Published: September 20, 2011
In spite of a special appearance by Tropical Storm Irene, it was standing room only at Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ sale August 27′8. Fine art and Chinese antiques dominated the list of high performing lots but several eclectic pieces also generated strong bidder response and high prices.
Thomaston Place owner and auctioneer Kaja Veilleux said, “When the storm was predicted, we said that ‘Irene may call, but we will be here selling it all,’ and we were packed both days. The worst weather seems to bring out the biggest auction crowds in Maine.”
A monumental oil on canvas still life painting by Severin Roesen (Pennsylvania, 1815‱872) led the fine art category, selling for $57,500. A Dutch Old Master rendering of a Seventeenth Century naval engagement also performed extremely well, bringing $14,375; and a bound circa 1940 portfolio of eight original watercolor children’s illustrations by Feng Zhi Kai blew past its $1,5/1,800 presale estimate to sell for $16,100.
Also leading paintings was an oil on panel Italian icon of the Annunciation depicting the Angel approaching Mary, which garnered $9,775, and a Victorian oil on academy board depiction of “The Proper Pooch” that brought $8,050. Finally a Japanese painted scroll, “Phoenix Rising from the Ocean,” shattered its $800․1,200 presale estimate to fetch $10,925.
A number of sculptural pieces were also well received, including an Eighteenth Century Italian marble bas relief, “The Pieta,” that raised $14,950 and a wood sculpture, “Long Billed Marsh Wren,” by Maine artist Charles “Chippy” Greenough Chase (1908‱988) that more than doubled its estimate to bring $8,337.
A selection of antique Chinese carved jade pieces attracted much bidder interest. An Eighteenth Century Chinese jade bowl carved with archaic designs on a separate jade stand surpassed its $3/4,000 presale estimate to sell for $35,650, and a Chinese jade table artifact in the form of a Ruyi Sceptre brought $23,000. Another surprise was a pair of early Chinese jade reticulated belt buckles that topped their presale estimate of $800․1,200 and sold for $5,290.
The auction featured a large group of Chinese Export porcelain, and many lots brought strong prices. Aggressive bidding for a rare Nineteenth Century Chinese porcelain blackamoor figurine drove its selling price to $11,500. Many of the export pieces came with excellent provenance, as they descended in the family of ship Captain John Smith, who brought them to Salem, Mass., in 1838. These included a massive Canton hot water warming dish that brought $8,050, a pair of Rose Mandarin vases that sold for $7,762, three Rose Mandarin baluster-form covered jars that achieved $6,900 and a group of seven Canton platters that garnered $5,405.
A pair of rose gold Faberge cufflinks, accented with crowns formed from rose cut diamonds and cabochon rubies by August Hollming generated enthusiastic bidding that led to a selling price of $12,650. An 18K gold, diamond and Burmese sapphire bead necklace brought $18,400, and a platinum and 18K gold ring set with a natural 5.68 carat Columbian square cut emerald flanked by two shield cut diamonds took $21,850.
Chinese gold also performed well as evidenced by a lot of two Chinese gold sculptures in the form of a male and female cicada that took $16,100. The Tang dynasty pieces were 1-inch-high and 2¾ inches long. Another lot that did not “bug” attendees was a Chinese gold moth form miniature box with a fitted lid. Also Tang dynasty, it flew off at $14,950. The box measured a mere 2¾ by 17/8 inches.
This sale included several exceptional pieces of furniture, and strong bidder response suggests there is renewed interest in this category. A circa 1830 Boston mahogany Pembroke table with satinwood lunette inlay sold for $14,375; a Portsmouth, N.H., area Hepplewhite bowfront chest of drawers brought $14,950; a circa 1765‹0, New York Chippendale wing chair frame garnered $12,075; a Queen Anne period black walnut corner chair raised $8,050; and an early two part soft wood apothecary cabinet in green paint achieved $7,187.
Most silver lots performed exceedingly well, and a 137-piece set of sterling flatware in the Cactus pattern by Georg Jensen set off a bidding frenzy, ending at $16,100. Another Jensen piece, a circa 1930 sterling compote, brought $6,325.
A 1789 large folio atlas, The English Pilot, Describing the West India Navigation, from Hudson’s Bay to the River Amazones, in its original leather binding exceeded its presale estimate of $10/15,000 and sold for $25,300; and a 1640 folio edition of The Workes of Benjamin Jonson brought $16,100.
Other high flying lots included an Etruscan athlete’s sarcophagus cinerary urn lid in painted terracotta from 150‱00 BC that sold for $40,250; a circa 1900 Regina “Corona” Model 33 floor cabinet music box with Honduras mahogany with 34 discs and a custom cabinet for the extra discs that brought $14,950.
Also crossing the block were a rare, circa 1900 standing lion carousel figure in the manner of Charles Looff, an outside ring figure in original paint, that fetched $11,500; a Louis Vuitton child’s trunk that exceeded its $2,5/3,500 estimate to sell for $6,612; and a Sixteenth⁓eventeenth Century Safavid Persian blue bowl with black decoration that achieved $3,737.
All prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The next Thomaston Place Auction Galleries sale will take place on November 5‶. For more information, www.thomastonauction.com or 207-354-8141.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm