10 Auction Lots We'd Love To Own: January 2017
As we kick off a new auction year in 2017, here are the 10 remarkable lots that have grabbed our attention this month.
Polish Great Escape poster
For years, Polish artists have gained a reputation for creating some of the most original, eye-catching and downright weird posters for famous movies.
The poster for the Polish release of the WWII classic The Great Escape was created in 1967 by the renowned graphic artist Wiktor Górka (1922-2004), who also produced posters for classics including Spartacus, Cabaret and Moby Dick.
This striking design distils the action into a series of stylized figures, including one on a motorcycle representing Steve McQueen's iconic fence jump, and is a perfect example of how Polish artists reinterpreted imagery from films in unique ways.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 'James Bond' Submariner watch
This watch, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual 'Submariner', is the very first diving watch produced by Rolex. At the time, the books and documentaries of undersea explorer Jaques Cousteau had created a boom in recreational diving and Rolex saw a gap in the market.
It wasn't until 1962, however, that the watch became truly famous as the timepiece of choice for superspy James Bond.
Sean Connery famously wore Rolex Submariner watches in all his Bond films, and the steel diving watch became a genuine style icon.
Now known as the Oyster Perpetual "James Bond" Submariner watch, it remains a favourite amongst collectors, and this stylish vintage example – a Ref. 6204 – is the earliest model ever made.
Original Hergé Tintin illustration
This fantastic original illustration was created by Hergé for a large-format Tintin coloring book, published by Casterman in 1957.
Entitled 'The Palette of the Painter', the illustration (and the coloring book) were meant to inspire young Tintin fans to pick up their paintbrushes and get creative.
With pages of Hergé's comic strip artwork fetching seven-figure sums at auction in recent years, the interest in original Tintin art has never been higher, and this unique piece is highly desirable, featuring the iconic characters of the series: Professor Calculus, Captain Haddock, the Thompson Twins, Snowy, and of course the adventurous boy reporter himself.
Vintage Mitchell Motion Picture Film Camera
(Image: Heritage Auctions)
Here's a chance to own a piece of Hollywood history from the Golden Age of cinema: a rare Mitchell 35mm Standard A Motion Picture Film Camera.
Originally designed in 1919 during the birth of cinema, the camera was used as an industry standard for decades. This example was used extensively by RKO Radio Pictures, and was later owned by a Walt Disney cinematographer who used it to shoot live-action footage throughout the 1940s.
The vintage camera remains in working condition, and comes complete with its original accessories, lens, hand crank, its vintage factory Standard Mitchell Wood Tripod and two film magazines.
Both a piece of film history and a beautiful vintage object in its own right, the camera still seems to contain a little of the magic from the era.
Frank Polk wood carving and slot machine
(Image: Morphy Auctions)
This life-sized gold miner figure was carved by the renowned sculptor Frank Polk, a member of The Cowboy Artists of America.
It was one of around 92 figures Polk carved in the late 1940s/early 1950s to hold casino slot machines, each one of them completely different, and today just 70 are believed to have survived.
This example houses a fantastic vintage "8" Star Bell slot machine, built by the Pace company in 1949, which remains in working condition seven decades on.
Bearing Polk's signature beneath the miner's left ear, this great piece of folk art combines superb craftsmanship with the American Dream of striking it rich – either by discovering gold or hitting the jackpot.
Tupac Shakur's final fight ticket
(Image: Goldin Auctions)
On the evening of September 7, 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur attended the WBA Heavyweight title fight between Bruce Seldon and Mike Tyson at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Just a few hours later he was murdered.
Shakur was gunned down that night by unknown assailants in a white Cadillac, whilst cruising the strip with Death Row Records boss Suge Knight, and died in hospital six days later. To date his killers have never been found, and the mystery surrounding his death has only helped fuel his legend.
This is the very ticket stub used by Shakur at the Seldon-Tyson fight, and is a very personal piece of memorabilia from one of the most notorious events in recent music history.
The value of Tupac memorabilia has soared over the past 12 months, and with his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame due later this year, his legacy is sure to burn even brighter in years to come.
Picasso ceramic plate
(Image: Skinner, Inc)
OK, so an original Picasso painting may be a little out of your (and definitely our) price range. However, you don't necessarily need millions to own a genuine work by the man.
In 1946, Picasso began a 25-year love affair with ceramics after a visit to the Madoura Pottery in the south of France. He was prolific during this period, producing countless unique pieces along with numerous limited editions such as this plate.
Entitled Dishevelled Woman, the glazed white earthenware plate was created by Picasso in 1963 in an edition of 100, and bears the stamp of the Madoura Pottery along with the mark "EMPRIENTE ORIGINALE DE PICASSO".
Ceramic works like this offer collectors a great way to own a genuine Picasso at a fraction of the price of his other artworks, whilst still retaining the spark of his inimitable genius.
Indian-Vincent prototype motorcycle
Indian and Vincent are two of history's most celebrated motorcycle manufacturers, and in 1948 the two companies teamed up to create a pair of unique prototypes known as the 'Vindian' and the 'Indian-Vincent'.
The Indian-Vincent featured an Indian frame with high handlebars aimed at the US market, powered by a Vincent Series C Rapide engine. However, the Indian Motorcycle Company closed down in 1953 and the project was scrapped, leaving just the two prototypes as proof of the brief partnership.
According to legend, the 'Vindian' was then broken up for parts but the 'Indian-Vincent' survived, having been taken out to Australia by Phil Vincent himself, where it remained for more than 60 years.
Bonhams is now offering this important piece of motorcycle history at auction for the very first time, and we expect the one-of-a-kind machine to smash its estimate in Las Vegas later this month.
Napoleon's pocket watch
(Image: Nate D. Sanders)
This historic pocket watch was once owned by Napoleon Bonaparte, and was gifted by the French emperor to his protege, Baron Rene-Nicolas Dufriche Desgenettes.
Desgenettes was a military doctor who led the French army's department of medicine during the Napoleonic era. He was highly regarded by Napoleon, who gave him the title of Baron of the French Empire in 1810, and he served in both the ill-fated Russia campaign and at the battle of Waterloo.
The silver and vermeil watch is engraved with an eagle holding a branch in its beak, and has inscriptions which read ''Jn Javel a Geneve'' and ''Jn Javel a Geneve / L'Empereur au docteur baron des Genets 1812'' (The Emperor to the Baron of Genets, 1812).
Having reportedly originated from the estate of the Monaco royal family, the watch is truly a rare treasure touched by the hands of history.
Barn-Find Tucker 48
(Image: RM Sotheby's)
Estimate: $1.6-$2.1 million
In the late 1940s, automotive entrepreneur Preston Tucker dreamt of building the 'Car of Tomorrow', so he designed a groundbreaking vehicle known as the Tucker Torpedo.
However, the combination of his questionable business practices and intense pressure from rival car manufacturers saw him forced into bankruptcy before they could go into mass production.
He managed to build a total of just 51 cars, and only 47 are known to have survived – but today they are amongst the rarest and most sought-after American automobiles in the world.
Most are in museums, but very occasionally an example hits the open market. RM Sotheby's is set to sell one of these examples – a genuine 'barn-find' Tucker, which spent more than 30 years hidden away in storage before being rediscovered. As a rare piece of US automotive folklore, this art deco masterpiece is now expected to sell for $1.6-$2.1 million.