Published: May 26, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Eldred’s
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – Josh Eldred reported that Eldred’s May 14 Fine and Decorative Art Auction and the May 15 Summer Living Auction were both successes for the firm.
“I think, just generally, both sales did really well,” he told us. “The sell-through rates were around 85 percent, which is great – pandemic or no pandemic. There were no floor bidders, but we did have absentee, phone and the internet platforms. There was a tremendous amount of participation, it was really encouraging.”
Eldred’s told us the firm just released native bidding apps for iOS and Android devices. Eldred views internet bidding as a growing preferred medium for bidders, noting his firm has offered it for a while now and his bidders are comfortable and confident in the process.
The sales hailed from a number of estates totaling north of 30 consignors.
Two lots tied for the top of the sale at $8,610. One was an unsigned Spanish school portrait of a peasant with missing teeth, oil on canvas, 24 by 20 inches. It had an $800 estimate. Eldred said the painting was pursued by two internet bidders, and it would be going overseas. The other was a lot of two miniature Russian Palekh School icons, each 4 by 3½ inches. Both had original letters to their back from Armand Hammer’s “Russian Imperial Exhibit,” dated February 7, 1933. The letters indicate the artist is K. Ulianoff of the Palicha [sic] School, and that the icons came from the Imperial Collection of the Winter Palace, St Petersburg, Russia.
Eldred said, “The Russian icons were bought by a collector in New England. There were numerous bidders on those, they were hot lots from the get-go, they had many inquiries. They came out of a great estate through our Mystic office, almost everything out of that collection did very well.”
From the Summer Living sale, a Peter Libbey carved eagle plaque with an antiqued finish, 58 inches long, sold for $3,321. Libbey is master carver out of Maine who works in the traditional style. His son, W.A. Libbey, also carves in this manner.
Eldred said the furniture sold well and much of it to local buyers who had already picked up. Among them was a restored Queen Anne tiger maple lowboy that brought $1,169. It was from New England, Eighteenth Century, with a cut-corner molded top over a full-width drawer over three side-by-side drawers. A Portsmouth-style tavern table from the early Twentieth Century bested the $500 estimate to sell for $1,169.
In exotic boxes, a vintage Reuge music mechanical singing bird box, Twentieth Century from Switzerland, with a faux-lapis enameled body and ormolu mounts, sold for $2,952. Rising to $2,583 over a $400 estimate was a Nineteenth Century shell tea caddy of octagonal form with silver metal knob and ball feet.
One of Eldred’s favorite lots in the sale was a White Mountain School painting depicting the mountain behind cattle and a waterfall. The oil on canvas measured 8 by 13 inches and it sold for $1,599 above a $350 estimate. Eldred said the painting was very dirty, but it was a great scene, and it had good potential once it was cleaned up.
The sales registered over 1,000 bidders and grossed a little over $200,000, right within the estimate range.
Eldred’s spring sale, which was rescheduled from March, will occur on June 10-12.
For additional information, www.eldreds.com or 508-385-3116.
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