Review by Z.G. Burnett, Photos Courtesy Boyd Auctions
ELIOT, MAINE — Boyd Auctions conducted its Winter Estates Auction on January 7, offering 220 lots from several estates from Portsmouth, N.H., Kittery and York, Maine. The catalog weighed heavily with lots of precious metals in many forms, mostly jewelry, coins and flatware. Other categories included fine art and antique photography, furniture and textiles, and other assorted ephemera, much of which sold over their estimates. The auction was conducted online through LiveAuctioneers, resulting in only three passed lots.
Late Twentieth Century gold jewelry has been popular at auction recently and this auction was no exception, led by a 14K yellow gold necklace that was not quite a snake or herringbone chain, but rather a thick collar of straight, interconnected pieces that weighed 83 grams. With no other attribution besides an Italian mark on the clasp, the necklace sold for $4,560. Another 14K gold necklace and bracelet set of Italian make, weighing 51½ grams, also did well at $1,740.
Earrings were a popular jewelry subcategory, the highest price of which was achieved by a pair of Henry Dunay clip-ons. Made from 18K gold, the earrings were hammered into wavy, wing-like shapes. Weighing 34 grams on the earlobes, the earrings flew to $1,980. A group lot of four pairs of 18K gold earrings, 44 grams altogether, jumped to $1,830 in a single bid from its $1,5/1,700 estimate. Group lots of like precious metal jewelry were popular in the auction, with five in the upper ranks of the auction.
Only one ring rose to the top of the catalog in a single lot: a man’s 18K yellow gold natural 12-carat star sapphire cabochon ring that achieved $1,560. The ring was unmarked but tested to 18K gold. Star sapphires are a variety of the precious stone that exhibit a naturally occurring, unique reflection that appears like a star within the rock. Another, smaller ring with a Linde sapphire sold for $204 ($300/350) despite being tested as 14K, as these stars are made by heat treating the synthetic stone to create the image.
Second in the sale was a group lot of 12 rolls containing silver Washington quarters that wrapped up $2,370. Washington quarters were first manufactured in 1932, and then from 1934 to the present. Today they are cast with cupronickel clad to copper but before 1965, the quarters were 90 percent silver and ten percent copper. Silver versions were also made specifically for collectors beginning in 1976. The quarters in this lot were combined into $10 rolls, some from Tomahawk, Wis., and marked 1964, and far exceeded this initial value.
Sterling silver was also prominent in the auction, especially from Towle; two sets from this maker surpassed other flatware lots from Wallace, Tiffany & Co and Gorham. The top Towle lot was a service for 12 in the Silver Spray pattern, 87 total pieces, that bid to $1,950. The second Towle set showed the Silver Flute pattern in 52 pieces, which sold for $1,170 ($1/1,200). Coincidentally, a sterling silver flute from John Lehner of Boston and Sydney, Australia, also sold with its original case and bag for $1,170 ($500/800).
In addition to table settings, another top lot was a midcentury rosewood dining table with eight chairs made by Norwegian firm Bruksbo Design for Mellemstrands. Bruksbo has been creating furniture since 1941, and this collaborative set with Mellemstrands dates to around 1960. The set also achieved its winning price of $1,950 in a single bid.
Prices quoted with buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, 207-439-6641 or www.mainestateappraisal.com.