|By William Flood
VENTURA, Calif. — Auctioneer John Eubanks of California Auctioneers and Appriasers called his Sept. 22 auction “electric” adding that about a dozen pieces set records. The dazzaling array came from the collections of Donna Decker Harcourt, heir of Harcourt Publishing, and the Ernie Hovard Collection of Western and Native American objects..
Multiple pieces grabbed five-figure winning bids. The auction’s highest, at $27,000 went to a circa 1876 tintype featuring both Wyatt and Morgan Earp at the beginning of their law enforcement careers with the Dodge City Peace Keepers.
Several pieces of Western art also reached five figures including an Edward Borein (1872-1945) Western watercolor entitled Lone Cowboy that sold for $23,000. That painting hung in New York’s Whitney Museum of Western Art in the mid-1960s. A Channing Peake abstract oil painting went for $17,500. A Western oil on board by Jack Swanson (1927-2014) entitled Making of a Cowhorse sold for $16,500.
Several bronzes by Remington, Jim Davidson, Henry Bonnard, and Jack Swanson, among others, were offered. Selling for $19,000 was a Russian bronze depicting a driver carrying two passengers by horse-drawn sled. Another, a numbered piece (2 or 25) entitled, Vaquero that sold for $5,000 was featured on the cover of the 1987 Cowboy Artists of America exhibition guidebook.
A large Chumash Indian sandstone metate went for $2,750. A beautiful polychrome Acoma seed pot by Emma Chino, done in Anasazi style with pictograms of fish, rabbits, eagles, and other animals reached $425.
Other Native American items included a circa 1910-1920 Red Mesa Third Phase revival Chief’s blanket, sold for $3,500, while an early 20th-century Chemehuevi Olla basket came close at $3,000. A pair of Sioux beaded moccasins, sinew sewn on rawhide, in excellent condition, was picked up for a modest $500. There were also prehistoric artifacts like the collection of 14 stone carved axes that hit $475.
For lovers of the iconic old West, plenty was offered. Bidding went to $1,100 on an 8-inch barrel .44 caliber Colt Army model percussion revolver from 1863, graded in “very good” condition, with visible matching serial numbers. Ten lots of antique Wells Fargo items, included numerous strong boxes like the Wells Fargo Railway messenger’s trunk with original paint, strapping, lock and key that brought $2,500. A beautiful Wells Fargo black and yellow-painted buckboard with leather seat sold for an astonishing $750.
Images of swinging saloon doors were probably on the minds of buyers chasing a collection of 14 antique liquor bottles, spanning back to 1840. The lot, won at $130, included bottles for Cutter Bourbon No. 1, Duffy’s Malt whiskey, E.G. Booz Old Cabin Whiskey, and Avan Hoboken & Co Rotterdam gin. Better yet was the unopened bottle of 152-year-old Scotch Whisky from Greenlees Brothers in Leith Scotland which a lucky buyer picked up for $500.