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Press Release - May 7, 2021

J.C. Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post Cover Sells for $4.1 Million at Heritage Auctions to Shatter World Record

'Beat-Up Boy, Football Hero' scores top-lot honors Friday in $10.7 million American Art event


Joseph Christian Leyendecker World Record Beat-up Boy, Football Hero, The Saturday Evening Post cover
Joseph Christian Leyendecker World Record Beat-up Boy, Football Hero, The Saturday Evening Post cover
DALLAS, Texas (May 7, 2021) — Joseph Christian Leyendecker's Beat-up Boy, Football Hero, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on Nov. 21, 1914, sold Friday for $4.12 million, shattering the previous world record for a work by the influential illustrator.

The painting was a centerpiece of Heritage Auctions' May 7 American Art Signature Auction, alongside masterworks by such revered names as Moran, Bierstadt and Rockwell. Numerous records for several significant artists were set throughout the day, as the total for the nearly sold-out American Art event surpassed the $10.7 million mark – the first American Art event at Heritage to do so.

"I always vowed that I would be the first one to sell a million-dollar Leyendecker," says Aviva Lehmann, Heritage Auctions' New York City-based Director of American Art, pictured at left with the record-setting painting. "I am honored to have sold this masterwork for $4.1 million. Not only was it a huge day for Heritage, but it was a historic day for American art."

The previous world record for a J.C. Leyendecker original was set in December, when Sotheby's sold his 1930 work Carousel Ride for $516,100.

The extraordinary portrait of a bruised, bandaged, scuffed-up but proudly defiant young boy had never before been to auction. In fact, until now this delightful work from the creator of The Arrow Collar Man has resided with one family for nearly a century. And it looks today as it did upon its creation: The painting has never been relined and remains housed on its original stretcher.

It was estimated between $150,000-$250,000, and the bidding opened Friday afternoon at $135,000. But within seconds it became clear this was going to be a piece over which a bidding war would be waged.

The auction room grew loud when the Beat-Up Boy crossed the million-dollar mark; louder still when it surpassed $2 million, then $3 million. And when the hammer fell, when the final price hit $4,121,250, the room erupted in applause.

A Football Hero. And, today, an auction hero.

Heritage Auctions is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world's largest collectibles auctioneer. Heritage maintains offices in New York, Dallas, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago, Palm Beach, London, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.

Heritage also enjoys the highest Online traffic and dollar volume of any auction house on earth (source: SimilarWeb and Hiscox Report). The Internet's most popular auction-house website,, has more than 1,400,000 registered bidder-members and searchable free archives of five million past auction records with prices realized, descriptions and enlargeable photos. Reproduction rights routinely granted to media for photo credit.

Robert Wilonsky, Director, Corporate Communications

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But from the first time Aviva Lehmann contacted me, she made me feel very comfortable about the idea of selling my painting through Heritage
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