Published: February 23, 2021
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Eldred’s
EAST DENNIS, MASS. – In a paradigm change because of increased online interest and participation since the beginning of the pandemic, Eldred’s has conducted more frequent intermediary sales to supplement their semi-annual fine sales of Asian, antiques and fine art and marine antiques. “We find that collectors react better to smaller sales,” company president Josh Eldred said by phone. “It used to be that you had to create a huge sale to bring collectors in, but with the internet, it’s changed how you build sales. We’ve been trying to increase the regularity of smaller sales and pare down the finer sales.”
The firm’s February 11 Winter Market auction was a case in point, offering less than 500 lots that were offered on three online platforms in addition to absentee and phone bidding; in-person bidding was not offered. The sale saw a total of $187,500 with more than 91 percent of lots trading hands.
“Overall, we were thrilled with the results. We had tremendous participation from the internet, phone and left bids. It was not a major sale for us, and there were things in it that had not sold before that did well so we are really pleased,” Eldred said. He noted the continuing trend of new bidders and buyers to Eldred’s sales, qualifying it as saying most of the new clients are within an age bracket of 40-60.
An estate in Provincetown, Mass., was the source of the highest price realized in the sale. Taking top-lot honors was a lot of two framed works by Jack Butler Yeats (Ireland, 1871-1957), which had been estimated at $200/300 but which sold to an international buyer, bidding online, for $5,313. Yeats’ hand colored Cuala press print titled “The New Ballad Singer” accompanied his poem, “Through Winter Time We Call on Spring,” which was handwritten on a Post Office Telegraph, signed and dated September 16, 1921.
Fine art lots were in prominent display through the sale, securing several spots in the top-ten list. A Nineteenth Century American school portrait of a young woman holding a candle evoked Pre-Raphaelite sentiments and landed the second highest price – $3,250 – from a private collector. Bidders took a copy of Jean Francois Millet’s “The Gleaners” to $2,000. An Eighteenth Century English school portrait of John Mar, the Earl and Duke of Mar, more than tripled its high estimate to bring the lofty price of $1,875, and Joseph Malachy Kavanagh’s (French, 1856-1918) painting of a woman by a lake exceeded its high estimate and brought $1,625.
Furniture results, whether for antique, modern or contemporary, were quite strong, particularly for contemporary upholstered furniture, a trend that Eldred attributes to a combination of factories closing or limiting production due to Covid-19 and increased real estate markets from people decamping urban areas in favor of rural environs. Three lots illustrate this phenomenon exactly, including the third highest result achieved for a late Eighteenth Century Chippendale maple chest on chest that had been sourced from a private home in Connecticut and sold to a private collector for $2,875. A Midcentury Modern teak and rattan credenza, designed by Hans Wegner for Ry Mobler, circa 1960s, had also come from a home in Connecticut. It is leaving the area, going to a buyer on the West Coast who bought it for $2,375. Rounding out the furniture highlights was a pair of contemporary upholstered armchairs by Edward Ferrell, Ltd., which made nearly five times its high estimate, selling for $2,375.
Eldred’s next sales will be an Antiques & Accessories sale on March 4 and a three-day Spring Asian Art Auction March 17-19.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Eldred’s is at 1483 Route 6A. For more information, 508-385-3116 or www.eldreds.com.
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