Published: June 12, 2007
The contents of the estate of well-known Williamstown, Mass., antiques dealer John Robinson crossed the auction block on May 31, during a highly anticipated sale conducted by Ron Bourgeault of Northeast Auctions. The auction, with select additions from estates throughout the Northeast, attracted a huge crowd, with items from Robinson’s personal collection as well as inventory from his shop generating a great deal of attention.
For 40 years Robinson dealt in antiques, doing shows on weekends during his career as a guidance director and full-time after his retirement. Dealing mainly in early country pieces, architectural elements, early hardware and paintings, he exhibited at many shows, including The Vermont Dealers Show, Nan Gurley shows and the Rhinebeck Antiques Fair. Over the years he dismantled several early homes and also dealt in antique building materials.
Friends from near and far traveled to the sale and throughout preview people were overheard voicing their recollections of where many of the coveted items had been displayed in the home. The collection was varied and ranged from a good assortment of hearth tools and country furniture to a selection of soft paste and even a large lot of postcards.
The auction was fast paced, with Robinson’s reference library crossing the block first. The books were broken down into several different lots and sold for a total of more than $1,000.
A small tilt-top candlestand was offered next, with it selling for $467, a New England tall chest did well at $2,310, and a country secretary hammered down at $880.
A large group of postcards were offered next and they were actively bid, with the lot going out at $1,540. Several groupings of early sterling and coin silver flatware were offered, with most selling in the $880 range.
A country server from Robinson’s mudroom did well at $1,980, a Sheraton worktable in bird’s-eye maple $1,540, and a cherry six-drawer chest sold for $770. A nice harvest table with scrubbed top went out at $2,200, a pine tall case clock made $1,100, and a red painted blanket chest sold to an old friend of John’s for $945, as did another for $880.
Other furniture included a Massachusetts card table that was knocked down at $825; a country cupboard in a nice yellow paint, $770; a birdcage candlestand, $880; a country pine cupboard, $770; and an early country daybed/sofa, $880. Two bow back Windsor armchairs sold reasonably at $550 and $440, while a sponge decorated blanket box was hammered down at $495.
A small chest with bootjack ends in blue paint did well at $632.
A pair of Georgian knife boxes sold at $880, three painted checkerboards made $990, and an English flintlock pistol brought $1,100. A small round Shaker finger box in green/blue paint sold for $550, three lots of early wood molding planes brought $1,017, a turned wooden chandelier with tin holder realized $357, and a pair of mirrored tole sconces brought $495.
A Hudson River School landscape did well as it sold for $2,090, while a scene of West Point attributed to Nemethy realized $1,650.
Porcelains were topped by a rare Liverpool pitcher, with a “states” transfer on the front and Washington memorial on the side, that was badly stained, cracked and chipped, yet still sold for $1,320. Other items sold included a three creamware pitches that went out at $1,100, $660 and $440, a Chinese Mandarin teapot brought $770, and a yellowware mocha salt fetched $220. A couple of Bennington book flasks were sold together for $990, a large marked flint enamel bowl with damage made $247, and a flint enameled tulip vase realized $1,430.
A graduated set of Staffordshire hens sold for $1,045, a pair of Rockingham spaniels $550, and a mocha bowl with earthworm decoration made $440.
Hearth tools in the sale included a pair of knife-blade andirons at $550, and a small group of cooking utensils including a waffle iron that brought $247.
Prices include the ten percent buyer’s premium charged. For further information contact Northeast Auctions at 603-433-8400.
Robinson’s Eighteenth Century saltbox home, a relaxing retreat on ten-plus acres near Williams College and the cultural activities of the Berkshires, is also for sale. For information, contact Carolyn Umlauf at Harsch Real Estate Associates, 413-458-5000, or Carolyn@harschrealestate.com .
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