Published: October 5, 2021
Paradoxes present themselves in the Across The Block column that ran in our October 8, 2021 issue. The quiet of a Kawase Hasui painting is balanced with the raucous photo shoots of pin-up girl Bettie Page. A $5 face value gold coin takes $20,000. The embodied spirit of giving, the belsnickel, is bought by the highest bidder. Okay, maybe that last one is less paradox and more the reality of Christmas. Either way, this week’s Across The Block has it all—enjoy!
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – The Gloria and Joe Kurilecz netsuke collection, a Lancaster, Penn., collection and a western Massachusetts collection were just some of the featured private collections in Eldred’s annual Asian art auction September 22-24 at the firm’s headquarters on Cape Cod. A painting by Japanese artist Kawase Hasui brought $26,250, selling online to a longtime customer. Hasui was a prolific printmaker, with more than 600 original designs to his name. This painting has the same type of atmospheric qualities you typically see in one of his prints. It is signed and seal marked lower right and in the lower left margin. For information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. – The September 21 coins and currency auction at Skinner was a collector’s delight, offering many pieces from ancient Greece and ancient Rome and selections from American history in both silver and gold. Under the direction of department director David Donahue, the online catalog featured a greater number and variety of high-resolution images, drawing the interest of collectors. The top seller was an 1812 Half Eagle that realized $20,000. A gold piece with a face value of $5, the coin was minted in a young country still establishing itself on the world stage. Daily life was disrupted by the War of 1812, and coinage suffered from the war efforts and the ensuing decades. A great majority of early gold coins were either lost, melted or otherwise destroyed. The 1812 Half Eagle offered was in uncirculated condition, suggesting that the coin was purposely preserved as the conflict with Britain erupted. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3255.
WESTMORELAND, N.H. – “We had a fantastic sale,” said Roxanne Reuling of Flying Pigs Antiques, speaking about the firm’s September 27 auction featuring the estate of Linda Peterson Heard, a lifelong personal collection of primitive and country American antiques. “It was 100 percent sold, which is incredible.” The top lot was an antique Belsnickel mold together with a composite Belsnickel that Heard had made using the antique mold, plus a drawing of the Belsnickel signed Olive Metcalf. The 20-inch-tall mold sold for $2,500. For information, 603-543-7490 or www.flyingpigantiquesnh.com.
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – William Bunch Auctions presented its quarterly and decorative arts auction on September 28, a sale that offered a collection of fresh-to-market antiques, fine art, glass, china, furniture of all ages and style, silver, jewelry, Asian, porcelain, glass and much more. Notable among the 478 lots that crossed the block were a Mackenzie Childs paint-decorated desk armoire (shown) that sold for $15,000 and a set of four carved mahogany Federal dining chairs that jumped their $100/200 estimate to finish at $11,000. The armoire featured paneled doors with landscape painted scenes, side panels with floral decoration, a lighted desk interior and fitted desk interior with slots and checkered painted drawers. The chairs, 35 inches high, featured upholstered seats over sabre legs. For information, www.bunchauctions.com or 610-558-1800.
EPSOM, N.H. – Auctioneer George Foster III calls his business The Complete Auction Service, an accurate description for the firm that works with estates and trusts to bring in merchandise for antiques and collectibles auctions. Most recently, on September 30, Foster dispersed a lifetime collection of cars, automotive parts and pieces from an elderly gentleman who has a 60-year accumulation. The online auction had bidders from Maine to Texas. “The sale went well,” said Foster. “We were pleased.” The best vehicle in the sale was a rare 1922 Chevy three-person coupe, called a Chevy 490 because, according to Foster, $490 was the price of the engine back then. The car brought $5,865. For information, 603-736-9240 or www.thecompleteauctionservice.com.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Several buyers from Russia took notice of a painting of the Church of St John at the Kremlin by Boris Valentinovich Scherbakov (France, Russian Federation, 1916-1996) that was on offer in Helmuth Stone Gallery’s September 26 sale. The $7/10,000 estimate helped inspire multiple Russian phone bidders as well as online competition; in the end, the 19-by-25-inch oil on canvas – that was sourced locally – sold to a collector in Moscow for $20,570. For more information, 941-260-9703 or www.helmuthstone.com.
NEW WINDSOR, N.Y. – Mid-Hudson Auction Galleries has been gradually selling the Bunny Yeager archives and topping the latest round of offerings – 288 lots on October 2 – was a 200-page lot of photos. Each 8-by-10-inch page showed Bettie Page in five different photos for a total of 1,000 photos in the lot, three of which were signed by Yeager. Estimated at $600/800, bidding on the lot opened at $300 and ultimately sold for $1,159. For information, 914-882-7356 or www.midhudsongalleries.com.
LOS ANGELES – Chinese wood furniture took the spotlight at Andrew Jones Auctions’ “Eclectic Eye” sale on September 27, led by three works that ascended into the five figures. A Chinese hardwood table (shown) with curved, swooping supports between the legs and the undertop sold for $21,875. A circular pedestal sold for $12,500 and an attractive rootwood center table sold for $10,400. For information, 213-748-8008 or www.andrewjonesauctions.com.
NEW YORK CITY – Capsule Auctions of New York City and Litchfield County Auctions of Litchfield, Conn., partnered for another successful and short sale on September 30. The 110-lot auction saw star works from Wayne Thiebaud and Cy Twombly ascend the leaderboard, but it was furniture created by New Hope craftsman George Nakashima that raised the paddles. A “Minguren II” coffee table in English walnut would settle in at $29,900, while two sets of three “Amoeba” nesting tables with black walnut tops brought $28,600. Both had been made in 1972 by Nakashima for a Susan Nayor. For information, www.capsuleauctions.com or 212-353-2277.
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