Buy the Farm
It is possible to spend decades working in Hollywood, grow wealthy from the proceeds of appearances on stage and screen, and to garner plaudits from televised awards shows without ever becoming a “star,” in the traditional sense of the word. Armand Assante has had such a career. If you passed him on the street, you might know his face, but unless you are a great reader of TV Guide, you’d probably be unable to place him. A hardworking actor, Mr. Assante has been known to take on five, six, and even seven films in a single year—secondary parts in American Gangster and Judge Dredd, and as the man himself in the 1996 TV movie Gotti. (He assumed a decidedly different titular role in 2007′s When Nietzsche Wept.) It has been a public, prosperous and yet somehow anonymous sort of life, which seems to be how Mr. Assante likes it. But as Nietzsche might have advised him, all good things must come to an end.
What does a dispossessed Cherokee tribe, a John Lennon-Eric Clapton supergroup and Marilyn Monroe’s unborn son have in common? All were shopping for an apartment on the Upper East Side on Monday afternoon.
Well, not exactly, but it is possible to shop for both a $4 million apartment and a $40,000 manuscript at the Douglas Elliman showroom at 980 Madison Avenue through Sunday.
Profiles in History, a middlebrow auction house (Albert Einstein’s letter’s, the desk Bram Stoker wrote Dracula on, Kate Winslett’s emerald earrings from Titanic) and Marsha Malinowski, who once auctioned off a Magna Carta for $21 million, are offering some 299 items on December 18, “the Property of a Distinguished American Private Collector.” Ms. Malinowski, after 26 years at Sotheby’s, struck out in May on her own, and her first big offering is the work of the collector she has long known.
Bones of Contention
Do you love movies? Like love-love them? Would you call yourself a movie “fanatic” or “buff”? Do you have $100,000 or so in liquid assets lying around the house?
Then get ready to put your money where your mouth is, because for the entire month of July, geeks everywhere will be bidding on movie artifacts from The Dreier Collection. And yes, there is definitely a tie-in to San Diego’s Comic-Con.
Bones of Contention
According to documents obtained by The Observer this morning, a judge has signed a warrant for the much-contested Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, which was sold at auction last month for over $1 million.
As we reported Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed a civil complaint aiming to return the fossil to Mongolia, where the suit alleges the fossil originated (and was looted from).
Today, agents from Homeland Security Investigations will seize the skeleton and move it to a government facility in New York where the government holds art and antiquities that are awaiting repatriation, Lou Martinez, a spokesman for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of the Department of Homeland Security, told The Observer.
Bones of Contention
Since last month’s auction-gone-wrong, a near-complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton valued at over a million dollars has been sitting in crates at Cadogan Tate, an art storage facility in Sunnyside, Queens, protected by a temporary restraining order. The origin of the skeleton was contested by expert paleontologists and the president of Mongolia himself—they suspected looting, and wanted the bones returned home.
Today, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a joint investigation with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, announced that they had filed a civil complaint in Manhattan Federal Court seeking seizure and forfeiture of the skeleton so it can be returned to Mongolia.
Nine days after an uncharacteristically exciting natural history sale, in which an auction of near-complete Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton was forcibly interrupted by a lawyer over concerns that the bones had been looted from Mongolia, a partnership has been struck.
Robert Painter, the legal representative of His Excellency Elbegdorj Tsakhia, the president of Mongolia, and the auction house handling the sale, Heritage Auctions, have announced that they will open a joint investigation to determine the origin of the bones and the legality of their ownership.
Everyone expected the auction of the T-Rex skeleton to go peacefully. But they were wrong.
On the fourth floor of an airy gallery building in Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, a small group of private collectors and natural history enthusiasts gathered to witness the historic auction of a 24-foot-long, museum-quality Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton, which was expected to bring up to $1.5 M. After a couple hours of uneventful sales of things like fine gemstones and amber-trapped insects, the marquee object came up.
The centerpiece auction was abruptly interrupted.
Before he was leader of the free world cruising around in armor-plated vehicles with a Secret Service retinue, then-legislator Barack Obama allegedly tooled around in this tasteful gray Chrysler sedan. This is apparently a legitimate auction for the 2005 Chrysler 300C the President used while he was an Illinois State senator. Lisa Czibor, who has told reporters that she is holding the auction for someone else, says the first 19,000 miles were all [future] presidential powered.
The auction holders are also a little defensive about the $1,000,000 asking price:
Blame the bad spirits. Or maybe it was the economy. Or living next door to the Holland Tunnel. Or the fact you couldn’t actually live there because it was not a condo—that would violate city zoning for a manufacturing district—but a condotel, where units were habitable 120 days a year and never for more than 30 days at a stretch (move out for a day and you were fine). Still, in this age of the foreign buyer, when all anyone wants is a pied a terre, the Trump Soho would seem to be the perfect home. Wasn’t that the plan all along?
Well, it has not worked out, as the developers of the bedrock-defying 48-story tower have decided to put the remaining units in the building up for auction, according to Bloomberg. Alex Sapir, developer of the property and son of the cabbie turned billionaire Tamir Sapir, said he was approached by an interested party but has decided to go the auction route to test the waters of a bigger sale.
Just in time for our “1980s British Bohemia Monday” comes this news out of London: the home decor of Uncle Monty’s house from the film Withnail and I will hit the auction block at Christie’s at the end of July.
Actually the furnishings of Professor Bernard Nevill, standout items include a sporting Read More