Published: September 11, 2007
More than 900 lots of merchandise ranging from a $150,000-plus painting to $100 daguerreotypes crossed the auction block during a highly successful, three-day sale at John McInnis Auctioneers July 26′8. American and Continental furniture from a variety of periods was offered, along with an extensive assortment of decorative accessories ranging from Arts and Crafts pottery to weathervanes. A single-owner collection of Royal Worcester made up the final day of the auction, with strong prices posted there as well.
The auction started off with a bang on Thursday evening with the first of the 250-plus lots of artwork offered setting a high-water mark as it became the top lot of the entire three-day session. The Mariano Barbason oil on canvas depicting performers in a European town square had been recently discovered by the auctioneer in a home in southern Maine. Auctioneer John McInnis commented that the family had been in the hotel business in the Midwest and that it was absolutely fresh to the marketplace.
McInnis reported action on the lot as soon as the first advertisement broke and the excitement built up right until sale time. As the auctioneer prepared to get the sale underway, he was momentarily slowed as staff attempted to get the dozen phone bidders in order. With everyone finally set up, McInnis looked to the crowd and asked for a $20,000 bid and a hand in the crowd shot up immediately. A phone bidder was quick to hit the lot at $30,000, another hit it at $40,000 and it bounced back and forth between the two and the bidder in the room to the $100,000 mark. A new phone bidder took over the action at $110,000 and pushed the bid to a selling price of $184,000, going to the buyer in the room.
With the room still abuzz, McInnis offered the next lot, a Theodore Valemkamph landscape at sunset that hammered down reasonably at $690.
A Eustace Ziegler oil on canvas was hotly competed for, with it selling at more than twice the presale estimates at $12,075, an Adrianus Everson village scene did well at $12,650, and a Jan Mari Henri Ten Kate oil depicting children was hammered down at $12,075.
Two paintings by Anthony Thieme were sold, with a Rockport harbor scene selling at $12,650, while a Dutch fishing scene brought $7,475.
More than 600 lots of “Eighteenth, Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Formal American, Custom, Country, Continental and Period Furnishings” opened for bidding at 11 am on Friday. With a full house in attendance, McInnis once again opened the sale with a zinger †a full-bodied leaping stag weathervane. Believed to have been made by the Boston firm Harris and Company, the vane measured 32 inches long and was in the form of a stag leaping over foliage. Bidding on this lot was active, with numerous people getting in on the action as it progressed to a selling price of $26,450.
A horse and sulky vane was also sold, with the lot bringing $5,462.
While not offered along with the paintings sold the previous evening, an unsigned portrait of The Charlotte Webb under full sail attracted a great deal of interest. Filthy, stained and with a couple tears, punctures and spots of paint loss, McInnis reported that the telephone started ringing off the hook once the ads appeared. The classic depiction of the vessel with taut full sails had some in the gallery thinking it may have been a Buttersworth, yet others dismissed the notion. Regardless, a frenzy erupted as the lot was offered, with it opening for bidding at $2,500 and selling moments later for $34,500.
An early silk needlework with gilt and black painted eglomise mat, titled “Hope,” depicted a lady standing by the shore. Estimated at $1/2 ,000, this lot had also received a great deal of presale attention. Opening at $500, the lot was the subject of fierce bidding, with it selling for $13,800.
Another surprise from the auction came as a George IV silver epergne by William Hultan and Sons was offered. With eight scrolled arms supporting hanging sterling baskets or bowls, the lot soared past the $3/5,000 presale estimates, bringing $21,850.
A selection of shorebirds that had come directly from a home did well despite condition problems on some of the lots. Leading the group was a pair of working shorebirds that sold for $4,600, a single yellowlegs shorebird did well at $3,335, another brought $2,645, and a plover realized $1,955.
Period American furniture was highlighted by a rare Eighteenth Century Queen Anne wingchair with cabriole legs terminating in pad feet and a recessed stretcher base. The lot sold squarely between estimates, bringing $23,000.
An Eighteenth Century Chippendale graduated six-drawer tall chest did well as it sold at $4,600, a nice Queen Anne transitional side chair realized $5,175, and a diminutive Massachusetts Chippendale birch four-drawer chest was hammered down at $5,040.
While hefty prices were paid throughout the afternoon, several furniture lots slipped through the cracks, selling to astute buyers. Such was the case with a Queen Anne highboy that went out at $2,300, a pair of New England Chippendale side chairs at $920, a Colonial India campaign secretary desk $1,150 and a Massachusetts Chippendale four-drawer chest that brought only $3,220.
Two wool and silk embroidered Besarabinn textile panels were termed by the auctioneer to possess “exceptional Creole work quality and design.” Bidding on the lot surprised many, with the lot selling at more than double the presale estimates at $14,950. An early Twentieth Century Persian Serapi carpet measuring 11.7 by 9.7 feet sold for $11, 500.
Arts and Crafts pottery included a vase decorated by Robert Crook with moose and tree decoration that sold for $2,070, and a large Rookwood tile decorated with a landscape that realized $1,840.
Porcelains did well with a pair of Eighteenth Century Chinese Export baluster form covered vases selling at more than six times the estimates at $14,950.
Other lots that brought strong prices included a daguerreotype that was cataloged merely as an image “of an older woman, dated 1815.” Offered within ten lots prior to the end of the auction, the lot kept several in the gallery glued to their seats. Estimated at $300/500, the image was discovered to be Lucretia Mott of Philadelphia, recognized as one of the first suffragettes. Bidding on the lot took off, with telephone bidders pushing the lot to a selling price of $21,850.
Another grand slam was hit when an early Twentieth Century lithographed advertisement for Peach Baseball Gloves crossed the block. Estimated at $400/600, this lot was also actively bid, selling at $21,275. A collection of 118 baseball cards also did well, realizing $4,887.
The Saturday session of the sale featured a massive single-owner collection of Royal Worcester and related porcelains. The varied assortment attracted a great deal of attention, with one buyer flying in from England and attempting to take some of the prized lots back to the land where they originated.
Highlights included an important Royal Worcester life-size figure of a Skye terrier in gray and brown glaze with jeweled cabochon eyes. Each paw pad was impressed with crowned circle mark and the figure was also impressed with the registry mark. Measuring 15 inches in height and 19 inches long, the circa 1874 figure sold for $6,325.
A Royal Worcester vase and cover decorated by John Stinton was another of the lots to do well. With a scene depicting highland cattle in landscape, the scrolled handled vase with gilt highlights was marked with a printed shield and was produced by Granger and Company, circa 1889‱902. Measuring 11½ inches high, the vase made $6,210.
Also sold was an exceptional set of 12 Royal Worcester porcelain plates that realized $7,360.
Prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium charged. For information, contact John McInnis Auctioneers, 978-388-0400, or www.mcinnisauctions.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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