WINDSOR, CONN. — Just as foliage was reaching its peak in the Connecticut River Valley, so, too, was the action at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery as it conducted its important annual fall antiques and fine arts auction — a sale chocked full of everything from prime Americana to sterling silver tea and coffee services. Taking place on Saturday, October 12, the sale was well attended, and bidding was brisk throughout the day. Telephone and Internet bidding was very active, according to the gallery.
The auction began with a selection of silver, with most of the lots selling firmly between estimates. It was not long after auctioneer Ed Nadeau took the podium, however, that fireworks erupted. A small silver container with a cover on a Mercury Man base was inscribed “In Homage to Theo. Weicker Esqr. from his firm Allies Radelbeul Berlin and Feurbach 1894” and was estimated at $250/400. Bidding on the lot was active as it surpassed estimates, finishing at $1,667.
One of the most interesting lots in the auction was an exceptional and large Apache figural decorated olla with a strong ovoid form. The high shouldered basket with sharply flared neck and rim, 21 inches tall, was decorated in two colors with 26 human forms, 19 deer, as well as geometric and banding designs. The lot was accompanied by a bill of sale from the Brisley Drug Company, Prescott, Ariz., and dated 1913. Several Navajo, Zuni and other Native American baskets were listed on the receipt that totaled $38 for 11 items. The olla is listed there with a selling price of $4. Virtually all of Nadeau’s phones were pressed into service as the rare basket crossed the block and it easily surpassed the $10/15,000 estimate on its way to a selling price of $20,060.
The top lot of the auction was shared by a piece of furniture and a painting. The painting was a Bob Kuhn oil on board depicting a pair of lions. An unusual size for Kuhn, the painting measured 14 by 18 inches and was marked on the verso ‘“Mara Evening’ painted for Leonie and Geddes Parsons to celebrate the twenty years of marriage. Bob Kuhn, 1989.” It is a wonderfully rendered scene with a yawning male reclining in the foreground while the female rested on a rock perched just above her mate. The pair were set against a dramatic Serengeti-type backdrop and colorful sky. Estimated at $15/25,000, bids came quickly from several telephones, with a final price of $35,400 realized.
A painting titled “The American Merchant Jessore Inward Bound” did well, selling at more than twice the high estimate. The unsigned painting featured the vessel entering a harbor under full sail with another sailing ship and a steamer in the background. Bidding on the lot was brisk, with it selling at $22,420. “Sailing Off Coast at Dark” by Warren Sheppard did well, selling at $2,760, and a Modernist painting by Vu Cao Dam titled “Horse with Figure” realized $6,195.
Furniture in the sale included a Queen Anne dressing table that tied for the top lot of the sale. An interesting history and provenance accompanied the lot, with the first recorded provenance being that of Israel Sack. It was later sold from a Connecticut estate at Nadeau’s in 1990, achieving a price of $135,000 and selling to a private collector. In cherry, the lowboy displayed well-executed proportions, a nicely fan carved central lower drawer and a pleasing finish. Estimated at $30/50,000, the lot went out at $35,400.
A Chapin school highboy with pierced carved pediment and vine carved upper central drawer was being offered for the second time in a year at the gallery. In what appeared to be an original red finish, the rare case piece is illustrated in Kugelman and Lionetti’s Connecticut Valley Furniture. Last year it failed to meet reserves as it was bid into the mid-$30,000 range, which left Nadeau scratching his head in wonderment. This time around it failed to meet reserves with only a $10/15,000 estimate, which surely left Nadeau scratching his head in amazement.
A Federal Pembroke table with drop leaves and line and icicle inlay did well at $4,887, a walnut Federal sideboard that appeared to be of Southern origin sold at the high end of estimate, bringing $3,565, an unusual Sheraton server with turret corners and fluted and turned legs realized $2,300, and an attractive Queen Anne Connecticut flattop highboy with lower fan carved drawer went out at $2,760.
A diminutive blanket chest with bootjack ends and the original dry red paint caught the eye of Americana collectors. The chest, measuring just 11 by 16 inches, was estimated at $300/500. Consigned from a local private Americana collection, the chest finished at $1,955.
A small collection of toys saw active bidding from the crowd, with a tin lithographed limousine with driver, possibly Carette, bringing more than ten times the estimate as it climbed to $5,015. A Buddy L dump truck and fire truck seemed reasonable at $316 and $236, respectively.
The Civil War possessions of Captain Charles A. Moore, 47th Regiment N.Y.S.V., included his leather gloves, a military bowie knife with sheaf, captain’s bars, brass powder horn and a medal. A tremendous amount of presale interest was expressed in the lot, with it ultimately selling well above estimate at $2,645. Other Civil War items belonging to Moore included a large lot of correspondence to and from the captain and also records relating to muster payrolls. This lot also exceeded presale expectations, going out at $2,070. A photo lot of Moore containing ambrotypes sold for $920.
Other items of interest included a Seth Thomas pillar and scroll clock with paper label and a homestead scene painted on the lower tablet that sold for $2,950 and a rooster weathervane that made at $2,070.
Oriental carpets included a Serapi carpet, circa 1890, measuring roughly 10 by 14 feet, with an end border missing, that sold for $4,425. A Daghestan prayer rug measuring 3 feet 10 inches by 4 feet 5 inches tripled estimate, selling at $3,304.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 203-246-2444 or www.nadeausauction.com.