Published: March 14, 2006
John and Maureen Boyd of Boyd Auctions like to begin the new year with a special auction. This year, it began with the auctioning of the contents from abandoned safety deposit boxes – coins, jewelry, bullion and baseball cigarette cards – which sold quickly to the large crowd of about 250 at the Jarvis Center, Andrew Jarvis Drive, on January 24. But it was a pair of paintings that was the highlight of the sale.
Boyd Auctions does not accept telephone or absentee bids, nor does it have internet bidding. John Boyd, one of the principles, said, “The real success story of an auction is when it’s allowed to work the way it’s supposed to work. No manipulating bids, no left or phone or internet bidding, people have to come and see what they are bidding on. Everyone has different opinions of what they are looking at – condition, etc. So, we make buyers come here and see what they are getting.”
Then he said that the reason the crowd was so large, was due to an advertisement he had run showing two small paintings by Herman Herzog (German-born American, Hudson River School painter, 1831-1932). “When the ad came out in Antiques and The Arts Weekly, the telephone never stopped; interest was from all over the United States. I had to tell everyone that they needed to come to the auction to bid on the pair; and so they did.”
The paintings were a pair of miniature Herzog, oil on boards, of a Florida landscape, 31/2 by 41/2 inches, possibly painted in the 1880s. They came out of the home of a local woman who had no idea of their value. “When Maureen [the other principle at Boyd’s] was auctioning them she told the crowd that she could have bought them from the owner for $200, but she wouldn’t do that, and the crowd started clapping.”
The bidding began at $5,000 for each painting, which were being sold as a pair, and until it reached about $20,000 each, there were four or five bidders. The competitive bidding continued between two collectors until it ended at $35,000 for each painting (without the ten percent buyer’s premium); so the pair was sold for $77,000, including the buyer’s premium.
They went to a Boston collector who was the first person to come and see them the morning of the sale. “He said to me, ‘I am going to buy those tonight,'” John continued, “and he did! And he said that it was fine to put out this notice on the sale.”
“The local seller, whose family were the original owners of the paintings, was flabbergasted when I took her the check, she couldn’t believe it.” The paintings were in absolutely original condition, the family came from Philadelphia, where Herzog lived after emigrating to the United States, and the paintings have been hanging on their walls ever since.
“It was quite a start to the year,” John concluded. The next auction at Boyd Auctions will be at the end of March or April.
For information, www.boydauctions.com or 207-439-6641.
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