Published: March 29, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack,
Catalog Photos Courtesy Prozzo Auctions
RUTLAND, VT. — On March 13, Prozzo Auction Gallery sold the estate of Dr Margaret Waddington of Rutland. Her collections reflected her interests in silver, early books, porcelains, early European furniture, jewelry and more. Waddington, who had been born in Paris, died last year. A weathervane taken from her barn was expected to be the lead item in the sale and it was.
Waddington was a neurosurgeon and authored an atlas of the brain and an atlas of the bones of the skull. She also wrote books for children and books about Vermont, for which she was the photographer. She received numerous awards and taught at Dartmouth Medical School and the University of Vermont.
Auctioneer Bob Prozzo removed the cow weathervane from the barn personally just a few months ago. The barn was on Waddington’s historic Furnace Brook Farm, which, prior to her purchasing it in 1991, had been known for the Morgan horses bred there. Bob rented a cherry picker to get himself 45 feet up in the air to get it.
The cow was full bodied, anatomically correct and 42 inches long. Opinions varied as to who may have made it. Mike Seward, a Pittsford, Vt., dealer, thought that it was close to examples in the Cushing weathervane catalogs, but more likely made by another, perhaps smaller, firm. David Schorsch, Woodbury, Conn., dealer, when shown a photo, thought it might have been made by Washburn. The weathervane may have been on the barn since it was built, with local folks saying, “It’s always been there.” Waddington had insured the weathervane for $75,000 but thought it was worth more.
Bidding opened at $5,000 and quickly moved to $23,100, with it going to a phone bidder. Prozzo later told Antiques and The Arts Weekly it was sold to a collector who said he has about 50 weathervanes. Apparently there are two schools of thought on the desirability of anatomically correct weathervanes. Some collectors like them and some prefer “folkier” examples.
Waddington’s library included some Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century books bound in vellum along with a number of Nineteenth Century books that had been beautifully rebound in full, decorated leather by Sangorski and Sutcliffe of London, perhaps one of the most famous and respected bookbinders in the world. A set of 12 Fairy books by Andrew Lang, in Sangorski and Sutcliffe bindings, sold for $2,750. Books in Lang’s series were titled Blue Fairy Book, Green Fairy Book, etc. A set of eight other books by Lang, bound as above, reached $1,925.
Winston Churchill’s four-volume set, History of the English Speaking Peoples, rebound in leather, brought $577. A copy of Alice In Wonderland was sold with a copy of A Christmas Carol and the lot brought $275. Both had been rebound by Bayntun, another fine London bookbinder. Their website indicates that their simplest bindings today will cost 300 pounds, or about $420 at today’s exchange rate. Books bound by either of these binders are usually so marked.
Books in vellum included Processus Henningi.Praeclarissimi, published in 1538, a law book on civil procedure that may have been the first German text on the subject. It reached $522. There is only one copy on the Internet and it is priced at $1,372. Published in 1551, Elemen Ta Doctrine De Circules, an early book on astronomy, earned $3,850. It was an early example of a moveable book. La Geographie Francoise, published in 1659, included several engraved maps and was cataloged as missing seven maps but this may have been an error. It finished at $2,585.
Bidders in the room competed for several lots of gold and other jewelry. A 14K 18-inch triple chain necklace weighing 70.9 dwt (pennyweight) went out at $2,420, about $500 below the current market for gold. A 32½-inch 14K necklace, weighing 47.5 dwt and having 72 beads, brought $2,090. An agate cameo with 32 small rose-cut diamonds and four 4.7mm pearls, ended up at $1,430 and five 14K belt buckles realized $2,860. An 18K Tiffany Four Seasons pendant made $825 and a 14K pin by Tiffany went out for $467.
An astute dealer in the room purchased two items that will likely turn out to be significant sleepers. One was a carved horn panel with several figures, that appeared to be a religious scene. It was not cataloged as being horn and sold for $605. The purchaser said he thought it was from the Seventeenth Century. The other item bought by the dealer, which also appeared to be quite early, was a small enamel scene of Mary and the infant Jesus in a bronze frame. Also not fully identified in the catalog, it brought $550.
Waddington’s collections included silver and other items. A five-piece Tiffany silver tea set weighing 125.9 ounces fetched $2,750 from a dealer in the room. A 103-piece Tiffany dinner service in the Faneuil pattern, weighing 97 ounces, earned $2,090 and another 21 pieces of flatware in the same pattern, weighing 83 ounces, achieved $1,870. A 9½-inch Kirk sterling silver tray, weighing 7 ounces, finished at $105.
Prozzo does not use Internet bidding but phone lines were in use, absentee bids were executed and the salesroom was packed to overflowing. In the trade since he was a senior in high school when he started doing yard sales, Bob opened an antiques shop with his father in 1981 and started conducting auctions in 1991. Since the downturn in the economy, he has been handling numerous real estate foreclosure auctions.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.prozzoauctions.com or 802-773-2691.
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