Modern masters prints, paintings in Jasper52 sale Feb. 6

A Jasper52 online auction of prints and paintings on Feb. 6 gives art lovers an opportunity to purchase works by modern masters. The auction features remarkable artworks by Takashi Murakami, Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder and Banksy.

Takashi Murakami, ‘Flower Ball (3D),’ 2010, 28 in x 28 in, framed 32 in x 32 in, edition 120/300. Estimate: $1,800-$2,000. Jasper52 image

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Headliners and heavy-hitters of sports memorabilia

Road gray, game-worn New York Yankees jersey, 1920, sold for $4.4 million in May 2012 by SCP Auctions and purchased by sports memorabilia auction company, with plans to sell the jersey privately, according to an article on SCP Auctions image.

The sports card and memorabilia market cheered some history-making sales in 2017. However, it’s not only about the pristine and the priciest items. The character of today’s market is also about people of all ages continuing to seek out and attend collector shows, connecting with sports memorabilia dealers and participating in auctions. Companies continue to turn out cutting-edge and innovative memorabilia today that may very well be tomorrow’s cherished collectibles.

As much as collectors may be attracted to a specific type of memorabilia (cards, jerseys, posters, game-worn gear), it’s still a name game. To gain a better understanding of the big names in the sports memorabilia market and the market itself, we turned to Michael Russek, director of operations at Grey Flannel Auctions.

Which seven athletes are the most sought-after when it comes to sports memorabilia?

Michael Russek (MR): The number one athlete on this list must be Babe Ruth. Ruth is synonymous with American history and the game of baseball. He was a larger than life figure whose legend extends much further than the sport. Ruth currently holds the record for the most expensive game-used jersey ever sold.

The only known complete set of New York Yankees World Series tickets, from 1921 to present. The set, which was encapsulated and authenticated by PSA/DNA, sold for $144,000 in a December 2017 auction. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

Bio: George Herman Ruth (1895-1948) batted and threw left-handed. He made his major league debut in 1914 with the Boston Red Sox and won 89 games as a starting pitcher over six seasons. He is best remembered for the 14 seasons he played outfield for the New York Yankees. Crowned the Sultan of Swat, Ruth hit 714 home career home runs, a record that stood until 1974. Ruth opened the 1935 playing for the Boston Braves, but retired three months into the season. He was one of the first players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, a member of seven World Series championship teams, and named the greatest baseball player of all time by The Sporting News, and greatest baseball player of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.

MR: Ruth’s longtime teammate with the New York Yankees, Lou Gehrig, arguably has the most elegant signature in the history of the sport. One of the all-time greats and well known for his tragic death from ALS, Gehrig remains highly sought-after in the market.

Bio: Native New Yorker Henry Louis Gehrig (1903-1941) batted and threw left-handed and was a talented athlete not only in baseball but football as well. He spent his entire professional career with the New York Yankees, signing his first contract in 1923. His illness forced him to retire early in the 1939 season. He participated in six World Series championship victories, he was the first player to play in 2,000 consecutive games, first to hit more than 20 grand slams during his career, first to have his uniform number retired, and the first athlete to appear on a box of “Wheaties” cereal.

Lou Gehrig’s 1925 contract with the New York Yankees specifying payment of $3,750. The document sold for $197,287.48 at auction in November 2017. Steiner Sports Auction image.

MR: Michael Jordan is a modern athlete whose memorabilia is highly sought after. Widely considered the best basketball player ever, who played for some of the most accomplished teams of all time, Jordan’s memorabilia will always be highly desirable.

Bio: Michael Jeffrey Jordan (1963) was an NBA shooting guard with the Chicago Bulls from the 1985-1993 seasons, reactivated in 1995 and played through the 1998 season. He returned again in 2001, this time playing for the Washington Wizards, a team with which he held ownership. He wrapped his career for good after the 2002-03 season. He’s a six-time NBA champion, 10-time All-NBA player, two-time Olympic gold medalist, and five-time NBA MVP, among other professional successes.

Michael Jordan game-worn, dual signed Converse shoes from the 1984 Olympic game that saw the U.S. team defeat Spain to claim the gold. Sold for $190,373 during a June 2017 auction. SCP Auctions.

MR: Kobe Bryant is another modern athlete with an international following who is beloved by fans across the globe. Kobe holds the record for international jersey sales and is a superstar in every respect.

