Once again proving itself as one of the preeminent American Indian & Western Art auction houses in the world, Cowan’s Auctions’ April 8 Auction saw a record number of bidders on its way to a $1.2 million day. Without question the highlight of the day was the Prehistoric American Indian Art collection of renowned collector Jan W. Sorgenfrei, which sold for nearly $450,000 combined. Part I of the much-coveted collection sparked enthusiastic bidding on the phones, Internet, and from the floor, which was filled to capacity.
“This is a one-of-a-kind collection and as you can imagine, we had overwhelming interest in it from the start,” said Danica Farnand, Cowan’s director of American Indian & Western Art. “You’re always a little nervous when you’re offering a category for the first time, but we’re ecstatic with the results. We’re really looking forward to offering Part II in September!”
Nearly 700 collectors, dealers, and art lovers registered to bid in the auction, including over 150 bidding for the very first time with Cowan’s, both records for the auction house. Continuing a trend of increased online bidding, 37% of all winning bids were made on online bidding platform Bidsquare.com, accounting for over $250,000 of the auction’s total.
An avid collector, Sorgenfrei (Ohio, 1942-2012) was the owner of Painter Creek Auction Service and Old Barn Auction, specializing in Native American artifacts. Quality is the key word when referring to artifacts chosen by Sorgenfrei to rest in his personal collection. As can easily be seen from the top lots from this sale, birdstones were very special to him, especially birdstones from the “epicenter” of his native northwest Ohio. This superb collection not only represents many of the finest examples of their respective types, but is also a testament to the wonderful creations of prehistoric art created in this archaeologically rich area.