Published: August 29, 2006
Tallying $11.7 million over three days, Northeast Auction’s August 4–6 Americana sale was a personal best for auctioneer Ron Bourgeault, who sold his first lot for more than a million dollars when he knocked down an 1882 molded copper locomotive weathervane from the Egan Collection for a record $1,216,000.
Over the course of three days Northeast registered 988 bidders: 672 were in the room, 192 were on telephones and 146 left bids.
When someone slyly suggested that Bourgeault install the clattering counting devices that Sotheby’s and Christie’s use to simultaneously translate bids into lira, pound and yen, the auctioneer objected.
“My customers are Americans. We’re not Armani or Savile Row, we’re Wal-Mart, Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers,” said Bourgeault. His winning formula — an all-American work ethic combined with pretense-free presentation — produced results. In addition to the $5.9 million Egan total, Northeast garnered $856,000 on the Thomas E. Wynne and Gaynor Wynne Richards Collection. Various Owners lots made up balance of the $11.7 million total.
Friday, August 4
Mocha consigned by Jonathan Rickard accounted for the first 79 lots of Friday’s session. Rickard, whose recent book on the colorful English earthenware has been well received, said that he is liquidating his entire collection in installments. The Connecticut collector was pleased with the latest tally, noting that several lots had handsomely contributed to the bottom line. He cited a circa 1810 barrel-form mocha jug banded in pale yellow with dark brown borders surrounded by four dipped fans. Purchased from Killingworth, Conn., dealer Lewis Scranton, the 7-inch-tall vessel fetched $37,700.
Friday is usually Northeast’s slowest day. But at least two bidders were alert when a Rhode Island Queen Anne maple drop leaf table inconspicuously crossed the block. Falmouth, Maine, dealer Chris Considine set his sight on the Eighteenth Century table, possibly from the Jobe or Christopher Townsend Shop, but the table went to the phone for $45,240.
Saturday, August 5
Following the Collection of Susan and Raymond Egan, previously reviewed, Northeast offered 315 lots of American folk art and country furniture, followed by American paintings and sculpture.
Gilbert Stuart’s 1816 portrait of the Reverend John Thornton Kirkland, president of Harvard, ignited bidding. Exhibited over the years at both the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Boston Atheneum, the painting sold in the room for $182,000 ($40/60,000).
A charming 18-by-22 ½-inch watercolor, pen and ink on paper portrait inscribed “The Jordan Party, Cohasset, Mass…” trounced estimate to sell for $132,500. A watercolor by the same hand is in the Garbisch Collection at the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
Thirty-nine lots from the estate of dealer Charles Godwin, late owner of the Godwin Gallery in Pepperell, Mass., included a desirable Florida view by Frank Henry Shapleigh (1842–1906). Signed and dated 1887, the 14-by-20-inch oil on canvas fetched $62,640.
Also from the Godwin Gallery was Willard Leroy Metcalf’s 1877 “Landscape with Trees and Field, Probably the Maine Coast,” $46,400 ($20/25,000) and an Eighteenth Century portrait of a boy with a branch of cherries, $34,800.
Sunday, August 6
Wynne Richards Collection
The 149-lot collection of Thomas E. Wynne and his daughter, Gaynor Wynne Richards, emphasized Philadelphia furniture and American and English silver. Thomas Wynne was a Philadelphia-born businessman whose passion was local history. Gaynor Wynne Richards, a Mount Holyoke College graduate and a Philadelphia Museum of Art docent, began joining her father on antiquing excursions while still in her teens.
The first antiques Wynne and his wife bought in 1942 were four circa 1769–70 George II silver candlesticks by John Carter of London. Ex Stair & Company, they sold to the phone for $26,680 ($10/15,000).
Richards shared her father’s love of silver. Her first acquisition was a George III silver cake basket by William Plummer of London. It went to New York dealer Jonathan Trace for $4,872. Trace also acquired a 4 ½-inch-tall Myer Myers cream pitcher for $17,980.
When the Wynnes splurged on antique furniture, which they used with later custom pieces, it was with Israel Sack, Ginsburg & Levy and Joe Kindig, Jr. From Kindig they acquired a Philadelphia Chippendale mahogany lowboy with carving attributed to Thomas Affleck. It resold to Maine dealer Seth Thayer for $98,600 ($25/35,000).
From Samuel T. Freeman & Co., came a Philadelphia Chippendale carved mahogany card table. Estimated at $20/25,000, it sold to the phone for $89,900.
Lancaster, Penn., furniture consultant Philip Zimmerman acquired a Philadelphia Chippendale carved mahogany side chair, ex Israel Sack, Inc, for $54,520.
Gloucester, Mass., prints dealer William Greenbaum said he was bidding for a client when he purchased a 1799 depiction of High Street in Philadelphia with the First Presbyterian Church. By William Russell Birch, the watercolor on paper crossed the block at $78,880. English emigrant William Birch and his son, Thomas, recorded 28 views, including this one, of Philadelphia. Published as engravings, the prints were the first comprehensive visual record of an American city.
Experts in New Hampshire furniture experts thronged to a Hepplewhite serpentine front mahogany sideboard with distinctive satinwood inlays simulating columns and inverted bellflowers. The case piece sold to the phone for $87,000 ($20/30,000). Probably made in Concord, N.H., the sideboard was originally owned by Stuart James Park, architect of New Hampshire’s state capitol building.
Another New Hampshire item of note was a Levi Hutchins of Concord banjo clock that sold to an absentee bidder for $69,900 ($25/30,000). A Massachusetts shelf clock by Aaron Willard fetched $41,760 ($15/20,000.)
Northeast Auctions consultant Albert Sack underbid the birch and cherry Shaker drop leaf table, probably from Hancock Village, Mass., that soared to $66,700 ($3/5,000).
A nest of three Massachusetts Federal tiger-maple tables attributed to John and Thomas Seymour with painting attributed to John Ritto Penniman made $78,300; a Massachusetts Sheraton mahogany and bird’s-eye maple veneer two-drawer work table brought $41,760; a Dover, Del., tall case clock signed Richard Miller sold for $34,800; and a 40-inch-tall copper and zinc pen and sword weathervane realized $49,880. Three days of sales ended with a Massachusetts miniature Hepplewhite veneered bow front chest of drawers. Only 11½ inches tall, it garnered $48,720.
For information, 603-433-8400 or www.northeastauctions.com.
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