Published: June 19, 2007
Litchfield County Auctions (LCA) saw its online sale, which began on April 18 and ended May 2, breach the million-dollar mark for the first time in the company’s history. The event hosted on www.iGavel.com included major paintings from the Julius Levy estate, Asian art, jewelry and antiques.
Overall, 524 of 699 lots sold for an average sell-through rate of 75 percent. Of the items that sold, the presale estimate was about $600/900,000. The gross total of $1,020,000 was well above the high. Although the sale was completely online, participants viewed the sale in person during a five-day gallery exhibition that also included a tag sale, which grossed $45,000.
The top lot was an imperial Chinese vase, Eighteenth Century, that began its bidding at on the first day of the sale at $360 but by the morning of May 2, had climbed to $21,000.
During the day, the price rose to $99,000. It climbed in fast increments to $125,000, $150,000, $175,000, and excited shouts could be heard from the back offices at LCA. When it finally hammered down at $234,000, applause erupted from the employees throughout the gallery.
Two-dimensional art also performed solidly in the sale. A rare equivalents painting by Arthur Segal, that was optimistically estimated at $100/150,000, brought a record price for the artist when it fetched $162,000. A Hans Hartung painting from the 1970s that had been purchased directly from his 1971 New York show at Lefebre Gallery was estimated at $20/30,000 and almost tripled the high estimate to sell for $84,000.
Furniture brought robust prices, including a satinwood side cabinet ($7/10,000) that realized $15,000 in a supposedly slow English furniture market.
A portion of the sale, what one could call a “late afternoon session,” was devoted to LCA’s inaugural jewelry sale. Selling more than 65 percent of the lots for approximately $125,000, vice president Nicholas Thorn compared it to the firm’s inaugural auction 13 years ago, when the entire sale grossed about $125,000.
The top jewelry lot was a fancy emerald cut aquamarine, round and baguette diamond platinum brooch. Estimated at $10/15,000, it took $15,000.
While sale results were very strong, there were still a few good buys for savvy auctiongoers including a painting by Jorge Castillo (Spanish, b 1933), “Petit Dejeuner,” that sold for just $5,250.
An Italian walnut commode, Seventeenth Century, received a lot of attention during the preview. It was highly carved and very large and sold at the lower end of its $7/10,000 estimate for $7,850. A coffee table by the popular Philip and Kelvin Laverne, in an Asian style of patinated gilt bronze, was a bargain at $2,100. Finally a pair of Lalique swans that normally retail for $15,000 sold for just under $3,000, though the swans did have a small chip.
LCA is collecting estates for its summer sale that is online July 4‱8. Following sales include Americana, fine art and antiques in September and Modernism and collectibles in November.
For more information, www.litchieldcountyauctions.com or 860-567-4661.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm