Published: October 20, 2020
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy of Eldred’s
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – On October 8 at Eldred’s, a men’s Patek Philippe 18K gold “Calatrava” wristwatch with white dial with Roman numerals and subsidiary date display led the 417-lot fine and decorative arts auction, selling for $8,750. But the real action among the sale’s top highlights was sterling silver – seven of the top selling lots were made of the stuff. And one of the most compelling of such pieces was a John Hunt and Robert Roskell-made Victorian Neoclassical sterling silver candelabrum centerpiece, London 1870, which sold for $7,500 on a $1/1,500 estimate.
Leah Kingman, head of the firm’s European decorative arts department, said it was a surprising find, coming out of a house on Cape Cod that otherwise had silverplate instead of sterling. “The home itself was quite magnificent and in a tony neighborhood,” said Kingman. “This was in a room in the basement where the rest – just covering the floor – was just silverplate pieces, which we didn’t even take.”
The piece’s base was fully hallmarked, with figures and capitals marked for maker, London and lion passant. The base was further inscribed “Hunt & Roskell Late Storr & Mortimer 5444.” The form of the 24-inch-high candelabrum was six capitals supported by acorn and oak leaf arms above an acanthus leaf knop and fluted stem. A stepped and weighted base was inset with four seated female nudes leaning against shields. It probably had a twin, said Kingman, from which it had been long separated.
The sale totaled $193,075 with 164 registered bidders, counting phone, absentee, live and those who successfully bid online. “Overall, I’m pretty happy with how the sale did,” said Kingman. “It wasn’t a huge selection of silver or jewelry but both of those categories were strong. And the silver showed strength above the value of the material as a commodity, so I’m encouraged by that as we head into the fall and winter.”
Five Gorham “Chantilly Grand” sterling silver tureens out of a Providence, R.I., estate lined up for a final price of $5,938. Included was a covered and monogrammed soup tureen, 1899, 11½ inches tall. It was accompanied by three tureens from 1926, one covered and two open, and a covered example from 1919. Together they weighed approximately 185.4 total troy ounces.
Pulling in almost as much, $5,313, was a Reed & Barton “Francis I” sterling silver assembled flatware service. It was not monogrammed, and some pieces bore eagle, shield and lion mark, some marked “Reed & Barton.” Purchased from Beverly Bremer Silver Shop, Atlanta, 2004, and highly polished, the set consisted of six 9½-inch knives, six 9¾-inch knives, 24 fish knives, six flat butter spreaders, six 7¾-inch forks, 24 fish forks, six salad forks, 12 oyster forks, 18 teaspoons, 12 iced tea spoons, 16 bouillon soup spoons, six cream soup spoons, six oval soup/dessert spoons and five fruit spoons.
Twenty-three pieces of American sterling silver hollowware weighed in at a total of approximately 134.3 troy ounces and realized $2,875. Together with 21 silverplated pieces, the lot included trays, chargers, dishes, bowls, creamer and sugar, napkin holders and baby and child’s items.
Fetching $2,625, more than triple high estimate, was a pair of midcentury Reed & Barton “Francis I” hand-chased sterling silver sauce boats and undertrays from a Taunton, Mass., home. They were not monogrammed. Sauceboat heights were 5½ inches, while the undertrays were 10 inches long.
Another sterling silver flatware set, this one cased and selling for the same amount as the sauce boat pair, was a Durgin “Watteau” partial service from the late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century. Monogrammed, it consisted of five 9½-inch knives, 12 8½-inch knives, four flat butter spreaders with Gorham marks, nine place spoons, 12 gumbo soup spoons, 11 bouillon soup spoons, five teaspoons, 16 7½-inch forks 13 7-inch forks 11 oyster forks, one sugar shell spoon, and one similar Wallace butter pick.
Danish silversmith Georg Jensen’s (1866-1935) iconic “Acorn” pattern sterling silver flatware is always sought-after, and in this sale a service took $2,375. It consisted of seven 9-inch knives, seven 7¼-inch forks, seven salad forks, eight oyster forks, eight butter spreaders with hollow handles and sterling silver blades, seven soup spoons, six place spoons, 12 teaspoons, eight demitasse spoons, one carving knife, one carving fork, one cake knife, one cake server, one two-piece salad-serving set, one individual fish knife, one pair of sugar tongs, a bottle opener and a letter opener.
Additional highlights in the sale that were not silver included Grand Tour collection of 643 plaster intaglios depicting ancient and Renaissance art, the Parthenon frieze, and biblical, historical and literary figures, housed in an English mahogany veneer cabinet at $2,875; a 14K white gold and diamond solitaire ring with a central emerald-cut stone, flanked on each side by two baguettes bringing $2,500; and an Asch Grossbardt or Angela Cummings-style 18K gold, mother-of-pearl and onyx bangle bracelet featuring alternating elements in a rectangle and chevron design, also going out at $2,500.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
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