Published: April 1, 2008
A dramatic and sweeping oil on canvas rendering of the Grand Canal in Venice under a full moon by Elliott Daingerfield (American, 1859‱932) soared to $83,950, becoming the top lot and setting a world auction record for the artist, at a March 1 sale of the estate of Mariam Cannon Hayes, which was conducted at the Embassy Suites Hotel. Hayes was a lifelong philanthropist and daughter of textiles magnate and Cannon Mills founder Charles Cannon.
The estate was so massive and important it took two firms to liquidate it †Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd, of Hillsborough, N.C., and Iron Horse Auction Co., Inc, of Rockingham, N.C. Over the course of her long and fruitful life, Hayes, who died in August 2007 at age 91, accumulated many rare and valuable items. Overall, about 600 lots changed hands at the sale that attracted regional, national and even international attendance. Buyers poured in from 18 states, as well as England, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada.
Hayes was a dedicated collector of fine art; period American, English and Continental furniture; silver; estate jewelry; books, china and porcelain; estate rugs; glass and lighting. Among other items, she owned a military document signed by George Washington, an 1833 Andrew Jackson autographed letter, a 1900 Venetian wall mirror, a Civil War-era bed and a Russian sable fur coat.
Highlights included an oil on canvas portrait of General George Washington, painted around 1842 by Alvan Fisher (1792‱863), which gaveled for $69,000. The painting, housed in a giltwood frame, showed Washington standing on a rise, his troops and their mounts approaching from behind.
The Washington two-page document, issued in 1783 and carrying the signature of the nation’s first president (as well as that of then-military secretary Jonathan Trumbull Jr), crossed the block at $10,925. The order, matted and framed, honorably discharged Private Caleb Cornwall of the First New York Infantry.
A Nineteenth Century French vitrine achieved $20,700. The mahogany veneer and glass piece boasted two beveled glass doors surmounted by a rouge marble cap.
Tops in the estate jewelry category was an Art Deco sapphire and diamond ring featuring an old European-cut diamond bead set in a square setting, flanked by two shield-cut sapphires set in partial bezels, plus 50 bead-set round diamonds. It soared to $10,350. Two pieces of period furniture sold for identical prices of $7,475. One was a Southern Sheraton sideboard, circa 1820‱830, likely North Carolina, bold tiger maple with Southern yellow pine secondary; the other was a Chippendale slant front desk (American, circa 1800), mahogany with white pine secondary.
All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium. For information, 919-644-1243 or www.LLauctions.com .
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