Published: December 15, 2020
Notable sales found in our December 25, 2020 issue include some sleepers, starting with a Nineteenth Century Josephine Bonaparte French Empire-style bed that rose 13 times its high of $5,000 to a solid five figures at Heritage. Bidding caught serious tailwinds at Doyle as two paintings by Antonio Jacobsen and Samuel Coleman tied for the top lot of the sale at over $50,000 each. Final bids on an elegant dress watch, World War II bomber jacket archives, and a Butler medal from the Civil War will make you want to get to the next auction near you.
DALLAS – A Nineteenth Century French Empire-style bed became the subject of fiercely competitive bidding until it sold for $68,750 to lead Heritage Auctions’ Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts Signature Auction on December 4. So eager were the bidders that they drove the final price for the bed to more than 13 times its high estimate ($3/5,000). The bed was modeled after one that belonged to Josephine Bonaparte, Napoleon’s first wife and true love, who he divorced because of her inability to produce an heir. For information, www.ha.com.
GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – A remarkably elegant dress watch in digital display with jump hour by maker Robert Cart was a top finisher at Jones & Horan’s online auction that closed on December 10, realizing $8,000. Cart set up shop in Le Locle in 1920 and was renowned for his distinctive jump hour watch designs, which were commission by Vacheron & Constantin, Breguet, E. Gubelin and others of the era, according to the firm’s Diana Kelly. A distinctive plus that the auction house boasts is that there is no buyer’s premium. For information, 603-623-5314 or www.jones-horan.com.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – An archive of Lieutenant. Edward Burtsavage that was consigned as part of his estate for Cordier Auctions and Appraisals’ December 6 firearms and militaria auction brought $4,200. “We also sold his real estate and other personal property,” said Melanie Hartman, the firm’s director of catalog and specialty auctions. “Mr Burtsavage passed away in May. After he left the service, he became a medical physicist and worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. The bomber jacket archive was purchased by a very excited collector in western New York.” For information, www.cordierauction.com or 717-731-8662.
DALLAS – A United States Colored troops silver medal, also known as the “Butler Medal,” nearly doubled its estimate when it brought a winning bid of $45,000 to lead Heritage Auctions’ December 6 arms and armor, Civil War and militaria auction. The medal was created by General Benjamin F. Butler, whose leadership of African American soldiers in the Civil War was exemplary. According to his autobiography, he ordered a medal struck of like size, weight, quality, fabrication and intrinsic value to those that Queen Victoria personally awarded to her distinguished private soldiers of the Crimea. It is believed that 197 silver and 11 bronze medals were struck at the Philadelphia Mint from dies cut by Anthony C. Paquet. The medal saw competition from militaria, Civil War and Black history collectors, many of whom have spent a lifetime in fruitless pursuit of a specimen. For information, www.ha.com.
MORRISVILLE, VT. – On December 9, the Thomas Hirchak Company presented an online sale featuring a well-appointed Vermont estate in Barnet, complete with more than 5,000 square feet full of furnishings, décor and collectibles. “The most notable lot from our auction was a 64-piece set of National “Princess Elizabeth” sterling silver flatware,” said the firm’s marketing director Lisa Rowell. The service for eight in a wooden chest amounted to 2,012 grams of silver and sold for $1,700. For information, www.thcauction.com or 802-888-4662.
CRANSTON, R.I. – A floral still life by French modernist Jean Dufy (1888-1964) topped the offerings at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ December 10 Estate, Fine Art and Antiques auction. The oil on canvas work, which measured 10¼ by 8¼ inches in its frame, was a vibrant depiction of yellow and pink roses in a blue vase; it had been owned by Greta Garbo, who gave it as a gift to her niece, who consigned it to the sale. Estimated at $2,5/4,000, the work saw considerable competition, online and on the phones, from both the United States and international bidders. It finally sold to a private collector in California who was making their first purchase at Bruneau’s and who bought it online for $15,000. For information, www.bruneauandco.com or 401-533-9980.
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – A Morgan Colt (American, 1876-1926) Pennsylvania landscape painting, probably Bucks County, was bid to $49,725, more than triple its high estimate, at William Bunch Auctions and Appraisals on December 8. The oil on canvas, signed Morgan Colt, 36 by 30 inches, came from a Delaware estate and previously sold at Lubin Galleries, New York City. Colt, who was known more as a craftsman than a painter, was part of the New Hope Group of artists that included Rae Sloan Bredin, Charles Rosen, Daniel Garber and Robert Spencer. Much of his work was accidentally destroyed after his death. “The sale was very strong overall,” said Bill Bunch. For information, www.williambunchauctions.com or 610-558-1800.
NEW YORK CITY – Doyle conducted a successful auction of American furniture, silver and decorative arts on December 9, which also included ceramics, mirrors, folk art, quilts and samplers, Chinese Export porcelain and rugs. Two paintings tied for the top lot of the sale. The 1885 America’s Cup yacht race between the defender Puritan of the New York Yacht Club and the challenger Genesta of the Royal Yacht Squadron was captured in a masterful view by maritime artist Antonio Jacobsen (1850-1921). Determined bidders sent the painting sailing past its estimate of $8/12,000 to achieve $53,125. Realizing the identical price was an 1856 view of Mount Washington from the Saco River by Hudson River School painter Samuel Colman (1832-1920), more than doubling its estimate of $15/25,000. For information, 212-427-4141 or www.doyle.com.
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