterfly and more, sold for $12,500 (est. $7,000-10,000).

Jewellery of note included Hopi bracelets by Charles Loloma, two of which took in $16,250 and $15,000, respectively; a Hopi gold bracelet by his niece Sonwai, sold for $11,250 (est. $6,000-9,000); and a Navajo or Pueblo cross necklace, which was property from the Estate of Daniel Albrecht, Phoenix, Ariz., sold for $11,250 (est. $5,000-8,000).

Representing the Southwest-related material, paintings and sculpture portion of the sale were such highlights as a unique green-grey steatite stone sculpture of a stylized Pueblo woman cloaked in her manta by Allan Houser, 1990, from the Albrecht Estate, sold for $22,500; a New Mexican Cristo, attributed to Jose Benito Ortega, sold for $9,375 (est. $6,000-9,000); and a Hopi kachina doll, with atypical representation of the Butterfly kachina, sold for $9,375 (est. $5,000-8,000).

Standing out in the Plains, Plateaus and Woodlands section of the sale was an Apache bow case and quiver, sold for $8,750; a rare and unusual example of Santee Dakota beaded footwear, sinew sewn on soft hide, centering an ornate heart-shaped motif encircled by pairs of contour-beaded leaf forms, with flowering vines stretched along each side, sold for $8,125; and a Comanche beaded model cradle, its boards painted and tacked, featuring a baby doll with beaded face, held within the partially beaded cover, and a tiny doll tucked in to accompany the infant, with loops of pony bead attachments, sold for $6,000 (est. $3,000-5,000).

Rounding out the sale were such pottery highlights as a small San Ildefonso redware sgraffito jar by Tony Da, with opposing panels of feather motifs, delineated by a narrow band enclosing two turquoise stone accents, sold for $13,750 (est. $4,000-6,000); a San Ildefonso redware plate by Popovi Da, painted in repeat feather pattern, enclosed by banding lines below the rim, sold for $11,875 (est. $6,000-9,000) and a San Ildefonso siennaware plate by Maria and Popovi, painted in the repeat feather pattern, enclosed by banding lines below the rim, sold for $11,875 (est. $4,000-6,000).

The next Native American Art auction at Bonhams will be held June 3, 2013 in San Francisco. For more information, please visit


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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