Rare Maori Handclub Sets Records In African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art
Auction At Bonhams

African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
15 May 2014
New York

New York – Bonhams, the third largest international fine art auction house, achieved both a world record for a Maori wood weapon sold at auction and the highest price for a Polynesian work of art at auction during its African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art sale on May 15. The work to set such records was an important and rare wooden Maori Handclub 'wahaika' from New Zealand, formerly in the James Hooper Collection, that sold for $62,500.

The sale was well attended with spirited bidding for Oceanic art in the auction room, over the phones and online. Worldwide interest was seen in a selection of Austral Islands ceremonial paddles on offer in the sale, most of which achieved prices above their pre-sale estimates.
According to Fred Backlar, Specialist of African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art at Bonhams, the auction demonstrated the strength of Oceanic art in the Tribal market. "It is an area where the Surrealists originally drew inspiration for their art," he commented.
Notable in the auction were several exceptional works from the Collection of Marcia and John Friede of New York, which generated worldwide interest and found buyers in Europe and Asia. One of the works was an early and large Iatmul female figure from the Middle Sepik River Region of Papua New Guinea that achieved $47,500.
Of further importance was a rare stone hook pendant, 'palaoa,' from the Hawaiian Islands, that was sold to an important European collector for $25,000. It was one of the oldest known hook pendants from Hawai'i, possibly dating to the 17th century or earlier.
For further results from the sale, please visit www.bonhams.com/auctions/21475.
Inquiries: For further information and images call Joalien Johnson at 415 503 3348,


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 www.bonhams.com

  1. Fred Backlar
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5416
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843

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