Kicking off the house’s Fall/Winter 2020 fine auction season, the 240-lot sale achieved a sell-through rate of 89% and realized nearly $680,000, well surpassing its pre-sale low estimate, and with 95% of bidding taking place online. A new addition to Freeman’s fall auction schedule, Ritual and Culture is one of four new, themed auctions that present art and objects from across specialist departments in compelling and unexpected ways. 

This sale featured a series of jewel-like collections that worked in tandem to tell a compelling story about the richness of human culture. Each group was assembled thoughtfully by dedicated collectors who were knowledgeable and passionate about their respective fields. The fantastic results of this sale demonstrate that well-curated collections resonate strongly with a range of buyers.

Head of Sale, Tessa Laney

Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible Exceeds Pre-Sale High Estimate

Lot 26 | Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible, sold for $81,250

The 20-lot Books & Manuscripts section achieved a 100% sell-through rate and realized nearly $200,000. The sale included 15 incunabula, led by the highly anticipated Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible (Lot 26), which sold for $81,250—soaring past its pre-sale estimate of $40,000-60,000. Another highlight from this section was Biblia (in West Low German With Glosses According to Nicolaus de Lyra’s Postils) (Lot 31) which realized $32,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-30,000.

Rarely does a collection such as this come to market. These 20 lots represent over 9,000 years of printing history. Led by an exquisite Leaf From the Gutenberg Bible, several of these titles haven’t seen any examples come to auction in over 100 years. It was a magnificent day in the book world today.

Head of Books & Manuscripts, Darren Winston

Strong Prices Achieved for Egyptian Bronze Cat & French Gothic Sculptures

Lot 3 | Egyptian Bronze Figure of a Seated Cat, sold for $75,000

Competitive bidding also resulted in strong prices for antiquities and gothic sculpture from a Private New York Collection. Notably, an Egyptian Bronze Figure of a Seated Cat (Lot 3) realized $75,000, surpassing its pre-sale estimate of $30,000-50,000. Additionally, a Carved Alabaster Funerary Portar or Arch Voussoir, attributed to Jean de Cambrai (French, 1375-1438) (Lot 6) more than tripled its pre-sale low estimate to achieve $25,000, and a Carved Limestone Portal Figure Fragment of a Head of a Queen (Lot 5), doubled its pre-sale high estimate, realizing $18,750.


Additional Highlights

Lot 46 | A Great Plains Pictographic War Record, sold for $56,250

Other notable highlights from the auction included: a Great Plains Pictographic War Record from a Private Family Collection (Lot 46), which attracted spirited bidding and achieved $56,250; The Collection of Thomas McNemar, which featured over 100 lots of African masks and artifacts of ritual significance (Lots 98-207) and achieved a 97% sell-through rate and totaled over $87,000; and the mounted hanging scroll, Waterfall by Tani Buncho (1763-1840) (Lot 240) which realized $30,000, ten times its pre-sale low estimate.


Upcoming Themed Auctions

Our upcoming auction season will feature three additional themed sales including Age of Exploration: Travel & Discovery Through the Centuries on October 14 which chronicles the storied history of cartography, travel, trade, and seafaring while capturing the universal spirit of travel and evoking the thrill of venturing into the unknown. This will be followed by ELEMENTS: Earth & Fire on October 21, which will capture the history of our artistic ambition to harness the beauty of Earth’s most inscrutable elements. Finally, building on Freeman’s long-term success selling items from its native state, we will reintroduce the renowned Pennsylvania Sale on October 28. A comprehensive tribute to the entire region, this iteration will feature furniture by Wharton Esherick from the Hedgerow Theatre Collection. 



Consign with Freeman's

Curious about the value of your collection? Freeman’s welcomes year round consignments of jewelry, 20th century design, fine and decorative arts. To request a complimentary auction estimate, please email