WILMINGTON, MASS. — It was an unusual blend of American antiques, Midcentury Modern and even personal articles from a Boston estate that packed the house for the midwinter estate auction run by Carl W. Stinson on February 16. Few phone bidders and no Internet bidding allowed a lively pace. The 500 lots sold represented thousands of objects and the event ran late into the night.
An Eighteenth Century Connecticut River Valley Queen Anne cherry highboy with a flat top may have been the work of Eliphalet Chapin. Carved with two fans, the two-part piece had been separated for many years and its components were only recently reunited. It sold for $3,165. Its provenance included Connecticut residents Gersham Birdsey (1734–1865), his son Gersham Birdsey and it descended to Ann Bacall of Boxford, Mass. A history of the piece up until 1920 was affixed to the back. A Queen Anne mahogany tea table with a large top was also attributed to Chapin and sold for $258. A second highboy, a Connecticut Queen Anne maple example with the original hardware, purchased in 1891 by Eli C. Birdsey, sold for $1,088. It had belonged to Solomon Walkley of Chester.
The Hepplewhite bowfront mahogany chest with bird’s-eye maple drawer fronts was made somewhere between Portsmouth, N.H., and Saco, Maine, and realized $1,955. A Sheraton cherry drop leaf table with six legs dated from about 1820 and went to the same buyer in the gallery for $518, as did an English Chippendale mahogany tilt top tea table carved with a large central sinking and 12 smaller ones and a barley twist shaft that was $805. Another bidder was pleased to take a Queen Anne cherry highboy base with drops for $460. A late Sheraton cherry breakfast table brought $345, and a Hepplewhite cherry Pembroke table with inlay was $230.
One good looking Windsor step down chair realized $259, while a Windsor rocker, circa 1770, sold for $115, and a miniature Empire armoire drew $115.
A large (85½ by 105 inches) sideboard by A.H. Davenport made of quartersawn oak and carved with lions’ heads and floral elements came from an 1893 house in Brookline, Mass., designed by William Peters for Boston merchant Frederick Gay. It was a very good value at $1,325. An American classical rosewood cabinet with a fretwork gallery fetched $230.
Of the timepieces for sale, a 90-inch Federal Connecticut cherry tall clock with brass works by Hall and Hughes of Middletown, purchased by Linus Birdsey for $5 from Jacob Bacon of Westfield at an unknown date, sold for $690.
Paintings included a harbor view by Arthur Vidal Diehl that brought $805 and an autumn landscape by Newton artist Dorothy Stanley Emmons that was inscribed on the back, “That they die so gaily,” a reference to the brilliant color of leaves and its short life, realized $258.
A miniature (6½ inches) ovoid stoneware crock with the initials AW brought $316.
A seven-inch Rookwood vellum vase garnered $460, while a Chippendale mirror was a good buy at $115.
Silver lots included a 76-piece flatware set by Georg Jensen in the Beaded pattern that sold for $6,900. A 42-piece stainless steel flatware service designed by architect Arne Jacobsen for Georg Jensen sold for $460.
The working model of the battleship Missouri sold for $299. And a Sheraton fancy chair was $12.
The highlight of rugs across the block was a Senna silk foundation example from the early Twentieth Century that sold for $3,220, while a Caucasian bagface brought $920.
With the antiques dispatched, Doug Stinson offered a selection of Modernist and modern lots that energized the bidding audience, and judging by the numbers who packed the saleroom right to the end of the sale, was the major draw. The estate of Dale A. Roberts of Boston was the source, and she was a prodigious collector who gathered exuberantly. Roberts’ collection was sold to benefit a Boston museum. Many objects retained the original receipts; many items had never been used. And it all came out of her two-bedroom apartment.
Stinson hammered down a lot of various textiles, together with a swagger stick, for $35. Before the lot was delivered to the successful bidder in the room, Stinson extracted the swagger stick AND used it for pointing throughout the sale. He assured the bidder that he would return it at the end of the sale — and he did.
Glass artist Dale Chihuly’s yellow “Sea Life” was accompanied by a copy of the catalog of the exhibition “Through the Looking Glass” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, inscribed to Roberts, photographs of her with the artist and the original receipt. Bidding opened at $1,000 and ended when it went to a buyer in the room for $5,462.
A black and white glass fish was attributed to architect Frank Gehry and sold for $460.
Furniture of interest included a leather day bed designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll that brought $4,025 from the same buyer who paid $4,140 for two Knoll leather Barcelona chairs and the matching ottoman. The same bidder took a tulip table and two chairs designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll for $1,610. Another tulip table, one with an Arabescato marble top, also designed by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, sold for $1,380, and a lot comprising one barstool and one side chair designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll sold for $403. A B&B Italia Lunar convertible sofa fetched $805.
An Arco stainless steel floor lamp designed by Achille and Pierre Castiglioni for Italian maker Flos drew $460, as did a Flos floor lamp.
A Charles Eames chair and ottoman for Herman Miller fetched $3,163. The lot was accompanied by the original receipt. Four brushed aluminum cabinets were most attractive and realized $920.
Five Lucite chairs comprising three armchairs and two side chairs sold for $643.
Roberts’ 1991 Sol Lewitt aquatint “Colors Superimposed, within a Border, Colors Superimposed” was number ten of a series of 25 and sold for $978. It had been purchased from the Barbara Krakow Gallery in Boston. Jane Holzer’s golf tees in Astroturf labeled with one of her truisms, “The mundane is to be cherished,” along with five day-glo colored gold balls, sold for $1,035.
Dale Roberts was a dedicated shopper. Many of her personal pieces, which included clothing, across the block had never been worn. She must have had some 100 Louis Vuitton inclusion bracelets. One lot of seven sold for $1,610, while another lot of seven brought $920, and a third lot was $1,495. A Louis Vuitton tote, along with the shopping bag in which it came home, was $920.
Some 200 Bakelite bracelets sold, mostly in lots of 12 or so, averaging $500 per lot. A lot of about 18 empty Hermes boxes brought an astonishing $288.
A Chanel quilted handbag brought $1,495, while a Chanel tote bag went for $805.
Two 18K gold and enameled bracelets retailed by the Metropolitan Museum of Art sold for $575.
A bronze condom stamped LR was dated 1993 and came from San Francisco and sold for $259, while a small copper and brass miner’s lamp drew $155.
One lot of three leashes and collars by Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci for Roberts’ dog Red, about whom she wrote a book, sold for $230. Among several hundred pairs of shoes for sale, a lot of three pair of flip flops by Chanel, Burberry and Gucci went for $115. A pair of Chanel black rubber rain boots with applied white blossoms that sold for $259 was accompanied by the original box and sales tag indicating the original price of $350.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 781-944-6490 or www.stinsonauctions.com.