Quinn’s Presents Arts of the Americas Auction with Pre-Columbian Gold, November 4
FALLS CHURCH, Virginia – On Thursday, November 4, 2021, Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Northern Virginia will be hosting a beautifully curated “Arts of the Americas” auction of its popular Collector’s Series. The 145-lot specialized event features a collection of Pre-Columbian, Native American and Central American artifacts that include pottery, sculpture, gold, textiles, baskets, paintings, and Guatemalan folk santos. While there is no in-person floor auction, there are plenty of other convenient options available, including live online through a choice of three auction platforms.
Highlights of the auction include a group of Diquis and Veraguas pendants, a palma Veracruz 600-900CE, a sculpture by Doug Hyde titled Grandma’s goat thinks he’s a dragon, and an assortment of 20th century Maximon figurines.
It is impossible not to gaze with admiration at the beautiful 22 karat gold that makes up a Diquis pendant from Costa Rica. The Diquis culture flourished from AD 700 to AD 1530, and its people were part of the culture of the Grand Chiriqui who inhabited an important region that stretched from southern Costa Rica to western Panama. The Diquis are known for their stone spheres and masterful gold designs. The pendant given to Quinn’s weighs 129.6 grams and represents two figures standing in a frame of gold rectangles linked together. Like most of the gold in the auction, it is from the Ehrich Locke family. It is estimated between $ 7,000 and $ 8,000.
A number of other important pendants follow, including a 22-karat gold Diquis pendant depicting a “feathered” headdress, weighing 20.7 grams and estimated at between $ 1,000 and $ 1,500; and two drawings from the Veraguas culture (Costa Rica), whose silversmiths were known for the high quality of their work. A 14-karat gold copy depicting a mythical two-headed creature weighs 72.9 grams and is estimated to be between $ 2,000 and $ 4,000, while an 18-karat gold pendant in the form of a wood animal, which weighs 38 grams, should fetch between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars.
A fascinating story explains the design and shape of an 18½-inch-long Veracruz (Mexico) stone palm dating from AD 600-900. So named because of their palm-leaf shapes, palmas were worn by players as part of their elaborate insignia in a Mesoamerican ritual ball game. The palma would attach to a stone yoke worn around the waist to protect the player’s chest and vital organs. Often the designs carved into the palmas correlated with the theme of the game’s sacrifice. The palma from the November 4 sale is carved in low relief to resemble the profile of a bird. From a private collection in Texas, it is estimated at between $ 4,000 and $ 8,000.
Thirty-one individual and collective lots are made up of Maximon / San Simon figurines from Guatemala. Maximon – also referred to as San Simon – is a popular deity and saint represented in various forms by the Mayan people of some cities in western Guatemala. The traditions behind the figures go back centuries in culture. According to some legends, Maximon was never a man, but rather a wooden figure created by shamans to defend their villages. Throughout the story, Maximon resorted to trickery to harm the villagers, so the shamans twisted his head and broke his legs to stop him. After learning his lesson, Maximon got back on track and began to protect the villagers from evil. Elements of this popular tale explain the unusual character of some of the figures proposed by Quinn’s.
An example from the 19th century, who wears a Maximon mask, has a cigarette (offering) between his lips and, likewise, a bottle of liquor tucked in his jacket pocket. It is 56 inches long and was constructed from wood and fabric. The presale estimate is $ 1,000 to $ 1,500. Another Maximon / San Simon “smoker”, made in the 20th century from wood, pigments and textiles, sits in a wooden chair. Estimate: $ 800 to $ 1,200. A third figure also sits on a chair, holds a cane, and has a cigar (offering) in his mouth. Composed of wood, pigments, textiles and glass, this 20th century creation is estimated at between $ 1,000 and $ 1,500.
Artifacts from the first great Mesoamerican civilization – the Olmec people – are highly desirable and collected around the world. Unlike the Mayan and Aztec cultures which came later, very little is known about the origin of the Olmecs. They are believed to have occupied Veracruz (Mexico) as early as 1500 BC and disappeared in 400 BC. The fascinating faces on Olmec heads and stone figures continue to intrigue historians and archaeologists, while antique collectors seem particularly interested in Olmec masks. There are four lots of Olmec-style jade masks and pendants in the auction, all from a private collection in Texas. An 8 x 7 1/8 inch carved green jade face is unusual in that it has incised designs on its cheeks. This imposing work of art with its included stand (total size: 11 by 7 1/8 inches) is expected to attract a winning bid of $ 1,000 to $ 1,500.
A contemporary stone artwork by Oregon artist Doug Hyde (b.1946-), titled Grandma’s goat thinks he’s a dragon, was created in 1983 and measures 14½ by 16¼ inches. It is signed by the artist on the front and comes from a prestigious provenance from a private collection in Washington, DC and, prior to that, the Louis Newman Galleries in Beverly Hills, California. Estimate: $ 1,000 – $ 1,500
Quinn’s Thursday, November 4, 2021 Art Auction of the Americas will begin at 3 p.m. ET. No in-person auction. All auctions will be remotely, either over the phone, live via the Internet through Quinn’s website, LiveAuctioneers or Invaluable. An open preview will be held at the Auction Gallery (360 S. Washington St., Falls Church, VA 22046) from October 11 to 5, October 28 to 29 and November 1 to 3. Masks are mandatory. For more information on an item from the auction or to discuss a future shipment, call Corrie Brady at Quinn’s, 703-532-5632, ext. 572, or send an email to [email protected] Visit Quinn’s online at www.quinnsauction.com.