Antique books bring ancient knowledge to life, Nov. 29

On Tuesday, November 29, starting at 7 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will offer a sale titled 15th-19th Century Antique Books Collection, featuring more than 850 lots. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Unsurprisingly, the sale lineup is loaded with books that have religious themes, such as Bibles, books of sermons and books of common prayer, and even a 13-volume work on canon law. Also of note in this category is a 1577 Biblical commentary on Paul’s epistles to the Corinthians by John Calvin, founder of the Calvinist sect of Christianity, translated into English by Thomas Tymme; a 1661 German-language compendium of the writings of Martin Luther, whose famous protests gave rise to the Protestant religion; and a 1687 history of the first three hundred years of the Christian church.

1696 first edition of Johann Zahn’s mathematics and natural history compendium, estimated at $4,000-$5,000

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Let Jasper52 set your table with exclusive sterling silver, Nov. 30

A group of 10 serving trays by Alphonse Debain; a 298-piece flatware set by Boin-Taburet, offered with a 15-piece serving platter set; and a late 19th-century eight-piece tea and coffee set by Emile Puiforcat will likely earn top lot status at Jasper52’s Exclusive Sterling Silver Auction, which will be conducted Wednesday, November 30, starting at 11 am Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The 183-lot sale is dominated by examples of French silver. It features several objects by the renowned French maker Christofle, including a 10-piece tea and coffee set, a pair of five-arm Louis XVl candelabra, a seven-piece platter set, and a mahogany and silver plate Champagne bucket stand.

One from a set of 10 serving trays by French silversmith Alphonse Debain, estimated at $34,000-$41,000

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This Egyptian red glass kohl pot realized £460 (about $525) plus the buyer’s premium in December 2021. Image courtesy of TimeLine Auctions Ltd. and LiveAuctioneers

Ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman vessels were each designed with a specific purpose in mind. Though scholars have strived to match known vessels with those depicted on classic vases or mentioned in the literature, many are known today by modern names. Each form served as needed and new generations updated and changed them accordingly.

For aesthetic appeal and to deflect the harsh glare of the sun, Egyptians lined their eyes with kohl – a dark powder featuring blends of crushed antimony, ground burnt almonds, ochre clay, lead and blue-green ores. Early alabaster kohl storage vessels typically featured small, squat, wide-necked bodies, while others featured lids with slits just wide enough to insert delicate application sticks – a design intended to reduce waste. During the New Kingdom, Egyptians produced appealing, narrow, palm tree-like kohl flasks in glass, along with simpler single-tone pots. In December 2021, TimeLine Auctions sold an alluring deep red, finger-length glass kohl pot for $525 plus the buyer’s premium.

A Roman terracotta wine or water flagon featuring traces of red slip at its shoulder and on its foot ring earned £100 (about $114) plus the buyer’s premium in May 2022. Image courtesy of Apollo Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Ancient peoples also kept foodstuffs in vessels meant to maintain the quality and quantity of their contents. Ancient Greeks and Romans, for example, apparently served watered wine from small bulbous pitchers featuring single, arched handles and short, anti-spill necks with flared rims. In May 2022, Apollo Art Auctions sold a graceful 2nd- to 4th-century Roman terracotta wine flagon featuring original traces of red slip at its shoulder for $114 plus the buyer’s premium. 

Wine and olive oil, two staples of the ancient world, were stored in amphorae, which were terracotta containers featuring tall tapered necks, plump bodies and bowed double-shoulder handles. Small, graceful models, produced for use in ceremonies or formal dining, featured red or black paintings of figures, high glazing, wide mouths and rounded bellies on wide bases. 

This extremely well-preserved Roman transport amphora dating to the 3rd-2nd century B.C. and featuring extensive marine encrustation achieved $3,500 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2017. Image courtesy of Ancient Resource Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Unadorned, utilitarian terracotta amphorae often stood atop pointed feet. In addition to providing space for suspended solid particles, these forms allowed sturdy, upright storage when pressed into soft sand or tight, equally convenient storage when transported by land or sea. Though they capably protected goods from the damaging effects of light and air, these cheap vessels were usually destroyed or discarded once emptied. Ancient Resources auctioned a magnificent, extremely well-preserved 3rd- to 2nd-century B.C. Roman seaworthy transport amphora, bearing original marine encrustation, for $3,500 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2017.

