Published: December 21, 2012
It was an old-fashioned auction with old-fashioned bidding, an old-fashioned buyers’ premium of ten percent and healthy old-fashioned results. William A. Smith’s November 24 auction packed the house, which included a fragrant, old-fashioned Christmas tree with nary an artificial twig in sight. Bidders settled themselves comfortably in the auction house’s standard armchairs.
Fresh, clean New Hampshire material met with a warm reception from collectors and dealers present. A fine two-part curly maple New England Queen Anne highboy, circa 1760, with good old crusty varnish was exceptional. From the estate of Walpole, N.H., collector and dealer Carol B. Brown, it sold for $22,000. A Queen Anne curly maple two-part highboy carved with a two-part fan distinctive of the Dunlap family dated from about 1780 and went to a phone bidder for $12,100. An Eighteenth Century Queen Anne maple highboy with fan carving and original brasses sold in the gallery for $7,975. As he offered it, auctioneer Bill Smith suggested that it may have been made in Massachusetts.
Another Eighteenth Century piece of interest was a Hepplewhite serpentine front sideboard from about 1790 with especially fine construction detail that brought $4,400.
For a string of lots, $8,525 was the magic number. An early pine sawbuck table with a single board top came from the Brown estate and drove three phones and several bidders in the gallery to push it to that amount. A Boston Federal inlaid mahogany stand with a concave front and well-reeded legs from about 1820 also sold for $8,525.
A mid-Nineteenth Century English metamorphic wing chair made by Ward of London and upholstered in green tufted leather had J. Crisp & Sons provenance and sold for $8,525. An English regency rent or drum table with a tooled leather top with a bookbinding pedestal on an octagonal base made between 1800 and 1820 brought $8,525.
An early Nineteenth Century convex mirror with an ebonized eagle crest with draping tassel and balls brought $3,200. A large (53 inches) New York Federal carved and gilt looking glass with acorn finials realized $2,090, while a classical Greek Revival carved and gilt over mantel mirror went for $1,870, and a closely matching classical Greek Revival tabernacle mirror was $825.
Among some highly desirable objects from the 1793 Tracey farm in nearby Cornish, one of the oldest in New Hampshire, a dandy Federal walnut coat tree sold for $770.
A Federal cherry two-part setback corner cupboard, circa 1820, with two glazed doors on the top and a door and a drawer in the base sold for $1,980, while a Federal cherry two-part corner cupboard, also circa 1820, sold for $1,925.
Eliciting $1,540 was a North Shore Massachusetts Federal mahogany serpentine front card table inlaid with flame birch panels, circa 1810, and a Queen Anne tap table with a stretcher base on button feet drew $1,375. A late Nineteenth Century Chippendale-style wingback chair with shell carved knees and claw and ball feet was an impressive $2,640.
Bidders found much to admire in the group of bowfront chests offered. A Federal New Hampshire bowfront chest carved and inlaid with vibrant maple panels, circa 1810‱820, sold for $3,300. It may have been a Portsmouth piece. A Federal cherry bowfront chest from about 1790 retained the original George Washington brasses and sold for $2,750. It came from a Hanover estate. A Chippendale mahogany bowfront chest with inlay on ogee bracket feet brought $1,100. A Hepplewhite mahogany example with inlay on high French feet sold for $1,320.
New Hampshire paintings also found favor. A group of New England pictures came from the Cornish, N.H., collection of a Dartmouth professor who has relocated to a retirement community. That collector has a very good eye and bought many works at Vose Galleries in Boston.
The star was “Crawford Notch,” an oil on canvas by Massachusetts artist Alvan Fisher, who painted often in the White Mountains, that sold for $30,025. It retained a label from Vose. The oil on canvas “Old Man of the Mountains,” a view of the vanished landmark by Boston artist Samuel Lancaster Gerry who also painted frequently in New Hampshire, was signed S.L. Gerry and sold for $26,400. Set in a deep gilt frame, it came from the same collection.
An oil on artist board winter landscape by George Gardner Symons came from Cornish and sold for $5,225, and an 1883 oil on canvas view of Mount Washington by Samuel W. Griggs was $2,530. Another gem was “Last Glow of Sunset by Monadnock artist William Phelps Preston that realized $2,640.
Edmund Darch Lewis’ 1880 oil on canvas “Waterwheel” brought $2,475.
A Nineteenth Century American School oil on canvas landscape with figures, set in a period walnut frame and painted between 1860 and 1870, came from a Woodstock, Vt., house and sold for $3,960.
A gouache view by Arch McDonnell of the railroad station in Canaan, N.H., in the snow with a locomotive sold for $770. McDonnell, of Concord, N.H., painted any number of New Hampshire train stations.
Three paintings by Vermont artist and state senator Horace Brown, who studied with and was a close friend of Willard Leroy Metcalf, came from Carol Brown’s (no relation) estate. “The Saw Mill” brought $1,650, and a spring landscape with a stream, which bore an estate stamp, sold for $1,430, while an oil on board of red barns and a house drew $1,100. Brown collected and traded in sporting art, and a profile portrait of the horse Tim Waiffler by Anglo Irish artist and equestrian Samuel Spode drew $1,980.
A watercolor by John McLaughry for the 1946 Dartmouth Harvard football game, only the second to be played at Hanover, sold for $550 to a Hanover collector who played for Dartmouth. The artist himself played for Brown.
LeRoy Neiman’s oil on Masonite “In the Paddock,” a scene of two jockeys aboard their mounts led by stable hands, sold for $20,090 while his oil on canvas “Matador” sold for $16,500. Both paintings came from the estate of Mitchell Harris and retained labels from the Frank J. Oehlschlaeger Galleries in Chicago and Sarasota, Fla.
A late Nineteenth Century Chinese silk kimono went for $7,480, and an 1800 US Liberty gold coin realized $6,600, while a schoolgirl sampler in a period frame “Hannah Flanders born January 1790” drew $3,740.
A handsomely paint-decorated Vermont blanket box made in the first half of the Nineteenth Century sold for $1,760.
A Federal New Hampshire tall clock with an interesting cutout arch sold for $4,950. A New Hampshire Federal maple tall clock signed by Timothy Chandler of Concord had been refinished and brought $1,100, and an E. Howard & Co., rosewood banjo clock in grain paint was also $1,100.
The star of a selection of silver was an 18-inch pair of early Continental silver candelabra that fetched $8,140. A set of ten S. Kirk and Son sterling goblets from a local home brought $4,290, and a sterling pitcher by New York maker Ball, Black & Co., realized $2,970. An 83-piece Gorham sterling flatware service in the English Gadroon pattern elicited $2,890, and a 58-piece Tiffany sterling flatware service from an area home went for $2,530.
A mahogany tea caddy with inlay sold for $1,210, and an English regency example in tortoiseshell and ivory with silver mounts brought $770.
A Steinway O model baby grand piano made between 1920 and 1930 fetched $6,050.
A diorama of a three-masted ship attracted $1,705, and a Herschell-Spillman carousel horse, a jumper, sold for $1,650. The horse was accompanied by complete documentation of its purchase and restoration.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, 603-675-2549 or www.wsmithauction.com .
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