Published: July 8, 2015
This Chinese carved spinach jade panel depicting the immortals in a landscape, with a hardwood stand, went for $6,325, one of the higher prices of the day.
Review And Onsite Photos By Rick Russack
Additional Photos Courtesy Devin Moisan Auctioneers
DOVER, N.H. — No time was wasted at Devin Moisan’s June 25 auction at the Elk’s Hall. The crowd, accustomed to his style of selling, made decisions quickly and his staff kept the merchandise flowing smoothly.
The varied sale featured American and Continental furniture, American silver, art pottery, folk art, powder horns, Oriental rugs, Asian items, Cape Ann and other paintings, and more. Few items at Moisan’s carry reserves, so nearly everything sold, with very few items passed. Before the sale, Moisan said there had been a lot of presale interest in certain items. He also said, “We try to keep it simple for bidders by grouping similar lots together. That way bidders have the items they’re interested in come up together and it makes it easier for us as well.” After the sale, he said, “I thought the sale went very well, but brown furniture still hasn’t rebounded.”
The first lot of the day got the sale off to a good start. This six-piece Gorham tea and coffee service, with 102 ounces of silver, went out at $2,645.
The sale got off to a good start with a six-piece tea and coffee service by Gorham quickly moving up to $2,645. The total weight of the silver in the set was 102 ounces. The momentum was sustained. A few minutes later, a black trade sign with gold lettering “Photograph Studio” went to an absentee bidder for $1,322. Action then went to some military items. An 1850 foot officer’s sword and scabbard, made by the Ames Manufacturing Co. of Chicopee, brought $940. A scrimshawed powder horn, with the maker’s name and dated 1759 brought $1,035. It was engraved with people, fish and stylized trees.
Moisan has developed a reputation for selling Scheier pottery. Scheier for many years was made in nearby Durham, so it is not surprising it often turns up at Moisan’s auctions. There were three pieces in this sale and one was a tall chalice-form vase, with an eggplant and turquoise glaze. It had 11 impressed and incised female figures on the round and it brought $4,600 from an absentee bidder. A bowl with a matte blue glaze and incised with people and fish, dated ‘49, sold to a buyer in the room.
Moisan is known for selling Scheier pottery and getting good prices for it. With a mottled glaze and 11 impressed and incised female figures, this chalice-form vase sold for $4,600.
Surprisingly, the buyer was Hollis Brodrick, a Portsmouth, N.H., dealer better known for dealing in colonial items, especially from the Eighteenth Century. When asked about buying a 65-year-old piece of pottery, Brodrick said, “I loved the decoration. I don’t know much about Scheier, but I’ve always liked, and bought, pottery. I’ll take this to the dealers’ show [New Hampshire Antique Dealers Association show in August] and see what happens.” With a smile, he added, “If it doesn’t sell, I can always put flowers in it.”
As often happens these days, some American furniture sold at prices that were real bargains for the buyers. A Massachusetts Federal period card table with satinwood inlay, cataloged as being of the Seymour school, brought only $316. It was followed by a carved walnut New York Chippendale slant front desk, which sold for $402. A Pennsylvania Chippendale tall case clock made only $575.
While discussing the current market for American furniture, Peter Sawyer, Exeter, N.H., dealer, said that he is optimistic about the market now. “Masterpieces are easy to sell and the low prices of some of the furniture is attracting younger buyers. I took some good pieces that had been refinished somewhere along the way to the New Hampshire show last year and it sold. It’s good, period furniture, it’s affordable and it can sell. I may do it again.”
There was a very noticeable crease on the right side of the Joseph Davis full-length portrait. The colors were bright, but the condition may have kept the price down to $4,600.
One of the advertised highlights of the sale was a full-length profile portrait of a gentleman in top hat, done by Joseph Davis (1811–1865). The colors were strong, but condition problems kept the price to $4,600. Also crossing the block were several paintings by Wayne Morrell (1923–2013). Morrell’s work was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Rockport Art Association last summer. His paintings depict Rockport and Gloucester scenes. Two works each brought $2,185, “Wood Bridge at Good Harbor Beach” and “A Garden Path Along The Ocean.” Other works ended up at lower prices. “Old Barn in Ipswich” by Morrell brought $373 and “Debarked Tree” a small work, made only $172. There were others, some selling under $200.
There were several pieces of Arts and Crafts silver. A very attractive plate by Mary C. Knight, a Boston silversmith, led the category, ending up at $4,945. Etna, N.H., dealer Mike Hingston bought it, also picking up a footed bowl by Arthur J. Stone, Gardner, Mass., for $431. A sterling cream jug by Stone earned the same price and a sterling lobed serving dish made by Frederick Gyllenberg went for $201. Other silver highlights included a four-piece tea and coffee service by Alvin that achieved $747 and a Gorham sterling loving cup trophy ended at $431.
One of the rarer items in the sale was this 1831 miniature terrestrial globe by James Wilson & Sons. It was only 9 inches in diameter and dealer Paul DeCoste, who bought it for $2,070, said that he had only seen two others of this size.
Paul DeCoste, West Newbury, Mass., dealer bought a 9-inch terrestrial globe made by James Wilson & Sons, 1831, for $2,070. He was very pleased with the purchase and, as always, was willing to explain why. DeCoste noted that Wilson was the first American globe maker, producing his first globe in 1813. He was a self-taught cartographer, engraver and printer. His earliest globes were produced while he lived in Vermont and these are quite scarce. He later moved to Albany, N.Y., and in partnership with his sons, continued in the business until he was 80. DeCoste said that globes of the size he bought are rare and that he has seen only two others of that size.
Rounding out the sale were numerous other interesting items. There were six lots of Russian enamel, including a set of eight silver vermeil spoons by Ivan Sergeyevich Lebedkin, Moscow, that finished at $1,495. All these lots went to the same buyer, bidding by phone. A spinach jade panel depicting immortals in a landscape, with a hardwood stand, fetched $6,325, and a famille rose fish bowl with carp decoration went out at $1,955 to a phone bidder, who outlasted bidders in the room. A Timby’s patent stick barometer and thermometer in a rosewood case, made by John Merrick & Co. of Worcester, Mass., fetched only $201. A tin clockwork touring car by Carrette, 12 inches long, sold for $2,875.
All prices include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.moisan-inc.com or 603-953-0022.
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