Bonhams San Francisco Native American Art auction takes $2.25 million

Bonhams announces its June 3 auction of Native American Art in San Francisco realized $2.25 million, with strong bidder participation in the auction room, on the phones and online. The 524 lot sale of pottery, historic basketry, fine textiles, Northwest Coast and Eskimo art; beadwork; jewelry and kachina dolls saw great success across all categories. Its top lot, a fine and rare polychrome storage jar by Hopi pottery artist Nampeyo, decorated with three images of the eagle tail composition, sold for $86,500.

Other pottery highlights in the sale included additional Hopi jars by Nampeyo, decorated with stylized bird forms that brought $17,500 and $15,000, respectively; a Zuni polychrome dough bowl, likely by We’wha, that sold for $17,500 (est. $8,000-12,000); and a Santa Ana polychrome jar that sold for $10,000 – all from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection, San Marino, CA. Also of note was a very rare Pinedale black-on-white human effigy that brought $15,000.

The Eskimo/Northwest Coast/California section of the sale was also greatly successful. Its most notable lot was a Haida argillite totem pole, attributed to Charles Edenshaw, featuring a seated bear grasping a human figure, a wolf holding a frog and a raven at the top with a salmon in his grip. Only 10 1/8 inches high, it sold for $48,750 (est. $7,000-10,000). A Haida argillite panel pipe also sold well, bringing $31,250. Rounding out the section was a John Tiktak stone sculpture from Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet, depicting a mother and child, that sold for $43,750 (est. $20,000-40,000), and a Northwest Coast Chilkat blanket that sold for $25,000.

Highlights from the Plains, Plateau and Woodlands region in the auction included a Plains pipe tomahawk that sold for $40,000, an Eastern Sioux burlwood effigy bowl that sold for $17,500 (est. $10,000-15,000); a Western Great Lakes ball head club that sold for $22,500; and an Eastern Woodlands ball head club that sold for $10,000 (est. $6,000-9,000).
Navajo weavings from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection also sold very well in the auction. From the collection was a classic chief’s blanket that sold for $40,000; a late classic Moki serape that sold for $27,500; a late classic Moki blanket that sold for $20,000; a child’s blanket that sold for $20,000; and a late classic chief’s blanket that sold for $18,750 (est. $10,000-15,000). A Navajo Germantown rug from a Private Oklahoma Collection also sold well, bringing $22,500 (est. $10,000-15,000).

A great portion of the sale was filled with fine basketry. Notable highlights from various owners included a superb Maidu polychrome tray that sold for $37,500; a Chemehuevi polychrome olla, featuring a pair of diamondback rattlesnakes encircling the sides, that sold for $16,250 (est. $3,000-4,000); and a rare Plateau double cylinder cornhusk bag, of bi-lobed construction, that sold for $13,750 (est. $6,000-9,000). From the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection, whose 400-plus lots of basketry have been portioned out in this and future sales, was a superb Yokuts polychrome gambling tray that sold for $32,500 (est. $20,000-30,000); an unusual Yokuts polychrome basket, possibly by Lucinda Hancock, that sold for $12,500; two Chumash polychrome baskets that sold for $23,750 and $12,500, respectively; and two Mission polychrome baskets that surpassed $5,000-7,000 estimates to bring $10,625 and $10,000.

From the portion of the sale featuring miscellaneous property from the Southwest came such Hopi highlights as a kachina doll, depicting Lenang, or Flute Kachina, that sold for $20,000 (est. $10,000-15,000), and a set of game pieces by Wilson Tawaquaptewa, conceived as four “kachina” dolls that sold for $10,625 (est. $4,000-6,000) – both from the Jim and Lauris Phillips Collection. An additional Hopi kachina doll of note, representing the Two-Horned Deity, sold for $11,250 (est. $6,000-9,000).

Hopi jewelry by Charles Loloma also sold well in the auction. Highlights included a wide silver bangle bracelet, set with square-cut turquoise, lapis, ironwood and coral, silver spacers, that sold for $18,750 (est. $7,000-10,000); a silver bangle bracelet set with fine square-cut turquoise stones, lapis, ironwood and coral, gold spacers that sold for $15,000 (est. $5,000-7,000); and a silver bangle bracelet set with mostly square-cut coral and an occasional spacer of lapis, turquoise and gold that sold for $10,625 (est. $4,000-6,000).