A small, exceptional Greek lekythos (oil flask) depicting horses and riders and dating to circa the late 6th to early 5th century B.C. realized $1,550 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2017. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery and LiveAuctioneers.

Greek lekythoi (or lekythos in the singular) were terracotta oil flasks with narrow necks, long tapering bodies, small mouths and single looping handles. As with similar vessels, their shape minimized spills and evaporation but eased pouring. While larger lekythoi functioned in religious ceremonies or as funerary offerings, more delicate ones were evidently reserved for personal use to dispense costly, aromatic oils or unguents at baths. In February 2017, Artemis Gallery auctioned an exceptional lekythos depicting horses and riders rendered in black for $1,550 plus the buyer’s premium. 

This Corinthian ware aryballos from Greece, dating to circa 650 B.C., features black and red figures and overlapping scales with rays on its shoulder and around its mouth. It brought £950 (about $1,084) plus the buyer’s premium in August 2022. Image courtesy of Apollo Art Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

According to images seen on ancient vases and funerary pillars, Greek athletes headed to the baths carried aryballoi (aryballos if singular), little perfume- or oil-filled flasks with narrow necks and broad, flat, spill-reducing lips. Apollo Art Auctions sold a 7th-century B.C. Corinthian ware aryballos featuring overlapping decorative motifs known as fish scales and tear drop rays, which appeared on its mouth and shoulders, for $1,084 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2022. 

A circa-5th-century B.C. Greek core-form alabastron boasts a glass body adorned with white and tangerine combed feather-patterned trailing with linear white trails encircling its ends and applied translucent cobalt blue trail handles. It achieved $7,500 plus the buyer’s premium in June 2020. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

Slender alabastrons – fragile terracotta, glass, and alabaster bottles featuring narrow necks, splayed mouths and tiny decorative handles – also dispensed perfumed oils at ancient baths. In June 2020, Artemis Gallery sold a Greek 5th-century B.C. core-formed, round-base glass beauty adorned with dazzling combed-feather patterned trailing and applied blue handles for $7,500 plus the buyer’s premium. In Imperial Rome, these stylish bathing vessels, known as unguentarium, sometimes featured charming double- or triple-conjoined, free-blown glass vials with contrasting crimped trim. 

Ancient vessels not only shed light on the art and culture of past civilizations. They also illuminate the lives of those who relied on them and treasured them.


Big-name designer handbags come in clutch at Nov. 23 auction

On Wednesday, November 23, starting at 7 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will offer a sale of Designer Handbags and Clutches – more than 750 lots of pieces by virtually every great brand name in the category. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Markedly well represented in the lineup is Louis Vuitton, which contributes a GO-14 mini chain shoulder bag in embossed, dyed red lambskin; a Grenelle PM bag in rose ballerine pink Epi grained cowhide leather; an Eye Love You multicolor noir Takashi Murakami limited edition monogram canvas handbag; and a Christopher PM Damier graphite backpack with a rainbow logo.

Yves Saint Laurent Carre shoulder bag in royal purple calfskin leather, estimated at $3,000-$3,500

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Jasper52 prepares Thanksgiving Americana feast, Nov. 24

An exquisite Navajo rug, a charming mid-century American flag quilt, and an American copper setter dog-form weathervane will battle for top lot status at Jasper52’s Special Thanksgiving Americana Day 1 auction, which will be held on Thursday, November 24 – yes, Thanksgiving day – starting at 6 pm Eastern time. As is true for virtually every Americana auction offered through Jasper52, the sale is curated by Clifford Wallach, an expert in tramp art, folk art and Americana. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Also appearing in the 530-lot sale are needlework samplers, led by an 1825 example stitched in Goffstown, New Hampshire; a cast iron door-knocker featuring the image of a cat scratching at the door; a Frank Finney wood carving of a loon; tramp art boxes; stoneware jugs; a cast iron windmill weight in the shape of a rooster; several concert posters, including an original 1970 first printing touting a Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention show at Pepperland, a small venue near San Francisco; and a birdhouse by Outsider artist Benny Carter, painted to look like a bird motel.

20th-century American copper setter dog weathervane, estimated at $2,000-$2,500

View the auction here.


