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Do I Hear NOLA?: Bidding Returns at Local Auction House

by Emma Boyce

An old way to bid local returns to the Warehouse District this week. This Thursday from 5 pm to 8 pm New Orleans Auction Galleries (510 Julia St.) celebrates its grand reopening with a preview reception and a full weekend of auctions, featuring over 1,700 lots.  



“We took over the auction in June.  This is actually our third auction,” said New Orleans Auction Galleries president Ashton Thomas, who’s excited about the Auction’s upcoming events.   


If this is your first encounter with the auction or preview reception, Thomas says, “This would be the one to go to.  We really think it’s going to be exciting.” 


Thursday’s preview reception gives potential bidders a chance to examine the lots up close, allowing buyers to really judge the pieces.  The viewing preview probably helps prevent that dreaded buyer's remorse, too.  Things look much different 15 yards away on a stage.     


“Everything is on the floor. All the art is on the walls,” said Thomas.  


Although the party will roll out the red carpet and serve hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, Thomas “want[s] the stuff to be the centerpiece.” 


The night features special guest Joanne King Herring.  Some may recognize her as the Houston socialite, while others may know her from her political activism or even from her talk show, The Joanne King Show.  Regardless, Herring brings much more than herself to the auction.  She has also bestowed several pieces to the auction.        


Other lots include a wide range of items, from paintings to porcelain, with varying estimates.  Helen M. Turner’s 1918 oil painting (lot 1382), The Moth, featured at Sunday’s auction, tops all lots with an estimate as high as $75,000-$125,000.  


“The thing that’s amazing is it’s not always the real high estimate items that catch your eye.  Sometimes the lesser estimates ones not only will pop,” but bring in the most money, said Thomas.    


Notable lots include a monograph of the Trochilidae (aka hummingbird) by British ornithologist John Gould, an extensive collection of estate jewelry for those partial to pearls, a Chinese porcelain desk set and a striking 19th century French mantle clock.   


“We have a lot of cool Asian pieces, really unique porcelain pieces, modern art, lots of cool Audubon prints [and] we get a lot of local art too,” said Thomas.  


Rodrigue’s famous Blue Dog will be among the local pieces.     


Auctions begin at 1 pm on Friday, 10 am on Saturday and 11 am on Sunday. As for tomorrow's event, don’t worry.


“There’s still time to get there before the Saints game!” Thomas said.

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