The Graham Beck Collection of African and Oceanic Headrests

New York – The Graham Beck Collection of African and Oceanic Headrests, one of the finest private collections of headrests in the world, will be offered at Bonhams New York on November 11, 2019. 
The Collection was acquired in November 2005 from Jonathan Lowen, the renowned collector who was actively collecting from the 1970s to 1990s. Serving both practical and ritual purposes, the headrests in the collection illustrate the remarkable variety of design, extraordinary quality and unsurpassed beauty only capable by master carvers.  Not only do the designs in the headrests empower marital, wealth and status for their owners, they also serve as important communication devices with ancestors. Due to the refinement of design, balanced proportions and superior quality, the headrests in The Graham Beck Collection transcend their practical functions, becoming enigmatic master works of art capable of being appreciated by sophisticated art collectors worldwide.

Highlights include:

- A Shona Headrest, Southern Zimbabwe, mutsago, with an estimate of $30,000-50,000
- A Tsonga/Shangaan Headrest, South Africa, Northern Province, Maputo with an estimate of $20,000-30,000
- A Headrest, probably Tsonga, South Africa/Southern Zimbabwe with an estimate of $20,000-30,000

Following the sale, Bonhams will offer African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art, including Oceanic Art from the Richard Kelton Collection, founder of the Kelton Foundation whose primary activities involve ethnographic, scientific and artistic investigations of humankind and the sea. The auction includes over 120 lots of a wide range of unique, high-quality works of art from Sub-Saharan Africa, Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, Australia, Indonesia and from Central and South America.

Highlights include:

- An Exceptional and Rare Maori Anthropomorphic Pendant, New Zealand, ca. 1600-1700, hei tiki, with an estimate of $200,000-300,000.

- A Songye Community Power Figure, Democratic Republic of the Congo, with an estimate of $40,000-60,000

A Biwat Mask, Yuat River Region, Lower Sepik, Papua New Guinea, with an estimate of $30,000-50,000


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewelry. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

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