Navajo Classic Manta Leads $1.9 Million Native American Art Auction At Bonhams

Native American Art
2 Jun 2014
San Francisco

San Francisco – A Navajo classic twill-weave manta from the Collection of Alexandra and Sidney Sheldon of Malibu, Calif., sold for $112,500 in Bonhams' auction of Native American Art, June 2 in San Francisco. It was the leading lot of the $1.9 million auction that achieved a 98 percent sold rate by value and an 85 percent sold rate by lot.

Additional weavings from the Sheldon Collection also sold above their estimates, such as a Navajo classic child's blanket that achieved $27,500 and classic Saltillo sarapes that fetched $31,250 and $27,500, respectively.

Bonhams is proud to have offered property from this collection. Alexandra, a former actress, model and advertising executive, married the late Sidney Sheldon in 1989. Sidney won an Academy Award® in 1947 for screenwriting, created hit television shows "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Patty Duke Show," and became the seventh best-selling fiction writer of all time, authoring 1973's No. 1 best-seller "The Other Side of Midnight."

Many pottery works also sold well in the sale. The most noteworthy was a San Ildefonso black and sienna jar by Tony Da from a private collection in Rancho Mirage, Calif., that achieved $43,750.

A Hopi polychrome jar by Nampeyo also stood out, bringing $40,000. The Hopi jar was from the collection of John Bowers of Millbrae, Calif. The Bowers' collection is truly remarkable, including examples Mr. Bowers purchased at auctions dating back to the early 1980s at Butterfield & Butterfield, and elsewhere prior to that. Collectors should be pleased to note that a portion of Southwest baskets from Mr. Bowers' collection will be on offer at Bonhams in December.

The June sale's pottery section also offered property from an international and Arizona collection of which various San Ildefonso examples performed quite well. A polychrome plate showing a pair of Mimbres-style mountain lions by Maria Martinez sold for $31,250. A black and buff sgraffito plate by her grandson, Tony Da, took in $27,500, along with two sienna and black sgraffito turtles, also by Da, which brought $27,500 and $23,750, respectively.

Basketry, too, stood out in the auction with a top-selling Apache tray soaring to dizzying heights and achieving $81,250. The tray came from an old Arizona collection. The basketry section also included an Apache olla that brought $15,000 and another Apache polychrome example that sold for $10,000.

Southwestern art highlights included a Fritz Scholder oil on canvas entitled "Buffalo Dancer," dated 1975, that achieved $21,250, from the aforementioned private collection in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and a monumental Pueblo stone figure, depicting a powerful female spirit, that fetched $15,000.

Two additional offerings of note include a Hopi belt buckle by Charles Loloma that sold for $16,250 from the silver and jewellery section of the sale, and a Northwest coast mask from the Eskimo art portion that brought $15,000.

Inquiries: For further information and images, call Joalien Johnson at 415 503 3348 or email


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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