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Rare vintage prints lead Heritage Auctions’ $1 million photography sale

A selection of rare vintage prints led the recent Heritage Auctions photograph sale, which realized more than $1 million in New York.
The centrepiece of the auction was the second offering of photographs from The Reflections of Childhood Collection, featuring images which capture "the contradictions, mysteries, and even the pain of growing up".

Together these photographs fetched a total of more than $526,000, led by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image ‘Children at a Puppet Theatre, Paris, 1962’, which sold for $25,000.

Collectors then sparked a bidding war for a vintage print of William Klein’s photograph ‘Stickball Player + Johnny, New York, 1954’, which eventually sold for $20,625 against a pre-sale estimate of just $4,000.

There were also strong results for Hellen Levitt’s ‘Boys With Branches, New York, circa 1939’, which sold for $22,500, and ‘Children with a Broken Mirror, NYC, circa 1940’, which sold for $18,750.

"We are extremely pleased to offer our clients a selection of photographs found practically nowhere else," said Nigel Russell, Director of Photography at Heritage Auctions.

"We saw strong demand for vintage prints by William Klein, and Hellen Levitt which very rarely appear on the market as well as iconic images by Alfred Eisenstaedt and Ansel Adams – many of which drastically surpassed expectations."

For collectors with a more contemporary eye, there were images including Steve McCurry’s famous National Geographic magazine cover shot Afghan Girl, Pakistan, 1985, which doubled its estimate to sell for $16,250; and Nan Goldin’s ‘Nan and Brian in bed, NYC, 1983’, which sold for $18,750.

The sale also offered a unique, enlarged contact sheet featuring images of David Bowie, captured by Helmut Newton for Vogue magazine in Monte Carlo in 1983. Described as "a rare convergence between two of the world’s greatest artistic talents at the height of the careers", the previously unseen sheet sold for $15,000.

In total, the Heritage Photography auction realized $1,054,638.

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