Published: October 16, 2018
We’re guessing that the collector who cast the final bid of $45,600 on the Nephrite diamond studded stamp moistener in this week’s Across the Block highlights is not all that worried about the rising cost of postage. This unique lot shares the spotlight with a 1926 60-year-old bottle of whiskey that fetched a new world record $1.1 million. The artists Lautrec, Benton and Knatsh also make appearances within this list of interesting gavel drops.
MONROE, CONN. – A nephrite stamp moistener in the form of a green tomato with gold stem set with mine-cut diamonds and in a fitted box licked the competition at Fairfield Auctions’ September 26 sale. Discovered in a Ridgefield, Conn., estate, it was possibly attributed to Faberge and carried a conservative estimate of $800-$1,200, but bidders quickly pushed interest to close the lot at $45,600, the highest price achieved in the sale. For information, www.fairfieldauction.com or 203-880-5200.
LONE JACK, MO. – An early fall gallery auction on September 29 at 529 Gallery by Soulis Auctions saw a massive sofa and chairs set with 24-inch oak griffins carved supports lead the sale at $12,100. The three-piece set in the manner of R.J. Horner (1886-1915), comprising a sofa and a pair of massive side chairs, each having a highly carved flat rectangular crest featuring scrolling acanthus and blossoming vines flanking a carved beaded heart motif continuing to acanthus-carved down-sweeping arms terminating in massive, highly carved winged griffin supports. For information, 816-697-3830 or www.soulisauctions.com.
PROVINCETOWN, MASS. – Rare works from the Provincetown Art Colony crossed the block on September 22 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s annual fall art auction. Colony favorite Karl Knaths led the sale, with “Capon,” an oil on canvas, 30 by 42 inches (pictured), realizing $24,000. A Tony Vevers untitled work depicting a river through snowy woods, oil on canvas, 24 by 35 inches, at $4,800, set a record high for the artist. For information, www.paam.org or 508-487-1750.
SAUGERTIES, N.Y. – A Depression-era industrial town comes alive with activity in a watercolor by Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), an American painter and muralist, that sold for $18,750 at Donny Malone Auctions on September 30. “I believe this is the lost sketch or pre-drawing to the ‘Boomtown’ painting he did,” said Malone. The scene bustles with many working men figures and automobiles. It is signed “Benton” and matted and framed in an Arts and Crafts frame, measuring 19½ by 23½ inches. For information, 845-594-6829 or www.donnymaloneauctions.com.
COPAKE, N.Y. – An early poster by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864-1901) titled, “Reine de Joie…,” came to the block at Copake Auction on September 29 with a $300/500 estimate. When the auctioneer examined it out of the frame, it was found to be mounted on canvas and stamped on the reverse “2 Graphis Prnt / Printed In Switzerland.” Bidders vied for the 55-by-37-inch (sight size) poster, pushing the final price to $4,720. For more information, www.copakeauction.com or 518-329-1142.
BOSTON – A platinum and diamond bracelet with five sapphires, three of which were of exceptional quality and determined to be from the Kashmir mines, sparked interest among bidders at Skinner’s September 25 jewelry sale. Originally estimated at $10/15,000, bidding on the lot quickly rose, with a phone bidder getting it for $123,000. For information, www.skinnerinc.com or 617-350-5400.
PLAINVILLE, CONN. – Among the important lots consigned for Winter Associates’ October 1 auction was an 1826 American needlework sampler signed “Nancy Maxson/8 years/1826.” With alphanumeric rows surrounded by floral and figural motifs, including children with animals along lower edge and signature panel bordered by vines, the lot bested its $1,500 high estimate to finish at $2,280. Nancy Maxson (1818-1858) was the daughter of Jonathan Maxson (Newport, R.I., 1782-1852) and Nancy Potter (1781-1862). For information, www.auctionsappraisers.com or 860-793-0288.
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – A bottle of the extremely rare Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 60-year-old sold at Bonhams’ whisky sale on October 3 for a new world record of $1.1 million. The previous world record was set by Bonhams in May this year when another bottle of the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold for $1 million. The whisky was bottled in 1986. Macallan commissioned two world-famous Pop artists – Valerio Adami and Peter Blake – to design labels for a very limited edition of 24 bottles – 12 of the Adami and 12 of the Blake labels. Although 12 bottles of the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 were produced, it is not known how many of them still exist. One is said to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and it is believed that at least one of them has been opened and drunk. For information, +44 131 225 2266 or www.bonhams.com.
PHILADELPHIA – Freeman’s September 27 books, maps and manuscripts auction brought close to 500 lots of rare and important books, historical documents, prints, maps and related ephemera to buyers and collectors. The sale totaled $342,550, with 80 percent of the lots sold and 100 percent by value. The day’s highlights included a first English edition of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, bound with his Plain Truth and several other complementary titles, which more than doubled its high estimate, selling for $28,750. For information, www.freemansauction.com or 215-563-9275.
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