Auctioneer Press Release Turner Auctions + Appraisals LLC

On October 8, Turner Auctions + Appraisals Presents The Jim Haas Native American Art Library and a Collection of Southwest Jewelry

Sep 23,2022 | 14:00 EDT By Turner Auctions + Appraisals

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA, September 19, 2022Turner Auctions + Appraisals is pleased to present the auction of The Jim Haas Native American Art Library and a Collection of Southwest Jewelry on Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 10:30 am PDT. The Haas library section of the sale features over 100 lots consisting of more than 900 books, catalogs, and other publications on various Native American and Canadian First Peoples art styles and artifacts from the personal collection of Jim Haas; this noted, long-time specialist in Native American and Ethnographic Arts retired several years ago as Director from Bonhams after 32 years with the company and its predecessor. In addition, over 30 lots of Southwestern bracelets, rings, and necklaces are offered from various collectors and estates. Many of these are “Old Pawn” pieces, that is, old Indian jewelry that was traded for credit or goods, often Navajo-made. Rounding out the sale are several publications on other ethnic arts, including Pre-Columbian, Mexican, and tribal.

Lot 66, The Pottery of Zuni Pueblo, Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 2008. First edition.

Turner Auctions + Appraisals begins its online auction on Saturday, October 8, 2022, at 10:30 am PDT; sale items are available for preview and bidding now on Bidsquare

Reflecting Jim Haas’s 30+ years as a professional appraiser and expert in the arts, his printed collection is a working library of art reference books and auction catalogs. With a focus on the Native American books used in his profession, his collection is a sizeable reference library in many areas that would be difficult to put together today.

Haas’s library features collectible volumes that are sources of knowledge or beauty; many are older, hard to find, out of print, or specialty books from the 1980s and 1990s or earlier. Virtually every style of North American Indian arts is represented – from Western Canada to Florida, including Eskimo, Northwest Coast, California, Plateau, Great Basin, Southwest, Plains, Great Lakes, Eastern Woodlands, and Southeast. Although some books focus on contemporary works, most volumes are general compendia on antique art and artifacts, showcasing good background information, the evolution of the art form, and many visuals. Some books are very specialized, such as those on tomahawks or parfleche, i.e., rawhide bags or containers usually hung in pairs from saddles.

Jim Haas began his long and acclaimed career in the arts through serendipity and chutzpah. A graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison with a master’s degree in Communication Arts and a focus on media production, he came to San Francisco in 1984 and was unable to find a job in that field. Out and about one day, he walked by the Butterfield & Butterfield auction house and saw an Oriental rug auction was underway. He went in, was fascinated, and asked to see Bernard Osher, Butterfield’s owner. Mr. Osher, perhaps thinking he was a member of the prominent San Francisco Haas family (he’s not), granted him an audience. Jim pitched himself with enthusiasm and zeal, resulting in a job first as a preview worker, then at the front desk. Although Jim Haas’s career path was different than he intended, it was not without personal interest:  he recalls many weekends as a teenager getting up early to go treasure hunting at a Milwaukee flea market while his boyhood friends slept off the previous night’s escapades.

Lot 26, Four books on Northwest Coast Art

At Butterfields, his good luck continued when the Ethnographic Department head quit and Jim assumed the position, becoming a specialist and respected expert through the years. During his 32 years at Butterfields, later acquired by Bonhams, Jim spent 20 years as Director of the Ethnographic Art Department, which included Native American, African, Oceanic, Southeast Asian tribal and pre-Columbian art. During the first five years, he also worked simultaneously as Director of the Oriental Rug Department, focused on tribal and rural weaving traditions of village and nomadic people of the east. For his last decade at Bonhams, Jim focused strictly on Native American art. Over the length of his career, he estimates he oversaw about 75 sales that generated some $65-$70 million for the company.

Now, after leaving his long career at Butterfields/Bonhams about five years ago, Jim has happily retired; he and his wife Claudia travel more, and spend half of their time in San Francisco and half in Tequisquiapan, Mexico. Although he still performs appraisals and occasional consultations, he now finds time to practice his blues harmonica; he returned recently from Racine, Wisconsin, where a reunion with his high school band included a gig at a local bar, which invited them back “anytime” since they packed the place. Now, as he seeks to make more space in his life, Jim has decided to downsize many of the items he’s accumulated over decades, saying “If they’re not appreciated on a daily basis, why own them?” Collectors, scholars, and researchers are sure to benefit from this decision.

By Turner Auctions + Appraisals LLC