This magnificent Steinway art cased marquetry grand piano with ormolu, inscribed Jansen (Paris) after a model by Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener (1848-1895), is an expected top lot at Austin Auction Gallery’s January 14-15 auction, online and in the firm’s gallery at 8414 Anderson Mill Road in Austin, Tex. The piano is decorated with foliage, swords, flags, ribbons and Latin mottos inspired by the Louis XV Bureau du Roi at the Palace of Versailles. The gilt bronze ormolu is attributed to Leon Message (1842-1901) a collaborator of Francois Linke (1855-1946) and Zwiener.

The piano, with a 1913 movement by Steinway, is estimated to bring $80,000-$120,000, but it is just one of many high-end lots expected to generate keen bidder interest. These will include a gorgeous dining room set by R. J. Horner and a spectacular pair of candelabras. Headlining the auction are the contents of the historic Nelson-Crier House Round Rock (both days), packed with American and Italian antique furnishings, Italian design furnishings, glassware, porcelains, fine estate jewelry, fine art, Mid-Century Modern pieces, sterling silver and more. Visit




Bowie knives will be on the cutting edge at Morphy Auctions on Jan. 19

Morphy Auctions’ January 19th auction, online and in Las Vegas, Nev., will feature more than 50 American and English Bowie knives, the fixed-blade fighting knives with a cross-guard and clip point named after James Bowie, the legendary figure who died at the Alamo and who earlier had become famous for his use of a large knife at a duel known as the Sandbar Fight. Bowie knives are hugely popular with collectors today. The one shown here, to be sold, is a Rezin Bowie presentation knife, the big prize in the category, with a $100,000-$200,000 estimate.

This example was one of four knives given by Rezin Bowie, James’s brother, to four important friends, in honor of James’s life and accomplishments. This one was gifted to Edwin Forrest, a popular American actor who was friends with both Bowie brothers. Other Bowie knives in the auction include a knife stamped Schively 75 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia (est. $75,000-$125,000); and a knife stamped Broomhead & Thomas Celebrated American Hunting Knife (est. $45,000-$60,000). Both of these rare, desirable knives were made circa 1835. Visit




Spoon racks, once proudly displayed in most homes, are a quaint curiosity

Pook & Pook, Inc.’s Friday, January 13th auction will feature a small but important collection of fine Americana, to include the item pictured here: a late 18th century New York or New Jersey chip-carved gumwood spoon rack with a lollipop finial and all-over pinwheel decoration. It seems so quaint today, but people back then had such an affection for the simple things in life – like their spoons – it prompted the design and making of spoon racks to house their most prized possessions. These were displayed on the kitchen wall or among the china in the parlor.

The earliest spoon racks date to the late 17th century, but they had pretty much fizzled out by the turn of the 19th century. The majority of early American spoon racks were found along the Maine coast, usually in areas settled by the Dutch and the Swedes, along the Hudson River, in and around northern New Jersey and along the Delaware. Most all spoon racks of this era were designed for 12 spoons, and were most likely intended to house pewter spoons. A three-bar rack held four spoons per bar and a two-bar rack held 6 spoons per bar. Visit




Rex ducal badges – or Mardi Gras ornamental pins – are quite popular

When Crescent City Auction Gallery reported it would be selling four Rex ducal badges from 1888, 1894, 1907 and 1911 (pictured here) as individual lots in their next major multi-estates auction (January 14-15), the question came to mind: What exactly is a Rex ducal badge? The fact that Crescent City Auction Gallery is based in New Orleans is a strong hint. They are a popular category of Mardi Gras collectible, one that Crescent City features in many of its sales, along with parade bulletins, ball invitations, dance cards, royal jewelry, crowns, scepters and the like.

Ducal badges are ornamental pins given each year to members of the krewe (the organization that puts on a parade or ball for Carnival season, mostly associated with Mardi Gras). They are highly prized among collectors. At a recent Crescent City auction, one ducal badge sold for $3,750. Designs for the ducals change each year, insuring variety and originality from one event to the next. Also in the Crescent City sale will be a Mardi Gras lithograph parade bulletin from the 1912 Proteus event, titled Zoroaster (est. $400-$600). Visit




Over 250 artworks are slated for the auction block at John Moran, Jan. 24

John Moran Auctioneers will ring in 2017 on Jan. 24th with a selection of California, American and European works of art spanning from the 19th century to contemporary times, with over 250 works in varying styles, schools and media. European offerings will include selections by Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso. 19th century and earlier continental works by Harry Hall, Lesser Ury and Rembrandt will also cross the block, as will examples by California artists such as Jessie Arms Botke, Ben Abril, Lockwood De Forest, Colin Campbell and Peter Ellenshaw.

The figural portrait shown here is a luminous, rose-tinted depiction of a lady in a headscarf posed in three-quarters profile by Boston artist Elmer Greene (1907-1964). Simply titled Study, the portrait carries a pre-sale estimate of $1,000-$1,500. Greene painted many prominent figures of his day, including Pope Pius XII, Cardinal Spellman, President Herbert Hoover and many others. He lived in Boston all his life and studied at the Massachusetts School of Art. The auction will be held online and at John Moran’s gallery in Monrovia, Calif. Visit