(lot 25, est. $250/350,000) and a Magnificent Soninke Hermaphrodite Figure from Mali dating to the 12th to 15th Centuries achieved $530,500 (lot 9, est. $400/600,000), a record for a Soninke figure at auction. Strong prices were also seen for two Benin bronze plaques on offer, which both surpassed pre-sale estimates to bring $458,500 and $278,500 (lot 34, est. $200/300,000; lot 40 est. $150/250,000).
The afternoon session comprised a particularly strong offering of Oeanic art, led by a Magnificent, Extremely Rare and Important Figure of the God IRIWÁKE, from Papua New Guinea, which sold to a bidder in the room for $1,202,500 (lot 146, est. in excess of $1 million), establishing a record for sculpture from the Papuan Gulf region. The figure – one of only two known to exist – boasts a distinguished provenance, previously in the collection of Loed van Bussel and John Friede, and is one of the most famous works of art from the Papuan Gulf region. A Magnificent Torres Strait Drum carved from a single piece of wood in the shape of a whale shark surpassed its presale estimate to achieve $698,500 (lot 149, est. $300/500,000). Also commanding a strong price was a Superb Iatmul, Parambei Subgroup, Janiform Spirit Figure House Post from Papua New Guinea, which jumped past its estimate to sell for $266,500 (lot 152, est. $100/150,000).
Top prices for African art were achieved by A Superb, Rare and Highly Important Fang-Betsi Reliquary Head from Gabon, which commanded $506,500 against an estimate of $200/300,000 (lot 170) and was purchased by an American institution. A Superb Tsonga of Nguni Snuff Tobacco Container from South Africa estimated at $6/9,000 leapt to $43,750, almost five times its high estimate (lot 172). The Pre-Columbian offerings today were highlighted by an Important Nayarit Seated Couple in the Ixtlán del Rio Polychrome Style from the Protoclassic period, ca. 100 BC-AD 250, which sold for $314,500 (lot 116, est. $250/350,000), establishing a record price for a large-scale West Mexican couple. An incredibly Rare Veracruz Head with Cutaway Masks from the Veracruz/Possibly Puebla Region, ca. AD 700-1200 more than quadrupled its presale estimate to sell for $134,500 (lot 128, est. $20/30,000) and a vibrant green Teotihuacan Tecali Mask from the classic period, ca. AD 450-650 totaled $104,500 (lot 126, est. $70/90,000). *Estimates do not include buyer’s premium.