Published: June 17, 2015
An Edwardian period, circa 1905, Cartier platinum diamond and sapphire bow brooch took $18,880 from the phone.
REVIEW AND ONSITE PHOTOS BY W.A. DEMERS
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS COURTESY OF STANTON AUCTIONS
HAMPDEN, MASS. — In the day, the parking lot off East Longmeadow Road would be already nearly full at 8:30 am on auction day at Stanton Auctions and there would be a staffer directing traffic trying to park along the roadside. The auction gallery would be filled, with folks standing four or five rows deep behind the theater-style seats and in front of the three overhead loading doors as the first gavel came down. On June 6, however, Peter Stanton Imler, auctioneer and owner, surveyed the 80 or so people seated and said, “Another ‘intimate’ auction…each one of you, please bring three friends the next time.” In the end, however, Imler noted that there was “a really good mix of action in the room, the phone and Internet.” The online contingent numbered between 400 and 500 and four phone lines were active during the 6½-hour event.
The in-house crowd may have been light but the 470 lots on offer — a bit larger than the firm’s normal sales — were in Imler’s word, “our most diversified auction ever.” Items from the Pilgrim Century through the Art Deco period were on offer — actually, the timeline stretched back to prehistoric days, thanks to a mounted display of 12–15,000-year-old Native American carved stone implements. Private collections from all six New England states, plus New York, New Jersey, Virginia and the Midwest had been gathered by Imler and his team, and some great Americana had been gleaned from two Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century estates, one in Barkhamsted, Conn., and another in a East Longmeadow home just a couple of miles away from Stanton’s gallery.
Jewelry, no surprise, was a strong performer and became somewhat of a running joke as Imler said, “No more furniture. If I can hold it in my hand, that’s it.” An Edwardian period, circa 1905, Cartier platinum diamond and sapphire bow brooch took $18,880 from the phone. The piece unscrews to form the centerpiece of a “collier de chien,” and the design inspired Cartier to later make a stomacher.
The Internet came alive for another diminutive jewelry lot — an Art Deco, circa 1930, 18K jadeite, ruby and natural pearl cactus pin, signed Nardi (Venezia), which bested its $2,5/3,500 estimate to realize $7,475 from an online bidder. Also going to an online buyer was a “fabulous ‘50s” piece in the form of an 18K gold Persian turquoise and diamond necklace with matching earrings, containing roughly 80 carats of Persian turquoise and more than 25 carats of diamonds, finishing at $22,800 and becoming the top lot of the day.
The jewelry on offer stemmed from the families of two octogenarian sisters, who inherited their mother’s collection and then went on to accumulate collections of their own, deciding to redistribute their “jewels” after the recent passing of one and the failing health of the other, according to the auction house.
And while period furniture continued its trend of soft demand — with a few excellent examples passed — a rare pair of Irish George II elaborately carved Cuban mahogany armchairs, circa 1735–55, took a solid $15,000 from the phone. Terming the pair “Gainsborough,” Imler said he had had several phone calls from people with strong Irish brogue inquiring about them leading up to the sale. The chairs, featuring burgundy leather upholstery with brass studs and powerful lion-carved knees ending in ball and claw feet, were, in Imler’s words “the most significant Eighteenth Century Irish furniture items we have sold.”
Stanton’s over the years has sold its fair share of Tiffany glass; a Midwestern private collection in this auction, however, stood head and shoulders over past consignments, because of the monumental size of several pieces. Four of the signed Tiffany pieces stood 20 inches or taller, including a peacock decorated vase, a 20-inch-tall jack-in-the-pulpit and a 27-inch-tall pastel trumpet vase, as well as a large 15-inch-diameter bowl in deep blue iridescence with green lily pad and vine decoration.
Of course, size is not what drives this collecting category, as Imler pointed out. “I’ve had a 5¼-inch vase bring more than $25,000.” The peacock feather decorated vase might have brought $50,000, but the auction house was up front in noting an interior crack not visible from the outside and which could not really be felt. The less-than-perfect piece went to a phone bidder for $7,080. A phone bidder also snagged the monumental Tiffany bowl for $9,775, while a pair of signed 7¼-inch gold iridescent Wedding Ring candlesticks left at $2,185.
Fine art on offer ranged from the Seventeenth Century through the Modernist period. Star lots in this category included two mixed media paintings by Egon Schiele (1890–1918), one a nude female with red hair and green stockings that fetched $7,670 and the other a nude depicted on hands and knees, dated 1917, bringing $5,310. A Gustav Klimt (1862–1918) colored pencil drawing of a seated woman in a flowing dress was bid to $5,015 on the phone, and a Brian Coole oil on panel, “American Traders at the Hongs of Canton,” 17 by 30 inches, commanded $5,463.
Internet and phone bidding was robust for this 8¾-by-10¾-inch framed and matted Walt Disney cel of the iconic Mickey Mouse, and it more than doubled its high estimate at $3,245.
“You want to know what slows auctions down? observed Imler to the audience as online and phone participants vied for a seeming eternity over a framed and matted Disney cel depicting Mickey Mouse. “Bidding,” he answered. The 8¾-by-10¾-inch image of Disney’s iconic character more than doubled its high estimate, settling at $3,245 on a phone bid.
There were many other categories represented in this well-mixed sale, including Asian antiques, bronze and marble sculpture, antique toys, Native American material, Shaker items, Oriental rugs and interesting textiles. Nautical antiques specialist Justin Cobb, whose business in Amherst, Mass., is called Captain’s Quarters, was spied leaving the gallery with a couple of unusual Northwest Coast Native American button blankets he had successfully bid on — textiles whose creators use buttons and appliqués in order to illustrate seal-hunting scenes and the like. Cobb is diversifying his usual displays of marine art, scrimshaw and nautical antiques at shows these days with the addition of Northwest Native American art.
A collection of musical instruments was offered — including a couple of “Stradivarius” violin copies, antique cellos and an antique upright bass fiddle standing 75 inches tall. Yet the highlight was a signed W.E. Hill & Sons (England) violin bow that elicited a $2,500 phone bid.
Garden antiques included a wonderful pair of early Nineteenth Century marble carved lions that when pulled out of the ground at the Barkhamsted estate “still had the moss clinging to them,” said Imler. They sold at $4,015,
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
Stanton’s is preparing for its next sale in late July, date to be announced, featuring another fresh local estate that yielded about four box truck loads of furniture, fine art and decorative arts. “This house was end-to-end filled with antiques,” said Imler. “We had to start from the middle of each room in order to get to things.” For more information, www.stantonauctions.com or 413-566-3161.
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