News-Antique.com - Jan 14,2013 - BOULDER COUNTY, CO – Provenance and pedigree combine to form a compelling reason to bid in Antiquities Saleroom’s Feb. 1 sale of premier Pre-Columbian art. The 110-piece selection offered in the absentee, phone and Internet auction comes from the carefully curated collections of two Hollywood notables – an Emmy Award-winning executive producer/writer, and a producer/director who specializes in movie trailers.
Together, the collections provide an unbroken timeline that traces the fascinating and mysterious ancient civilizations of Central and South America. The auction showcases all of the better-known cultures, such as Aztec, Incan and Mayan; as well as the Pre-Columbian Moche, Salinar, Chancay and Chinesco cultures. Together, the collections are valued at no less than $900,000.
“We are accustomed to handling very fine pieces, but the examples in these two collections are genuinely investment grade and would be welcomed with open arms at any major museum in the world,” said Bob Dodge, co-owner of Antiquities Saleroom. “The first collector – the TV producer – specialized in Mayan and Southeast Mexican artifacts, including pieces from Veracruz and Olmec. The second collection is very wide ranging and includes articles from far south Peru and Chile to Northern Mexico and the West Coast cultures. The owner immersed himself in the antiquities trade so he could become a well-educated buyer. He attended all of the major shows and bought from every prominent dealer.”
Most pieces in the auction boast provenance from distinguished sources, including Sotheby’s, Christie’s, the Denver Art Museum and even Andy Warhol, who reportedly had a discerning eye for antiquities. In addition, several artworks are of monumental height, exceeding 30 inches. “That is almost unheard of in this business and is always exciting to collectors,” Dodge noted.
Some of the finest Moche art to reach the auction market in a decade will be featured in the Feb. 1 sale. According to Dodge, Moche artisans (Peru, circa 400-500 CE) were among the earliest to incorporate portraiture and humor into their pottery production. A prime example is the erotic drinking vessel of a male with well-defined facial features and a disproportionately large, erect phallus that serves as a spout. It is expected to make $12,000-$15,000. Other Moche highlights include a terracotta stirrup vessel shaped as a stern-faced warrior with a diminutive prisoner of war hoisted onto his shoulder, est. $8,000-$12,000; and a beautifully patterned pottery jar modeled as a mythological creature, part serpent and part jaguar with deer antlers. Formerly in the Platt Friedenberg and University of Virginia Art Museum collections, it is estimated at $6,000-$10,000.
Very rare and desirable, a Colima (West Mexico, circa 200 BCE – 200 CE) terracotta redware vessel is formed as a row of three finely detailed ducks with a spout emerging from one side. It measures 11 inches wide and could reach $5,000-$7,000 at auction.
From the Central Mexico Mixtec culture comes a carved redstone stele carved with the image of a fierce running warrior in full battle dress, holding a feather shield and war club. “This object would