(Photo credit, above: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston)
2017 top sales at RR Auction
RR Auction had a terrific 2017! With more than 10,000 items sold, we grew our popular categories, like Space and JFK memorabilia, with record-breaking results. Let’s look at the 2017 top sales in review.
If we look at the Top 20 highest-grossing item sales for RR last year, we see the hot trends at auction. The categories of Space, JFK and Prince were huge winners. A few singled-out items relating to the infamous (Al Capone and Lee Harvey Oswald) garnered big consignor payoffs, as did a unique lot of Revolutionary War amputation kits. Several sales marked the highest price achieved for that individual at one of our auctions.
Space takes off
RR has become the leader in curating artifacts relating to space exploration. Space sales snagged the most spots in our Top 20, with 8 items totalling $772,005. With our next Space auction on the horizon April 19, we’re expecting more records to be made this year.
Purple Rain reigns
Iconic music superstar Prince proved his passionate following continues. RR’s multiple themed auctions devoted to memorabilia from his incredible career proved to be some of the most exciting auction nights all year, with vigorous bidding interest. Of our Top 20, 4 Prince-ly items comprised a total in sales of $245,625. Our next Prince auction will be held Feb. 15.
Hail to the Chief
We were privileged to curate a special live auction for a sole item: The diary that a young John F. Kennedy kept over the summer of 1945, which went for $718,750. It was RR’s top seller of the year.
Also, handwritten letters by US presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both attained the second-highest sales with RR for each of those men.
Watch the watches
We’re noticing that watches are really becoming a hot trend at auction. RR has had much success with them – Moonwalker Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Chronograph achieved $1.625 million at our auction in 2015, a world record at the time. This year proved to be just as noteworthy, with two watches making it into our Top 10 of our 2017 top sales.
Mobster Al Capone’s glitzy diamond watch fetched $84,375, supporting his reputation as a sharp dresser – and obtaining the highest price to date we’ve had for a Capone artifact. And astronaut Alan Shepard’s flown watch from the Apollo 14 mission earned $81,312 at auction this year.
Rare and Remarkable
We also had some rather unique items this year! Our fifth best seller, at $104,147, was a set of amputation kits used during the US Revolutionary War by Continental Army surgeon Dr. John Warren, a founder of Harvard Medical School; one kit given to him by his famous brother, the patriot Dr. General Joseph Warren, who was killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
RR also offered the toe tag of Lee Harvey Oswald; that item garnered $56,301 at auction.
2017 top sales overall at RR Auction
- John F. Kennedy diary from the summer of 1945: $718,750
- Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 Cartier solid gold Lunar Module replica: $149,862
- Apollo 11 flown Command Module Columbia rescue arrow: $147,572
- Apollo 11 crew-signed flown flag presentation: $120,693
- Dr. John Warren’s Revolutionary War amputation kits: $104,147
- Al Capone’s diamond watch: $84,375 **
- Alan Shepard’s Apollo 14 Vacheron Constantin watch: $81,312
- RL-10 rocket engine: $78,346
- Apollo 11 LM flown page with Neil Armstrong notations: $78,346
- Prince’s personally owned and stage-worn yellow boots: $75,148
- George Washington ALS: $61,931 **
- Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 lunar orbit-flown CSM Systems Data Book: $60,995
- Prince’s own 1980 Rick James Tour All Access Pass: $60,367
- Prince 1986 ‘Camille’ advance pressing: $58,787
- Lee Harvey Oswald toe tag: $56,301
- Thomas Jefferson ALS: $54,908 **
- Dave Scott’s Apollo 15 lunar surface-used Contour Map: $54,879
- Isaac Newton DS: $53,806 **
- Prince’s Purple Rain 9-pg handwritten musical enhancement notes: $51,323
- Steve Jobs signed Newsweek magazine: $50,588 **
** best price achieved so far with RR Auction for this individual