Published: December 6, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Catalog Photos Courtesy Coyle’s
MEDWAY, MASS. – The November 15 sale at Coyle’s Auctions had a group of early furniture and accessories from a New London, Conn., estate, Oriental items from a home in Boston, items from a Sutton Place apartment in New York, artwork and more, all fresh to the market. The combination drew several dealers with a specific interest in the early furniture, as well as a crowd of more than 100 with interests in the rest of the varied sale. As it turned out, the highest price of the sale, $4,485, bought a 1/6 plate occupational daguerreotype of a cobbler at work. Not far behind, was one of the better pieces of furniture, an early splayed leg tavern table with a well-carved apron and drawer, going for $4,255.
Coyle’s is a family-run business that conducts at least one sale a month. It is run by Mike Coyle and his sister, Nancy Wyman, with help from her husband, Bob. The business was started in 1985, in conjunction with Mike and Nancy’s parents. They had been running a used furniture store and decided to try their hand at auctioning. Both parents have passed on but the business continues. They do not use internet bidding and the sale is not cataloged. Nancy said, “We don’t do a catalog because we like to sell in random order. It lets us control the flow of the sale – if buyers are responding to certain items, we can stay with like items. We also think that selling this way, encourages buyers to pay more attention what is being sold. They don’t know when something they want will be sold, so they’re attentive to what’s being sold and that sometimes works well for them and us.”
Mike Coyle is the auctioneer and their sales are usually divided into two sections, starting with their “curiosities” sale – generally miscellaneous interesting items, books, textiles and box lots from other consignments. This sale began with a selection of about two dozen Oriental rugs, ranging in size from small scatter rugs to room-sized carpets. Prices ranged from $23 for examples with considerable wear, while others sold up to $374. There were four Navajo rugs sold that ranged in price from $202 to $432. Buyers who had come for the rugs left immediately after the rugs were sold.
Unexpectedly, the occupational daguerreotype that was the highlight of the sale was one of the “curiosity” items. Nancy Wyman found it while going through a box lot of dags and put it aside to be sold separately. It was a sharp 1/6 plate image of a cobbler at his workbench with several shoes in front of him. Bidding started at less than $100, as bidders in the room competed with a bidder on the phone. It moved up quickly, finishing at $4,485.
After a short break at the completion of the first part of the sale, Coyle moved on to the main event. It was expected that the consignment of early furniture from New London, Conn., would do well. Coyle’s advertising emphasized those pieces, along with other pieces in original paint. The advertising brought out the knowledgeable buyers that he hoped to attract. An attractive tavern table, with a well-carved apron, early painted surface and a drawer, brought $4,255, the highest price among the early furniture. From the same home, an early shoe-foot hutch table sold for $1,438, and a refinished William and Mary flattop highboy, with turned legs and stretcher base finished at $1,115. A William and Mary period, two-drawer blanket chest with ball feet and teardrop pulls, went for $1,380.
Other material in the sale came from homes in Boston, and from New York’s Sutton Place. A set of eight Nineteenth or Twentieth Century Chippendale-style dining chairs achieved $1,208. There was a well-done bronze sculpture that would have been a perfect Christmas gift for a stock market investor. It depicted a bull and a bear. The bull had the bear pinned down and was goring it with his horns. It achieved just $748. Benjamin Champney’s White Mountain landscapes generally bring more than his still life compositions. However, this sale had a large oil on canvas still life with white and pink flowers in an elaborate Victorian frame, which did well, as an absentee bidder paid $2,415.
After the sale, Nancy Wyman said, “We were pleased with the turnout and the prices achieved. We think that, given today’s economy, there were good prices all around.”
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.coylesauction.com or 508-733-6868.
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