This original 1934 World Cup runners-up medal, awarded to the Czechoslovakian player Josef Kostalec, features the figure of Victory that also appeared on medals awarded to World Cup finalists in 2018. This early medal, sans ribbon, earned £9,500 (about $11,175) plus the buyer’s premium in November 2019. Image courtesy of Graham Budd Auctions Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

World Cup soccer is a phenomenon like no other. It’s one of the few events with the power to bring together more than half the planet’s population for one month. According to some news stories, the World Cup wields so much power, it has brought about ceasefires in the bloodiest of conflicts. Entire nations feel a great sense of pride when their team advances or wins any of the 64 games that culminate with the hoisting a heavy vermeil trophy designating the world’s best players.

A pair of soccer boots worn by Argentine player Rene Houseman in the 1978 World Cup final between his country and Holland, signed by him in silver marker, sold for £460 (about $545) in June 2019. Image courtesy of Graham Budd Auctions Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

Soccer, or something like it, has been played for millennia. A Chinese game known as “cuju,” which was described in writings around 206 B.C., involved kicking a ball into a net. The sport began to evolve into its current form in 1863, following a series of meetings held in England that led to the creation of the Sheffield Rules, which prohibited the most aggressive and injurious tactics in official matches. Not long after this decree, the game split into two related but separate sports. Soccer, which is officially known as football everywhere on Earth except the United States and Canada, adopted the less aggressive laws of the game, while rugby, which is named for Rugby School in Rugby, England, where its rules were codified, retained the rougher style of play.

Nothing says soccer like a dark brown leather soccer ball from the early 1950s such as this one, which predates the current white and black hexagon pattern design that makes the ball easier to see on the field. The signature of Pele, the greatest player of the 20th century, helped the ball earn $500 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2022. Image courtesy of Teddies’ Collectables and LiveAuctioneers

Today, soccer counts more participants than any other sport. There are nearly 250 million registered players, from every country in the world, according to soccer’s 118-year-old international governing body, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), which also oversees the World Cup. That number does not count the billions who play at home, in school, on the streets or anywhere that people can scare up a ball and two structures to serve as goal posts. The playing field, known as the pitch, need not be fancy or even of regulation size. It just needs to be accessible.

An official Brazilian National Football Team jersey worn by forward Neymar (no last name needed) during a match in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil includes not only the superstar’s signature, but those of other Brazilian soccer players. It realized $2,020 in July 2020. Image courtesy of RR Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

As the sport gained fans and recognition around the world, FIFA created six regional confederations registering nearly 190 amateur teams by nation. These teams compete for the final prize – the World Cup – as they have every four years since the first such competition was held, in 1930. The inaugural winner was Uruguay, and for their efforts, the team received the Coupe du Monde (French “World Cup”), a stylized figure of Victory fashioned from vermeil (gold over sterling silver) on a lapis lazuli base that weighed nearly nine pounds. In 1946, the cup was renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy to honor the FIFA president who created the World Cup competition in 1929.

This Jules Rimet Trophy was presented during the 1970 World Cup to Marco Antonio Feliciano, a member of the winning Brazilian national soccer team. The 1970 World Cup was the last to feature the Jules Rimet Trophy with the winged Victory figure, as it was retired according to FIFA rules. This participant trophy brought $5,000 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2020. Image courtesy of Julien’s Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

In 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy was permanently awarded to Brazil for having won three World Cups in accordance with FIFA rules at that time. A replacement trophy was designed and dubbed the FIFA World Cup’s Winners Trophy. The hollow trophy depicts two athletes holding up the world and is made from nearly 14 pounds of 18K gold on a base of malachite. National teams typically pose with the World Cup raised high after a spectacular win, but are given a FIFA bronze replica that they are allowed to keep. Replica trophies and players’ trophies occasionally come to auction, as with the December 2020 offering of a 1970 Jules Rimet player trophy that changed hands for $5,000.

A full-size replica of the vermeil and malachite World Cup trophy sold for £800 (about $950) plus the buyer’s premium in November 2019. Image courtesy of Graham Budd Auctions Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

World Cup memorabilia sparks almost as much competitive interest at auction as the actual games. Soccer is, of course, a team sport, with position players who defend, attack and pass. As in any sport, though, standout players gain fan followings. The list of the greatest soccer stars of all time will always include Pele and Diego Maradona, who dominated 20th-century competition. Both rank on any collector’s must-have list for early team sport cards and stickers in albums (which pre-date the soccer cards of the 1960s), except in later box sets. As with baseball, sports cards featuring legendary soccer players when they were rookies inspire heated auction competition.

