A Few of our Favorite Things: 2017  

A Few of our Favorite Things: 2017

Ask the Experts | December 28, 2017

Leslie Hindman specialists look back on the year and share their favorite auction items of 2017- the most interesting stories, exciting results and objects that inspired them.


Corbin Horn, Specialist, Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts 

My favorite lot of 2017 was this Spanish fresco fragment of remarkable age from the Estate of Marlene Nasreddine of Miami, Florida. It was extraordinary – the colors still vibrant and the scene very well painted, from the figure’s contrapposto to the ferocious-looking dragon at the bottom.

Spanish Fresco

A Spanish Fresco Fragment 14th/15th Century


Gretchen Hause, Director, Fine Books and Manuscripts

J.T. Palmatary’s bird’s-eye view of Chicago (1857) is not only my favorite lot of the year; it ranks among my favorite lots of my career. Its size, detail and rarity make it truly exceptional, and the contemporary pre-fire depiction of Chicago makes it a truly invaluable historic reference. 

Rare Pre Fire Map by J.T. Palmatary

J.T Palmatary, Chicago, 1857


Katie Guilbaut, Gemologist, Important Jewelry and Fine Timepieces

We think the watch world would agree that 2017 was the year of Paul Newman, and we were happy to have been a part of it. This style of Rolex Daytona was dubbed the “Paul Newman” in the 1980s after the actor was frequently seen sporting his, and it quickly became an iconic timepiece. Only a few thousand were made, and that rarity helped ours sell for $161,000 in April – an incredible price for a stainless steel wristwatch. A few months later, auction history was made when Paul Newman’s original Daytona surfaced and sold for a record-setting $17.80 million.

“Paul Newman” Daytona Cosmograph Wristwatch, Rolex, Circa 1968


As a lover of black opals, this Marcus & Co. Edwardian opal and diamond ring was an instant favorite of mine. While jewelry of the Edwardian period is traditionally adorned with white diamonds set in platinum, Marcus & Co. set themselves apart with vibrant colored stones like this gorgeous opal. It jumps off the page when photographed, but to have seen this opal’s range of colors in person was a real treat. The unexpected yellow gold shank combined with the exquisite attention to detail made this ring truly special.



An Edwardian Platinum Topped Gold, Black Opal and Diamond Ring, Marcus & Co

An Edwardian Platinum Topped Gold, Black Opal and Diamond Ring, Marcus & Co


Annie Wu, Specialist, Asian Works of Art

One of my favorite auction items of 2017 is definitely this Chinese ‘Imitating Realgar’ glass octagonal vase, which was made during the Qianlong period (1736-1795). Realgar glass was likely one of the earliest types of glass made in the Imperial Palace Workshop, and a number of glasswares were created during the Qianlong period. I was amazed by the well-portioned body and the striking swirling patterns, it certainly embodies the power of China’s imperial court.



A Yellow Peking Glass Vase


Luke Palmer, Specialist, 20th Century Design

These rare Kornblut cabinets, perfectly sculpted from American black walnut with walnut burl handles, are quintessential modern design. Hand crafted by George Nakashima in his studio in New Hope, Pennsylvania, they were made uniquely for the historic Frank Lloyd Wright designed Avery Coonley Playhouse. Each shelf bears the client’s name, and they were centerpiece to their home. The simplicity and elegance, working in tandem with precise technique, will always make Nakashima’s designs one of my favorite things.

George Nakashima, Kornblut Cabinets, 1989


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