Published: April 13, 2004
An imposing Early Nineteenth Century, three-section George III inlaid mahogany bookcase-breakfront secretaire with glass doors and octagonal bar design attracted substantial interest from local and overseas buyers at Joseph Kabe’s auction on March 13.
Opening at $7,000, the room burst into spirited bidding among floor and phone bidders, including callers from Pennsylvania and England, pushing the price up, in $500 increments, to $20,700, ultimately hammered down by the phone dealer from England. “A handsome piece and hard to come by,” said Joe Kabe, owner and auctioneer.
Equally distinctive was an Eighteenth Century English Chippendale mahogany secretary-desk with mirrored doors and candle slides above the desk. “A nice feature for providing light; they did that in the Eighteenth Century,” said Kabe. A dealer from Woodbury snatched up the prize at $3,450, doubling its opening bid.
Also noteworthy were a mid-Nineteenth Century American Empire solid mahogany, four-poster plantation bed with canopy and headboard, caught in a bidding war between two phone buyers, with the price escalating to $3,162, an antiques shop in North Haven, Conn., the successful bidder; an Eighteenth Century New London, Conn., Chippendale four-drawer cherry chest, with ogee feet and quarter columns, fetching $2,702 from an absentee antiques shop in New Milford, Conn.; and a late Eighteenth Century Connecticut cherry Hepplewhite chest, also aggressively bid by two buyers in the room, climbing from $500 to $2,415.
Other prime lots included an early Nineteenth Century English Regency four-drawer mahogany sofa table with satinwood inlay, garnering $2,242, a Regency three-drawer satinwood writing table, $2,127, and a mid-to-late Eighteenth Century American mahogany ball and claw footed drop leaf table, attracting lively bidding, $1,955. Additionally, two room buyers feverishly competed for a small Eighteenth Century English inlaid mahogany sideboard, driving the price up from $750 to $1,782. “An interesting size,” said dealer Tom Medlin from Ivoryton, Conn.
“The interesting thing about this family chest is that you need all five keys to open it because each lock is different; it’s amazing that all the keys have survived,” said Jeff Chinchak, gallery manager.
An assortment of chairs stimulated bidding. Top among them was a set of 12 custom carved English mahogany Chippendale-style chairs with stretchers, bringing $4,600, seven 1790-1820 English oval back rosewood chairs from the Adams period with bright red and blue geometric patterned seats, reaching $2,012 and a black painted fanback Windsor side chair, in original finish, rapidly bid by phone and room bidders, closing at $l,380. Also actively bid were a set of six painted arrow back chairs in the original color and finish, selling at $1,092, and an Eighteenth Century English Bannister arm chair, $1,092.
The auction opened to a full house, packed to the gills, with buyers eager to bid the 500-lot sale. Prior to the opening, background music, peppered with Irish tunes, delighted auctiongoers during preview. The sale included the partial contents of Westport and Wilton estates with an impressive array of high quality antiques, especially strong in Eighteenth-Nineteenth Century American and English furniture. Amidst the crowd and helping out was Professor Barbara Amodio of Fairfield University getting a taste of the auction business first hand, as research for her new mystery book series, the first of which will use the fascinating world of art and archaeology for a backdrop and be set in Fairfield County. Can’t wait!
A highlight of the sale was the Charles Lindberg collection of photos, letters, postcards, etc, with lots of autographs, owned by his chauffeur. Creating a stir, room and phone buyers jumped on the bid rapidly driving the price up from $750 to $2,645, with a phone dealer from Fairfield winning the bid. Other memorabilia included 20 lots of old postcards from a Westport home, realizing $1,495, Civil War photos of officers and ladies, $517 and a framed New York Herald news story on the assassination of President Lincoln, $287.
An exceptional rdf_Description generating interest and activity was a room-size Sarouk carpet in an overall red, blue and beige design, with border and fringe, in excellent condition, opening with two left bids and intensely sought by room, phone and absentee bidders. It sold to a phone dealer from New York for $4,025.
Still another crowd pleaser was a fine collection of redware pots, jars and bowls. The pieces sold from $50 to a high of $3,335, with the top lot a shallow bowl with “Cheap Dish” written across it. Not so cheap as it turns out! Additionally, a Roseville jardinière (planter and base) realized $1,092.
A selection of paintings and prints drew interest. Top lots included an oil by American Black artist C.E. Porter, depicting a cluster of pink and white roses in a bowl, in a giltwood frame, measuring 9 by 12 inches, selling to a local absentee dealer for $3,450.
A Federal three-part mirror, topped with an eagle and gilt-trimmed edges, sold to the same absentee antiques shop in New Milford for $1,725. A 100-piece set of International sterling flatware, Royal Danish pattern, in a case, actively bid by room and absentee bidders, reached $1,380, doubling its opening bid, and a small decorative Tiffany sterling spoon with shell-shaped bowl and monogram brought $287.
“It was a strong sale, good attendance, high quality rdf_Descriptions and a good combination of things,” said Kabe. “That’s where the market is right now. Better than average sells,” he said.
The auction attracted approximately 250 registered bidders, including about 25 phone and absentee bidders each. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
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