The Panini company created stamps which collectors amassed in albums prior to the advent of soccer player cards in the 1960s. It still issues sporty stamps such as this one featuring David Beckham from when he played for Manchester United. His signature helped the stamp achieve $11,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2021. Image courtesy of Mynt Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Among 21st-century players, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, David Beckham, Neymar (no last name needed) and Cristiano Ronaldo are the most sought-after for autographs, jerseys, collectible cards, and albums of stickers. Memorabilia featuring these contemporary athletes command strong auction bids, with material from their rookie years being the hardest to find.

As for trading cards, soccer is unusual in that cards featuring its players were almost always sold in sets, not individually. Until recently, soccer cards were almost exclusive to Europe and rarely sold in North America. That has begun to change, and the speed of that change will only accelerate as the United States, Canada and Mexico prepare to welcome the World Cup in 2026, marking it the first time that three countries have jointly hosted the contest. Women soccer players are gaining recognition for their feats, as well. A soccer card featuring American Mia Hamm in her 1992 rookie year achieved $34,440 in June 2021, setting an auction record for the most expensive sports card depicting a woman athlete. Would-be collectors, take note: Industry reports state soccer card values grew by 1,600 percent in 2020, with rookie cards securing the biggest sums.

FIFA finally allowed women within its soccer confederations in international matches in 1991. The United States won that year’s Women’s World Cup and went on to win in 1999, 2015 and 2019; the men have yet to match them. This jersey celebrating the 2019 World Soccer winning game against Japan, covered with team signatures, sold for $950 plus the buyer’s premium in April 2018. Image courtesy of Antiquities of California and LiveAuctioneers

Autographs are, of course, an auction favorite. Matt Powers of Powers Sports Memorabilia stated in an interview with, “What makes them unique is soccer is the world’s number one most popular sport and has some of the biggest superstars [where the] growth potential for the market is much greater than other growing sports.” That is especially true for game-worn jerseys, World Cup soccer balls and other official game memorabilia such as tickets, programs, official credentials and early advertising posters. Prime examples sell for thousands at auction.

Game-used gear from the World Cup is coveted, no matter how seemingly mundane it is. This referee’s whistle, blown during the final World Cup game in 1974, went for £4,200 (nearly $5,000) plus the buyer’s premium in November 2019. Image courtesy of Graham Budd Auctions Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

During the World Cup, you can walk down streets and alleys of almost any major city or town in the world and not miss a minute of the action as it plays on home televisions and personal radios. Nearly four billion people watched some part of the 2018 World Cup – almost half of the world’s population. It’s reasonable to estimate nearly five billion will watch at least some of the 2022 contest, which will be hosted by Qatar from November 20 through December 18. France is the defending champion.

An official tournament program for the 1938 World Cup in France provides a history of the World Cup, details of the competition, team profiles, team jersey colors and accompanying biographies. It auctioned for £1,200 (about $1,400) in November 2019. Image courtesy of Graham Budd Auctions Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

There is no organized sport that unites the world as completely or as thoroughly as soccer. That’s what makes it “The Beautiful Game” in every way – collectible and otherwise.

Diverse offerings in Jasper52 Nov. 15 fine paintings and prints auction

On Tuesday, November 15, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will offer a sale of Exquisite Fine Art Paintings and Prints. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The 163 lots that appear in the lineup of the November 15 sale present a wide range of eye-pleasing images that represent an equally wide range of forms, subjects and eras. Of particular note are several charming beach scenes by French artist Huguette Ginet-Lasnier; an Italian circa-1600 painting of an old man and a courtesan; an 1869 Dutch School scene of barges on a canal in the process of loading; a Victorian English oil on canvas of a red-jacketed huntsman in full gallop atop his black steed, surrounded by a pack of running, eager hunting dogs; and a circa-2000 market scene that deftly dances the line between the figurative and the abstract.

Francisco Ruiz Ferrandis, ‘The Pottery Seller,’ estimated at $1,500-$2,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 offers luxe jewelry by Van Cleef, Bulgari in Nov. 16 auction

A Van Cleef & Arpels diamond and lapis lazuli ring, a Bulgari 18K gold two-row diamond band ring, and a 14K gold heavy fancy link collar necklace will jockey for top lot status in Jasper52’s Fine Designer and Gold Jewelry auction, which will take place on Wednesday, November 16 at 7 pm Eastern time. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

Not all that glitters is gold, and not all gold is yellow. The November 16 sale provides pieces in all shades of gold, and some feature more than one. Offerings in white gold include an 18K white gold ring centered on a GIA-certified yellow diamond; a vintage Roberto Coin 18K white gold cigar band ring pave-set with six rows of tiny blue sapphires; a Jude Frances 18K white gold, diamond and London blue topaz halo ring; and a 14K white gold heavy graduated concave bangle bracelet.

