Published: July 24, 2018
Strong turnouts in this week’s Across The Block fueled top results, including highlighted sums for the first volume of the Californian, the first newspaper published in California, a pair of pietra dura mounted cabinets, a straw leghorn bonnet and much more.
SAN FRANCISCO – A prospectus or proof-sheet for the first issue, volume 1, number 1, of the first newspaper published in California – Californian – was the top lot at PBA Galleries’ July 12 auction of fine Americana. A broadsheet with text in two columns and printed rector only, the 12½-by-8½-inch sheet came from a private California collection and sold at $5,400. This broadsheet includes the prospectus of the press along with President Polk’s declaration of war with Mexico. Perhaps the only copy extant, the paper came from a cache found aboard the ship Congress, on which co-publisher Walter Colton served as chaplain. The page is headed “Monterey, August 15, 1846.” For more information, www.pbagalleries.com or 415-989-2665.
BOSTON – Leading Skinner’s July 14 sale of European furniture and decorative arts was a pair of Nineteenth Century Louis XVI-style ormolu and pietra dura-mounted ebony-veneered cabinets that sold for $49,200 to one of ten phone bidders on the lot. Hailing from a Boston private collection that also featured other Grand Tour items in the sale, the pair had been estimated at $4/6,000 and attracted considerable interest, with bids coming in from buyers throughout the United States and internationally. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 617-350-5400.
KNOXVILLE, TENN. – The tattered condition of a butternut woolen shell jacket in Case Antiques Inc Auctions & Appraisals July 14 sale did not deter bidders, who pursued the Confederate garment past its $8/10,000 estimate to close at $28,000. It was originally worn by Colonel Tomlinson Fort (1839-1910), of the First Georgia Infantry, as he returned home to Milledgeville, Ga., after the war. It was one of several items from the collection purchased from a now-defunct chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in Chattanooga in the 1960s. Competing against phone and online bidders, the anonymous but determined buyer was in the room and also purchased several other items from the same collection. For information, 865-558-3033 or www.caseantiques.com.
NEW YORK CITY – A vintage Art Smith (American, 1917-1982) woman’s Modernist choker necklace, with a brass with hook clasp and stylized pendant and bearing impressed signature, was offered at Showplace Auction on July 15. Opening, as is the case with all lots at Showplace, at $100, the 4½-inch diameter necklace sold at $3,575, well above its $400/600 estimate. For further information, 212-633-6063 or www.nyshowplace.com
KIRKWOOD, N.Y. – An Eastman capsule filler in its original 10-by-8½-by-5-inch wooden box at McMurray Antiques Absentee, Mail/Phone Bid Cataloged Auction #67, which ended July 14, sold for $3,136, well above its $1/2,000 estimate. Owner Terry McMurray said, “I sold another similar example back in auction #54 for $2,600. These are hard to find complete, and this is a nice example!” The hinged front door opened to reveal six compartments that held the device and featured 95 percent of the complete directions for use label on the inside door. A full review of the auction will appear in a future issue. For more information, 607-775-5972 or www.mcmurrayauctions.com.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – French artist Edouard Léon Cortés (1882-1969), known for his paintings of Parisian inclement weather scenes, was the top and second-place lot of the day at Cowan’s July 14 fine and decorative art auction. The headliner was a 12-by-17-inch oil on canvas titled “Boulevard des Capucines,” which sold for $17,835. It was followed up by “Quai du Louvre en Hiver,” an 8-by-12½-inch oil on canvas that took $15,000. Both works featured a busy street scene with light snow scattered across the roadways and cars. For more information, www.cowansauctions.com or 513-871-1670.
MT. CRAWFORD, VA. – The top lot at Jeffrey S. Evans’ July 14 textiles and sewing auction was a circa 1827 romantic-era straw leghorn bonnet with original bandbox. The pair was catalogued in near excellent condition and came with a $500 high estimate, but bidding did not settle until well after that at $3,042. The all-original lot came with original provenance, stating that it had belonged to Anna Moore Dawson of Alleghany County, Maryland. For more information, www.jeffreysevans.com or 540-434-3939.
PINE BUSH, N.Y. – A Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y., collector consigned a hefty collection of New York railroad lanterns and American cast iron still banks to Flannery’s Estate Service’s July 9 sale. The top lot of the day was a New York Central and Hudson River Railroad lantern with embossed forest green globe that sold for $2,587. Right behind at $2,300 was a group of ten cast iron building still banks, all with original paint. With both categories spread more than 60 lots each, the sale included more than 200 lantern examples and the same number of cast iron banks. For more information, www.flannerysestateservices.com or 845-744-2233.
OAKLAND, CALIF. – More than 1,500 lots crossed the block in Clars Auction Gallery’s July 14-15 sale, the most notable of them with sparkling diamonds attached. The top lot was a 4.97-carat oval-cut diamond ring on a platinum band. The ring brought $45,375, well over the $15,000 high estimate. Behind was an Art Deco Kashmir sapphire, diamond and platinum ring. The Kashmir sapphire weighed approximately 2.3 carats and was surrounded by two baguette diamonds and 38 old European-cut and single-cut diamonds. That ring took $40,950, clearing the $10,000 high estimate by more than 400 percent. For more information, www.clars.com or 510-428-0100.
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