Published: June 14, 2016
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack;
Additional Photos Courtesy John McInnis Auctioneers
AMESBURY, MASS. — John McInnis started his three-day Memorial Day Weekend sale with 137 lots of clocks and watches on Saturday afternoon. Nearly all sold within estimates. A heavily carved Tiffany multichime tall clock, bringing $9,200, was the highest price for that segment of the auction.
The second day of the sale included Asian and European decorative arts and antiques, with the day’s highest price, $17,250, recorded for a pair of jade table screens, cataloged as Eighteenth or Nineteenth Century.
The third day of the weekend sale was devoted to Americana, and included autographed items relating to space exploration and Michael Jackson. The top lot of the day was a Gustav Stickley bride’s chest, which brought $21,850. A good crowd was on hand for each day, there were numerous absentee bids, several phone lines were in use and internet bidding was available. It was a smoothly run sale, and McInnis provided the crowd with plenty of food.
The Saturday sale of timepieces included a number of pocket watches, the first three lots being 18K gold Patek Philippe examples. Each was open-faced, 18-jewel movements with eight adjustments. One had a face with Roman numerals and that brought the highest price, $2,588. A 14K gold pocket watch by the Elgin National Watch Co. in a hunter’s case with rose, yellow and white gold basket weave front and back lids sold well over its estimate, going for $1,053, and a group of seven movements also exceeded the estimate, achieving $345. The group included movements by C.H. Meylan, Matile, Ducommum, Joseph Johnson of Liverpool, James Stoddart and the New York Watch Co.
Several repeater carriage clocks were sold, with an unmarked example in a bell-metal case with applied banding fetching $1,265.
Two of the clocks did particularly well. A Tiffany & Co, multichime tall clock in a heavily carved Renaissance Revival case by Tobey Furniture Co., Chicago, reached $9,200. The movement, marked “J.J. Elliot Co. Ltd. London,” included date and moon phase features. The brass and silvered brass dial was marked Tiffany & Co., and it sold to a husband and wife in the salesroom. A French Empire ormolu mantel clock by Gaston Jolly, Paris, earned $6,900.
Other highlights of the timepiece portion of the sale included an Alfred Merrick fusee skeleton clock, which reached $1,380, and an unusual Federal period white painted “bride’s clock” in the manner of Aaron Willard, which finished at $5,463. According to the catalog, these white painted clocks are rare variants of the “dish” dial, glass front shelf clocks. Other Federal forms found in off-white paint include chairs, dressing tables and wall clocks.
The Sunday portion of the sale included a wide variety of European and Asian decorative arts, including silver, KPM and Royal Vienna porcelain, Lalique hood ornaments, a grand piano, carved ivories and more. At $17,250, a pair of Chinese carved jade table screens, cataloged as Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century, brought the highest price of the session. Each panel was about 5 by 6 inches and each was carved with figures in a mountain landscape. Hardstone snuff bottles ranged in price from $499 to $3,163, while a five-color Peking glass example fetched $144. A large, 10½-inch bronze mirror, Eighteenth/Nineteenth Century and cast with foo dogs and birds, earned $1,840.
The knowledgeable buyer of an item cataloged as “delft mug with filter, Eighteenth Century” seemed very pleased with his purchase, telling Antiques and The Arts Weekly that it was actually Seventeenth Century Chinese. He paid $546 for it — way over the $100 estimate. An elaborately engraved humidor, presented to an officer of the Siam Commercial Bank in 1938, with a fitted case finished at $4,312. Several pieces of Chinese furniture did well, as a pair of armchairs with carved and pierced splats and burlwood panels set into the seats went for $1,438. A Chinese rosewood demilune table with an inset marble top and an openwork apron reached $2,185.
Prices for Royal Vienna portrait plates varied by artist. A 9½-inch plate with a tan beehive mark, depicting “Mercedes” and signed Wagner, achieved $3,450, while a plate signed Schilling brought $575. A pair of plates signed by Wagner earned $3,163. Each went to an internet bidder. A phone bidder was successful on a pair of Nineteenth Century Sevres-style urns, enameled with classical imagery and having brass bases and ormolu mounts. The pair realized $4,888, twice the estimate. Other European items did well. A pair of parcel-gilt hammered copper vases, 7½ inches tall, by Josef Hoffmann, Wiener Werkstätte, went to the internet for $6,900.
