Published: August 8, 2023
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring; Photos Courtesy New England Auctions
BRANFORD, CONN. — All but just a few lots of the nearly 460 offered by Fred Giampietro in New England Auctions’ July Americana Discovery auction on July 25 found new homes for a sell-through rate of more than 99 percent. The accumulated total was $193,750, 70 percent higher than the anticipated aggregate high estimate. With approximately 3,000 bidders, the online-only sale moved quickly, clocking in at about 80 lots an hour. Two-dimensional artifacts went toe-to-toe with sculptural objects with high prices in both camps.
Giampietro said, “It was a very healthy sale. There continues to be strong interest in historical material. Just about everything in the sale was consigned by collectors. We select items for value, content and originality…and are still running about 70 percent retail [private collectors]. We were pleased with the continued solid interest.” He noted that most of the lots sold on New England Auctions’ dedicated platform.
As New England Auctions is located just a few miles up the road from New Haven and Yale University, it is fitting that the sale saw as its top lot a lot of Yale ephemera, which sold to “a collector” for $5,750, several times its high estimate. The lot was made up of several yearbooks and other related books, poster board with photos of the Yale football team of 1892 and a 16-5/8-inch-long paddle dated 1924.
A broadside advertising the Union Telegraph State Line between Albany, N.Y., and Boston that was another high flyer, earned an even $5,000. The 17-by-13-1/8-inch document was deemed to be in excellent original condition and achieved a result 50 times its high estimate.
An ink on vellum document dated September 16, 1782, and signed by John Hanson, Esq, then the president of the US Congress in Philadelphia, was framed alongside a black and white portrait — unidentified but presumed to be that of Hanson — traded hands for $3,000, 30 times its high estimate.
Sculptural works came in a dead heat for the third-highest result of the day: $3,500. Achieving that result first was a molded copper Blackhawk horse weathervane, circa 1875, with a natural verdigris patina. The 25-inch-long vane, which stood 18 inches tall, was described as being in “excellent” condition with “minor imperfections.”
Not even ten lots later, the result was also achieved by a large trade sign that measured 40 inches wide and featured red and blue glass lenses. Made from molded zinc or tin with historic gold paint, it dated to the Nineteenth Century and was also deemed to be in excellent condition.
The eyeglass sign was just one of more than two dozen signs in the sale, which also saw strong results for other examples which included another eyeglass sign that looked to $1,500, an ice skate sharpening sign that slid to $2,250 and an unusual Nineteenth Century New England trade sign that read “Harnesses, Coffins, Caskets & Robes,” which traded hands for $1,750, more than tripling its high estimate.
Group lots were popular. Among other highlights, a 13-piece lot of small country objects from the estate of Toni Noble earned $1,875, five toy cars, four by Louis Marx & Co, drove out the door for $1,750, and a selection of five Nineteenth Century hair memorials, all in period frames, closed at $1,625.
New England Auctions will sell the collection of Lincoln and Jean Sander on September 21.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.neauction.com or 475-234-5120.
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
September 19, 2023
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