Published: November 19, 2002
PITTSFIELD, MASS. – The bidding went up and up, and up again — and one wondered when and where the Victor Victrola floor model would hit its final high note.
The piece, inlaid all over in the Moorish style, finally garnered $71,875 with 15 percent buyer’s premium — a world record for a Victrola.
The performance of this key lot was a theme at the John Fontaine Gallery’s recent Fine Quality Antiques series sale. The emphasis on Nineteenth Century opulence, was, if anything, more evident than ever.
An array of heavily carved, embellished and often oversized furniture by such as John Belter, J&JW Meeks, Herter Brothers and Horner served as the heart of the sale, supported by examples of clocks, silver, bronzes, porcelains and a number of unique offerings that do not bear easy categorizing.
“Overall, we were pleased with the results,” said John Fontaine. “Concerns with the economy seem to have deepened, so we weren’t surprised that the buying was selective; interestingly, the better and best rdf_Descriptions largely performed very well, while lesser pieces were sometimes passed over. There’s that old adage, ‘There’s always money for the best’ — well it was proven once again today.”
A monumental 48-inch Sevres covered urn realized $23,000; a Kirk repousse silver tea set made $7,475; a three-piece bronze fireplace set showing winged sphinxes finished at $5,750; a 13-inch Black Forest figural bear humidor with glass eyes smoked to $3,162 and an 11-inch figural dore bronze annular clock wound up to $4,887.
Many lots from well-known makers registered strong results.
A bronze-mounted bed with porcelain plaques attributed to Herter Brothers went out at $16,100, while a Renaissance Revival gold incised secretary, similarly attributed, realized $14,375.
Various lots by J&JW Meeks also did well. A “Stanton” rosewood two-piece parlor set scored a healthy $12,650, while a sofa and a pair of side chairs in the line made $6,037 and $3,622, respectively. Scoring even more impressively, a Meeks rosewood sofa in the “Hawkins” pattern realized $11,212.
John Belter was also well represented. A three-piece Belter “Rosalie with Grapes” rosewood laminated parlor set soared to $18,400; a set of eight dining chairs made $6,037; and a laminated Belter armchair realized $8,050.
Among still other “names” on hand, an inlaid rosewood marble-top center table attributed to Pottier & Stymus finished at $5,175.
A huge and heavily carved Renaissance Revival bed made $15,525; a 72-inch oak library table showing full standing cherubs realized $9,200; a carved oak bedroom set finished at $11,500; and a Renaissance Revival walnut baby crib with canopy top rocked to $8,625.
Still other notable results were garnered by a carved oak eagle podium with Gothic base, $6,900; a rosewood inlaid credenza showing porcelain plaques, $8,050; an 8’8″ carved oak fireplace mantel with maidens and garlands, $10,925; and a 72-inch executive oak rolltop desk with carved columns that made $7,762.
A 38-inch American cast-iron center table in the Moorish style showing representational elephant legs made $6,037; a quaint Koken oak barbers chair finished at $4,600; and a life-size, 62-inch cast- iron deer leaped out at $3,450.
Small groups of clocks and lamps also made a contribution to the sale.
A French Industrial mantel clock seemed a bargain at $2,587; a 19-inch Ansonia crystal regulator (“Apex”) did well at $3,450; and an eight-inch miniature gold dore shelf clock showing a chariot made $2,242.
Among the lamps, a 29-inch high Tiffany double student lamp with ten-inch shades finished strong at $5,175; an (original oil) Harvard student lamp made $2,975; and a somewhat risque cold painted 11-inch Austrian bronze lamp with nude signed “Namgreb” generated considerable interest at $4,025.
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