The Monday sale offered 468 lots of Americana and included folk art, woodenware, Arts and Crafts furniture and pottery, paintings, glass and advertising items. Expected to do well and selling for $21,850, double its estimate, was a Gustav Stickley bride’s chest, circa 1902. Its paper label indicated that it was “finish #2.” The chest was 41¼ inches long and in untouched condition. McInnis deliberately did no cleaning — it even had a coating of dust in the corners. His decision to leave it alone was a good one, as it became the highest priced item in the three-day sale.
The day started off with a folky, copper full-bodied rooster weathervane, which brought $3,450. An unsigned portrait of an attractive, well-dressed woman attributed to Zedekiah Belknap (1781–1858) brought $5,750, and an unsigned miniature portrait of Nathan Ames attributed to Rufus Porter (1792–1884) reached $3,450. A signed portrait by Alfred Jacob Miller (1810–1874) of a bearded man finished at $4,600. A ship’s portrait of the USS Constitution under full sail, signed by Marshall Johnson Jr (1850–1921), fetched $5,750.
There were several pieces of country furniture. An early tap table with a two-board top, breadboard ends and a red base sold for $920, while a pair of ladder back chairs in old red with well-turned finials finished at $2,588. A mustard and red grained blanket box on turned black feet brought $575. McInnis described a set of six decorated arrow back chairs as “the finest set we’ve sold in years.” It reached $1,265. A cobalt-decorated stoneware jug with a bird on a branch made by M.E. Warner, West Troy, N.Y., realized $374. Flasks included a Keene olive-green Starburst example, partially embossed “Keen,” which brought $575, and an amber-olive cornucopia with eagle flask was from Stoddard, N.H. It realized $173.
One of the more unusual objects in the sale was a wrought iron flint striker set into a porous stone. It had a Roger Bacon provenance and “feel,” and it went for $144. The auction offered an assortment of early lanterns. One of the more interesting was a triangular tin barn example with arched, mirrored reflectors and its original fluid lamp and chimney. It fetched $920.
In addition to the Stickley bride’s chest, the sale included other Mission furniture and several pieces of Scheier pottery. A signed, figural stoneware vase, almost 15 inches tall, with a central band of figures depicting birth or entrapment scenes earned $4,025. It had been presented by Edwin and Mary Scheier to friend and fellow University of New Hampshire art professor John W. Hatch. An unusual, but unsigned, decorative tile worked with their “squeeze bag” technique went out for a reasonable $288, and an assembled set of eight signed, graduated creamers with different colored glazes seemed reasonable, finishing at $460. An unusual Arts and Crafts period table lamp with large shards of colored glass set into the shade and base was unsigned, but still brought $2,300.
The sale finished with ephemera, space exploration memorabilia, Michael Jackson memorabilia and an important portfolio of work done by Hermann Roessler (1890–1955), a designer for Tiffany whose estate was purchased by Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The portfolio included a number of sketches for Tiffany advertising, a study for a 1939 mural, sketches, a study for a Saturday Evening Post cover, photographs and more. The lot realized $2,185.
For the young at heart, a black fedora worn by Michael Jackson on his “Victory Tour” and acquired by a fan who was in the second row at one of the performances realized $2,587, while an inscribed publicity photo for his Bad album, signed “To Rebecca with Love Michael Jackson” reached $777. Two left-handed white gloves distributed as invitations to Jackson’s “Thriller” party at New York’s Museum of Natural History each brought $316. Autographed astronaut photos were led by two 1971 NASA Apollo mission photographs signed by Alan Shepard. One brought $460 and the other went for $518.
All in all, it was a sale with something for everyone. After the sale, McGinnis told Antiques and The Arts Weekly that he was quite pleased with the weekend’s results. “We had cataloged a carved deer head as being by Bellamy and later learned that it wasn’t. I announced that at the sale, and it still brought $5,750. It was a great carving, and the Tiffany tall case clock did well. I think everyone had a good time, and I think everyone went home with some good buys. We grossed more than $700,000 and that’s a pretty good number.”
All prices reported include the buyers’ premium.
For additional information, www.mcinnisauctions.com or 800-822-1417.
April 20, 2016
April 4, 2016
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