Van Cleef & Arpels 18K gold, diamond and lapis lazuli ring, estimated at $6,000-$7,000

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Trench Art: Beauty Created In The Midst Of War

A utilitarian example of trench art is this WWII-era cigarette case with a hand-painted image of a wife or sweetheart on the inside, fashioned from a metal piece incised with the initials ‘RW 43.’ It realized $500 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2020. Image courtesy of Jasper52 and LiveAuctioneers

In every army in the world and in every era, the mantra of the soldier has been, “Hurry up and wait.” Warriors of ancient Greece and Rome, Napoleon’s troops, and soldiers from any contemporary conflict face the same basic fact: they will have more down time than fighting time. It’s just the nature of the military. While trouble might tempt those with too much downtime, some have used it to better advantage.

Writing letters home, making friends, visiting local sights, playing cards and other pursuits help to pass the time. And then there is “trench art,” created by recycling the brass detritus of war into gleaming, detailed works of art. While serving on the front lines, this pursuit has provided a calming distraction from the intensity of war. It also keeps a soldier’s hands and mind pleasantly occupied rather than fidgeting and fretting about what might soon come. Some trench art can even reveal a serviceman’s hidden talent, with some works worthy of a museum display.

A pair of large brass artillery shells from World War I, fashioned into decorative vases that double as a remembrance of a French victory over German forces in 1916, achieved $1,000 plus the buyer’s premium in September 2020. Image courtesy of Artemis Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

Trench art is typically defined as any creation made from the waste of war. Soldiers of yesteryear, usually infantrymen, carved ammunition casings into fanciful remembrances and scenes marked with dates or personal information. Such carvings were intended as souvenirs that soldiers carried home, while other examples of trench art were abandoned in the trenches or on the battlefield.

Airplane-themed trench art was a particular favorite of World War II airmen. This set of four pieces attained $475 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2019. Image courtesy of Old Barn Auction and LiveAuctioneers

During World War I, the most prevalent period for trench art, simple tools such as a pocketknife, chisel, punch and hammer were used to fashion rings, bracelets, knives, letter openers, ashtrays and necklaces. National coins of France, Belgium and other Allied nations were painstakingly reworked into charming scenes, unit crests, battle flags and personal works of art.

These spent brass artillery shell vases could be commercially-made souvenirs sold to the Allied Forces after the Armistice was signed in November 1918, as they sport elaborate fluting and other details that regular soldiers could not create. Together this group earned $1,100 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2021. Image courtesy of Austin Auction Gallery and LiveAuctioneers

World War II delivered much more sophisticated equipment to soldiers, including the hacksaw, tin snips, drill bits, gasoline torches, files and soldering irons. These tools yielded more highly detailed, higher-quality pieces such as candlesticks, statues, drinking cups, umbrella stands and even furniture. Zippo lighters were carved with personal designs, and a popular pursuit of airmen was making bracelets from the aluminum of Japanese airplanes shot down in the Pacific Theater. Coconuts were painted and sent back home through the postal service as exotic keepsakes for friends or family members.

This coconut, carved during the Boer War by POW JP Peterson and dated 1902, depicts the British firing on entrenched Boer soldiers with the Orange Free State and Transvaal coat of arms. It realized $650 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2020. Image courtesy of CRN Auctions, Inc. and LiveAuctioneers

Collectors who are interested in trench art should understand that it comes in four different, distinct varieties: works by soldiers; works by prisoners of war (POWs), those made by civilians and, finally, commercially made artwork.

To keep wounded men busy while they convalesced in military hospitals, arts and crafts projects were encouraged, particularly embroidering with yarn and silk. This circa-1917 example, featuring the crest of the British Crown and flags of the Allied nations of Great Britain, France, Japan and Russia, apparently including a photo of the soldier who made it and sent it home to his family, sold for $120 plus the buyer’s premium in August 2021. Image courtesy of Levy Auction House and LiveAuctioneers

Trench art created by soldiers is the most sought-after at auction. The time spent waiting in foxholes or frontline trenches can exact a physical and mental toll, especially when it seems endless. With only the tools available to them – usually a pocketknife – a soldier would carve a scene on whatever bit of metal was at hand. Convalescing in a military hospital allowed soldiers the time to devote to arts and crafts projects that rendered simple wooden items with yarn used for embroidery.

