RM AUCTIONS’ INAUGURAL POP CULTURE SALE DRAWS TOP DOLLAR FOR RARE VON DUTCH AND “KUSTOM KULTURE” ARTWORK AND MEMORABILIA
Collectors Establish Benchmark Values for Iconic Pieces by Kustom Kulture Originators
Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, and Robert Williams in First Ever Public Offering
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 13, 2006) – RM Auctions’ newly established Pop Culture Division today concluded its highly successful Brucker Brothers’ Kustom Kulture Collection auction at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The special sale was a first-ever public offering of greatest cache of famed artwork and memorabilia from the most influential Kustom Kulture artists of the 20th Century including icons Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Robert Williams and others.
The single-day sale offered more than 500 unique and original lots (all at no reserve) from the collection of brothers Jimmy and Danny Brucker. The Brucker family opened the “MovieWorld: Cars of the Stars” Museum in 1970 and served as patrons for the Kustom Kulture movement when they hired Roth as Art Director for the Museum and subsequently Von Dutch when he arrived in his famed traveling mobile workshop bus. Jimmy Brucker, after being introduced to Robert Williams, immediately offered himself as the patron for the revolutionary artist. MovieWorld closed in 1973 and this amazing collection, that includes everything from original drawings and sketches to full-sized paintings and custom vehicles, went into storage for more than 35 years in the legendary Santa Paula, CA airplane hangar once owned by actor Steve McQueen.
“The name Von Dutch has become an international icon, but the man behind the name is one of the most influential and enigmatic artists of the 20th century,” said Rob Myers of RM Auctions. “The creative legacy of Dutch and the other artists represented during the sale continue to cast a long shadow over today’s pop culture world. Serious collectors bid in person and online setting benchmark prices for the Kustom Kulture art with lots going for five, even ten times the estimate.”
Headlining the Saturday auction was one of the most important pieces of Von Dutch memorabilia ever offered for sale, Von Dutch’s Personal Paint and Pin-Striping Box, which sold for $310,500. This personal paint box, inherited from his father, was carried by the artist throughout his legendary career as he created and enhanced the famous Von Dutch pin-striping technique.
In addition, Von Dutch’s “Originator of Modern ‘Pin’ Striping,” a handcrafted metal sign featuring Dutch’s trademark flying eyeball design, sold for $149,500, more than eight times the high estimated sale price. The collection also featured significant, above-estimate prices for Von Dutch’s personally engraved tools of the trade including a body hammer ($4,600), Binks spray gun ($10,350), and custom letter opener ($3,670).
The auction also featured spectacular painting by Juxtapoz magazine founder Robert Williams entitled “In the Land of Retinal Delights.” This painting, completed by the artist in 1968 and considered the epitome of the imagination of the Kustom Kulture movement, sold for $184,000, the highest price ever paid for an original Robert Williams painting sold at auction.
Among the most recognizable Kustom Kulture offerings were the iconic ‘Rat Fink’ sketches of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth including the “Rat Fink’s Revenge” sketch, which hammered down for $9,775 after spirited bidding. The Rat Fink motif was one of the original concepts drawings for cars, models, decals and characters that the Bruckers purchased from Roth Studios upon its closure.
Another hot item was the 1936 “Topper Car” created for and used by Cary Grant in the movie “Topper” before it began its second life as the Gilmore Oil Special. This one-of-a-kind custom car sold for $132,000.
Legendary actor Steve McQueen was a formidable collector of Kustom Kulture artwork and his influence and attitude permeate the Brucker collection. Several items from McQueen’s personal collection were also offered including the Von Dutch-custom engraved locks for the airport hangar ($12,650), McQueen’s handprints in cement block ($2,905), and the ‘well-used’ keys to his Beverly Hills Hotel Suite ($1,035).
“The Brucker sale was an extremely successful first offering from our new Pop Culture Division,” said Ian Kelleher, RM’s Managing Director and Head of the Los Angeles-based division. “Whether it’s cars or memorabilia, our company’s greatest attribute is understanding the client’s passion and emotional relationship to their collection. The Bruckers built this collection over 35 years and we worked closely with them to insure their family’s history and the cultural significance of the Kustom Kulture movement and artists was an integral part of the auction.”
Other notable items auctioned during the sale included:
* 1968 Howmet Turbine Race Car ($264,000)
* Von Dutch’s “Good-Bye Cruel World” painting ($110,000)
* The 1970 Von Dutch BMW 600 Toad car ($99,000)
* Robert Williams “Pachuco Cross” painting ($44,000)
RM Auctions announced the formation of the Pop Culture Division in February 2006 and opened a Los Angeles office situated within the West Hollywood offices of CMG Worldwide, the industry leader in intellectual property rights management. RM’s Pop Culture Division will handle the finest memorabilia in the fields or entertainment, rock n’ roll, fine art, history and sports.
Celebrating more than 26 years in the collector car industry, RM Auctions, Inc. and its sister companies are responsible for acquiring, restoring and selling of the world’s rarest and most expensive vintage automobiles including Best of Show winning cars at the prestigious Meadow Brook and Pebble Beach Concours. For additional information on RM Auctions, Inc., please call (800) 211-4371, or visit the corporate web site at www.rmauctions.com.