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Native American & Eskimo Works at Auction at Bonhams & Butterfields
An Acoma triple-lobed canteen, Juana Leno, could sell for as much as $900 when offered in Bonhams & Butterfields’ September auction in San Francisco, height 5 3/4 in. length 16 1/4 in.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Bonhams & Butterfields, world leaders in auctions of Native American art, will present on Monday, September 13, 2010 in San Francisco its “Art and Artifacts of the Americas” auction consisting of American Indian baskets, pottery, beadwork, weavings, jewelry, Northwest Coast and Eskimo art, along with Pre-Columbian and Latin American art and objects – a sale comprising property from estates, noted private collections and institutions from across North America.

Described as a “new collector’s sale,” the 380-lot auction features property valued at $400 to $4,000, with many lots including multiple pieces grouped together. Jim Haas, V.P. and Director of Bonhams’ Native American Art Dept., said, “We’re pleased to present a series of moderately-priced Native American and Eskimo lots to collectors and members of the trade, stemming from collections out of Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Oregon, Washington and throughout California which complements our twice-yearly fine sales each June and December.

According to specialist-in-charge Ingmars Lindbergs who has assembled the sale, “The September offering includes many lots that are perfect for those new to this collecting category, looking to decorate and collect Native American and pre-Columbian art.”

The auction opens with stone and pottery figures from the Mayan, Mezcala, Veracruz and West Mexican cultures, several having been exhibited at Disney’s Epcot Center and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA in the 1980s. Property from the Estate of Blanche Thebom is being offered to benefit a trust which supports several opera programs in Santa Fe and San Francisco. Included is a Musica gold tunjo, a three-inch high 14k gold votive figure in a custom fitted case. The golden figure holds a spear-thrower or similar implement and could bring $1,000 to $1,500.

Southwest material features Apache cradle boards, Navajo rattles, Hopi kachina dolls, and paintings. Forty lots of jewelry feature Navajo and Zuni cuff bracelets, rings, necklaces, bolo ties and belts, most with inlays of turquoise and stone. A grouping of four Zuni items includes a pin, two bolo ties, and a four-inch wide belt buckle inlaid with a depiction of a Gaan dancer (est. $6/800) while a collection of Navajo copper jewelry features six bracelets, a pair of earrings, a button and a 34-inch long concha belt (est.$5/700). Bidders will vie for Pueblo bead necklaces, a Hopi silver box and bracelet, and a large grouping of wonderfully-decorated Navajo, Zuni and Hopi rings of various sizes (est. $800/1,200). Among the textiles are Navajo pictorial weavings, transitional works and chief’s style examples.

Collector interest is expected to be strong for pottery and basketry on offer. A pair of six-inch high Casa Grandes polychrome effigy vessels depict a human and an owl, the lot expected to bring as much as $2,000. Blackware jars, bowls and candlesticks on offer include several signed examples such as an eight-inch high Margaret Tafoya piece estimated at $1,500 to $2,000. A Santo Domingo dough bowl by Vidal Aguilar is decorated about the sides with birds, plants and deer, estimated at $5/700. An Acoma triple-lobed canteen by Juana Leno stands five-inches high and 16-inches long (est. $6/900).

The sale’s basketry section includes several Northern California hats, Eskimo lidded baskets adorned with carved walrus ivory finials, Plateau cornhusk bags, and a Washo model basketry cradle attributed to Scees Bryant (est. $5/700). An Apache olla stands nearly ten-inches high, decorated with vertical bands of stacked arrow points, checkered diamonds and human, deer and dog figures (est. $1,800/2,400). A 17-inch wide Chemehuevi tray has steeply flaring sides with a zigzag design band (est. $2/3,000) while an oval 21-inch long Apache tray could bring as much as $1,500.

Plains, Plateau and Woodlands lots include beadwork on bags, pouches, gauntlets, moccasins, leggings, dresses, shirts and vests. A Sioux beaded rifle scabbard is appraised at $1,800/2,400 while a pair of Plains beaded knife sheaths are offered with companion knives (est. $1,200/1,800). A group of three Native American musical instruments could bring $1,000, including a 13-inch high Pueblo drum and two rattles. A Southern Plains stonehead club is 23-inches long (est. $6/900) and a 20-inch long Eastern Plains presentation pipe tomahawk is predicted to sell for $1,500 to $2,000.

Eskimo and Northwest items include ivory and bone carvings, scrimshaw walrus tusks, utilitarian objects used for fishing or hunting, and model canoes, sleds and kayaks. Carved wood effigies depict beavers, walrus, a frog, fish, an eagle head, and humans.

Several lots comprise miniature totem poles and a ten-inch long Northwest Coast horn spoon was carved with a totemic eagle wearing an elongated bird headdress (est. $1,000/1,500)

The September sale closes with several African and Hawaiian items, including ivory hook necklaces, as well as a nice selection of weavings, and related books from the libraries of several Native American art collectors.

Previews open in San Francisco on Friday, Sept. 10, continuing daily through the weekend, including previews on sale day from 10am until the start of the auction at Noon. The illustrated auction catalog is online for review at

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