A Blackfoot man’s beaded and hide shirt was top seller at the 26th annual auction of western art and Americana, which saw over 400 lots cross the block and realized $1.4 million in sales.
MESA, AZ – Nearly 500 people attended the 26th annual Brian Lebel’s High Noon Auction in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday night, January 23rd, bidding on 430 lots of authentic cowboy, Indian and Western art and artifacts. Held at the Phoenix Marriott Mesa, the sale drew almost as many phone and internet bidders as live ones, keeping the phone-bank and the ring-men busy all night. With total sales topping $1.4 million, and lots in every price range, the fast-paced sale realized an incredible 93.5% sell-through rate.
From cover to cover, the sale was strong; the evening’s top seller was the catalog front cover lot, a Blackfoot man’s war shirt that sold for $109,250 to a phone bidder. (It was one of many Native American artifacts to bring impressive prices.) The back cover of the catalog, an Edward Borein watercolor, sold for $51,750, well above its presale estimate of $30,000-35,000. Lebel’s auctions are well-known for their Borein sales, as his June “Old West Auction” currently holds the Borein watercolor record.
Other notable western fine artists also brought fine prices, including a large and impressive Howard Post of a trio of horses that sold above estimate at $27,225; a LaVerne Nelson Black that more than doubled its low estimate, selling for $14,160; and a Charlie Russell bronze, which sold firmly within estimate at $9,200. Among the fine art bargains of the evening was a lively Ernesto Icaza, estimated at $15,000-25,000 that realized $12,980.
Saddles, spurs and other cowboy trappings are always big sellers, with a bit and spur set from Goldberg/Staunton bringing $40,250 after a bidding war between the phones and the floor, with the floor bidder ultimately prevailing. Historic firearms did well, as was evidenced by the sale of a Trapdoor Officer’s Model sporting rifle that sold above estimate for $19,550. An historic Ulysses S. Grant Peace Medal sold for $37,375 after yet another floor versus phone bidding frenzy.
Brian Lebel, auction owner, is pleased with the sale and enthusiastic about the market. His weekend vendor sale that accompanies the auction – Brian Lebel’s High Noon Show – was equally as successful, with record-breaking attendance and millions of dollars in sales. According to Lebel, “despite plummeting stocks, global conflict, record breaking snow, and an election year, it is clear from our crowds and results that the western art and antiques market remains robust and shows no signs of slowing.” Lebel is also happy with the growing global interest in the industry. “We had vendors and shoppers from around the world,” says Lebel. “I personally spoke to folks from Germany, Belgium, France and Tokyo.”
Next year’s Mesa High Noon Show & Auction will be held January 21-22, 2017 at the Mesa Convention Center and Phoenix Marriott Mesa, respectively. Lebel’s next event is the 27th annual “Old West Show & Auction” which will be held June 11-12, 2016 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, Texas. For more information on any of these events, visit www.oldwestevents.com or call 480-779-9378.
(all reported prices include buyers premium)