Published: August 30, 2022
The assembled top lots of last week’s auctions were such as may be found in the parlor of a collector who has many interests, has traveled widely and was not a little quirky. Merrill’s offered an unusual sailor’s valentine with the image of a cat, while Eldred’s went in a different but still nautical direction with a William Horace Littlefield painting showing two figures, one most likely Neptune. Michaan’s rolled out a handscroll painting attributed to Zhang Daqian, and Tremont topped a sale with a Nineteenth dynasty Egyptian schist column. Playing these off was yet another Steinway & Sons piano from Cordier, continuing the trend of these fine instruments coming to auction with a crescendo of results.
MANCHESTER VILLAGE, VT. – A collector’s estate auction took place under tents in a beautiful outdoor amphitheater on August 21 as Eric Nathan conducted a one-day auction with more than 300 lots, a continuation of his firm’s dispersal of the estate of Jack and Mary Hirst, who resided at the estate and collected for the last 40 years. One of the top highlights in the sale was a pair of sterling silver five-light candelabra, marked sterling but with no maker found. A bidder took possession at $3,335. For information, www.nathanre.com or 802-362-3194.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – Coins, stamps, silver, collectible pens, fashion and costume jewelry crossed the podium at Cordier Auctions and Appraisals on August 21, with a complete buffalo nickel set (shown) selling for $3,000. Missing only the 1918-17-D overdate, the collection also included many AV -UNC coins. A jewelry highlight was an onyx and brass necklace and bracelet by Patrice, the necklace pendant of vintage European glass with brass on gold plated chain. It sold for $450. For information, 717- 731-8662 or www.cordierauction.com.
ALAMEDA, CALIF. – Michaan’s August 20 gallery auction presented an array of desirable items from every genre and period, from rare Victorian decoration to Asian art. Leading the sale at $23,370 was a large handscroll painting, “Landscape,” attributed to Zhang Daqian (1899-1983). That was a significant premium over the $2,4/4,000 estimate for the ink and color on golden paper. With a separated title and inscription with seals, it measured 15 by 150 inches. For information, www.michaans.com.
EAST GREENVILLE, PENN. – A total of 285 lots of colorful glass crossed the block in Glass Works Auctions’ Premier’ Auction #159, which closed over two days, August 22 and 23. Owner Jim Hagenbuch said that one of the rarest of all the known barrel bitters from the Brent Pulver collection realized $35,100. Marked “Patd July – 28 1868 / Peoples Favorite Bitters / Powell & Stutenroth” the Illinois bottle, circa 1868-75, exhibited a golden yellow amber barrel, stood 10¾ inches high with a smooth base and applied tapered mouth. In pristine perfect condition, the bottle was one of three or possibly four known to exist, mostly in amber, making this beauty a truly outstanding example. For information, www.glassworksauctions.com or 215-679-5849.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – A William Horace Littlefield (Massachusetts/New York, 1902-1969) painting of two mythological figures, one probably Neptune, brought $3,000 in Eldred’s August Antiques + Accessories Auction on August 25. Littlefield, known for abstract expressionism and male nude figural studies like this one settled in Falmouth, on Cape Cod, and was a founder of the Cape Cod Art Association in 1947 and exhibited at the Provincetown Art Association starting in 1949. The 29-by-34-inch oil on canvas was one of three Littlefields in the auction. The work came from one Cape Cod collection and sold to another one. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
NEW MILFORD, CONN. – A group of three cut crystal bowls, the largest being only 7 inches high and 14 inches in diameter, earned top-lot honors in The Auction Barn’s August 22 estate auction when the lot realized $6,000, several multiples of its $200/300 estimate. Sourced from Greenwich, Conn., the bowls found a new home with a buyer from the American South. For information, 860-799-0608 or www.theauctionbarnct.com.
SUDBURY, MASS. – Tremont Auctions’ August 28 auction of antiquities, military, books and antiques was led at $67,100 by an Egyptian Nineteenth dynasty carved schist column, carved in sunk relief prenomen of Ramses II. Standing 13½ inches tall and estimated at $1/2,000, it was from the Tuxedo Park, N.Y., collection of Dr Bruce L. Ralston, a portion of which was included in the sale. For information, 617-795-1678 or www.tremontauctions.com.
WILLISTON, VT. – A Nineteenth Century sailor’s valentine centering the image of a cat charmed bidders at Merrill’s Auctioneers & Appraisers on August 26 when it found a new home at $7,475, well ahead of its $2/3,000 estimate. The work measured 18½ by 21 inches in its wooden frame and was created entirely of shells. For information, www.merrillsauction.com or 802-878-2625.
HARRISBURG, PENN. – Another Steinway & Sons grand piano crossed the block at Cordier Auctions and Appraisers on August 27, topping its Fine & Decorative Arts Auction at $39,000. This is one of many grand pianos to occupy an auction’s top lot of late, with buyers almost as happy to bring them home as sellers are to have them out of the house. This example was a Model B grand piano with a walnut finish, from the estate of a music, piano and voice teacher who purchased the piano in 1997. For information, 717-731-8662 or www.cordierauction.com.
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