Published: February 1, 2011
Two cataloged, single-owner sales and one big various owners’ sale pushed Sotheby’s three-day Americana total to $14.4 million, smartly above the $11.5 cumulative target that the York Avenue auction house set for itself.
The eclectic various owners’ sale on January 21′2 came in at just under $8 million on 299 lots. Another 148 lots were passed. Buyers’ appetites were whetted by several choice examples of New England furniture.
Foremost among them was a serpentine front cherry wood chest of drawers that descended in the Searls family of Connecticut. It sold in the room to dealer G.W. Samaha against heated competition from Todd Prickett for $872,500. It is attributed to the rural Massachusetts cabinetmaker Nathan Lombard, who is presumed to have made this and five related chests. The chest is signed by Ebenezer Howard, a Sturbridge, Mass., craftsman who worked for Lombard.
A small, vividly inlaid New Hampshire dressing table attributed to Judkins and Senter of Portsmouth went to Prickett Antiques of Yardley, Penn., against stiff completion from New Hampshire dealer Peter Sawyer for $278,500. The dressing table was estimated at $15/30,000.
A New York marble top mixing table of about 1765 was knocked down to Pennsylvania conservator Alan Miller for $230,500.
A New York mahogany five-legged serpentine front games table went to a phone bidder for $182,500.
New Hampshire dealer Peter Sawyer claimed a bonnet-top cherry wood high chest of drawers from a group made in the Salem-Ipswich area of Massachusetts for $122,500.
The sale opened on January 21 with a 177 lots of prints, porcelain and silver. Leading the way was the Ptarmigan vase, a monumental copper, silver and gold mokume vessel measuring 25 inches high and dating to around 1900. It brought $662,500 from a Canadian dealer bidding on behalf of a Canadian museum. The vessel descended in the family of Tiffany designer Paulding Farnham, an investor in the Ptarmigan mines in British Colombia.
An enameled gold Order of the Cincinnati medal made for General Nathanael Greene to a design by Major Pierre L’Enfant by Duval & Francastel of Paris in 1784 sold for $242,500. Greene, a Rhode Island native, played an important role in George Washington’s surprise attack on Trenton in 1776.
Engraved with hunters in a landscape and the arms of Foxcroft and Danforth, a circa 1750 silver teapot by Jacob Hurd of Boston tripled estimate to bring $278,500.
Edwin Hochberg and his wife, Thayer, began buying cobalt decorated American stoneware in the late 1970s. They purchased many of the 39 consigned lots at country auctions and from specialist dealers. A J&E Norton, Bennington, Vt., 4-gallon jug decorated with a corralled and saddled horse led the selection, bringing the low end of its estimated range, $80,500.
Another favorite from this group was a heart-shaped New York inkwell incised and decorated with love birds. The inkwell sold to a phone bidder for $31,250 against its $20/100,000 estimate.
Folk art from other consigners included Ammi Phillips’s “Portrait of a Rosy Cheeked Girl in a Pink Dress.” It brought $290,500 in the room to a collector and dealer from Canada.
Needlework authorities Stephen and Carol Huber underbid Polly Burns’s circa 1768 Boston canvas work picture of a shepherdess and piper that sold in the room to a young couple for $122,500. The Hubers previously sold the piece to Clara L. McLean of Pinehurst, N.C., from whose estate the needlework was drawn.
A watercolor, pen and ink painting depicting Montpelier, James Madison’s house in Orangeville, Va., before it was enlarged in 1809 sold to Virginia dealer Sumpter Priddy for $25,000. The watercolor is by Anna Thornton, wife of the architect William Thornton. Thornton wrote about her visit to the Madisons in her diary in 1802, around the time that she painted the image.
Buyers snubbed Sotheby’s January 22 cataloged auction of important Americana from a private collection. The $944,945 session was just over 72 percent sold by lot. With 36 of 132 lots unsold, and many other items selling at or below low estimate, the sale achieved only 38 percent of its estimated value.
Successes included a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany games table of circa 1770 with fretwork carved legs in the Marlborough style. It sold to an absentee bidder for $98,500 against an estimate of $80/160,000.
A set of six Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany chairs of circa 1770 brought the same price, $98,500, selling to Delaware dealer James Kilvington.
An English japanned watch hutch exceeded estimate to sell to Massachusetts dealer Clark Pearce for $23,750 against the $6/12,000 estimate.
Chinese Export tablewares in the Tobacco Leaf pattern showed strength. Three platters and six plates achieved a combined $58,125.
Engraved with the motto “Sang Des Roi,” an ivory-handled Paktong tea urn left the room at $25,000.
A New York collector who studies schoolgirl art acquired an exceptional 1790 George III hexagonal tea caddy, $11,250, embellished with rolled paper and a miniature landscape enclosed in a medallion.
For their waterfront home in Greenwich, Conn., Suzanne and Norman Hascoe bought what struck their fancy †colonial and Federal American furniture, Czech paintings, Italian glass, Russian silver and a few example of American illustration art. Sotheby’s sold some of the slew on January 23, raising $5.4 million on 375 lots in a successful auction that was more than 90 percent sold by both lot and value.
Leading the way was a pair of silver wine cups, $752,500, made by Paul Revere Jr of Boston in 1792 for Moses Michael Hays, a founder of the Massachusetts Bank in 1784. A set of richly enameled Russian Faberge silver-gilt dessert flatware made in Moscow in 1910 brought $80,500.
New York dealer Leigh Keno acquired a pair of Newport Queen Anne shell carved mahogany side chairs attributed to John Goddard for $230,500. A second Newport chair, a shell carved Chippendale example also attributed to Goddard, made $145,500.
A Massachusetts Queen Anne high chest of drawers and matching dressing table illustrated in Lockwood’s Colonial Furniture in America in 1913 and later handled by John Walton sold midestimate for $350,500.
The Hascoes’ exceptional Czech art collection is slated to be sold in London in June.
Prices include buyer’s premium.
For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com .
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