Published: July 22, 2003
The parking lot at Merrill’s Auction Gallery was nearly full at 8 am, the starting time for the preview for the Americana sale on May 31. The brightly lit gallery was full of Americana dealers and collectors, on hand to see and perhaps buy the rare and important American antiques that auctioneer Duane Merrill had assembled. The reason for all this excrdf_Descriptionent was that Merrill was offering material from the Holly Webb Froud estate in Shelburne, Vt. Webb Froud was the granddaughter of Electra Havermeyer Webb, the founder of Shelburne Museum. As expected, this estate had lots of period Vermont furniture, both formal and country.
The auction also featured folk art, and some significant military rdf_Descriptions, some of which had been consigned from an old Burlington, Vt., dealer’s estate, and from other local estates and homes.
For the lover of clean American period furniture and accessories, there was much from which to pick. The top lot of the sale, offered midway through the auction, was a Hepplewhite mahogany bow front sideboard, a rare example from Massachusetts, with molded top and string inlay, banded drawers and accelerated tapered legs. Hotly contested, it ultimately sold to a buyer on the phone for $27,500. Early in the sale, antiques dealers Mike and Lucinda Seward purchased an 1820 sampler, a family record from Grand Isle, Vt., for $1,705. The Sewards also went home with a 30-inch Harris horse weathervane in great original surface for a solid $5,500. A very folky and crisply painted Vermont painted child’s Windsor chair brought $715.
Antiques dealer Richard Kenney purchased a stylish northern Vermont Hepplewhite cherry one-drawer inlaid tapered leg stand, which brought $1,100. A Nineteenth Century portrait of a young woman, diminutive oil on board, a portrait of Sophie Hodgson Haymaker sold, in one left bid for $4,400.
A striking Vermont Sheraton cherry and bird’s-eye maple four-drawer chest, which, according to the auctioneer, had come out of the bedroom in the Webb Farm, opened at $500 and sold to a buyer at the sale for $1,760. A very folky painted dome-top trunk with early decorative painting sold for $1,265.
Early in the sale, a very desirable L & JG Stickley #729 cabinet was offered for sale. This stylish glass door cabinet had impressive large hinges and was the object of much attention. It opened for bidding at $5,000 and went off the auction block for $15,400.
A significant Civil War rdf_Description materialized at this auction. A painted and decorated drum carried by Vermont soldier Charlie Swift of Starksboro, Vt., right out of the house complete with his drum sticks, brought $6,380.
A collector couple from Vermont went home with the folky painted secretary, made in Franklin, Vt., circa 1886. When the couple, Polly and Dick Gadbois, purchased the piece, Merrill said, “It’s going home.” After much competitive bidding from the floor, the couple paid $7,700 for the piece.
Several pieces of art pottery were offered at the sale, among them a 12-inch Rookwood vase by Liz Lincoln, 1924, in beautiful colors, that sold for $1,210 to a buyer in the room. A bronze Art Nouveau statue, measuring 37 inches high, depicting a female figure, signed “Pollety 7/500,” went off the block for $2,475. An Arts and Crafts hammered and riveted copper lamp sold for $1,100.
Several paintings that surfaced at the auction, including an oil on board, a depiction of a house attributed to L. Lucioni, which sold to a customer on the floor for $2,310. Another Lucioni offered was a small watercolor of a ram’s head on a wall, which brought $2,200. An oil on canvas, circa 1860, a view of Jericho Village, measuring 30 by 18 inches, opened at $1,000 and sold to a left bid for $3,300.
Among the pristine American country pieces was an elegant Eighteenth Century tall chest of drawers, in original old red and brown paint. With six drawers and missing one foot, it sold for $4,400.
Antiques dealer Kenney purchased the circa 1790 42-inch North Shore Massachusetts Chippendale mirror with phoenix. The mirror opened at $500 and sold to Kenney for $2,475. Antiques dealer Jeffrey Kohn of With All Due Ceremony was present for the sale. Kohn purchased a 37-inch star chintzed and silk American flag, dating from 1867-1876, for $825. A Charles Heyde painting of the Winooski covered bridge brought $2,750.
Merrill stated that the Americana auction had been “a very strong sale.” Indeed it was, with the very large auction hall packed with buyers. Prices were very healthy throughout, and the crowd remained for most of the sale.
Prices include a ten percent buyer’s premium.
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