Published: November 28, 2000
A little of this, a little of that. Online buyers at ewolfs’ November art, antiques and Oriental carpet auction found those rdf_Descriptions plus a smattering of eclectic offerings ranging from 1920s handbags to lamps. While many paintings and a collection of Thirteenth Century Persian ceramics generally garnered prices well within their estimates, buyers must have been giddy at the bargains they found in the furniture and carpet categories, as well as the good buys on some of the rdf_Descriptions touted in pre-sale press.
The “Important Empire Commode” (ca. 1802-1813) that was the centerpiece of the furniture section of this auction met its estimated price of $15/25,000, selling for $16,675. This piece was stamped Jacob R. Meslee, the makers of many of the furnishings for Napoleon’s imperial palaces. Also meeting expectations was a “Wonderful Early Deco Bedroom Suite” (German, ca. 1900) that included a king-size bed, pair of nightstands, armoire, vanity, and a chair. Estimated at $8/12,000 this mahogany set sold for $11,168.
Many other lots, however, fell into the bargain basement category. Two Italian fruitwood armchairs (ca. 1790-1800), estimated at $1/2,000, sold for $460. A Venetian carved walnut Rococo-style sofa with cabriole legs ending in hoof feet, targeted at $2/4,000, brought just $920. A pair of Nineteenth Century Italian walnut Neo-classical-style side cabinets, estimated at $1,5/2,500, sold for $862.50. And, an Italian parquetry corner cabinet from the late Nineteenth/early Twentieth Century sold for $517, versus its estimate of $900/1,200.
A similar trend followed in the carpet and textile lots, where several large rugs and numerous smaller ones, mostly wool and from the Nineteenth or Twentieth Century, were buyer-friendly. The first rug lot, a nine-by-12-foot Persian Mahal carpet from the turn of the last century, decorated primarily with stylized palmettes, cartouches and flowers fell within its estimate of $2/4,000, selling for $3,566. But another, even larger, specimen, an 11-by-29’6″ Nineteenth Century Persian woven with urns palmettes, small cypresses, flowers, a center rosette and a border of winding vines, estimated at $4/6,000, was a steal at $2,760. And an eight-by-10-foot Twentieth Century Persian carpet featuring birds, deer-like figures and trees, estimated at $400/800, sold for $323.
In other categories of more specialized collectibles, not only were there good prices, but there were also some exceptionally interesting finds. A lucky collector of Tiffany furnishings (or a dealer, perhaps!) won a “fine” clock and two five-light candelabra suite of decorative gilt bronze and champleve enamel, made in Paris in the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century, for $12,075; it had been estimated at $15,000/20,000. Champleve, for those seeing the term for the first time, is enamel work in which furrows or cuts in a metal surface are filled with glass powder and then fired to create enamel.
Not as highly valued but good buys in their own sphere were several lamps in the “Lighting” category, where six lots were offered. A very attractive pair of gilt decorated porcelain table lamps with painted wood bases and brass feet, estimated at $50/150, were had for an astonishing $46, as was a more contemporary style ceramic and leaded glass table lamp with a shade of green and red glass diamond shapes and a base featuring birds and dogwood branches that was estimated at $75/150.
And for an even more enterprising collector or fashion aficionado, there were 34 lots of vintage handbags, many from the 1920s, to be had a prices that would put Saks to shame. For example, a ca. 1920 jeweled and beaded specimen with fringe and a silk lining was had for $736 ($800/1,200), and a trio of Whiting Davis metallic and satin-lined evening bags were a steal at $115 ($200/400).
Then there were rdf_Descriptions that collectors just had to have, and the prices reflect perhaps a more frenzied bidding contest. In the category of Objets du Vertu (religious objects), which had a small number of high-quality of lots, a pair of miniature (one-by-three-inch) kovsh from Russia decorated in gilt and green, blue and purple enamel with stylized flowers and scrolls garnered $862 eclipsed its estimate ($100/200) many times over.
The large selection of American and European paintings – 58 lots – generally was a sellers’ category as well, as many works met or exceeded estimates. “Rockport Harbor Scene,” an oil on canvas by American Charles Salis Kaelin (1858-1929), must have generated significant interest to bring a price of $37,950 versus an estimate of $15/20,000. Kaelin’s oil on canvas “Landscape With Trees” brought $8,740 ($6/9,000). The same price was paid for Francesco Jacovacci’s “Interior scene with mother, baby and nurse” (1876), an oil on wood panel also estimated at $6/9,000. And the pastel on canvas “Beautiful Young Woman as Muse of Epic Poetry” (1904) by Jane Bridgham Child, well-publicized in advance of this auction, was estimated at $3,000/5,000 and bid up to $11,260.
Items in the category of Persian Antiquities and Works of Art also confirmed their estimates. The top lot, a large decorative Persian tile depicting two men on horseback racing through a landscape of foliage and flowers accompanied by a dog, brought $1,069 ($800/1,200). Numerous Eleventh to Thirteenth Century objects did a brisk business. Notably, a unique and colorful Eleventh Century pottery bowl decorated with a stylized animal estimated at $500/800 sold for $1,162. Two more pottery bowls from the Thirteenth Century, glazed in a translucent turquoise, sold for $255 ($200/400) and $179 ($100/200). Three similar Thirteenth Century pottery ewers with translucent blue glaze, estimated at $200/400 each, sold for $255, $230 and $212. Two pinched-bowl-form oil lamps on saucer bases met or exceeded estimates: one from the Twelfth Century ($200/400) sold for $439, and another from the Thirteenth Century ($200/400) sold for $373. A Thirteenth Century pottery jar with a rolled rim and translucent blue glaze, within its estimate of $100/200 as it sold for $174, still seemed like a bargain.
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