Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information
Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Bonhams to host three June Native American Art auctions featuring collections of rare art and photography in San Francisco

Bonhams announce it will hold three auctions of Native American Art, June 4-5, in San Francisco: The Robert “Trader Bob” Bayuk Collection of Native American Art, The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Historic Native American Photographs and a various owners sale of Fine Native American Art. The auctions cumulatively will feature about 500 lots of rare art and artifacts for a range of collecting levels.

From the Robert “Trader Bob” Bayuk Collection, June 4, will come a most important collection of Native American basketry. The star lot of the Collection is a major degikup, or ceremonial style basket by the most famous of weavers, Dat So La Lee, a Washo woman from the Lake Tahoe area of Northern California (est. $100,000-150,000). The impeccably woven basket is one of only about 40 important, larger examples that Dat So La Lee ever made. Most of these are currently in museums and this is an incredible opportunity for a collector to own one.

Also of great importance in the Collection is an unprecedented offering of four baskets and two trays – of very limited existence – from the Chumash tribe of Southern California, whose last known weaver passed away in the early part of the 20th century. Rarer still, one of the items was once owned by John Muir. Estimates for two of the baskets are $40,000-60,000, and the other two are $10,000-15,000 and $8,000-12,000, respectively. The trays are estimated at $20,000-30,000 and $4,000-6,000, respectively.

Highlights of the sale continue with the offering of a painted potlatch hat from the Tlingit tribe of the Pacific Northwest Coast (est. $30,000-50,000) and approximately 13 separate lots of fine bottleneck baskets from such California tribes as the Kawaiisu, Miwok, Panamint, Tubatulabul, Western Mono and Yokut, with varying estimates.
Also of note will be two Mission pictorial rattlesnake baskets, estimated at $15,000-25,000 and $12,000-18,000, respectively; and scores of baskets from the Panamint, Yokut and Pomo tribes. Basketry from other tribes of California, the South and Northwest will also be represented. Two lots of large Apache ollas from the same collection hail from Arizona, and are estimated at $50,000-70,000 and $12,000-18,000, respectively.

Jim Haas, Vice President and Native American Art Director at Bonhams, says “In all my years with the auction house, and after having sold literally thousands of baskets, I think it is safe to say the Bayuk Collection is the finest basket assemblage to ever come up for auction.”

Rounding out the sale will be argillite carvings from the Haida people of a panel pipe and a figural group (est. $12,000-18,000 and $4,000-6,000, respectively), an oval plate (est. $7,000-9,000), a pipe fragment (est. $3,000-5,000) and a totem pole (est. $2,000-3,000); as well as a rare Hupa/Karok dance apron (est. $10,000-15,000); a Cheyenne beaded cradle (est. $6,000-8,000); and other artistic Native American artifacts.

From the sale of Fine Native American art from various owners, to be held the same day, will be a rare and unusual multi-hued Navajo sarape, or blanket, measuring 6 feet by 4 feet 11 inches (est. $40,000-60,000). The sarape is one of some six known to exist with a likely ceremonial “spider hole” slit at its center. A second important sarape in the auction is a Saltillo, very finely patterned and richly colored, dating back to the late 18th/early 19th century from Mexico (est. $10,000-15,000).

Also highlighting the sale of various owners will be a Powhoge storage jar of the San Ildefonso variety that is in wonderful condition despite its late 18th century/early 19th century origin (est. $25,000-35,000). There will also be two pairs of early Eastern Woodlands moccasins offered, including a pair of Huron quilled examples (est. $20,000-30,000) and a pair of Micmac beaded moccasins (est. $7,000-10,000).

Two contemporary offerings in the auction consist of a large turtle pottery sculpture by Tony Da (est. $30,000-50,000) and a Roxanne Swentzell bronze of a pair of lovers (est. $5,000-8,000). Accompanying all of this will be jewelry, pottery, beadwork, paintings and weavings.

Last, but certainly not least, taking place June 5, will be The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Historic Native American Photographs. The sale will include more than 125 lots of early photography from such late 19th/early 20th century photographers as Camillus Sidney Fly, David F. Barry, E.A. Bonine, Henry Buehman, Frank A. Randall and George Ben Wittick. Photograph types featured will include tintype, stereoview, cabinet and boudoir cards with subjects such as famous historic figures, traditional views of a rapidly changing culture and the adaptation of Western ways by Native peoples.

The illustrated auction catalogs for the sales will be available online for review and purchase in the weeks preceding the sales at

Auction Previews: June 1-4, San Francisco (all three auctions included)
Fine Native American Art Auction: June 4, San Francisco
The Robert “Trader Bob” Bayuk Collection of Native American Art Auction: June 4, San Francisco
The G. Lorenzo Fritz Collection of Historic Native American Photographs: June 5, San Francisco