Published: July 26, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Kaminski Auctions
BEVERLY, MASS. – “I’m totally exhausted” Frank Kaminski said when we reached him two days after he’d concluded orchestrating three days of sales – July 15-17 – that saw approximately 1,150 lots cross the block. He reported about $500,000 in sales, adding that they were still getting interest in items that passed – and selling things – so he expected that tally to rise.
“I had initially planned to hold this sale in the fall but we have so much stuff coming in I decided to sell it in the summer. The market feels pretty strong now. We have a lot of retail customers – private collectors – furnishing their homes; I’m seeing a lot of that. You can furnish your house for less than $5,000 at a Kaminski Auction.”
If one had just $5,000 to spend, that would not even have covered the buyer’s premium on the top lot of the three-day event, which sold for $90,000. Earning that was a 14-by-9-inch oil on wood panel that depicted a winter landscape and was signed “F.T. Millet.” The catalog entry for the item was brief and the painting carried an estimate of just $1/2,000. A representative for the auction house confirmed that the lot received 117 page views and a total of 86 bid increments. In the end, it sold to a local collector who was sitting in the salesroom.
“I got it from a client I’ve been working with who is selling her grandfather’s estate, a very prominent family in New York City and Cooperstown, N.Y. That was an amazing price for that painting and a big surprise for us. We even had international interest on it and most people were bidding online,” Kaminski said.
Another of the sale’s highlights that came from the same estate – and the top lot on the second day of sales – was an Aaron Willard tall case clock Kaminski described as “great.” Clocking in with an estimate of $4/6,000, it closed out at $8,520 and will be staying in New England.
European and English furniture in the sale also enjoyed some strong interest and results. A pair of Eighteenth Century English Chippendale armchairs with tapestry upholstery sold just below the high estimate, for $1,920, and an antique Italian fruitwood serpentine drop-front desk with intricate bone inlay impressed at $8,400, more than twice its low estimate
“About 80 percent of the sale came from a house and estate in Palm Beach, Florida, that belonged to a major industrialist from Scandinavia. He had a building and fabricating company as large as an Amazon warehouse. He purchased a waterfront home in Palm Beach and brought all of his antiques over. It was great for us because it was so diverse – some Midcentury Modern, some Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century pieces. It was quite a lot.”
The highest selling lot from the Palm Beach estate earned $43,200 and was done in the style of Edwaert Collier (Dutch, circa 1640-1707). “Still Life with Parrot on Balustrade, Draped Table with Fruits, Flowers and Shells” was unsigned but was executed in oil on canvas and measuring 58 by 80 inches, or 67 by 90 inches in the frame. In hindsight, its $10/15,000 estimate was temptingly conservative and it sold to a local buyer.
The buyer of “Still Life with Parrot…” also purchased, for $19,200, a large – 55 by 75 inches framed – landscape painting that was cataloged as Eighteenth Century Italian but which Kaminski said could be Seventeenth Century. He noted that it had also been from the Palm Beach estate, as was an Old Master portrait of a bearded man that he said he found in the garage in Palm Beach. The 22-by-18¼-inch oil on wood panel was not signed and had an estimate of $750-$1,250. It attracted a lot of interest, including from international bidders, but in the end, it sold to a buyer in New England for $15,600.
An estate in Del Ray Beach, Fla., was the source of a Midcentury Modern two-piece bronze sculpture by Itzik Benshalom (Israeli, 1945-2018), which sold within estimate, for $22,800. Kaminski said it was purchased by a Boston collector who plans to make a granite plinth for it and put it in his garden.
Other bronzes in the sale included a mid-Twentiteth Century European bronze fountain in the form of a boy with a bucket ($7,200); another of similar vintage of a tiger and python stamped by Paris Barbidienne ($4,500); and an undated but antique copy of Giambologna’s “Rape of the Sabine Women,” which bore the foundry mark “E.De Labroue” and sold for $2,520.
“Auctions are funny, they really are. It’s not a science, you really can’t predict, you don’t always know,” Kaminski said, commenting about the result on a framed Chinese famille rose plaque featuring Daoist immortals in bright enamels bringing the top price of the group, $13,200 against a $1,6/2,500 estimate from a buyer in the American South. Kaminski said the seller had acquired it at auction within the past few months for less than $2,000 but decided not to keep it. He said it had attracted a lot of interest, including from international bidders. It was the highest price realized for a category of more than 100 lots of Asian art and antiques that were fielded throughout all three days.
Other highlights from the Asiana category include a Nineteenth Century Chinese bulb vase decorated with dragons with five claws, on a Nineteenth Century French giltwood base, that made $4,800, and a pair of Nineteenth Century Japanese Meiji period bronze vases, with gold, copper and silver inlay, that topped off at $2,280.
Silver and objects of vertu got the first day of the sales off to a shiny start, with two lots sharing the highest price of the day at $5,100. The first one to reach that mark was an 8-inch-long Russian .840 silver spoon with ornate enameling to the handle that had gone up with a $250/350 estimate. An hour or two later, it was matched by a 20-inch-tall English repoussé silver ewer with hallmarks for C&S Co. of London. One of the best results for silver, compared to its estimate, would likely be won by an Eighteenth Century Irish silver dish ring made by Robert Calderwood of Dublin; it made $3,600 against a $250/350 estimate.
The second day of the auctions began with four seemingly identical first edition lots of Winston Churchill’s six-volume set titled, The Second World War, published by Houghton Mifflin Co., 1948-53, each estimated at $300/500. The first two lots each sold for $1,320, the third lot made $1,680 while the fourth lot made $1,560 to the book.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house.
Kaminski Auctions’ next sale is scheduled for August 20-21. For information, 978-927-2223 or www.kaminskiauctions.com.
August 9, 2022
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August 9, 2022
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