Published: May 10, 2022
Review by W.A. Demers, Photos Courtesy Nadeau’s Auction
WINDSOR, CONN. – Ed Nadeau always packs his spring auction with items representing a broad swath of collecting sensibilities, and his April 30 sale was no exception, offering American antiques, Chinese and continental treasures. And, typically, there is always at least one surprise lot that elicits bidding fervor. For this sale, it was a Chinese bronze ding, a four-footed rectangular ritual vessel with opposing loop handles and its exterior decorated with a Taotie mask. Inside the 10¼-inch vessel was an archaic grass writing inscription. The vessel easily smoked its $500-$1,000 estimate, finishing at $128,000.
The overall sale grossed more than $1,176,000, a result of more than 600 lots of fine and decorative art, furniture, jewelry and more crossing the auction block, antiques sourced from prominent East Coast families and estates. Sell-through was 94 percent, with strong results across all categories.
The ding may have provided the fireworks, but the rest of the sale provided the high-quality diversity for which Nadeau’s is known, A Rolex Submariner 18K gold wristwatch was one such example. Having a Jubilee band along with original 1980 warranty paper, the 40 millimeter wrist candy, serial #5860623, came with a brown leather Rolex box. Estimated $10/14,000, it did better, realizing $35,840.
A Nadeau’s staple lot in the form of a Chippendale walnut highboy in two parts brought an exceptional $22,140 against a $3/5,000 valuation. From the Cheshire, Conn., estate of Florence Yannios, it featured an upper section with bonnet top over three short drawers, over four drawers, with fan carved center drawer. All this was flanked by fluted pilasters on the lower section with one drawer over three drawers, a fan carved center drawer with carved pinwheels and all set on cabriole legs, ending in ball and claw feet. Height was 84 inches and width was 37½ inches.
That estate also yielded a three-part mirror plateau, having a silver plated frame on paw feet, 50 inches long. From a $300/500 estimate, it went out at $5,760.
Another furniture highlight was a classical carved giltwood girandole mirror from Philadelphia, circa 1815. It came out of the collection of Sascha Rockefeller and found a new home at $30,750, more than three times its high estimate. With a flat circular mirror plate, and ebonized slip surrounded by a framework hung with gilt spherules, it was surmounted by an eagle perched on stylized leafage holding a chain in its beak.
There were more surprises. A mid-Nineteenth Century map of Antigua with color highlights bested its $200/300 estimate to settle at $7,040. It was dated 1852, by Wm. Musgrave and folded out to 42 by 52 inches.
Similarly, a pair of clay tomb figures of female dancers, Tang dynasty (618-907), made $8,960, more than four times the high estimate. Both were on custom wooden stands at a height 12¾ inches. Provenance included the Fifth Avenue, New York City estate of Mary C. Rockefeller.
Fetching $7,380 was a Nineteenth Century tiger maple lift top box with ties to the Morris family of Connecticut. Estimated at $1,5/2,500 it measured 13½ by 7-7/8 by 5 inches overall and was decorated on its top with a view of Bacon Academy of Colchester, Conn., and a portrait of Emeline Whitman on its reverse. Whitman was the second wife of patriarch Myron Newton Morris. A lengthy note with the lot explained the backstory of its owner, Myron Newton Morris (1810-1885), an American minister and politician, the youngest child of Newton J. and Eunice (Newton) Morris, born on one of the Yale College farms in Warren, Conn.
Eddie Nadeau, company president, said, “We are grinning ear to ear over the results of this April spring event. There is always the unexpected, but the Chinese ding really took us all by surprise. It caught the world’s attention and clearly more than one enthusiast really wanted to add it to their collection. It was amazing to watch the bids tick up and up. I think everyone in the gallery was holding their breath until the hammer fell… I know I was. Our next sale, our spring midcentury outdoor furnishings plus accessories event, will be conducted on May 14. I hope to see you there!”
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.
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