Bio: Kobe Bean Bryant (1978) was drafted in the 1996 NBA draft. He was a member of five NBA championship teams, playing guard for the Los Angeles Lakers for his entire professional career. During his 20-year career, he also earned 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP award, and two Olympic gold medals.

A Kobe Bryant 1996-97 season game-worn Los Angeles Lakers jersey, autographed by Bryant during his rookie season. Sold for $12,000 during a September 2012 auction. Grey Flannel Auctions and LiveAuctioneers image.

MR: In the current baseball market Mike Trout is an athlete who is highly sought-after following his rise to stardom and multiple MVP seasons. Collectors understand the potential Trout has to be regarded as one of the all-time greats.

Bio: Michael Nelson Trout (1991) made his MLB debut in 2011 after being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels. He bats and throws right-handed, plays centerfield and is under contract with the Angels through 2020. He’s a two-time MVP of the MLB American League and two-time MVP of the MLB All-Star Game.

Signed Mike Trout game-worn Nike cleats, 2016, sold for $2,185 during a December 2017 auction. Grey Flannel Auctions image.

MR: LeBron James’ memorabilia extends back to his high school days, as well as his championship teams with the Miami Heat and currently with the Cleveland Cavaliers. With James’ growing following and legend his market for memorabilia continues to grow.

Bio: LeBron Raymone James (1984) plays forward for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers. He was the first pick in the 2003 NBA draft, became the first Cavalier and youngest player (age 20) to earn the NBA Rookie of the Year title. He’s a three-time NBA champion, four-time NBA regular season MVP, 14-time All-Star team member, and a three-time Olympic medal winner (two golds).

MR: With the rarity and lack of memorabilia in the market, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time Tom Brady is a highly sought-after athlete. Will he win another? (We will find out Sunday, Feb. 4.)

Bio: Tom Brady (1977) was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000 and remains there to this day. He took on the starting quarterback position during the 2001 season and has been at the helm ever since. He’s been the quarterback on five Super Bowl championship Patriot teams, is the first player to earn four Super Bowl MVP awards and is a two-time NFL MVP winner.

What types of memorabilia are most popular presently, and why?

MR: Currently, the most popular material is photo-matched game-used jerseys. Collectors value actually “seeing” their specific shirt on the athlete’s back. A true “one-of-a-kind” jersey is very popular. This type of item can tie collectors to memories and times of great success for the athlete. Also, vintage Hall of Famer autographs have been very popular since the beginning of time and they continue to rise in value.

What are some of the positives aspects and challenging factors within today’s sports memorabilia market?

MR: Being able to satisfy customers and on our end, delivering them authentic items that they can trust, is very empowering. The most challenging aspect is uncovering those true one-of-a-kind-collectibles that are “hobby fresh.” Routinely bringing a high impact piece to market that no one ever knew existed is what keeps us at the forefront of our industry.

Regarding the authenticity and instance of forgeries among sports memorabilia, what is your advice for people with interest in sports autographs?

MR: With such a high demand and value of athlete autographs, they, unfortunately, are some of the most forged. Anybody who is interested in sports autographs should rely on the highly regarded and proven autograph experts to avoid forgeries. Brands matter and the authenticator’s track record is paramount. You want to make sure your investment is liquid if you ever go to sell.

Not that you have a crystal ball to predict future, but which elements of the sports memorabilia marketplace do you see possibly being in a position to perform well at auction in 2018?

MR: Photo-matched game-worn jerseys gained serious interest in 2017, and I expect that trend to continue in 2018. As mentioned earlier, collectors highly value the true “one-of-a-kind” jersey that can be definitively attributed to a specific career milestone or historic event.

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Luxury is key to designer wristwatch auction Jan. 31

A Swiss-made Venus men’s watch in 18K yellow gold and a vintage Rolex Oyster watch in 9K rose gold are two of the many luxury wristwatches in a Jasper52 online auction on Jan. 31.

Rare Venus 18K gold antimagnetic mechanical watch, 1970s, 19-jewel movement. Estimate: $4,700-$5,300. Jasper52 image

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Viking, Roman jewelry paired in Jasper52 auction Jan. 31

Ancient Roman and medieval jewelry, including iconic Viking items, comprise a Jasper52 online auction to be held Jan. 31. These striking pieces of jewelry are enriched with history as well as beauty.

