Published: September 8, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Photos Courtesy Kamelot Auctions
PHILADELPHIA- “We have a lot of international buyers, a lot of American buyers, but this past sale we saw a noticeable increase in local buyers,” said Lindsay Nichols, operations director at Kamelot Auctions, speaking about the firm’s August 25 and 27 sales. The two auctions offered up more than 700 lots of furnishings and art that reached from midcentury design on back to Nineteenth Century styles. Nichols was not able to pinpoint the reason local buyers flocked to the auction, but she surmised that the firm found a few of them through their Instagram account.
Nichols said the online-only sale pulled from more than 60 consignors both international and local to the auction house. Bidders participated online through Kamelot’s proprietary bidding platform as well as LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable, with additional bids processed through absentee and phone.
The first day of the sale found a leader in a 1970s brass console table with geometric designs and a smoked glass top that sold for $13,000 on a $1,200 estimate. Nichols said, “We knew it was going to do well, but it did better than expected.” The table came from a New York consignor.
Bidders transitioned into the International Style as they bid up two lots in the manner of French designer Jean-Michel Frank, both in dark worn leather and black iron frames: a double seated bench took $4,420, while two chairs sold for $3,900. A pair of parchment benches from the designer in clean upholstery would sell for $3,120.
More playful were the Italian designs, including Gaetano Pesce’s Up5 chair and Up6 ottoman for B&B Italia, which reached $3,120 even though the upholstery was tattered. A pair of Paolo Buffa club chairs in stamped zebra-pattern leather sold for $2,860, above estimate. Nichols related that the Buffa chairs came from a consignor in Argentina and the firm has another pair coming up in the next sale.
Day two was led by furnishings and decorative arts of earlier eras. Found among the top lots was a pair of marble top commodes in the Directoire style, circa 1940, that sold for $8,125 above a $600 estimate. A set of ten French walnut Regency-style dining chairs from the same period took $3,640.
Nichols said that the firm was working with the estate of a consignor who had accumulated antique objects through generations. Among them was a Nineteenth Century painted wood and iron horse-drawn sleigh, which brought $2,750. Standing 5 feet tall was an Enterprise No. 9 floor model iron coffee grinder with original paint and stand that sold for $2,813. There were eight other coffee grinders in the sale and they all sold. From the same consignor came a number of typewriters, led by a Nineteenth Century upstroke example from the National company that brought $2,470 on a $600 estimate. Nichols favorite lot from that consignment was a grouping of Pennsylvania fishing license buttons, paper licenses and fishing law booklets that dated from 1924 to 1975. The group sold for $531.
There was plenty of interest in two motorcycles in the sale and chief among them was a 1970 Harley Davidson FE 45CI Servi Car trike that brought $8,750 to a local buyer. Behind at $2,080 was an original Whizzer motor bike on a Schwinn frame.
Kamelot will have a series of sales coming up between now and December, including a Modern Design sale in October, a fine art sale, and more auctions of Victorian and continental material.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.kamelotauctions.com or 215-438-6990.
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