Published: February 20, 2018
ALEXANDRIA, VA. – A collection of French antiques from an oil baron’s West Coast estate pushed Potomack Company’s January 27 sale to a total of $2.3 million, a new high for the firm and positioning it more prominently as a Washington-area venue for art and antiques.
The sale was anchored by, and started with, the Keck collection, with works acquired since the 1960s by Superior Oil founder William Myron Keck. A portion of Keck’s collection had been sold in a “white glove” sale a few years ago by a West Coast firm, but the 155 lots offered by Potomack were fresh-to-the-market and comprised continental furniture, decorative arts and jewelry. Bidders packed the saleroom and competed for lots with absentee, phone and online bidders. The collection was met with tremendous interest, both nationally and internationally, and, at press time, all lots but one from the Keck collection had been sold.
The sale was led by a Belle Époque ormolu-mounted vitrine attributed to E. Zwiener, which more than quadrupled its estimate to finish at $468,750. A pair of Louis XV-style ormolu-mounted mahogany and marquetry pedestals by Francois Linke drew gasps in the full saleroom when it reached $250,000, which may have been a record for the form. Rounding out the top three prices achieved for the sale was another Linke piece, index #2184, an ormolu-mounted inlaid mahogany buffet that went for $218,750, nearly ten times its low estimate.
A small section of jewelry included a Tiffany diamond brooch and earrings and a diamond-studded platinum watch. Interest on all the Keck jewelry exceeded expectations as did interest in decorative arts. Tiffany & Co. proved to be worth its weight in gilt as flatware, dinner services, salt cellars, pepper shakers and serving pieces acquired from the iconic retailer inspired bidders to stay in the game and strong prices were achieved in all areas.
Among the Keck’s fine art were an Eighteenth Century Italian architectural capriccio, a pair of Nineteenth Century paintings after Jean-Honoré Fragonard and a work by Montague Dawson that sailed through its estimate to close at $56,250.
Buyers may have come for the Keck collection, but they stayed to compete for property from various owners, which followed the Keck collection. Results were mixed, and the various owner section was led by a Chinese silver and enamel three-piece tea set with matching tray, which achieved $43,750.
For additional information, www.potomackcompany.com or 703-684-4550.
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