Viking women’s coil bracelet 9th-10th century, 2 ¾ in inside diameter, gilt bronze, Estimate $600-$800. Jasper52 image

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How to Start a Comic Book Collection

Just about everyone can remember the comic books they read cover to cover and collected as kids. But why should the fun end just because you’ve grown up? Collecting comic books is an exciting hobby for fans of all ages. Maybe you’ve thought about getting into it but you just don’t know how to begin.

To help put you on solid footing, we turned to J.C. Vaughn, vice president of publishing for Gemstone, the company responsible for The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide and other comic book references and guides devoted to pop culture and collecting.

Although one size does not fit all when it comes to comic books, there is one truth in collecting that applies to both the person who is collecting purely for enjoyment and the one who acquires comic books as an investment.

Every collector dreams of finding something like this – Amazing Fantasy #15, Marvel, August 1962, CGC 7.5, featuring the first appearance of The Amazing Spider-Man. Hake’s Americana sold this very rare example for $140,760 in their Nov. 14-16, 2017 auction. Hake’s Americana image

“First, last, and always: collect what you love. If you do that, you’ll never go wrong,” said Vaughn. “It may sound funny for a price guide publisher like me to say that, but that’s always my first answer for beginners in either category [enjoyment or investment].’

“Beyond that, educate yourself and seek out people who are trustworthy and who are willing to share their insights. Experience is the key.”

Detective Comics #27 (DC, 1939) CGC VF (Very Fine) 8.0 condition, off-white to white pages, marks first appearance of Batman. Sold for $425,000 through Heritage Auctions in 2010. Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers image

Here are some of the ways to gain access to, and knowledge about, comic books:

  Attend comic book conventions and collector shows where comic book dealers are present. It provides an opportunity to become familiar with various genres of comic books under one roof.

  Visit recognized sites devoted to comic books and comic book collecting and sign up for e-newsletters serving the comic book community. Two excellent examples are the Comic Book Collecting Association: and the Scoop e-newsletter:, among others.

  Become familiar with auction catalog descriptions and watch comic book auctions in person or live online. Observe what the comic book looks like and the grade it has been given for condition.

  Begin acquiring comic book reference books [price guides] today, and they’ll pay for themselves in no time.

As in every other collecting category, condition is king when it comes to comic books. If expense is a concern, start modestly as you learn the ropes. Go for the best condition you can afford and don’t get discouraged if you can’t buy a prized example. You can always try to upgrade later on.

Plunge into the Depths of Despair Comic, Robert Crumb, 1969, complete and in very good condition, shows 50-cent price listed on the cover. Sold for $45 through Jasper52 in 2016. Jasper52 and LiveAuctioneers image

Prices for the most popular comics – the newsmakers and top lots with the higher grades of 9.4 and above – have been volatile for years, and Vaughn doesn’t see that changing. While grading is undoubtedly nuanced and not something you can learn overnight, it’s something a collector can get a handle on, given some effort.

“Understanding grading, even if you’re going to use one of the third-party, independent grading services, is key,” said Vaughn, who is part of the team behind Gemstone’s The Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics. The title may not be the company’s top-selling reference, but it is the most consistent, Vaughn said.

The good news is that getting into comic book collecting doesn’t mean you have to take out a second mortgage on your home or return to the staple college diet of ramen noodles for every meal. In the comic-collecting world, there’s something to suit every budget.

Zip Comics #1 (MLJ, 1940), poor/fair condition, detached cover, split at spine, with most pages detached. Sold for $150 through Michaan’s Auctions, Jan. 13, 2018. Michaan’s and LiveAuctioneers image

“Most, but certainly not all, comics published since the late 1980s are easily accessible and very reasonably priced,” said Vaughn, who first became familiar with The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide when it was in its sixth edition. This July, Gemstone will release the 48th edition of the industry’s go-to guide.

Changes in perception, including a significant shift in social acceptance of comics and collecting, all play a role in shaping the market, but it often comes back to one truth, according to Vaughn, who has written thousands of articles and books about comic books, as well as comic books themselves, a comic strip, and a couple of cartoon shows, among other products.

