Published: October 22, 2019
There was gold across them thar blocks at Holabird Western Americana Collections’ four-day Americana sale as two 30-plus-ounce gold nuggets mined in Alaska during the days of the Gold Rush sold for a combined $172,725. But all that sparkles is not gold. That was proven at the Heritage fall fine jewelry auction with the $100,000 sale of a 28.45 carat sapphire & platinum ring. A fun surprise was had by all at Clars’ October sale when a Russian bisque figural group depicting a female and a gentleman rose to $13,420 above a $200 estimate. More notables this week include fine porcelain, brilliant glass and well-traveled vintage trunks and antique chests.
RENO, NEV. – A four-day Americana auction conducted October 4-7 by Holabird Western Americana Collections, online and at the gallery, saw two giant-sized gold nuggets mined in Alaska during the days of the Gold Rush and each weighing more than 30 ounces sell for a combined $172,725. One was roughly in the shape of Australia, while the other was shaped like a pirate skull (shown). For information, 775-851-1859, 844-492-2766 or www.fhwac.com.
BEACON, N.Y. – A vintage Louis Vuitton with original trays (shown) left Hudson Valley Auctioneers gallery on October 7, while a large carved wood Madonna rose to $2,875 and a decorative Thistle hanging fixture also sold at $2,875. The desirable lots were among 350 items in this sale featuring a New Rochelle estate as well as the usual varied antiques and estate property sourced by the gallery. For information, 845-480-2381 or www.hudsonvalleyauctioneers.com.
OAKLAND, CALIF. – From an important collection of works by Nathan Oliveira (1928-2010), a bronze sculpture, “Figure Five,” 1983, led Clars’ October 12-13 fine art and antiques auction with a within-estimate $51,850. Depicting a solitary figure with legs crossed and arms akimbo, the sculpture was signed and dated back left and measured 44¾ by 35.63 by 25½ inches. A fun surprise in the sale was a Russian bisque figural group depicting a female and a gentleman, the largest standing 10 inches high. Estimated to sell for $100/200, the couple rose to $13,420. For information, www.clars.com or 888-339-7600.
ROCKVILLE, MD. – Weschler’s presented an American art and Chinese export auction on October 11, which comprised more than 200 lots from husband and wife collectors Albert E. and Lindamarie F. Mitchler, of Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. The Mitchlers’ love of collecting was inspired by the history of the pieces they collected as much as the objects themselves. In fact, they considered it a privilege to be the caretakers of the expansive decorative arts collection they amassed over the years. Highlights included more than 30 lots of fine art, including landscapes, portraits and maps. The top lot was Victor de Grailly’s (1804-1889) “The Capitol Seen from the White House,” oil on canvas, which more than doubled its high estimate to finish at $14,640. The 15-by-20-inch work was unsigned, identified and titled on paper label affixed to verso and located Washington, dated 1848 faintly on stretcher. For information, www.weschlers.com or 202-628-1281.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – The $6,600 price was not amazing – unless you consider that the Lebanon County, Pennsylvania German painted wood chest dated 1785 was being offered far from its home turf and at a remove from the most likely bidders. Given to John Lick in 1814, the chest, deep red in color, was alive with fraktur decoration. From Stumpstown, Penn., the earlier name for Fredericksburg, the pine and poplar wood chest also had family history. The most famous of the Lick family was James Lick, according to catalog notes, who moved to San Francisco and became one of the city’s wealthiest citizens in the mid-Nineteenth Century. His son John, by a woman he never married, was born in 1818. For information, 510-740-0220 or www.michaans.com.
CLEARWATER, FLA. – A total of 300 lots of contemporary and traditional paintings, porcelain and more crossed the block at Blackwell Auctions on October 12. Among the notable items, a set of 12 Royal Worcester Stinton cabinet plates, painted with scenes of highland cattle and signed H. Stinton, sold for $10,200. Featuring gilt rims, the circa late Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century set had no chips, cracks or damage, each plate measuring 10-5/8 inches across. Harry Stinton, son of Royal Worcester artist John Stinton, also painted highland cattle scenes, joining the firm in 1896. For information, 727-546-0200 or www.blackwellauctions.com.
ST LOUIS, MO. – A pair of Sevres lidded vases from the collection of Gerry Kessler, St Louis, highlighted the October 12 auction at Selkirk’s gallery. The pair of Bleu Celeste crown-form, gilt-highlighted vessels from the late Nineteenth to the early Twentieth Century sold for $3,240. Each standing 20¾ inches high, they have a band of “oeil-de-perdrix,” or partridge-eye beading, topping over the painted walls representing the four seasons and terminating in gilt leaf relief on conical footing mounted to brass socle. For information, 314-696-9041 or www.selkirkauctions.com.
MEDWAY, MASS. – A 14-inch diameter brilliant large-cut glass bowl sold for $2,760 at Coyle’s Auction on October 15 at the VFW Hall. In today’s market, that is a good price for cut glass, said the firm’s vice president Nancy E. Wyman. The sale, a two-session estates auction, was filled with curiosities and Coyle’s usual diverse selection of fresh items that arrive daily. For information, www.coylesauction.com or 774-571-8263.
BEVERLY HILLS – A Ceylon sapphire and platinum ring realized $100,000 to claim top lot honors and lead Heritage auctions’ fall fine jewelry auction to $3,675,672 on September 23. The auction featured assortments of colored gemstones and bejeweled curiosities that also fared well. Heritage Auctions senior director of fine jewelry Jill Burgum said, “The auction also featured an assortment of fascinating curiosities, which included some unique pieces that showed off the creative minds of the designers who made them.” The ring prompted multiple bids before it ultimately reached $100,000. It boasts a brilliant square cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 28.45 carats, set in platinum and marked Dubail Paris, with French hallmarks. For information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
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