Photo courtesy Dick Button
If you're an avid reader of this blog, I think it's safe to say that you have an interest in figure skating history! On January 25 and 26, 2019, you could have a chance to own several very rare pieces of figure skating art and memorabilia in the bidding war to end all bidding wars. Brunk Auctions has announced the sale of The Dick Button Skating Collection of Important Paintings, Posters, Folk Art and Figure Skating Memorabilia. The carefully curated private collection will be auctioned off at Brunk Auctions' Asheville, North Carolina location. Those who can't attend in person can do absentee or phone bids or use BA Live, Brunk Auctions' online bidding platform.
Delft title given to Dick Button by Cécile 'Baby' (Mendelssohn Bartholdy) Grafström in 1947 from The Dick Button Skating Collection of Important Paintings, Posters, Folk Art and Figure Skating Memorabilia
Olympic Gold Medallist Dick Button began collecting skating art, antiques and curiosities during his competitive career. He explained, "The 1947 World Championships were held in Stockholm, Sweden, where I came in second. There Gillis Grafström's wife Baby and Ulrich Salchow each gave me something. Baby gave me an eighteenth century Delft tile of a skater, which is up for sale, but Salchow gave me a trophy he had won saying he did not want me to go away with out a trophy. I have given it away and it is now a permanent trophy always to be given away to someone. The person who was given it had to promise they would give it away too! That is not for sale." The rest of the Grafström's collection ended up at the World Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs and the legendary trophy Dick described was passed down through the generations.
Emil Cardinaux's "Palace Hotel/St. Moritz in Switzerland" (1920) from The Dick Button Skating Collection of Important Paintings, Posters, Folk Art and Figure Skating Memorabilia
Michelle Parparian, Brunk Auctions' Director of Marketing shared, "Highlights of the works up for auction include a panoramic work by the important French-American artist Régis François Gignoux from 1854 of 'Snow Storm Threatening', an almost five foot long ice skating scene; an 1875 Philadelphia 'Skating on the Schuylkill' by the rare American artist William Willcox, showing 113 highly detailed figure skaters on the ice; important posters by Jules Chéret and [Henri de] Toulouse-Lautrec, among others; rare skating scenes by Currier & Ives; decorative art including a rare hooked rug of figure skaters; numerous rare and historic skates, even costumes worn by Mr. Button and an Olympic Torch he carried in 2002. The collection is both highly personal and comprehensive and tells the story of both figure skating and its most important personality."
Early twentieth century hooked rug from The Dick Button Skating Collection of Important Paintings, Posters, Folk Art and Figure Skating Memorabilia
Régis François Gignoux's "Snow Storm Threatening" (1854) from from The Dick Button Skating Collection of Important Paintings, Posters, Folk Art and Figure Skating Memorabilia
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