“For anyone spending serious money, go back to ‘Collect what you love.’ If you overpay, at least you still have something you enjoy, and you won’t feel so bad waiting for the market to catch up to what you paid.”

Extraordinary decorative items offered in Jasper52 auction Jan. 23

A diverse array of antique to modern decorative objects is offered in a Jasper52 online auction that will be held Tuesday, Jan. 23. Among the extraordinary pieces in the sale is a creation of Swedish artist Bertil Vallien (b. 1938) titled “Mini Janus,” done in glass on a granite block. This limited-edition sculpture was made between 2010 and 2015 by Kosta Boda, the famed Swedish glasshouse.

Kosta Boda ‘Mini Janus,’ limited edition produced by Bertil Vallien, Sweden, 2010-2015, glass on granite block, 4.4 in. wide x 2 in. deep x 3.6 in. high. Estimate: $1,750-$2,250. Jasper52 image

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Jasper52 auction sparkles with precious gemstones Jan. 23

Fine jewelry in a variety of forms and a selection of loose gemstones are featured in a Jasper52 online auction on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Bidders viewing the catalog will find a combination of beautiful gems in every color alongside a selection of antique to contemporary designer pieces. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Blue sapphire (11.22 carats) and diamond (0.88 carats) 18K white gold ring by Orianne. Estimate: $15,000-$17,000. Jasper52 image

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Dale Chihuly: artist, educator, public art advocate

Glass installation by Dale Chihuly, as featured in an extensive exhibition of his work at Kew Gardens, London, in 2005. Photo by Patche99z

Unconventional, bold, surprising, creatively ambitious, collaborative, progressive and a catalyst and ambassador for artistic opportunity and appreciation. These are some of the words and phrases used to describe Dale Chihuly. Like his complex art glass installations that have mesmerized millions around the world, Chihuly is far more than one-dimensional. Some might say he’s the quintessential example of life imitating art.

Dale Patrick Chihuly came from a middle-class background and grew up in Washington state. His father was a butcher and union organizer. His mother was a homemaker and ardent gardener. By the time Chihuly was 17, both his father and his only sibling, a brother, had died, forcing his mother to work outside the home. Between 1959 and 1965, Chihuly was primarily a college student. He also traveled and lived abroad (Italy and the Middle East), studying art in its various forms. Upon returning to the United States and graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in interior design, he joined the Seattle architecture firm John Graham & Co. It was at this time, in the mid-1960s, that he began to explore glassmaking in the basement of his home.

1992 photo portrait of artist Dale Chihuly at Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. Photo by Bryan Ohno, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

In 1966, he departed Seattle for Madison, Wisconsin, where he completed graduate studies in glassblowing at the University of Wisconsin. It was the first glass program of its kind. Chihuly’s academic accomplishments did not end with earning his masters in sculpture, and in fact, his next educational adventure would inspire his role as an educator; something he continues to do, albeit less formally, today. He embarked on studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where his artistic exploration involved the use of neon and argon, and the continued expansion of his experimentation with blown glass.

Fun Fact: While on a fellowship in 1968, Dale Chihuly worked at the Venini glass factory in Murano, Italy. He was the first American glassblower invited to do so.

His academic career as instructor, adviser and department chair included more than a decade spent at RISD, co-founding the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington; and participating in various artist-in-residency programs.

“I didn’t care if they wanted to be artists, designers or craftsmen. It didn’t make any difference to me, as long as it was the most important thing in their lives.” – Dale Chihuly

Flame of Liberty, Dale Chihuly, 2000, a 20-foot glass sculpture, permanently on display at the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of Trip Advisor.

His life’s work, in part, appears to be a symbiotic pairing of creating art while also empowering and equipping others to create and appreciate various forms of art. For more than a half-century, Chihuly has transformed vision, sentiment and examples of symbolism through the art, be it in glass, or other media. His work has appeared in exhibitions in cities, gardens and museums across the country and around the world. Institutions and agencies, including the National Liberty Museum, Philadelphia, are home to permanent Chihuly installations. For example, the museum houses the 20-foot Flame of Liberty sculpture, which was installed in 2000.

“We are very fortunate to have such an important sculpture at the center of our museum,” said Meegan Coll, Glass Art Director, National Liberty Museum. “Dale Chihuly is a master in his field, not only in technique but also in both scale and interaction with light and space.”

