66 original Polaroid photos of Madonna from 1983, for sale through Manhattan Rare Books

A complete set of 66 original Polaroid photos of Madonna, taken in 1983 by the noted portrait photographer Richard Corman (Am., b. 1954), just six weeks before the release of the young singer’s debut album and eventual skyrocket to fame, is for sale through Manhattan Rare Books, located inside Gallery 90 in New York City, at 1050 Second Avenue. The sale price of the set is $350,000. “We are offering these unique Polaroids of Madonna until September 5th,” said Michael DiRuggiero owner of Manhattan Rare Books. “After that, if there is no buyer, the set will be dispersed and the images offered individually.”

66 original Polaroid photos Even though she’s still weeks away from the launch of her debut album in 1983, Madonna is already showing off the Materia Girl look. (photo courtesy Manhattan Rare Books)

The photos are featured in Corman’s limited-edition fine art book Madonna 66, which was released in November 2016. The sale price includes all 66 original Polaroids, each one signed and numbered by Corman (1-66), housed in a custom case by the noted book artist Sjoerd Hofstra, plus a copy of Madonna 66, signed by Corman. In the photos, Madonna is dressed in full Material Girl regalia, a look that sparked a fashion revolution among young women of the time. The 66 photographs were taken as test shots for a movie that Corman’s mother, a casting director, was screen-testing actors for but never got made. Check out more here.



Davy Crockett smoked cigars. Who knew?? Embossed tin sign should bring $20-$40,000

Morphy Auctions kicks off the fall season with an advertising sale planned for September 2nd and 3rd, online and at the firm’s gallery in Denver, Pa. Nearly 1,000 lots will come up for bid – a wide array of antique advertising signs, displays and figures and ephemera. Featured will be outstanding alcohol, soda, consumer products and tobacco-related offerings, as well as notable selections of antique tap knobs and porcelain shaving mugs. A strong candidate for top lot of the auction is the Davy Crockett Cigar embossed tin sign pictured here, with a great graphic of Davy enjoying a cigar. It’s expected to bring $20,000-$40,000.

Davy Crockett smoked cigars This Davy Crockett Cigar embossed tin sign, made by the Standard Advertising Co. (Coshocton, Oh.), is expected to bring $20,000-$40,000. (photo courtesy Morphy Auctions)

The sign is framed without glass and was made by the Standard Advertising Company of Coshocton, Ohio. It’s pretty scarce; in fact, it’s the first time Morphy has ever offered one of its kind. Other lots to watch include a two-piece Hires Ugly Boy urn syrup dispenser (est. $20,000-$30,000); a Robert Burns chipped glass advertising sign (est. $10,000-$30,000); a Drink Fan-Taz syrup dispenser (est. $10,000-$25,000); a Jim Dandy Root Beer syrup dispenser (est. $15,000-$25,000); a Coca-Cola double glasscock sample cooler (est. $15,000-$25,000); and an Iroquois Brewery Beer porcelain corner sign (est. $10,000-$20,000). Find out more and submit here.




French dueling pistols just a taste of what’s at Rock Island’s huge Sept. 8-9-10 auction

Rock Island Auction Company’s upcoming Premiere Firearms Auction planned for Sept. 8-9-10 contains so many top-shelf lots it’s hard to cram all the highlights into one brief blog post. But I’ll try. Let’s start with this exquisite, important and fresh pair of gold and silver mounted Parisian dueling pistols executed by the French gun maker Nicolas Noel Boutet at Versailles, circa 1800-1810. The pair carries a pre-sale estimate of $90,000-$150,000. About 2,600 lots will come up for bid over the course of the three days – a trove of firearms treasures in a variety of genres and spanning multiple generations and conflicts.

French dueling pistols Exquisite pair of gold and silver mounted Parisian dueling pistols by French gun maker Nicolas Noel Boutet at Versailles, ca. 1800-10. (photo courtesy Rock Island Auction Co.)

Featured will be Part 4 of the Robert M. Lee collection of firearms; the Putnam Green / Sycamore collection of World War II German militaria; the Landmark Collection of military arms and Class III weapons (including machine guns from all eras); the Vernon J. Berning Collection of firearms spanning 50 years; the Chad Gripp Collection of pre- and post-war Smith & Wesson double action revolvers; and the Doug Twiddy Collection of important 19th century American arms. Up for bid will be a wide selection of Winchester rifles, classic Colt revolvers (percussion and cartridge eras) and high art antiques. To see more check here.




The arts of China with Buddhist references at Gianguan Auctions’ September 9th sale

The theme of Gianguan Auctions’ September 9th auction, online and in the New York City gallery, will be the arts of China with references to Buddhism and its splendid art forms, from Tibet to the Yangtze River. An example is the 13th or 14th century Tibetan gilt-bronze thangka shown here, of Avalokiteshvara, a human manifestation of the eternal Buddha Amitabh, a masterpiece of intricate repousse. The deity is seated on a stepped throne within a stupa, inlaid with coral, turquoise and lapis, in a border of chased lotus tendrils. It’s lot #270 and has a starting bid of $27,500, with an estimate of $40,000-$60,000.

The arts of China This Tibetan gilt-bronze thangka of Avalokiteshvara, the human manifestation of the Buddha Amitabh, is a masterpiece of intricate repousse. (photo courtesy Gianguan Auctions)

Also in the auction will be more than 20 stone seals (originally the official indicator of emperors’ and scholars’ identities); Buddhist treasures, such as the allegorical painting The Wandering Mallard by Han dynasty artist Zhu Da; early Buddhist sculptures, including stone images of Guanyin; gilt-bronze deities, like a pigmented figure of Tara seated in lalitasana; meditative paintings, such as Dai Jin’s Ming work Four Panels of Buddha, executed in the Zhe School (Southern Song) style; and famille rose pieces, like the globular vase from the Honxian, Republic Period. The gallery is at 39 West 56th Street. Click here to see more.





1948 through 1954 graded baseball card sets in Small Traditions auction ending Sept. 9th

Lot #1 in Small Traditions’ 5th annual, online-only Summer Premium Auction is a near-complete set of Leaf baseball cards from 1948 (missing only #43 Eddie Stevens and #81 George Kurowski). The set does feature, however, mid-grade rookie cards for Jackie Robinson, Stan Musial and Larry Doby, plus one of the most attractive Hal Newhouser rookies (shown) in existence. The collection was meticulously pieced together, one card at a time, by David “Doc” Serota, who owns other, completely graded sets from 1948-1954, to include Topps and Bowman. These are also in the auction. The Leaf set is expected to finish at around $60,000.

Near-complete set of 1948 Leaf This Leaf Hal Newhouser card from 1948, in remarkable condition, might be sold as part of a near-complete set or as one single baseball card. (photo courtesy Small Traditions).

But it might not end up being sold as a set at all. Small Traditions, based in Denver, is offering the Leaf collection on behalf of Mr. Serota in complete set form and in single card lots (later, throughout the auction). The cards will sell via whichever format produces the highest price – the set as a whole or the aggregate final bids of the single card lots. The auction, which ends on Saturday night September 9th, also features a complete set of 1952 Topps baseball cards, a rare 1974 George Brett (Kansas City Royals) rookie postcard in mint condition, and several dozen other PSA 9 Pop 1 highest graded and PSA 10 Pop 1 regional and oddball issues featuring the likes of Mickey Mantle, Sandy Koufax, Roberto Clemente, Pete Rose and Nolan Ryan. To find out more click here.