Today at its New York HQ Bonhams is staging a very cool sale called A Wonderful Life: Photographs from the Peter Fetterman Collection. A former film producer who runs a gallery in Santa Monica, Fetterman owns one of the largest collections of classic photographs in the country, and has teamed up with Bonhams to let 124 of them go.
The selection "reflects [Fetterman's] broad collecting passions–street photography, fashion, landscapes, portraiture and still life," Bonhams notes, "some well-known, others unexpected; all rare finds and by the best-loved photographers of the 20th century."
"I have always believed that collecting photography is a form of self-expression," Fetterman says, "so each of the images you see in this sale reflect how my journey through life has been enriched at different times and in different ways."
Here are our favorite picks, with something to suit various budgets so you can start building a world-class collection of your own:
Melvin Sokolsky, Over New York
From Sokolsky's famous and groundbreaking bubble series, this was taken in 1963 and remains one of the era's most iconic fashion images.
Yousuf Karsh, Muhammad Ali
Perhaps the most famous portrait photographer of all time, from a 1970 shoot with the Greatest of All Time, who once declared "I'm the prettiest thing that ever lived." Est. $5,000–$7,000.
Duffy, E-Type Jaguar, England
In 1959 the new M1 motorway connecting London to Leeds opened, launching a new era in British motoring. What better car than the E-Type to give it a test run? Est. $3,000–$5,000.
Ormond Gigli, Girls in Windows
One of our favorite fashion photographs of all time, with a cameo by a classic Rolls-Royce, this was shot in an about-to-be-demolished New York City brownstone in 1960. Est. $30,000-$50,000.
Norman Parkinson, Hat Fashions for British 'Vogue'
Taken in 1949 against the still-evolving New York City skyline, Parkinson's print shows why he's one of the best-known fashion lensmen; "Nobody has the right to make photography boring," as he once said. Est. $3,000–$5,000.