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Yakov Chernikhov's futuristic architectural drawings lead Bonhams 20th century history sale
An exceptionally rare and important graphic archive of Yakov Chernikov. 1889-1951. Sold for $425,000 including premium. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

NEW YORK, NY.- An extensive archive of richly detailed drawings by Soviet artist and architect Yakov Chernikhov sold for $425,000 and led Bonhams The Story of the 20th Century auction on June 4 in its Madison Avenue salesroom. A second Chernikhov lot features unpublished journals, treatises and sketchbooks full of ornate illustrations, drawing inspiration from eccentric and grandiose monuments such as Angkor Wat, the Aztec and Mayan ruins, and the Houses of Parliament and reached a final price of $173,000. Also notable is the Camera Craft Collection - an extensive trove of photographic material from a Beijing photography studio run by the American John David Zumbrun from circa 1910 to 1929. The collection included approximately 2,000 photographs plus numerous color and black and white negatives; it fetched $317,000.

The auction achieved $1.6 million in total sales, with far-reaching international interest from registered bidders in such countries as Australia, Brazil, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

Noteworthy results occurred for significant works in the fields of modern science and technology. Alan Turing's first edition of the most important 20th century paper on computer science entitled, "On Computable Numbers," sold to a telephone bidder for $50,000. The only copy of a cassette tape-recorded interview of Richard Feynman discussing such topics as the Manhattan Project, winning the Nobel Prize for physics in 1965 and being selected on the space shuttle Challenger committee also fetched $37,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-8,000. To cap off the sale, the second to last lot to reach the auction block were two original exterior office building signs for the Cupertino Corporate Headquarters of Apple Computing, Inc. The iconic rainbow apple logo was commissioned at Steve Jobs' request, and in 1997 the signs were removed from the building and were given to a longtime Apple employee. With a respectable estimate of $10,000-15,000, an internet bid set the final price at $28,000, almost three times its low estimate.

"This auction demonstrated strong evidence of the growing enthusiasm for 20th century history among international collectors," said Christina Geiger, Director of the Fine Books & Manuscripts Department for Bonhams in New York, "We plan to have a themed 20th century auction as an annual event at Bonhams."

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