Issue #16  5/22/2000
Bokelberg Collection Sold--to Sheik?

The famed Bokelberg photography collection sold reportedly for what could be the highest price ever made for a private collection in a private sale.  New York dealer Han Kraus, Jr. handled the sale.

The asking price for the collection had been upped from $10-1/2 million to $12-1/2 million just before the Jammes sale, although Kraus wouldn't provide any financial details of the actual sale.

Saoud Al Thani, the sheik from Qatar, who has dominated some of the past London auctions, was apparently the buyer, although Kraus now indicates that the group was bought for a collection in England.  Interestingly enough, Al Thani has an estate near London.

Kraus also confirmed that the entire collection of 136 pieces had been sold to a single buyer.

Negotiations had been going on for some time, according to Kraus, and finalized  "very recently."

There were two changes from the "Happy Birthday Photography" book, which was a record of the collection.  The Man Ray La Priere print had been removed from the collection (for obvious reasons) and a matching negative by Paul Jeuffrain of his church (pl.59 in the book) had been added to keep the total at 136 images.

The collection was generally acknowledged as one of the great collections still in private hands.  The condition of the prints is considered excellent by anyone's standards.  There were only two downsides.  One was that most curators wanted to build their own collections in their own image, and this was a collection that would make its own mark.  And the other was simply the steep, but relatively fair (in this environment, at least) price.

Kraus characterized Bokelberg's reaction to the sale as very pleased with the results and that the collection will be staying together.

Kraus noted that keeping the collection together was something that both he and Bokelberg felt was the "crucial" goal.