Sotheby's Americana Week Auctions New York
Jan 14-24, 2022
Published: May 11, 2016
HUDSON, N.Y. — Decorative arts dominated Stair Galleries’ April 30–May 1 auction of English, Continental and American furniture, paintings, silver, porcelain and South East Asian works of art.
Leading the auction overall was a Faberge silver and enamel “loving cup” kovsh presented to wealthy American industrialist C.K.G. Billings in 1909, which attained $390,400 against its $80/120,000 estimate. The rare cup was given to Billings in Moscow on behalf of Tsar Nicholas II following the triumphant performance of Billings’ horse, Lou Dillon.
Eight phone bidders chased the cup once bidding opened but when the price reached $250,000, the action came down to just three phone bidders. At the $300,000 mark, there were only two bidders left. The piece is heading back to its native Russia. Another Faberge piece, a fine gold-mounted rhodonite etui sold briskly for $32,940 against a $4/6,000 estimate.
The second highest price recorded here was $183,000 for a Chinese patinated bronze figure of a seated Hotei, who is the god of contentment and happiness, or fondly recognized as the fat, laughing Buddha. International bidding was strong and the figure is making its way back to China. It came out of the collection of Mamdouha and Elmer Bobst, New York City. The Bobsts also collected a fine Southeast Asian gilt-bronze figure of a female deity, which fetched $67,100, far above its $800–$1,200 estimate.
The sale was very strong in the Asian area with a Nepalese gilt-bronze figure of a multi-arm deity selling for $18,300 and a rare Japanese bronze model of the Hokusai wave ($1,5/3,000) for $15,250.
A surprise was a Louis XV ormolu-mounted marquetry commode, signed Pierre Roussel, that fetched $36,600, against an estimate of $2,5/3,500. The piece was of fine quality but in poor condition.
One of the more mysterious lots of the sale was an English Masonic gilt-metal and brass mystery clock estimated at $4/8,000 that sold to an American buyer for $31,720. The clock boasts complicated and secret workings along with iconic Masonic symbolism which led to its high price.
Rounding out the sale were a Van der Gucht (1753–1794) portrait of David Garrick that reached a robust price of $19,520 against its $2/4,000 estimate, and a highlight among English decorative arts was a bronze sundial, marked “John Bryant, York, 1709,” that brought $10,980. Among the group of 11 English and European sundials, the other examples ranged from $4,575 to $10,980.
All prices reported include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.stairgalleries.com or 518-751-1000.
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