Published: March 4, 2003
Hepplewhite Secretary Reaches $81,700 at Northeast
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Putting to use the wisdom provided in his book “… Good, Better, Best,” author/dealer/advisor and Northeast Auction American furniture expert Albert Sack sat in the front row of Ron Bourgeault’s auction with a private retail female client and assisted in bidding a Hepplewhite secretary to the top slot. The two-day Northeast auction, which took place this past weekend, March 1 and 2, grossed an impressive $2.6 million with the auctioneer citing “tremendous retail participation.”
The sale featured more than 700 lots of Americana, Continental and European furniture, accessories and paintings, including a prime selection of period American case-pieces – virtually all of which sold to retail buyers.
Leading the way was the Hepplewhite secretary in figured mahogany and birds-eye maple veneer executed by an “up to now unrecorded but… superior master-craftsman” from the prominent North Shore or Portsmouth center. The original bill of sale accompanied the piece, dated July 7, 1811, and listing a price paid in full of $37, although it was generally thought the name on the bill-head was not that of the maker, but of a retailer.
Bidding on the lot opened at $10,000 and progressed between 2 of the 6 active phone bidders and Sack’s client. Moving initially in $1,000, then $2,000 increments, bidding for the attractive secretary progressed methodically to $34,000, where it appeared the piece would be hammered down. Just prior to Bourgeault pronouncing the piece sold, a late bid from the opposite side of the front of the room was executed by a female client seated with Brock Jobe of Winterthur. The action once again resumed a steady pace with determined bidding from the two ladies resulting in the lot eventually selling to Sack’s client at $91,700, including premium.
Highlights from Saturday’s session included the opening lot, a nest of six Nantucket baskets signed Polhamus that sold for $25,300, and two Bennington flint enameled lions from the collection of Dr. Louis Wasserman selling at $16,100 each.
A complete review will appear in a future issue.
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