Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Catalog Photos Courtesy Iroquois Auctions
CLAY, N.Y. – Iroquois Auctions celebrated both the New Year and 50 years in business with a sale of nearly 500 lots conducted in the Great Northern Mall on Route 31. Between 100 and 150 bidders were able to be spread throughout the sale venue and competed for the 487 lots on offer with absentee and phone bidders as well as about 1,400 registered online bidders on LiveAuctioneers. Just two lots were passed for a sell-through rate of more than 99 percent, with about 80 percent of lots selling to online bidders.
“The sale was a 100 percent success and the consignors are elated; I’m very happy about it,” said Gerald Petro, owner, founder and auctioneer He started Iroquois Auctions in 1971 and will celebrate his 50th anniversary throughout the year. “It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work. We’ve made a lot of great relationships and friends throughout the years.”
A relationship Petro developed over the course of decades was the source of much property in the sale, emerging from an 1840s mansion in Mannsville, N.Y., that had been built by a Lake Ontario ship captain. “I’ve had my eye on that house for 20-30 years. I got a call from the family saying my perseverance had paid off,” Petro said. Bidders responded to the fresh-to-the-market property with interest across the board, from the largest lots to the smallest. The top price of the sale falls into the former category, with a 13-foot-tall oak bar, built in 1904 by M.J. Bernhard in Buffalo, N.Y., for a Carthage, N.Y., tavern and later installed in the Mannsville mansion, bringing $7,150 against an estimate of $4/6,000. It sold to a phone bidder from Pennsylvania.
Other large pieces of furniture also did well. A mid-Nineteenth Century Victorian gilt mirror that may have been over a mantel and was attributed to Jelliff, measured 86 inches tall by 60 inches wide and soared past its estimate to sell to a buyer in New Orleans for $1,920, despite having been repainted and now with some flaking losses. Of similar vintage and value was a Victorian black walnut mirror and cabinet with marble top that stood more than 8½ feet tall; it brought $1,760. For those who might have been in the mood for a smaller Nineteenth Century mirror, they could have bid on a circa 1860s two-piece bedroom set that featured a dresser with mirror and a bed; it brought $1,320. Rounding out furniture highlights was an 1860s German carved walnut cabinet that did not quite reach its low estimate and sold for $687.
Of the six flatware sets offered in the sale, two by Gorham brought the strongest prices. The best of these and the first lot in the sale – a 124-piece set in the Lily pattern – came with hard-to-find serving pieces and sold to an online buyer for $6,000; the set had been in the family of the original owner in Clayton, N.Y., for more than 75 years. It was followed by a 91-piece set in the Chantilly pattern that finished at $2,400 to an online buyer. Other flatware sets were by Oneida and Tiffany and made, respectively, $1,320 and $935. Among silver holloware, a sterling silver trophy for the Adirondack Inn, also from the Mannsville mansion and circa 1913, finished at $1,210.
Pottery was plentiful and brought modest prices. The noted exception to that was a Royal Vienna parcel-gilt and hand painted porcelain vase of unusual form that was signed Waldesflustern and depicted a young maiden and cherub in a landscape, which achieved $4,500 from an online buyer, nearly three times its high estimate and the third highest price in the sale. A group lot of 27 pieces of Nineteenth Century stoneware achieved $770.
A small but not inconsequential category in the sale was firearms, with almost 20 lots of pistols, 15 lots of rifles and about 25 lots of ammunition and accessories. Petro said they were from two different consignors, both of which came in within a couple of weeks of the sale. All sold, with a Colt Anaconda 44-caliber Rem Mag pistol with 8-inch barrel in its original plastic box bringing the most, $2,760. Firing into second place at $1,650 was a 22LR Colt Camp Perry single-shot pistol with 10-inch barrel that was made in 1931 and sold within estimate for $1,650.
Estate jewelry was plentiful and all sold at prices across the board. Notable sparklers were a 14K white gold and diamond ring with four princess-cut diamonds weighing a total of 2.0 carats that finished at $1,760. A 14K gold Byzantine Italian necklace rose to $1,540, and a 14K white gold diamond solitaire woman’s ring closed at $1,320. If costume jewelry was more your speed, a lot of 405 pieces from an estate in DeWitt N.Y., had some signed pieces and realized $990.
There were some surprises in the fine art category. Leading was a late Nineteenth Century unsigned oil on canvas fall landscape of the Thousand Islands with sail boats and houses. It measured 14½ by 42½ inches and brought $1,560 from an online bidder after heated competition. A painting of Napoleon that the catalog said was the 1894 artwork for the Napoleon Cigar Signs logo fell a little short of expectations but still sold for $1,200, just ahead of a monumental circa 1860s oil on canvas painting that depicted cows in a river landscape that sold a buyer in Washington DC for $1,200. Bringing $770 was a Nineteenth Century painting of a horse and dog that had come out of the Mannsville house.
A few lots in the sale would surely be described as unusual; a carved and painted dentist’s trade sign in the form of a tooth surely fits that description. Marked A.P. Ingerson / Dentist and fitted with a two-part iron ring, Petro thought it dated to the 1830s and had come from the Syracuse, N.Y, area where Petro found it under a staircase. It sold just shy of its high estimate, for $1,050, to a trade buyer bidding online.
What’s the going auction rate for empty vintage or antique beer cans? If this sale was the standard by which all were judged, they would be worth slightly less than a dollar apiece. Achieving that result was a group lot of more than 385 cans that were part of the Mannsville mansion estate and popped their tops at $357.
Other noteworthy results include a Pulver one-cent chewing gum dispenser, in working condition, depicting police arresting a bandit. Bidders pushed it just past its high estimate and it closed at $1,680. The shape of a late Eighteenth or early Nineteenth Century American burl bowl that could have been made by Native Americans was described as “unusual;” measuring just 6 inches high and about 16 by 12 inches across, it saw strong bidding competition and sold for $1,440. That was the same price realized for a 12-car Lionel Wabash train set that was being sold by its original owner, who received it as a Christmas present in 1955.
Iroquois Auctions next sale will take place in either June or July.
Prices quoted include buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For more information, email@example.com or 315-591-1784.