Native American and Pre-Columbian Art June 4 in San Francisco

Native American and pre-Columbian art comes to Bonhams & Butterfields in San Francisco in June, including the best selection of Northwest Coast and Plains material ever offered within the international auctioneer’s salesroom. The auction on Monday, June 4, 2007 features more than 500 lots, from both private and institutional collections.

The Phillip Brown collection of fine Northwest Coast art comprises a sizable group of select 19th century masks, frontlets and ceremonial regalia. The impressive collection includes a rare Coast Salish stone effigy carving at $30,000 to $50,000 as well as a pair of well-crafted foot-tall Haida figures previously exhibited at a London museum estimated to bring as much as $120,000. A fine raven rattle, a Kwakiutl raven mask (est. $25/35,000), and several Tlingit blankets and masks will be offered with estimates ranging between $20,000 and $60,000. Totem poles from this collection and others include carved and polychromed wood examples standing as high as 12-feet tall, as well as argillite totems measuring 18-inches from base to top.

From the Paul Dyck Foundation comes a wide array of beadwork and related material, such as quilled or beaded shirts, full-sized Kiowa and Cheyenne cradles, many pipes, saddlebags, tobacco bags and artful artefacts. An early Plateau pony beaded dress features beading across the bodice and shoulders, the arms and perimeter lined with fringe (est. $30/50,000), while a handsome Sioux beaded shirt features hair attachments and yellow, blue and green pigments (est. $50/80,000).

The sale is to include property from the collections of anthropologists James C. Garner and Beatrice Medicine assembled from the 1940s through the ‘60s. This important Southern California collection comprises Native American art and artefacts across a wide spectrum, from a Columbia River dance shirt to a rare 12-foot long Seminole beaded sash woven with a diamond lattice pattern, ending in tassels at each end (est. $15/20,000). Consigned by an East Coast history museum and described as “superb” is an early 19th century Southeast beaded bandoleer bag of red and black trade cloth that’s never before been on the market (est. $60/90,000).

The Frances Storey pottery collection from Philadelphia will be offered in its entirety. This tremendous assemblage consists of numerous historic vessels from the 19th century along with a cross-section of modern, signed pottery by noted makers. Strong collector interest is expected for these examples as well as pots from collections in Houston, Northern California and other locations. An Acoma polychrome foot-tall jar with depictions of parrots and flowers could bring as much as $30,000 while a San Ildefonso polychrome bird jar featuring a bird head spout and stepped shoulder is expected to bring $10,000 to $15,000. A Zuni polychrome frog jar stems from that Philadelphia collection, its relief-modelled frogs separated by painted butterfly figures (est. $12/18,000).

Native American baskets, for which the firm has set multiple auction records, include an extremely rare Fremont basket woven of natural and black-dyed willow. The basket has undergone carbon dating after its discovery on private lands in Utah, with indications that its origin may date as early as 960AD (est. $10/15,000). An oval Chilcotin basket displays depictions of stags and birds with repeating triangle accents, estimated to bring $6,000 to $9,000. The same estimate is in place for a 16-inch high Apache olla decorated with vertical bands of deer and human figures below a band of spread-wing eagle figures at the rim.

A notable selection of 19th and early 20th century kachina dolls is presented within the summer sale along with examples of jewelry by Hopi artist Charles Loloma, classic Navajo blankets and regional rugs, and a variety of Mexican and South American pre-Columbian vessels and figures.

Jim Haas, Vice President, Director, Native American, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Arts sales at Bonhams & Butterfields said, “This is one of our strongest offerings to date. With the market as robust as it presently is, I’m expecting good things to happen on sale day.”

The sale’s previews open in San Francisco on Friday, June 1, continuing daily until the auction at Noon on Monday, June 4 (preview hours: 10am-5pm Friday and Saturday, Noon –5pm on Sunday, 9am-Noon on Monday). The illustrated catalog is online for review and purchase at