Published: August 24, 2010
“The change has happened; we are working with a new price structure and, in many case, new customers,” Ron Bourgeault, president and chief auctioneer of Northeast Auctions, said after his three-day annual summer Americana auction at the start of Antiques Week in New Hampshire.
The sale began on Friday, August 6, with a various owners sale, including property from the collection of Betty Willis Barenholtz, followed on Saturday by a one-owner sale, the collection of M. Austin and Jill R. Fine. Saturday continued with more property from various owners, including important American furniture from David B. Gendron and pieces from Colonial Williamsburg. The Sunday session was listed as the sale from “Three Generations of Pennsylvania Antiquarians: The Foster-Lemmens Collection,” 537 lots in a separate catalog.
“The sale came in at just about what we predicted, a total of $4,177,695 for the three days, including the buyer’s premium,” Ron said. The gallery charges a premium of 18 percent up to and including $200,000, and 10 percent for the remaining balance. Broken down, the Foster-Lemmens Collection brought in $855,000, the various owners portion, $1,901,652, and the Fine Collection, $1,421,000.
Regarding the Fine sale, Ron said, “The number came in right where we expected, even with some of the top lots passed, and we were all pleased with the results.”
The auction room at the Center of New Hampshire Radisson was filled with both collectors and dealers who came to bid for the final portion of the Fine Collection, 242 lots that represented more than a quarter of a century of collecting. “It is now our turn to present the Austin and Jill Fine Collection and invite you to share in their passion” the Fine girls, Kathy and Barbara, wrote in the catalog.
One of Austin’s passions was painted tole and the sale got off to a fine start with about two dozen pieces. Red was his favorite color and the first lot, a Connecticut red painted trunk with a pair of yellow and green songbirds under a floral arch, 6½ inches high, went over the high estimate of $10,000, selling for $12,390. Lot 4, pictured in Antiques and The Arts Weekly last week, was the top tole lot, a red painted tinware coffeepot with straight spout and bold floral decoration, attributed to the Harvey Filley Tinshop, Philadelphia, 8¾ inches high, estimated at $18,000, that brought $49,560. Two red painted tinware half-sheet waiters of diminutive size, attributed to the Oliver Filley Shop, Bloomfield, Conn., were estimated at a high of $8,000, and sold for $14,160. “Divided by two is not bad for the lot,” Ron commented.
Most of the important pieces of chalk in the Fine Collection sold at the first auction at Sotheby’s following Austin’s death, but a few pieces remained, including a pair of large polychrome painted roosters, 10 inches high, that sold for the high estimate at $7,965, and the second of two pearlware lanterns, Staffordshire, circa 1810‱820, 8½ inches high, painted overall with flowering leafy vines within a vine border, brought $10,620, well over the high estimate of $2,400.
Furniture included a New England William and Mary turned walnut gate leg dining table, top measuring 20 by 56 inches closed, single drawer, bulbous feet, estimated at a high of $10,000, that sold for $14,160, and a pair of New England brace back Windsor side chairs in early black paint, probably Rhode Island, that went just over the high estimate, selling for $8,240. A Connecticut William and Mary red painted and floral decorated blanket chest, Saybrook-Guilford area, carried an estimate of $25/50,000, but sold for $17,700.
An early American green painted milliner’s hat rack with acorn finial and stepped base, 77 inches tall, together with a collection of 12 handled baskets, went for $7,965, just under the high estimate, and a fine Vermont Federal yellow painted and fancy decorated two-drawer blanket chest, 44 inches high with blue and red graining on an ochre ground, sold for $38,500, $10,000 over the high estimate.
A rare Leeds pearlware “Keep Me Swimming” footed bowl, circa 1790‱800, 10 inches in diameter with fish and inscription on the bottom, went over the high estimate of $2,500, bringing $6,372.
Two watercolor, pencil and ink on paper drawings by Joseph H. (left-handed) Davis were in the sale. The first, a portrait of Sewell and Sally Marden of Deerfield, N.H., 1837, estimated at $40/60,000, was passed, and the following lot, portrait of Eunice E.C. Marden and Lurana Marden, 1837, estimated at $10/20,000, sold with one bid for $10,620.
The portrait of Nathaniel Lawson as a young man in a green sprigged waistcoat and ruffled shirt, oil on canvas measuring 30¼ by 25 inches, sold over the $12,000 estimate at $16,520. The portrait was one of a number of the lots with a Mary Allis provenance. A carved and painted pine figure of a standing Miss Liberty, with flagpole, 73/8 inches high, went for $3,540 against a high estimate of $1,000, and a grained and floral decorated feather bed smoother, 21 inches long, brought $2,950 against a high estimate of $900.
Three rugs were in the sale, including a silk Tabriz carpet, Northwest Persia, circa 1880, 17 feet 5 inches by 11 feet 5 inches, with a high estimate of $5,000, selling for $12,980.
Eight lots were passed, including the Massachusetts William and Mary painted and decorated chest of drawers, with a high estimate of $250,000, and the New England paint decorated fireboard with faux fireplace scene, possibly Rufus Porter, estimated at $120/180,000.
“We are going to have the paint tested on a couple of the passed lots,” Ron said, “so for the time being they are not on the market.”
Reviews of the other sessions of the Summer Americana Auction will be in forthcoming issues of Antiques And The Arts Weekly.
For information on Northeast Auctions, 603-433-8400 or www.northeastauctions.com .
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