Published: March 4, 2003
LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — The premier sale of the newly established 333 Auctions was held on January 28 to a standing room only audience.
Registered bidders numbered 479, competing for 529 lots of estate rdf_Descriptions that included a wide variety of furniture, rugs, silver, paintings, decorations and collectible rdf_Descriptions. Prices went from $10 for a vintage framed RCA Victor print to $40,000 for an oil on panel by Daniel Garber. Private sector collectors and dealers from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey attended the Tuesday morning auction.
333 Auctions was recently formed by a partnership between Arts and Crafts authority David Rago, Lalique expert Nicholas Dawes, formerly of Sotheby’s, tile expert Suzanne Perrault, Twentieth Century Modern authority John Sollo, and Rago Arts CEO Miriam Tucker. The five collaborated to form the estates auction venture new to the auction house that is widely known under the banner of Rago Auctions. Established in 1984, it has become renowned for its record-breaking sales of high-end Arts and Crafts and Twentieth Century Modern.
The concept of selling estates merchandise developed when the decision to offer the Arts and Crafts furniture at the Pittsfield, Mass., location of partner John Fontaine freed the Lambertville- based auction house to enter uncharted ground and take advantage of the estate business that it had previously been turning away. A total of seven estate auctions are planned for this year.
Competition for the leading lots resulted in strong realized prices in several categories. An early Daniel Garber oil on board, “Delaware Avenue – Philadelphia,” 1904, that was painted while the artist was a student at the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts, opened at $6,500 and realized a final price of $31,050. An oil on panel by Daniel Garber, “Autumn Solebury,” depicting a Bucks County barn in the artist’s distinctive Impressionist style, topped the sale with a realized price of $40,250.
Rug dealers battled it out for a late Nineteenth Century fine Heriz carpet, 13’6″ by 9’4″ that brought $19,550. A 1930 Georg Jensen “Acorn” pattern sterling silver luncheon set for eight topped its high estimate when it sold for $4,600.
Another high note occurred when a Gorham “Martele” sterling silver tyge, weighing approximately 44 troy ounces., was sold for $9,488 to silver dealer William Firth of Britannia House in Lahaska, Penn. Firth was well pleased with his purchase and stated that the piece was of exceptional quality particularly due to the originality of the finish. Dated Nov 11, 1905, it was coded to reveal that a total of 128 man hours were required to hand-craft the piece that was fabricated by Gorham chaser James Seton. Firth, who deals extensively in fine English silver, bought the piece with a customer in mind and felt sure that it would be sold immediately.
Popular priced rdf_Descriptions included an oak and leather Columbia adjustable barber’s chair, labeled Theodore A. Koch, that brought $805. A salesman’s sample of a Victorian convertible commode on baluster legs realized $747 against a presale estimate of $½00. The leading lot among a group of Edith Tommi Howeth paintings that generated a good deal of interest was an oil on canvas depicting the Jersey City skyline, circa 1946. This work brought $1,035 and was one of several paintings that were offered from the artist’s private collection.
A group of New York Yankee memorabilia from the private collection of Mrs Phil Rizzuto included a coveted gold-tone mesh evening purse bearing an enamel logo medallion inscribed “World Champions 1947-49-50.” This rdf_Description sold along with a Volupte gold-filled compact purse for $575. Mr Rizzuto was at the sale; he was not wearing a Yankee baseball cap.
On the great buy side of the auction was a group of four whimsical painted wood parrots that sold for $115. A salesman’s sample of a walnut dining table on baluster legs complete with a pair of leaves sold for a reasonable $259, and an appealing oversized Victorian painted bird cage sold to a delighted dealer for just $144.
Audience interest was matched by the enthusiasm of the partners who admitted to having a new level of zeal for the estates auction venture. Nick Dawes and John Sollo both took their turn as auctioneers, while Miriam Tucker spotted from the auction block. David Rago and Suzanne Perrault were in Japan and were not present for the first estates auction.
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