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American Saddlebred Museum Holds Auction


By Susan Harris


The American Saddlebred Museum held its second annual auction of art, antiques, and rare books on Saturday, July 16 in the Stable of Memories (aka “Round Barn”) at the Red Mile, Lexington, Kentucky. This was a consignment auction with the ASB Museum receiving ten percent from each seller’s proceeds and ten percent buyers’ premiums on top of the selling prices. Total sales exceeded $233,000.00 raising more than $46,000.00 for the Museum before expenses.


Among the seventy-four items auctioned were original oil paintings, watercolors, lithographs, antique posters, books, sculptures, furniture, and other items.


Museum officials estimated the crowd at approximately 300 in attendance. Museum volunteers and staff also took telephone bids throughout the auction. Walt Robertson was the auctioneer and successfully encouraged ever-higher bids on numerous items, often to the amusement of those who were not bidding. 


To the awe and amazement of those in attendance, a stunning George Ford Morris 1903 oil painting of a Four-In-Hand coaching scene sold for an auction-topping $135,000, a record price for a George Ford Morris painting sold at auction. Tom Caisse and Steve DeBolt for the Boxford Stud were the successful bidders. They received an appreciative round of applause at the close of bidding.


As might be expected, George Ford Morris works dominated the higher end of the price range with seven of the top ten selling items.  Frank Whitney’s 1904 original Chicago Horse Show Poster brought a respectable $5,500. The continuing admiration for Don Harris and “Perry” was apparent with James Crow’s oil of the world’s grand champion pair titled “In The Spotlight” going for $4,800. A limited-edition Hackney horse bronze sculpture by artist Alexa King sold for $4,200 to round out the top ten.


Tolley Graves, Director of the Museum, was pleased with this year’s auction which exceeded last year’s totals. “The American Saddlebred Museum was honored to have this magnificent piece of artwork consigned to its auction”, said Graves. “I’m especially gratified to see that George Ford Morris’ work is finally receiving the recognition and respect it so richly deserves.”


There are a few pieces of consigned work that did not meet their reserves. Most of those works are still available for purchase through the American Saddlebred Museum. Everyone is encouraged to put the Saturday of Lexington Jr. League on their “must-do” list for next year.



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