A Napoleonic prisoner-of-war ship-form snuff box carved from a coquilla nut achieved $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in February 2022. Image courtesy of Eldred’s and LiveAuctioneers

Trench art by captured soldiers, known as prisoners of war or POWs, is different from that of other soldiers because it could serve as currency, traded for soap, food or “luxuries” such as blankets or shoes. Trench art created by those in confinement continues to be prized at auction, especially as these items were not just mementos but also satisfied the artist’s personal needs.

Civilians who lived in and near battlefields during World War I launched their own cottage industries by making their version of trench art from reclaimed ordnance and selling the items to visitors and even to the soldiers themselves. Well before Grandma Moses embraced the technique, these enterprising people directly embroidered postcards with images of scenery from conflict sites or a razed town as well as unit crests, national flags of the Allies, and personalized messages. Even flour sacks sent to the Western Front by the Allies that identified the country of origin were turned into souvenir items.

Local businesses sprang up to reclaim and recycle spent brass, aluminum and lead from discarded ordnance and assorted military castoffs, transforming them into detailed renderings of battles with historic dates. Ships were broken up and converted into barrels, large picture frames, furniture and household items, and some pieces featured a brass plaque identifying the ship that provided the raw materials. Civilian trench art of this type is particularly prized at auction. However, if the design of a piece includes exuberant flourishes, fluting and painstaking carving, it’s likely the product of a commercial firm that used stencils and acid washes – things not available to the common footsoldier.

A standout piece of trench art is this wood and metal menorah featuring spent ammunition and painted with a hand holding a Flag of Israel, a Star of David and a view of Jerusalem. It was given to Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister David Ben-Gurion in 1948, around the time of the Israeli War for Independence. The menorah earned $20,000 plus the buyer’s premium in December 2019. Image courtesy of Ishtar Auctions, Ltd and LiveAuctioneers

Each work of trench art tells a story of battles won or lost, and what soldiers were thinking about while far from home, such as family, children, wives and sweethearts. Some works reflect the artists’ level of morale as they mulled the consequences of fighting, moving them to emboss items with religious imagery. Other works of trench art were functional, mundane items, such as a matchbox to keep matches dry, better eating utensils and more stylish uniform buttons.

Sailors also created trench art, as evidenced by this lot consisting of a paperweight, an ashtray and three aluminum bracelets, including one stamped to the USS Tirante and including the submariner dolphin-head insignia. Together they sold for $240 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2018. Image courtesy of Milestone Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

While trench art has been most closely associated with the Western Front during World War I, such works were made millennia before that conflagration started and continue to the present day. Objects fashioned from the waste of war, regardless of where or when, qualify as trench art.

You can learn more about trench art from the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the National Army Museum in New Zealand and the Imperial War Museum in London. All have large exhibits dedicated to World War I trench art, with definitive displays for other conflicts as well.

A trench-art mandolin made by 305th Ammunition Train bugler Albert J. Brailer, showing the places he visited during WWI on the face and body of the instrument, brought $900 plus the buyer’s premium in January 2019. Image courtesy of Milestone Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, The Great War, which we now call World War I, officially ended. Its trench art kept alive all the hopes, the sacrifices, the hardships, the memories, the camaraderie and the unseen heroism of its often unknown artists, just as it does for the warriors who came before and after.

Vintage celebrity shots abound in Nov. 9 sale of gelatin silver photographs

On Wednesday, November 9, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will offer a sale of Vintage Gelatin Silver Photographs. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

The tightly curated November 9 sale contains precisely 100 lots of vintage photographs, all in black and white and almost all having to do with celebrity and fame in some way. Among the selections are Ramey Sam Shaw images of a grinning Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate, trying and failing to hold her skirts in place; Russell C. Turiak’s portrait of a shirtless Arnold Schwarzenegger on a tennis court, racket in hand; Annie Leibowitz’s depiction of a suit-and-tie-wearing Bruce Springsteen; and an unforgettable Bob Carlos Clarke portrait of Ozzy Osbourne, seated and barefoot and staring directly at the camera.

Michael Jackson, photographer unknown, estimated at $300-$500

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.