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Third Annual Art Auction Most Successful Yet for American Saddlebred Museum

By Susan Harris


The American Saddlebred Museum held its third annual auction of art, antiques, and rare books on Saturday, July 16 in the “Round Barn” at the Red Mile, Lexington, Kentucky. Despite not having a “headliner” such as last year’s George Ford Morris painting that brought $135,000, this year’s sale saw its largest overall total yet and the average price increased by 24%. Total sales exceeded $300,000.00 raising more than $60,000.00 for the Museum before expenses.


The standing-room-only crowd enjoyed the festivities which included a preview party with food and beverages graciously hosted by Laurel Nelson, Phillipa Sledge, Lynn Snowden, and Kenny and Ceil Wheeler.


The ASB Museum hosted a packed house for its 3rd auction


Among the seventy-two items auctioned were original oil paintings, watercolors, lithographs, antique posters, books, sculptures, furniture, and other items. 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. Museum volunteers and staff were also busy taking telephone bids throughout the auction. Walt Robertson was the auctioneer and Bill Carrington the auction reader. 


With last year’s history-making sale of George Ford Morris’ coaching oil, there was even greater interest in Morris’ work this year evidenced by the fact that twenty-one of the seventy-two items listed were Morris works. These included eight original works, eleven reproductions, and two books. In fact the top ten items sold were all works by Morris.


Topping the sale was “Battling Pegases” (signed and dated 1925), a well-known and imaginative charcoal that brought $38,000. Second high seller at $37,000 was “Prince Phillip,” an original oil on board, signed and dated 1921. Third high seller was “Welcome Dare,” an oil signed and dated 1946, bringing $35,000. 


Welcome Dare by George Ford Morris


“After last year’s record-setting price of $135,000 for Morris’ four-in-hand coaching oil, our auction saw a marked increase in the number of consignments of George Ford Morris pieces”, said Tolley Graves, Director of the Museum.  “This year’s higher average price per piece indicates a continued strong demand for Morris’ work.  For too long his work has been overshadowed and under-appreciated.  Morris’ creative use of light and shadow as well as his ability to capture the essence of an animal is now receiving the recognition it has long deserved.”


Some of the more unusual items included an antique hand-carved child’s rocker with horse head selling for $4,000. A framed burlap potato sack featuring a Saddlebred sold for $1,200. An M.J. Knoud Co, antique sidesaddle, circa late 1800’s, brought $1,500, as did the extremely rare book, “American Saddle Horses in South Africa,” by Lee Z. Kaplan. A 1950 Hubley Company cast-iron boot scraper with Saddlebred sold for $3,000.


19th Century Sidesaddle


There were a few pieces of consigned work that did not meet their reserves. Some of those works are still available for purchase through the American Saddlebred Museum. Contact Tolley Graves at (859) 259-2746.


Also Seen at the Art Auction


(l. to r.) Bobby Murphy, Lynn Snowden, Debbie Hagerman-Rogers, Ellen Melcher


Spencer Mains, Catherine Munsey, Gayle Strickroot


Museum volunteer Kelly Mount watches David Waggoner sign a ticket.


Carson Kressley and Vicki Gillenwater


Abby Jones and her father Allan Jones stayed busy
bidding on George Ford Morris works


Michelle Krentz


Jim Aikman and Alan Balch  


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