Single-owner collections appeal to the many buyers who enjoy learning about and understanding the history of an object - the places and hands through which an object has passed. The value of an object is oftentimes lifted through its association with an important collection or a well-known collector. It is always wonderful for us to see how one collector’s curatorial pursuit serves as an inspiration for others.
Below are some notable private collections I have had the pleasure of working on during my time at Freeman’s.
The Jeff Hunter Collection
Totaling just shy of 50 lots, The Jeff Hunter Collection represented a remarkable lifetime of collecting ancient art. The renowned talent agent’s collection consisted of antiquities and tribal art that shared a consistent theme: the human form. The sale was led by Lot 34: A Roman life-size torso of Diomedes, 1st century AD, which was estimated at $20,000-30,000 and achieved $106,250. Garnering much international interest, the sale nearly doubled its high estimate to total $426,375.
Across Continents: Property from the Collection of Ambassador & Mrs. Alexander Weddell, The Virginia House Museum
The collection of Ambassador and Mrs. Alexander Weddell incorporated art & objects from all over the world, including Spain, Europe, Near & Far East, Britain, and the Americas. This vast collection was held together by the Weddells’ personal story— their shared travels, their love for each other, and their joint passion to collect items with which to furnish their beloved Virginia House in Richmond.
One of the highlights from the nearly 500 lot sale was Lot 149: A Nasrid-Style early marquetry and ivory inlaid cassone, Venice or Barcelona, late 15th century. The cassone was estimated at $6,000-8,000 and after a lengthy bidding war, achieved $59,375. Such spirited bidding was a common occurrence throughout the single-owner auction, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate and to date recorded the highest number of registered bidders for a single auction at Freeman’s.
The Collection of Victor Niederhoffer
Hedge fund manager and statistician Victor Niederhoffer amassed an eclectic collection that spanned disciplines and reflected various passions. Formed over many years, the collection encompassed larger themes such as human accomplishment and heroic achievement. It was comprised of impressive American and European sterling silver trophies and other fine examples that celebrated the craftsmanship and technical prowess of the greatest silversmiths; patriotic and whimsical Americana; folk and illustration art; and a wide selection of books and autographs from his personal library.
Totaling over $1m, the sale exceeded its pre-sale high estimate, with the strongest results achieved by the impressive silver pieces in the auction. A notable result was Lot 43: An exceptional Victorian sterling silver figural centerpiece by George Angell & Co., London, 1870, which was estimated at $12,000-18,000 and fetched $56,250.
A Grand Old Flag: The Stars & Stripes Collection of Dr. Peter J. Keim
Dr. Keim’s collection was one of the most comprehensive collections of historical American Flags ever to be offered at auction. Built over the course of 40 years, with passion, perseverance and a steadfast commitment to rarity and historical significance, the collection included an impressive array of over 400 United States Flags, as well as related books, patriotic memorabilia and artifacts from 19th and 20th century popular culture.
The sale generated nationwide interest and the exhibition, which featured a selection of Flags hung impressively across the walls and from the ceilings of Freeman’s galleries, attracted history aficionados, Americana enthusiasts, patriots, and passersby alike. The highlight of the sale was Lot 29: A 28-Star ‘Great Star’ American Flag commemorating Texas statehood, circa 1846, which sold for $68,750, more than quadrupling it’s pre-sale low estimate.
I am looking forward to working with more interesting and exciting collections and to bringing new material with rich stories to the market. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you wish to determine the value of your collection or to learn more about offering it at auction.