MARION, MASS. — Southeastern Massachusetts art and antiques are the specialties at Marion Antique Auctions for which the firm draws savvy collectors and dealers. The annual Thanksgiving weekend sale on November 30 was no exception, and the house was full. Principals Frank McNamee and David Glynn know the area intimately and can recount easily the history of objects and the families who owned them.
In his opening comments, McNamee said he was pleased to report that the manuscript of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Conqueror Worm that sold for $310,500 at the summer sale has been finalized. The lot was sold subject to authentication and was rescinded and then on again and then off again as debate continued as to its authenticity. The manuscript has been proven right, beyond any doubt.
The highlight of this event, however, was a beach scene by William Trost Richards that may have been a Newport scene, although Rockaway Beach was written on the back. It came from a Kingston, Mass., estate and sold to the phones for $35,650. Bidding on a Nineteenth Century oil on board landscape with castle and figures that was considered English or Irish opened at $275 and zoomed to $4,140, pushed by an eager Internet bidder.
Self-taught portraitist Cephas Thompson lived and worked in nearby Middleborough, and while his paintings are found in major institutions, many others can still be found in area collections. His portrait of his ninth child, Julian, who was cross-eyed, sold to a family member for $3,680; a second portrait of Julian also went to a family member for $1,115. His son Cephas Giovanni Thompson worked in the area until he relocated to New York City. Claimed as a local artist, his work can also be found in the area. His 1840 portrait of his future wife, Mary Gouverneur Ogden, sold for $1,955, and his oil on panel portrait of two sisters brought $920.
A pair of portraits on wooden panels depicting a man identified as Mr Nells, born in 1767, and Mrs Nells, born in 1750, was signed E.H. Valmen and dated 1825. The pair sold for $920.
“Roman Osteria,” an Italian tavern scene with card players by P. Menotti, sold for $2,990. An oil on canvas view of a sunset and a fishing shack on a swamp, which may have been a Southern landscape, was found in a New Bedford attic and realized $2,415. A Greek scene, a view of the Acropolis of Athens by Irish American artist Edward Gay, sold for $920. It came from the George Decas collection. A French landscape with haystacks was attributed to Ernest Lawson and sold for $1,265, while a landscape with figures and a mountain and a lake sold for $1,955.
Scottish artist and writer Charles H. Ewart went whaling as a young man and, back home at 69 years old recuperating from an illness, created a 58-page account of his voyages in iambic pentameter stanzas with more than 90 detailed watercolor illustrations. It sold to an absent collector for $3,565 and had come from the estate of 96-year-old antiques dealer Anna Emond of The Village Braider Antiques in Plymouth, Mass. Emond’s estate also supplied a door stop in the form of a full-bodied terrier with original paint that was $748.
A Tully’s Little Daisy child’s treadle sewing machine on a cast iron base patented in 1883 sold for $2,415, while a child’s cast iron cook stove, a Little Eva, with two skillets, a pot and a stove pipe, brought $184.
A Daum Nancy cameo glass table lamp with a bright green and yellow lead design was signed and sold on the phone for $6,280. The pair of bronze bookends depicting a woman in a flowing gown by Harriet Whitney Frismuth was signed and dated 1910, selling on the phone for $4,370, while a late Nineteenth Century Japanese pair of bronze vases with mixed metal overlays of a bird in a marsh scene was signed and sold for $3,600. A 13½-inch Chinese lacquer cabinet with a removable box and an interior fitted with drawers and compartments went to an Internet buyer for $863.
The highlight of the ceramics sold was an R&J Clews Staffordshire blue tray depicting “Landing of General Lafayette, Castle Garden, NY 1824” that sold on the phone for $1,265; a covered vegetable dish in the same pattern was $431, while a gravy boat and undertray with the same decoration was $403, also to the phone.
Silver that Frank McNamee described as “far too good to be melted” was particularly strong. A Reed & Barton sterling flatware service in the Francis I pattern comprising some 94 pieces sold online for $3,565. A sterling flatware service in the Wedgwood pattern by International comprising some 100 pieces was $1,955, while another set by Gorham in the Camellia pattern comprising more than 130 pieces sold for $2,070.
One silver dealer cleaned up on a selection of silver by American maker George W. Shiebler Co. It was in the Etruscan pattern with applied 14K gold classical medallions. The dealer paid $5,780 for two serving forks and two serving spoons, $2,415 for a pie server and a master butter knife and $1,265 for a carving knife, a fork and a sharpener.
An English sterling tea caddy with a sliding top and a chased overall armorial decoration had marks indicating a date of 1716 and a London origin. It sold online for $2,415. An English sterling five-piece tea set, circa 1865, bore Birmingham maker’s marks and sold online for $2,070, and a Poole five-piece tea set that had rarely been used brought $1,955.
Swedish silver was represented by a neoclassical tea caddy with a recumbent lion design and cast swans supporting the pedestal base, made by early Nineteenth Century silversmith I.F. Biornstedt, which brought $1,495.
A Tiffany urn with swan neck handles and applied masks of comedy and tragedy went to the Internet for $1,710, while a classical covered urn with a cobalt blue glass insert by Durgin & Co., and retailed by Shreve, Crump and Low realized $920. A lot of six Tiffany sterling tablespoons in the Chrysanthemum pattern went to the trade for $949.
A large and ornate silver plated punch bowl with North Wind handles was a trophy from the Hamilton (Ontario) Curling Club and sold for $345.
A Jugendstil pendant by Heinrich Levinger with green plique-à-jour enamel, split and blister pearls and a baroque river pearl drop sold for $1,610. The design was attributed to Otto Prutscher.
Frank McNamee of Marion Antique Auctions referred to a Salem or Boston mahogany highboy made from old parts as a “Boston cheater”; it brought $690. An Eighteenth Century Queen Anne highboy with shell carving to the base was thought to be a Newport piece, but with Twentieth Century modifications in the way of a rebuilt top, replacements and refinish. From a Mattapoisett house, it still brought $5,175.
A late Nineteenth Century Italian Renaissance Revival walnut fall front secretary desk with carved figures and a multitude of interior drawers sold for $3,680, and a George III mahogany demilune sideboard with a demilune top, fan and conch shell inlay and a bottle drawer took $1,840. An Eighteenth Century Continental walnut console table on a wrought iron stretcher base with an Eighteenth Century vargueno top section and wrought iron hardware sold for $1,495. An American Chippendale tiger maple and chestnut slant lid desk may have been a southeastern Massachusetts piece, but was refinished and brought $1,955. A Nineteenth Century miniature slant lid bombe desk with a fitted interior and an etched glass door sold for $1,265.
From New Bedford area collections, a round Nantucket lightship basket signed R. Folger elicited $2,300 on the phone. A large whale’s tooth was unpolished and weighed 2.003 pounds. Auctioneer C. David Glynn said it was the largest he had ever seen as he closed the sale for $1,610. It came from a Cape Cod home.
A first edition of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne published in Boston in 1850 by Tichnor, Reed, and Fields sold for $1,035, and a collection of Nineteenth Century documents, receipts and photographs from the Cowan house in Rochester attested to the family involvement in whaling and shipping and sold for $805.
All prices quoted reflect the buyer’s premium.
For Additional information, www.marionantiqueauctions.com or 508-748-3606.