Painted furniture, textiles, folk art, delft, stoneware, Grenfell rugs, paintings and nautical items were among the appetizing fare served up at Cyr Auction Company during the Americana and fine arts auction on Wednesday, October 10. A large crowd began packing its way into the auction gallery early that morning and by sale time the number of buyers had swelled to a standing-room-only-sized crowd.
The selection of merchandise was fresh to the market and everyone seemed excited, especially auctioneer Jim Cyr. Plugging away at his keyboard in his office at the front of the building during the moments leading up to the auction, Cyr wryly acknowledged the quality of the sale and pointed out what was sure to be several of the top lots. “The J. Ambrose Prichard painting has been getting a lot of attention,” stated the auctioneer. “There are quite a few phone bidders lined up for that one; same with the Badger painting, the bone ship and a lot of other things.”
It did not take long for the action to begin as Cyr got the auction started precisely on time, and the first lot to be offered was one of the best of the day. The Prichard painting had been off the market for more than four decades; coming from a Marblehead, Mass., home, it had been purchased in the 1960s by the consignor’s family from a Boston gallery. The large, 39-by-55-inch oil on canvas had been executed while the American artist was studying at the Academic Julian in Paris during the mid-1880s with Gustave Boulanger and Jules Lefevre.
A nice pastoral scene depicting a woman in a landscape with two children, the painting opened for bidding at $5,000. A telephone bidder, one of several on the lines, hit the lot at $6,000, another phone bidder got in at $7,000. The lot bounced back and forth among the telephones until the very end, when a bidder in the rear of the gallery claimed the lot with a single bid at $20,700.
The next lot to cross the block was a wooden works tall case clock marked on the face “R. Whiting, Winchester.” An attractive example in red paint with vinegar-style faux-inlay decoration, the clock was also bid actively, with it selling at $7,475.
A rare chest-on-chest followed a couple lots later. The figured cherry Chippendale example displayed an old alligator finish and the brasses had been replaced. Cyr commented that the case piece had been a “fixture in the guild room of the Church of St Mary The Virgin in nearby Falmouth for over 100 years.” Cyr looked for a $10,000 bid to open the lot, then settled for $5,000, with bids coming from several in the gallery. The piece progressed in $500 increments to a selling price of $14,950.
A mahogany Hepplewhite tambour secretary in an old red finish with a pull out writing surface did well, selling at $5,750, while a formal Hepplewhite card table with bellflower and eagle inlay went out at $5,150.
A nice cupboard with cutout bootjack ends and double raised panel doors was painted in an early blue-gray color. With an original mouse hole chewed between the doors, the attractive piece went reasonably at $3,737. Another cupboard to cross the block was a nice country example with open top and a pleasing yellow paint that hammered down at $2,875.
A scrubbed top country Hepplewhite farm table with red paint on the base, measuring 6 feet in length and with two drop leaves, was another lot to do well, bringing $2,300. The same price was realized for a small Chippendale table with bead molded legs that had been discovered in a local barn. Retaining red paint on the base, the three-board top reflected its home for the past couple of decades as each board was cupped and separated.
A Guy Carleton Wiggins oil titled “Morning in the Fields” depicted two cows in a pastoral landscape. It sold at $4,600, while two Emil Holzhauer watercolors brought $2,587 and $1,387.
A large prisoner of war carved bone model of the three-mast ship Lady Rosalie, 50 inches in length, was actively bid, with it bringing $8,050 from a telephone bidder. The S.F.M. Badger oil on board ship’s portrait of the Maine-built schooner George V. Jordan also attracted attention, with it selling at $10,350, while a large brass telescope on a tripod stand realized $2,875.
Several weathervanes crossed the auction block; a leaping stag brought $7,475, an Indian vane went out at $6,612, and a large bull weathervane realized $5,750.
A New Hampshire double wheeled wheelbarrow in great old paint with a political slogan on the side sold for what may very well be a record price paid at auction for a wheelbarrow, or at least a record price paid for a wheelbarrow at Cyr’s. The reddish brown painted example was decorated on the front with The Old Man of The Mountain and emblazoned across the side was the slogan “Majorities Must Rule.” The person with the majority of bids placed on the lot ruled at Cyr’s as he claimed the lot for $10,350.
An Andrew Jackson broadside was another of the lots to do well. The rare piece of ephemera, announcing nominations for the 1832 presidential race and illustrated with two engravings, one depicting Jackson, was in overall excellent condition. With four telephones active, the lot opened for bidding at $1,000 and was soon being hammered down to one of the phone bidders at $9,200. A handwritten bill of sale for a slave dated 1833 and signed by a member of the Cree tribe brought $1,035.
Prices include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.cyrauction.com or 207-657-5253.
A Johann Berthelsen painting that failed to meet reserves was inadvertently reported as sold in our initial coverage of Cyr Auction Company’s Americana sale. The above article has been modified from its original state so as not to include the erroneous information.