Published: September 3, 2002
By Rita Easton
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Mike Smith of Cherry Tree Auctions described his August 17 on-site sale as a “good old-fashioned antiques auction.” Two tents were pitched on the shady lawn at the 294 Lake Avenue property built for the Kirkpatrick family, hosting approximately 350 attendees holding 211 bidding numbers.
While the usual ratio of retail buyers to trade at Cherry Tree is between 25 percent and 75 percent, Smith reported strong retail attendance which reversed those figures for a 75 percent retail crowd. “I find that strong retail crowds are usually the case when the auction is on premises,” said Smith. “A lot of people go to on-premises sales who wouldn’t dream of going to an auction hall, no matter what’s in the auction hall. You’ll see a bigger percentage of undisciplined money at an on-premises sale. They have money, they like it, but they really don’t know where the market thinks it should be. When two of those people lock horns, you get some very surprising results.”
Nineteenth Century antiques, collected by the Kirkpatricks in the 1950s and 1960s, along with additional Victorian pieces from an Easton (Washington County) estate, made a full day’s auction for the 460 lots.
The center mirror having been replaced, a fine gold leaf Federal overmantel mirror with eglomise panels, 5 feet,5 inches wide, sold for $4,200 to the trade. It was underbid by a New Hampshire dealer who made the trip to Saratoga especially for the lot.
An 1825 cherry two-part corner cupboard, 7 feet, 2 inches high, went to a retail buyer at $3,900. It featured pegged construction throughout, with shaped interior shelves, a mixture of 12 old and replacement panes on the single door, and a replaced top molding. A 5-foot, 4-inch solid bird’s-eye maple Victorian gentleman’s chest with six drawers, estimated at $1,800, garnered $2,800 from a retail buyer; and a two-over-five walnut lingerie chest estimated at $850 reached $1,800.
Three hitching posts fetched prices in the $1,000 range. They included a 41-inch-high cast-iron example with horse head, signed “Starbucks, N.Y.,” a somewhat shorter post with ball and ring top, which realized $700, and a granite example in the form of an obelisk, which sold for $1,000. A country server with two drawers, in original red paint, achieved $1,550; a two-drawer lift-up blanket chest/mule chest, featuring a 1950s refinishing on the pumpkin pine, dovetailed base, with good proportions, fetched $1,000; and a mirrored oak hall seat displaying good original varnish went to the trade at $1,150.
Three Victorian pull-down kerosene hanging lamps brought $425, $475, and $550 for an example with an original calla lily shade; a cobalt blue kerosene finger lamp made $225; and a Vaseline kerosene table lamp did $200. A one-drawer stand with a tiger maple drawer front, highly refinished, was purchased at $500; and an 1810 cherry four-drawer chest, highly refinished, having no base whatever, surprisingly sold at $800 to a retail buyer.
“Wicker brought money that it was bringing 10 or 15 years ago,” Smith noted. “I am under the opinion that Bar Harbor 1920s (wicker) is a dead issue, and proved it to myself with some nice wicker I sold in my auction hall one March, but here on the premises they were bringing money.” Accordingly, a pair of Bar Harbor wicker 1920s armchairs painted white brought $600; a Bar Harbor wicker lamp table sold at $305; while other wicker brought uniform prices comparable to Smith’s experience of 10 and 15 years ago. “It was hot,” he said.
A Swiss six-tune music box needing work brought $500; a Caucasian scatter rug measuring 48-inches square did $650; a drop-leaf pine table in old red paint sold for $400; a Nineteenth Century child’s rocking horse fetched $600 from a retail bidder; two electrified “Gone With the Wind” lamps went out at $400 and $275; and a refinished Pembroke table with a, shaped tiger maple drop leaf garnered $850.
Smith structures his sales in two parts, featuring later pieces after 2 pm. One of the features at the later afternoon segment was a 1940s Kindel mahogany highboy with bonnet top and fan carving, selling to a retail buyer at $575. “I thought that was a good buy,” said Smith. “My experience is that 1940s mahogany is off compared with five to eight years ago, but I still thought that was an $800 to $1,200 piece of furniture.” A Nineteenth Century military drum with a New York State hand-painted seal on the front and label on the interior was missing a drum skin. Still, it went out at $100, a good buy and the sole bid on the lot.
Cherry Tree Auctions does not require a buyer’s premium, and accepts no absentee or telephone bids.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm