Published: October 2, 2001
By Rita Easton
WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. – A September 8 auction held at OPM Auctions, Ltd, brought in a crowd, including 73 bidders competing for the 311 lots crossing the block.
The event grossed approximately $500,000. The primary consignors were all estates, including those of Caleb Smith (founder of Smithtown, Long Island), Daniel Abbey of Lancaster County, Penn., Michel Morand of Colonial Philadelphia, and Walter Richard of Arlington, Va., with rdf_Descriptions including Eighteenth, Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century American furniture, fine art, folk art and collectibles, some of the finest of early Colonial and developing America.
A tole chandelier from an Arlington, Va., mansion reached the top bid of the day at $30,250, going to the trade. The lot was in all-original shape, 57 inches high, with original paint and original glass globes, never electrified, a centennial piece from 1876. Just above the chimney is the original reflective striped mirror. All was intact.
“It almost looked like a wheel at the bottom,” explained Bob Baker of the gallery, “and on that wheel was a tube that went around shaped like a hexagon; there were four globes. The only other two that are known are in the Arlington, Virginia, museum.”
The Chippendale tilt-top mahogany candlestand, circa 1790, on a tripod stand, of Caleb Smith, having its original crab lock and handmade screws, with a simple repair to the underside of the 20½ -inch tabletop to ensure that the top would not split, reached $15,400, going to the west US trade.
An Eli Terry clock with reverse painting, signed by Elizabeth Ann Sheldon, circa 1824, from the Pulestin estate in Belport, Long Island, in the family from 1824, went to the trade at $5,500; a reverse painted New York folk art sailing ship on glass, 101/2 by 9¼ inches, circa 1840, fetched $16,500; and a circa 1825 tiger birch dresser, with one long drawer over three shorter ones, and a fancy backsplash with two short glove drawers, sold at $19,800 to the trade.
A 1760 Queen Anne hall mirror, 191/8 inches wide by 41¼ inches to the crest from the bottom rail, with original looking glass sold at $4,200 to the trade; a mahogany Chippendale slant-front desk standing on bracket feet realized $5,500; a two-drawer work table with two drop leaves sold at $4,750; a two-drawer work table sold at $2,975; and an 8-foot-long circa 1840 banquet table from the Ettinger estate in Chester County, Penn., consisting of two half tables with drop leaves, brought a stunning $16,000.
A Venini-Murano blown glass chandelier, circa 1959, multicolored with three cones, sold at $2,500; an American Empire Cuban mahogany-topped, paw-footed center table did $12,100, going to a California dealer; a 11-foot, 3-inch by 81/2 -foot Tabriz rug was the buy of the day at $1,900; and a tiger maple and cherry chest, circa 1810, attributed to Ephriam Haines reached $15,000.
Bob Baker, who auctioneers and is proprietor of the gallery, is a retired neurologist.
“I was chief of neurology at Columbia Presbyterian,” he notes, “…and I said, after six months of retirement, I’m going out to Missouri and going to become a professional cattle auctioneer – and that’s what I did…and then I went home and said ‘I gotta go back to school,’ and I got a doctorate in fine arts…so you have to understand that this is a passion for me, and I personally go out on trips and buy everything that we have here.”
His Westhampton Beach storefront is called “Circa Something Fine Art and Antiques.” Baker is also an appraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Prices quoted do not reflect a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
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