A Picture of a Lewisville Lumber Salesman Sold For $26,000. But Those Merc Photos, Not at All.

Richard Avedon's photo of Lewisville lumber salesman John Harrison and his daughter Melissa, taken in 1981 for In the American West, sold for $26,290. Bruce Barnbaum's 1986 Dallas -- a photo of the Chapel of Thanksgiving, with the Republic National Bank in the background -- sold for a mere $298.75. But when Heritage Auction Galleries closed its June Signature Photography Fine Art Auction Wednesday evening, one lot didn't sell at all: that collection of 17 seldom-seen Hedrich Blessing photos taken inside the Mercantile Bank Building shortly after its makeover in 1958.

Originally, Heritage guesstimated that the photos would sell for between $4,000 and $6,000. But, apparently, they got lost amongst the Mapplethorpes, Eisenstaedts and Adamses that did sell for five and six figures. Which is how the Merc photo series ended up as a post-auction buy: Heritage is offering the 17 pictures for the low, low price of $2,390. No bidding, no haggling, no nothing except the check-writing. (And, yes, I'm looking at you. No, wait ... you.)

And while we're on the subject, here's another locally taken snapshot that didn't sell: The great Garry Winogrand's George Wallace, Cotton Bowl, Dallas (from 15 Big Shots) taken in 1964. It's a little higher than all 17 Friendly Merc photos: $2,688.75.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky