Published: September 11, 2012
“Session one, paintings, proved to be the softest part of our sale, with Americana doing well and finishing with a strong showing for Asian material,” James Julia said following four days of selling that brought in a total of $4.5 million. This summer antiques and fine art auction, expanded to four days this year, August 21′4, drew a good audience at the gallery and had a record number of online bidders, phone bidders and absentee bidders. “It is becoming more common for people to come and preview the sales, and then resort to one of several other means to register bids,” Jim said.
The Americana session alone had 781 lots, some with multiple pieces, causing previewers to weave in and about the exhibition area during the five-day period prior to the sale to see everything. All prices reported in this review include the buyer’s premium.
Books on fishing, including Trout Fly-Fishing in America and Atlantic Salmon Fishing, sold for $460, and a three-volume set of The Quadrupeds of North America by John James Audubon and the Reverend John Bachman, 1849, sold for $4,140. An important six-page letter signed by composer Richard Wagner, February 5, 1855, sold above the $10,000 high estimate at $12,650.
There were many lots of historical Staffordshire in the sale, all from “Harp House” of Camden, Maine, starting off with 12 pieces of the Five Shell and Foliage Border Series, 11 plates and one teapot with floral border depicting ships in a harbor, selling for $2,300, over the $1,500 high estimate.
Among the weathervanes was a rare verdigris molded copper and zinc formal equestrian example, attributed to A.L. Jewell, depicting a female rider, side saddle, in full dress and high hat, seated erect on a prancing horse, that sold for $8,050, just under estimate. A pair of carved and gilt architectural eagles, Nineteenth Century, American, each on a rockwork plinth, designed to be mounted against a wall, 30½-inch wingspan, sold within estimate for $6,900, and a New England Chinese checkers game board, Nineteenth Century, in a pine frame and on a vibrant yellow ground, 16¼ inches square, went for $1,495.
A deer and hound copper weathervane, 51 inches long, attributed to J.W. Fiske, brought $14,950. A set of four Newburyport Queen Anne Spanish foot side chairs, first half of the Eighteenth Century, of maple and each with yoked molded crest rail continuing to molded stiles centering on vase-form splat sold for $6,325.
One lot later, a Pilgrim Century tavern table, cherry and maple, thin single-board top with breadboard ends, original red painted surface, went a hair under the low estimate at $9,775. A portrait of a girl in a blue dress, attributed to Joseph Whiting Stock, the sitter with her elbow resting on the arm of an Empire sofa and her left hand held to the side of her face, 26 by 22¼ inches, went out at $5,750.
A bid of $3,222 took a fine Onesime Dumas chronometer, No. 690, mid-Nineteenth Century, in the original three-part mahogany case, 7 inches high, 7 inches wide and 7 inches deep; a large vignette on panel titled “Joaquin Murrieta” (The original Zorro), on panel depicting a dashing figure on horseback brandishing a dagger, 32½ by 65½ inches, went for $11,500; and lots of interest was shown in lot 2234, a fine carved mahogany plaque of the Great Seal of the United States, late Nineteenth Century, American, 12½ by 44 inches, realizing $6,900, well above the $1,200 estimate. Eagles remained popular a few lots later when a giltwood carving, Nineteenth Century American, depicted the eagle perched on a ribbon tied swag and oak leaf wreath, 47 inches wide, that sold within estimate at $6,325.
A Navajo third phase chief’s blanket/rug, circa 1900, colors of red, black, ivory and gray, 67 by 50 inches, sold for $4,025, above the high estimate of $2,500, and a John Haley Bellamy small carved eagle plaque, late Nineteenth Century, Maine, white painted with eagle clutching a small banner, 26 inches long, went for $2,760. A whimsical cast iron cat boot scraper, painted red, mid-Nineteenth Century, brought $1,610, and a carved Black Forest stag shelf clock, Nineteenth Century, Switzerland, depicting a stag standing on a rock and posed over a tree trunk in which is centered a clock face with Roman numerals, 32½ inches high and 27½ inches wide, brought $5,865.
A tramp art high chest of drawers, second half of the Nineteenth Century, American, fitted with three central drawers and raised glove boxes with mirror, 35½ inches high, 16½ inches wide and 12 inches deep, sold for $2,300, and a cast iron and zinc Neptune fountain by J.W. Fiske, certainly the heaviest piece in the sale, the base measuring 9 feet in diameter, 8 feet 6 inches high, gaveled at $10,925.
Pictured in last week’s paper was one of the surprise lots of the sale, a Louis Vuitton wardrobe steamer trunk, early Twentieth Century, another one of the many lots from “Harp House,” that well exceeded its high estimate of $2,500 and sold for $34,500. It was one of the longest battles of the phone bid takers that day.
A rare pair of American gilt and patinated metal four-light gasoliers, circa 1860, attributed to Cornelius & Baker, Philadelphia, 38 inches high and 32 inches in diameter, brought $10,350; six carved and painted fish, each mounted on an oval board, sold for between $1,700 and $2,600; a pair of Georgian-style carved giltwood armchairs, England, floral carved cabriole legs, went for $4,887; and a Shaker covered cheese box in green paint, 13 inches in diameter, branded “C. Whitney,” sold for $1,380.
A large carved great snowy owl, Twentieth Century, American, large yellow glass eyes, 21 inches tall, sold for twice the high estimate at $1,610, and three Adirondack-style children’s twig furniture items, an armchair with rockers and two side tables, brought $690.
Reviews of the other three sessions of the sale will appear in forthcoming issues of Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
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