Published: June 28, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Bunch Auctions
CHADDS FORD, PENN. – In its June 14 Fine & Decorative Arts Quarterly auction, William Bunch Auctions offered nearly 600 lots of fine and decorative arts, with a few other things thrown in for good measure. Of the 571 lots on offer, about 94 percent crossed the block successfully and the house achieved a total of approximately $280,000.
“I like the way the sale went,” Bill Bunch said when we caught him on the phone after the sale. “I think it’s reflective of the market in general: it’s picking up some momentum, particularly the market for the good, unusual and desirable things. It is very encouraging.”
A Philadelphia green painted low back Windsor settee, circa 1770, achieved $8,125, one of the highest prices of the day and well above its estimate of $1,5/2,000. Despite some minor repairs to the arm’s knuckle terminals and later green paint, the bench had, in its favor, provenance to West Chester, Penn., dealer H.L. Chalfant, who had sold it to the seller in 1992. It was also similar to one illustrated in one of the landmark reference books on Windsor seating furniture: Charles Santore’s The Windsor Chair in America.
Bidders were not sitting down either when a Philadelphia Chippendale-style wingback armchair, late Twentieth Century, crossed the block. Attractively upholstered in a yellow damask fabric, it went from a $400/600 estimate to $3,900 and just ahead of a similarly upholstered Philadelphia Chippendale-style camelback sofa of comparable age, that brought $3,240.
A circa 1895 brass yacht signal cannon fired bidders up and went off at $7,200. It had been made by L.T. Snow of New Haven, Conn., and was referred to on its barrel as “The Strong Cannon.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was the only cannon in the sale, but if one stretches the category to include militaria, an unusual offering that flew higher than expected was a Willis and Geiger M 422 goatskin flight jacket, circa 1938-40s, that bore the contract number S-74892 and the name “Marie C. Finney” stitched to the interior. Attractively estimated at $100/200, it finished at $2,375.
Andre Harvey’s (American, 1941-2018) bronze sculpture, titled “American Reminiscence,” from an edition of 28, was signed and dated 1976. It measured 13¾ by 27 by 12½ inches and drove out at $6,875. A much larger bronze at 63 inches tall, a later casting after Frederic Remington’s (1861-1909) “Mountain Man,” finished just shy of its low estimate, at $2,520.
Jewelry was a strong contender throughout the sale. An eight-piece lot of Kate Spade jewelry that included earrings, bracelets and a necklace closed at $6,875, while a ring in 14K gold with filigree and flower repousse was bezel set with a .92 carat diamond that sparkled to $4,687.
The fine art category was led at $4,687 by “Canada Side, 1000 Islands St Lawrence River” by Levi Wells Prentice (American, 1851-1935). Measuring just 7¾ by 12 inches, the petite oil on canvas had some edge losses but was otherwise in good condition and sailed past its $800-$1,600 estimate.
A stunning iridescent blue favrile vase with heart and vase pattern by Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1909 and marked 1483 J LC Tiffany Favrile to the underside of the pedestal foot rose to $4,375. Other strong results in the “decorative arts” category were a 146-piece International Sterling silver flatware set at $3,600, and an 80-piece group of Tiffany & Co sterling silver flatware in the San Lorenzo pattern, which sold within estimate at $3,240.
William Bunch Auctions will sell music instruments on July 11; its next quarterly auction will take place in September.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.bunchauctions.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-558-1800.
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