Published: December 14, 2021
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Leland Little
HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -Fresh to the market, a Powell family North Carolina Chippendale Masonic walnut corner cupboard attributed to William Seay, circa 1792-96, found favor with bidders at Leland Little’s December 4 auction, outperforming its $80/120,000 estimate to sell for $264,000. Originating in Bertie County and in a one piece-form, the piece featured yellow pine secondary, a broken arched pediment with applied cove molding terminating with rosettes with inlaid gesso five-point stars, double line concave molding to the edge of terminus and a tympanum featuring a central raised ebonized field with an incised spread winged eagle with Masonic emblems. Measuring 111¼ by 55 by 36 inches, it descended in the Lewiston, N.C., Powell family and was acquired by the consignor in 2017. This is the first time this corner cupboard has ever been offered to the public and it was won by a bidder on the phone.
Seay was a key figure in North Carolina’s Roanoke River Basin school of cabinetmaking and he supplied his patrons with cupboards and other simple joined pieces of furniture.
The auction resulted in more than $2.3 million in sales. There were 306 lots and collectively they enabled the firm to achieve strong and consistent results across all categories. Although, perhaps because the firm’s Signature Winter Sale, as it was titled, led up to the holidays, many of the leading lots were much smaller than the cupboard, indeed, downright wrapable, boxable and givable. Jewelry and timepieces were ascendant. In the latter category, a platinum and diamond Rolex Daytona watch was highly sought after and trounced its $50/70,000 to finish at $216,000. Automatic, with serial number 69V455H8, the watch featured a platinum bezel channel set with square cut diamonds, a signed dial with pave set diamonds, luminescent hour markers and hands, seconds hand sweep and with blue chronograph functions. An Oyster bracelet band completed the timepiece and it was accompanied by inner and outer presentation boxes and tags. It had been purchased from Rolex Boutique Deutsch, Houston, Texas.
Finger bling was represented by a platinum and 5.11-carat diamond solitaire ring, Tiffany & Co., which sold for $106,800. The main attraction was the round brilliant cut diamond weighing 5.11 carats and presenting H color, VS2 clarity in a six-prong setting. Signed Tiffany & Co., the size 5½ ring was accompanied by an October 2021 GIA report.
Fetching $79,200 was a Tiffany & Co. platinum and diamond necklace designed in an elegant leaf motif. These were defined by prong-set marquise cut diamonds weighing 26.42 total carats and round brilliant cut diamonds weighing 22.36 carats for a total weight of 48.78 carats (F-G color, VVS-VS clarity), and completed with an integrated clasp with diamond set release and with underfold safety.
A platinum and diamond circlet necklace by Tiffany & Co. went out at $49,200. The signed piece comprised 92 “circlet” links set with round brilliant cut diamonds weighing 25.16 total carats (F-G color, VVS-VS clarity).
Now something for the wrist – a platinum, 18K gold and diamond Cooper bracelet, made by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. The bracelet comprised platinum and diamond set cushion-form links with applied yellow gold X accents and diamond set bar links. It was completed with an integrated clasp signed Tiffany & Co. Schlumberger Studios, stamped PT 950 AU 750, and numbered 36744936. Total weight of full cut round diamonds was approximately 27.24 total carats (D-F color, VS clarity). With a length of 7¾ inches, it sold for $73,200.
An additional jewelry highlight in the sale was another bracelet, this one an 18K gold, platinum, diamond and paillonné enamel example by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co. that found a buyer for $43,200. It was designed in a hinged bangle form with segmented links featuring pavé set full cut round diamonds alternating with black paillonné enamel segmented links and with ribbed gold bars evenly spaced between the diamond and enamel links. It was completed with an integrated clasp with pin safety and measured 6½ inches long.
Not jewelry but a gem in the lighting category was from the collection of the late Robert Jamieson Jr, Pinehurst, N.C. It was a Tiffany Studios Dragonfly table lamp, circa 1910, featuring a green mottled glass shade with emerald green cabochons, seven dragonflies with cream bodies, ruby cabochon eyes, some with amber edges and reticulated bronze overlay wings with pink and green swirled slag glass. It was topped by a pierced bronze heat cap and onion-shaped finial. With a base of 26 by 10 inches and 8-by-20-3/8-inch shade, it earned $44,400.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.lelandlittle.com or 919-644-1243.
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