Published: April 7, 2020
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – First came the Brunk Auctions catalogs for the March 27-28 Emporium and Premier Auctions. Then came the county order to “Stay at Home; Stay Safe,” so the doors to the gallery were closed to the public. That did not stand in the way of what would be considered a resoundingly successful auction, even in the best of times. Private video conference previews were held, countless additional high-resolution photos were emailed, and then the Brunk Auctions staff was sent home with laptops and lists of clients. Phone bidders were represented by staff who all called into a group meeting. Three digital platforms saw record use. AND the Wi-Fi held up.
“Lead up to an auction is always busy and tense but this brings it to a new level,” said Andrew Brunk, president of Brunk Auctions. “In the end, it was a tremendously successful auction with a clutch group of serious collectors emerging to compete for some rare items.”
With a record number of collectors on the phones (707 phone bids) and live-streaming the auction online, Brunk Auctions surpassed its estimates ($858,650/$1,351,200), posting a final sale total of $1,476,998 with 91 percent of lots selling. While buyers from the United States largely drove the bidding, collectors registered bids from1 3 countries and four continents.
American furniture and decorative arts claimed the best results in the weekend sale and posted a 96 percent sell-through rate. A Lemuel Curtis Federal girandole clock captured the top lot of the sale, tripling its estimate and finishing at a final total of $51,660. An American Chippendale desk and bookcase drew significant attention from buyers across the United States with bidding finishing at a final total of $46,740. Other American furniture highlights included a Southern Queen Anne dressing table which achieved $36,900, and a North Carolina Federal miniature chest that closed at $36,900.
Fine art delivered strong returns with notable results that included Hermann Herzog’s “Afternoon in the Everglades,” which quadrupled its estimate, selling for a final total of $41,820. William Michael Harnett’s “Still Life with Jug, Bread, and Newspaper,” which achieved $39,360; and two Maud Gatewood works, “Straw Field Spring” and “Sandbars,” which realized final totals of $36,900 each. Other standouts included Roelof Koets the Elder’s “A Breakfast Still Life,” which sold for a final total of $18,450; and T. Worthington Whittredge’s “Near Bernardsville, New Jersey,” which finished at a final total of $15,990.
The fine silver department posted a 100 percent sell-through rate, while the jewelry department demonstrated solid returns with a 97 percent sell-through rate.
Brunk Auctions is still accepting consignments for upcoming sales. Pickups and delivery will be scheduled as soon as safety and best practices deem it a good idea. Because of the uncertainty of both state restrictions and supply chain variables, the May 16 Premier Auction that was scheduled for Richmond has been relocated to Asheville. The digital catalog is scheduled to go live by mid-April; will resume our print catalog as soon as possible.
All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
For information, 828-254-6846 or www.brunkauctions.com.
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