In 1947, 16-year-old Don Lutes Jr. of Pittsfield, Massachusetts received a rare, 1943 Lincoln penny as change from his high school cafeteria. At the time, Lutes noticed the copper coloring of the coin was different from “the silvery steel variety in circulation at the time,” according to Artnet. As a result, Lutes decided to keep the coin, and now, 72 years later, it sold for $204,000 at Heritage Auctions on January 10. The penny is one of 20 copper coins produced during World War II in a manufacturing error. The US Mint at the time was pressing coins made of zinc-plated steel instead of copper because copper was being rationed for wartime materials. For decades, the Treasury Department denied the existence and legitimacy of these 20 pennies, but Lutes had the coin authenticated by coin expert Walter Breen in 1958. Lutes died in September, and his descendants put the coin up for sale. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Berkshire Athenaeum at Pittsfield’s Public Library, “where Lutes was active for years,” according to Artnet.
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Boston has acquired Yayoi Kusama’s “LOVE IS CALLING” (2013), one of the artist’s 20 existing Infinity Mirror Rooms. The installation was acquired “through the generosity of Barbara Lee, The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women, Fotene and Tom Coté, Hilary and Geoffrey Grove, Vivien and Alan Hassenfeld, Jodi and Hal Hess, Barbara H. Lloyd, and an anonymous donor.” “LOVE IS CALLING” will go on view in Fall 2019. This is the second work by Kusama to enter the ICA’s collection, the first being a 1953 work on paper.
The J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired Giovanni Segantini’s painting “Spring in the Alps” (1897). The work was originally painted for Jacob Stern, a San Francisco collector and director of Levi Strauss & Co. After Stern’s death in 1927, “in accordance with his wishes,” the painting was sent on long-term loan to the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco from 1928 to 1999, where it was on public view. In 1999, Stern’s descendants sold the work at auction in New York. The painting will go into an exhibition in the Getty Museum’s West Pavilion on February 12, alongside other works from 19th century Europe. [via email announcement]
Christie’s Little Cassiobury: The Collection of Susan Lyall sale in New York brought in a total of $1,885,000 on January 16. The sale’s top lot, an Irish William IV Mahogany four-pedestal extension dining table by Williams and Gibton (circa 1835), sold for $156,250.