A photograph of the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and Buzz Aldrin, autographed by the astronauts is just one of a few hundred items being auctioned on Thursday, Dec. 3, at starting at 6 p.m. at Waverly Rare Books. Two days later, Quinn’s Auction Galleries, of which Waverly Rare Books is a division, is hosting a Fine & Decorative Arts Auction featuring work by D.C.-area artists.
Matthew Quinn, one of the owner’s of Quinn’s Auction Galleries, said he has mixed feelings about his level of excitement for the items the gallery has for auction.
“It comes and goes on the various items,” Quinn said. “On the one hand not much excites you at all anymore, on the other hand you see stuff and you say ‘Wow! What is that?’ So it just varies for what triggers the excitement.”
An example of the variety of things that makes him excited is wall outside of the gallery that’s ten feet long and five feet tall of 180 tiles depicting the story Man of La Mancha that’s from either the 18th or 19th century.
The estimated value of that item, according to Quinn’s website, is between $8,000 – $12,000. “That’s not a very valuable thing,” Quinn said. “But it’s just fascinating and different to see that kind of thing.”
The Apollo 11 photograph is just one of several NASA-related items being auctioned at the 461-lot sale of rare books, maps, photographs and other ephemera. According to Quinn, the NASA photos came from John Peterses, a retired chief publicist for NASA-manned space missions.
“We’ve certainly sold NASA photos before,” Quinn said. “But it’s always fascinating to see it.”
Among the maps that Waverly Rare Books has for auction on Thursday, there are several maps of Washington, D.C. from the 19th century that got Quinn excited. “Seeing old local history is always interesting,” he said.
Old and more recent fine and decorative arts created by artists from around the region figure heavily into the gallery’s December 5 auction. One of the more recent pieces is a diptych called “Open Cylinder,” which was created in 1979 by a black artist from Washington, D.C. named Sam Gilliam. The piece has an estimated value of between $7,000 – $9,000.
An older piece that is being featured is a tile painted by Winslow Homer from 1878. With an estimated value of $15,000 – $25,000, the tile is speculated to be one of six or seven painted by Homer that exist in the world today.
“We have a Winslow Homer tile that came out of this group called the tile club [that existed] from 1877-1888 and there’s only like six or seven known in existence,” Quinn said. “So that’s kind of cool because it’s Winslow Homer that a lot of naive art people can recognize…it’s that big of a name and to have a piece of a tile from that era is pretty fascinating.”