Published: December 16, 2015
Review And Onsite Photos by Rick Russack,
Catalog Photos Courtesy Skinner
MARLBOROUGH, MASS. — On November 19, Skinner sold over 900 lots of good country Americana at one of its regularly scheduled discovery sales. There may not have been any five-figure prices, but there was plenty of good furniture, ceramics, metals, weathervanes, clocks and paintings. Many of the smalls were sold in group lots, providing dealers with an opportunity to stock up.
During the preview, Chris Barber, Skinner’s deputy director of American furniture and decorative arts, commented that someone spending $5,000 at this sale could furnish a whole house with Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century stuff, and it looks like he was right.
For example, a Chippendale cherry oxbow serpentine chest of drawers, on claw and ball feet with a shell-carved pendant sold for $677. Was it perfect? No, but it looked right. A Federal cherry and mahogany veneer chest of drawers on flaring French feet finished at $277. A Queen Anne cherry slant-lid desk with three drawers and shaped bracket feet brought $492. Many Oriental scatter rugs were sold in lots of two, and they sold for less than new rugs at a store like Ocean State Job Lots. Two Twentieth Century Persian rugs, one at 3 by 5 feet and the other at 6 by 7 feet, sold together for $154, and two northwest Persia rugs, each about 6 by 4 feet, late Nineteenth Century, brought $369.
A Copeland Spode dinner service for 12 with serving pieces in a red “Heritage” pattern earned $1,169, well over its estimate. Two Eighteenth Century English mirrors, one Queen Anne with walnut veneer and one Chippendale with mahogany veneer, went for $277. A carved walnut Nineteenth Century stepback cupboard, with two glazed doors in the top section, over three drawers and two paneled doors, fetched $1,107. A pair of paint-decorated thumb-back Windsors made by Gilson Brown of Sterling, Mass., circa 1825, went for $123. There were numerous other examples of good-looking furniture and accessories selling for less than one would pay for new furniture and with room for dealers to make a profit.
Several types of merchandise were sold in groups. Four cast iron cooking items, including a large bucket, a footed pot and a kettle, reached $215. Sixty-three pieces of blue and white Canton dinnerware sold for $338 and two large Canton platters went for $246. Three framed Currier and Ives equestrian lithographs earned $185. Six pieces of Chinese Export teaware sold for $49. Four Nineteenth Century painted tole pieces reached $215, and a group of four woven splint baskets sold for only $62. That lot included three lemon baskets in varying colors and a large, melon-shaped basket. Ten brass candlesticks, including four pairs, described as Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, realized only $185.
The sale included several lots of early English ceramics from the estate of the late Peter Warren, one of the leading dealers in that type of ware. Most pieces were in good condition, and several lots exceeded their estimates. A group of seven Eighteenth Century enameled creamware items, all with floral decoration, sold for $1,230, against an estimate of $600. Six pieces of silver-resist lustre items went for $861, also over estimate.
An Eighteenth Century Staffordshire figure of a shepherd carrying a sheep over his shoulder, 9¼ inches tall, attributed to Ralph Wood, brought $984, and a group of five Eighteenth Century transfer-decorated pieces, including a 19½-inch platter with an exotic bird transfer, finished at $1,046. The most sought-after lot was a group of 11 blue and white pearlware table items from the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Included was a rare pair of pilaster-form candlesticks, which probably pushed the lot to $1,968, close to four times its estimate.
Several nice American paintings sold inexpensively. A Nineteenth Century landscape with waterfall and mountains brought $185, while a portrait of a woman signed and dated by Joshua Goodhue Chandler (American, 1813–1884) went out for $111. An unsigned Hudson River landscape with trees, river and mountains fetched $584, and an unsigned still life with a red watermelon slice made $123.
Just what is a “Discovery” sale? Chris Barber told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that Skinner conducts discovery sales almost each month and that some have a theme, such as this one did — Country Americana — while others could include a more varied assortment. Some of the merchandise may have minor imperfections and/or repairs and some may not. “It’s all decent merchandise with a good early look at reasonable prices.”
Some has come from homes and collections that other Skinner departments have dealt with. These sales can include textiles, jewelry, works of art, furniture, books, ephemera, sports memorabilia, folk art and more. Dealers can take advantage of the large lots. New collectors can learn about antiques and auctions and be able to go home with one-of-a-kind items at reasonable prices. Skinner’s specialists are on hand to answer questions. As with other sales, absentee bids are accepted, phone bidding is available and Internet platforms are in use. Social media is used to promote these sales.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.skinnerinc.com or 508-970-3000.
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