Published: January 29, 2019
The sea beckoned bidders to Part I of the Spenger Maritime Collection as an English CW & C ships’ cannon sold for more than five times its estimate, sailing away for $6,150. The top dollar sale this week belongs to a Chinese valuables cabinet that closed nearly 20 times its high estimate at $19,200. Fine American art, a rare porcelain figure, and circus memorabilia share the limelight of notable sales in this week’s ‘Across The Block.’
OAKLAND, CALIF. – On January 19-20, San Francisco Bay Area patrons and maritime collectors alike came out on in droves to own a piece of the historic Spenger maritime collection, which, for more than 125 years, graced the walls, showcases, dining rooms and bars of Spenger’s Fresh Fish Grotto in Berkeley, Calif. Bidders packed the gallery and bid online and by phone to own a piece of this famous restaurant. Just 70 lots of the collection were offered, and bidders competed heavily, driving the total for this first installment to more than $100,000. Topping the bidding wars was an English CW & C’s ships’ cannon (shown) that sold for more than five times its estimate for $6,150. Tying for first place was a hand carved decorated ships’ figurehead, which also sold for over its estimate at $6,150. The second installment of the collection will be offered on February 16-17. For information, www.clars.com or 510-428-0100.
MIDDLEBORO, MASS. – A signed lithograph by Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975) titled “I Got a Gal on Sourwood Mountain,” 1938, sold at White’s January 13 auction for $3,360, well above its estimate. From an edition of 250, the 11½-by-9-inch lithograph depicting a fiddler at a country dance was published by Associated American Artists. Signed lower right in pencil and Benton lower left in the image, it is matted, framed and under glass. For more information, www.whitesauctions.com or 508-947-9281.
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – International bidders vying online and by phone competed for a Ming or Qing dynasty valuables cabinet offered at EstateOfMind Auctions on January 12. Valued broadly at $100/1,000, the lacquered shagreen cabinet was inlaid with brass and abalone shells and depicted sprawling dragons, flying phoenix and chrysanthemum. Consigned from a local hoarder’s house, the cabinet went to an international phone bidder for $19,200. For information, 845-386-4403 or www.estateofmind.biz.
DALLAS – Heritage Auctions took a first step into a new area of collectibles when its offering of 25 certified and graded collectible video games made its debut January 13 for the firm’s Sunday internet comics, animation and art auction. “A lot of collectors are just as passionate about their childhood games, such as their trading cards or comics,” said Heritage vice president Barry Sandoval. “We thought these certified games would do well, and we weren’t disappointed.” More than 30 collectors pursued The Legend of Zelda (NES, Nintendo, 1987) Wata Games until it sold for $3,360 to claim top-lot honors. The Classic Series version marked the last release of the game on the Nintendo Entertainment System. For more information, www.ha.com or 877-437-4824.
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – The top seller in Eldred’s January 18-19 auction was a Frederick Judd Waugh (1861-1940) painting, “Edge of the Bay” (pictured), which sold for $5,400 on a $4/6,000 estimate. The oil on board, 25 by 35 inches, had a Grand Central Art Galleries provenance. One of the more interesting lots in the sale was a Georgian gold mourning ring with a miniature en grisaille painting of a woman leaning against an urn. The ring was engraved on the underside “Jane Roberts Ob. 18 May 1783 Aet. 48.” A “sleeper,” it sold for $1,200 on a $200/300 estimate. For information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
THOMASTON, MAINE – On day one (January 16) of Thomaston Place’s two-day online-only Wanderlust auction, a collection of 23 pieces of mold and free-blown cobalt glass blew away its $300/500 estimate when it sold at $8,160. The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century collection included ten salt cellars, 2 to 3 inches in height; ten cream jugs, 2½ to 4¾ inches high; one hat, 2½ inches high; and two sugar bowls. In remarkably good shape, the collection caught the eyes of an early bidder, who pushed the final price to the unexpected high. For information, www.thomastonauction.com or 207-354-8141.
SARASOTA, FLA. – Sarasota was the place to be on January 18-19 when Freedom Auction Company presented more than 1,000 lots relating to circus memorabilia at Showfolks of Sarasota. The event, in its third year, has grown so large that the auctioneer added a preliminary day at the auction house to present additional material relating to the popular genre. A train-car load of wardrobe featured the complete wardrobe, props and road boxes of Rogana, known as the “Baroness of Balance.” A stunning bedazzled gown and leotard accompanied by complete feather headdress sold for $4,800. Rogana performed in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for years and appeared on other shows around the world. For information, 941-725-2166 or www.freedomauctions.com.
MONROVIA, CALIF. – Moran’s first studio fine art auction of the year on January 13 realized strong prices for both American and European artists. Works from southern California brought solid prices throughout the day, with a strong start marked by “Verdugo Hills” from Alhambra artist Sam Hyde Harris. The peaceful scene sold above its $1,5/2,500 estimate for $3,438. An Anna A. Hills oil on canvas board of a Verde tree in a desert landscape (pictured) created a bidding war when it came to the block, selling above its $2/3,000 estimate for $5,313. For information, 626-793-1833 or www.johnmoran.com.
LONG BEACH, CALIF. – Grenadier’s online Auction XIII, which ended December 30, was a record-breaking auction with more bidders and bids than ever before. Among the hard-fought highlights was a rare Allach porcelain HJ drummer statue (shown) that realized $4,995 and a World War II US 744th Tank Battalion flag that sold for $4,200. For information, 562-343-7528 or www.grenadierauctions.com.
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