Coll continued, “The Flame of Liberty inspires dialogue and emotional response from our visitors, which is exactly what Dale and the museum’s founder, Irvin Borowsky, hoped for when they planned the installation. We use the Flame to converse with visitors about the fragility of freedom and the role we each play in safeguarding it.”

Deepest Orange Basket set with black lip wraps, blown glass, Dale Chihuly, 8.5 x 20 in., signed, 1994. Sold for $23,000 during The National Liberty Museum’s 14th annual Glass Now Auction, held Sept. 28, 2013. National Liberty Museum and LiveAuctioneers image.

Fun Fact: Chihuly is also a collector, reportedly favoring Native American baskets, trade blankets, bottle openers, old cameras, radios, pocket knives, and accordions. The book Chihuly: An Artist Collects written by Bruce Helander and published in 2017 (Abrams) explores the personal collections of Chihuly and other artists.

“When I start to collect something, I often don’t start with a single object. Sometimes I start with ten or twenty or a hundred. It is like creating my own little museum.” – Dale Chihuly

Art that prompts discussion and action is a common thread in the tapestry of the work of this 76-year-old artist. Throughout much of his career, Chihuly has been a champion of consistent access to art and opportunities to explore means of artistic expression, for all people. It’s evident in such installations as Chihuly Over Venice, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem and other exhibitions worldwide. It’s also part of the mission of the foundation established by Chihuly and his wife, Leslie. The foundation helps to fund and foster art education and appreciation for people from all walks of life, with particular effort taken to ensure youth, the elderly, veterans, and people with varying abilities are presented with these opportunities, according to information from

Massive blue and red Persian blown glass with red lip wrap, Dale Chihuly, Seattle, Washington, 1989, signed and dated, 19 x 33 x 18 in. One of 13 examples of Chihuly’s work included in the Jan. 21, 2018 auction to be conducted by Rago Arts. (est. $4,000-$6,000). Rago Arts and LiveAuctioneers image.

It’s this commitment to art through appreciation, preservation and creation that inspires many, noted Coll, who says the inclusion of drawings by Chihuly and an installation from his Persian Series are also popular draws at the museum. On occasion over the years, the Museum has presented items at auction, including a handful of pieces by Chihuly. This provides the opportunity for another to serve as guardian of Chihuly’s transformative artistry.

Chihuly pushes the limits of artistic expression; his inspiration is boundless,” Coll said. “I think we learn from Chihuly that our potential is greater than we imagine and that everyone can push themselves to achieve more than they expected. Chihuly shows other artists that every element in their work, even the smallest details, adds enormously to the overall result.”

The same can be said for the person who seeks to acquire examples of Chihuly art. While his work can be enormous in scale and imagination, it can also be smaller in scale and still be interpreted as an explosion of color, light and form.

“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in some way that they’ve never experienced.” – Dale Chihuly

Cobalt chandelier, 2003, hand-blown glass with steel armature, Dale Chihuly, illuminated internally (by a neon-lighted core) as well as externally, 94 x 72 x 72 in. Sold for $130,000 on May 22, 2013. Heritage Auctions and LiveAuctioneers image.

Whether palatial installations or artworks small enough to hold in the palm of a hand, the distinctiveness, vibrancy and limitless creativity of Dale Chihuly’s artistry remains accessible to the people – just as the artist planned them to be.

Matisse at work featured in vintage gravure auction Jan. 16

Not everyone can afford to own an original Matisse. Art lovers can, however, purchase a vintage gravure that pictures the French master at work, which was created by another noted French artist, photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Jasper52 will offer it and over 100 more vintage gravures at an online auction on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), ‘Matisse in Vence, France 1944,’ printed in 1952, 9 in. x 13 ½ in. Estimate: $400-$500. Jasper52 image

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Jasper52 antique map auction goes island hopping Jan. 16

Dreaming of exploring islands in paradise? Armchair travelers can start charting their voyage at a Jasper52 online auction of antique maps to be held Tuesday, Jan. 16. The more than 100 antique maps show travel routes and currents, and many more nautical treasures.

Abraham Ortelius: antique map of Culiacan, Mexico/West Indies, 1579, 20 in. x 14 ¼ in. The first printed atlas map of the West Indies, from Cuba to St. Lucia. Estimate: $650-$750. Jasper52 image

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