Published: July 19, 2011
Now in its second year, the annual Marion estate sale, organized jointly by boyhood friends and early antiques dealers Frank McNamee of Marion Antique Shop and C. David Glynn of Turkey Creek Antiques in Citrus, Fla., attracted a large crowd June 26. Local residents, collectors and dealers gathered to inspect the material from several local estates at the VFW post. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary catered the preview and the sale. In acknowledgement of the local connections of many of the lots, a percentage of the buyer’s premium was donated to the Sippican Historical Society.
As the auction was about to get underway, staff appeared with a birthday cake for McNamee, whose undisclosed number of birthdays was celebrated. Only one candle, though. Glynn has celebrated a good percentage of those birthdays with McNamee.
Beginning in the 1920s, Carrie Morton Gregg Stone (Mrs Galen Luther Stone), whose summer residence was Great Hill in Marion, submitted prize-winning horticultural entries at national and international flower shows. Although she died in 1948, the tradition she established continued through the 1960s. Those prizes, most in the form of gold medals that descended in the Stone family came to market from the estate of Mrs Stone’s grandson, David B. Stone, and garnered strong interest. They came from the family summer home, a grand 1907 Tudor house that in its heyday and before it was reduced in size in World War II, required a staff of some 50 to 60 workers (who had their own beach.)
The highlight was not a medal, however, but a cup †a 1941 18K gold vase awarded to Mrs Stone by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (known today by many as MassHort) for the outstanding horticultural exhibit of the year. The vase was designed by Boston Arts and Crafts silversmith George Jesse Hunt and is sponsored annually by funds provided by the late Albert Cameron Burrage. The vase, a total of 418.8 pennyweight, brought $24,150 from a southeastern Massachusetts collector who appreciates fine gold objects.
Other gold horticultural awards to Mrs Stone, known for her prized acacias, included the 1929 MassHort centennial medal for winter flower begonias, a 14K medal of 102.2 pennyweight that realized $5,980. The entire group of the rest of the Stone medals, some 18 in all awarded by a variety of national and international horticultural organizations and dating from the 1920s through the 1960s, realized a grand total, excluding the aforementioned examples, of $24,840, based on the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The entire cache of medals and the vase went to the same persistent buyer in the room, who also won a pastel still life with rosa hugonis (Father Hugo flowers) signed by Laura Coombs Hills for $32,200. The painting retained the Doll and Richard gallery label that included the artist’s 1859 birth date, with no date of death at that point. It, too, came from the Stone estate.
An A. Elmer Crowell carved and painted shore bird, perhaps a plover, with red eye rings and a red and black bill was perched on a rock and came from the Stone estate. It brought $6,325 from a young Maine collector.
About three quarters of the material across the block came from southeastern Massachusetts estates and collections; another quarter came from Southern estates and collections. Nearly 100 percent of the offerings were fresh to the market, and buyers were pleased.
Thirteen phones were required for an Eighteenth Century backstaff that sold for $23,000 to a Cape Cod dealer who is an authority of early marine objects. The backstaff is rare †one of three known examples; one at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., another in a private collection and now this one. It was made in 1770 by William Williams whose Boston shop was on King Street, the site the same year of the Boston Massacre. According to the ivory plaque attached to the octant, it was owned by Richard Atwood, an Eastham sea captain. It came from a Wareham collection.
Although they were made nearby at Pairpoint in New Bedford, a group of lamps came from a southern collection. A Pairpoint lamp whose shade was painted with a colorful Venetian scene by eminent Pairpoint artist Frank Adolph Guba, who lived and worked in New Bedford, sold on the phone for $2,875. A boudoir lamp from Pairpoint with a reverse painted dome shade decorated with a large pink flower was signed on its Art Nouveau base and realized $690, also on the phone. A Pairpoint table lamp with a reverse painted shade decorated with blossoms and acanthus leaves was mounted on a signed metal base and realized $575.
The back plate of a 93½-inch Eighteenth Century American tall clock was stamped “Osborne,” for the Birmingham, England, dial-making concern that supplied American clockmakers. The face was decorated with patriotic American shields and the mahogany case was inlaid. While the clock was unsigned, evidence suggests that it may have been the work of David Wood of Newburyport. The clock had been part of the estate of Boston antiques dealer Fred Finnerty and was consigned by his daughter. It realized $14,950 from a buyer in the room who beat out a determined phone bidder.
Another clock of interest was a Nineteenth Century English bracket clock in a brass and ebonized case and sold for $2,530. The nine-bell chime clock was signed “R Fennell London.”
A mid-Eighteenth Century Pennsylvania Queen Anne walnut dressing table on trifid feet had some restoration to the top and sold on the phone for $5,750. It came from a Providence, R.I., home. An Eighteenth Century Rhode Island maple tall chest with six dovetailed drawers and a tray top had some restoration and had been refinished. Accordingly, it brought $2,875 from a Marion collector.
An Eighteenth Century Chippendale tiger maple slant lid desk with a secret drawer may have been a southeastern Massachusetts piece. It realized $1,150 on the phone. An English oak Welsh cupboard came from a home on Piney Point in Marion and sold for $978.
A Mississippi collection was the source of eight paintings by the English-born White Mountain artist Edward Hill, also the brother of Thomas Hill, both of whom were born in England and immigrated to Taunton, Mass., where they began their artistic careers as carriage painters. The pictures included a signed oil on canvas winter logging scene that sold on the phone for $3,680 and a signed spring or summer woodland logging scene that was $2,875, also on the phone. A fisherman and his dog sitting on a rock, “Quiet Spot, Sunapee Lake, N.H.,” was $2,185 in the gallery. The eight paintings fetched a total of $13,850.
Paintings with local subjects were sold at a premium. A Nineteenth Century oil on canvas view of the adjacent town of Mattapoisett by New Bedford artist William Ferdinand Macy realized $4,025. A folk art oil on cardboard portrait of a young girl, possibly a Prior School work came from a Mattapoisett collection and sold to the trade for $3,680. A notation on the back identified the sitter as made in 1844.
An English dummy board that was published in Helaine Fendelman’s Silent Companions; Dummy Board Figures of the Seventeenth Through Nineteenth Centuries was a good value at $920.
Another local view, a watercolor view of townspeople in nearby Fairhaven, Mass., by New Bedford and Fairhaven artist and illustrator Percy Elton Cowen, was a very good buy when it fetched $575 from a local collector. The locale (the northeast corner of Water and Center Street) and the figures depicted were identified by the artist, lending the image strong historical significance.
Four paintings of area significance by New Bedford artist Charles Henry Gifford came from three different collections. A late Nineteenth Century oil on artist board scene of a man rowing past Fort Phoenix at the mouth of the Acushnet River sold for $4,600. A view of the water from a grassy and rocky promontory, possibly Fort Phoenix, went for $3,910.
An 1892 watercolor view of Fairhaven from the Acushnet River realized $1,150, and an oil on wood panel view of a waterside cottage was also $1,150. A ship’s log of the Joseph Maxwell of New Bedford chronicling an 1873‷4 voyage to Hawaii and Japan sold for $518.
Old reliable Louis Vuitton did not disappoint: a trunk with the monogram FAD sold on the phone for $4,485.
The neighbors of the local collector who paid $920 for a bronze signal cannon will be pleased when they find out that the cannon is in fine working order. Made in the 1930s or 1940s, the cannon was mounted on a mahogany frame and was accompanied by a cannon mold, packing and a cleaning rod. The winning bidder plans to use the device.
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