New York - An extensive archive of richly detailed drawings by Soviet artist and architect Yakov Chernikhov sold for $425,000 and led Bonhams The Story of the 20th Century auction on June 4 in its Madison Avenue salesroom. A second Chernikhov lot features unpublished journals, treatises and sketchbooks full of ornate illustrations, drawing inspiration from eccentric and grandiose monuments such as Angkor Wat, the Aztec and Mayan ruins, and the Houses of Parliament and reached a final price of $173,000. Also notable is the Camera Craft Collection - an extensive trove of photographic material from a Beijing photography studio run by the American John David Zumbrun from circa 1910 to 1929. The collection included approximately 2,000 photographs plus numerous colour and black and white negatives; it fetched $317,000.
The auction achieved $1.6 million in total sales, with far-reaching international interest from registered bidders in such countries as Australia, Brazil, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.
Noteworthy results occurred for significant works in the fields of modern science and technology. Alan Turing's first edition of the most important 20th century paper on computer science entitled, "On Computable Numbers," sold to a telephone bidder for $50,000. The only copy of a cassette tape-recorded interview of Richard Feynman discussing such topics as the Manhattan Project, winning the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965 and being selected on the space shuttle Challenger committee also fetched $37,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-8,000. To cap off the sale, the second to last lot to reach the auction block were two original exterior office building signs for the Cupertino Corporate Headquarters of Apple Computing, Inc. The iconic rainbow apple logo was commissioned at Steve Jobs' request, and in 1997 the signs were removed from the building and were given to a longtime Apple employee. With a respectable estimate of $10,000-15,000, an internet bid set the final price at $28,000, almost three times its low estimate.
"This auction demonstrated strong evidence of the growing enthusiasm for 20th century history among international collectors," said Christina Geiger, Director of the Fine Books & Manuscripts Department for Bonhams in New York. "We plan to have a themed 20th century auction as an annual event at Bonhams."
Further auction results can be found at www.bonhams.com/21652.
The department is currently accepting consignments for its next Fine Books & Manuscripts auction at Bonhams New York (simulcast with San Francisco) on September 22.
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
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