Published: September 7, 2010
The centerpiece of Bodnar’s Auctions August 12 sale was just that †an imposing Nineteenth Century silver plate Charles Christofle banquet table centerpiece †that sold for $14,000.
The reticulated centerpiece had been nestled inside a crate stacked up in a moving company warehouse for the past 25 years. Untarnished, still bright and gleaming when it was unpacked, it had been placed in storage by a Long Island family downsizing, along with 13 other crates of furniture and items.
Bodnar was surprised that the piece was not included on the original inventory sheets nor in any of the advance photos he had been sent.
Descendants of the owners consigned the contents of the crates to the sale, including period mahogany furniture, bronzes and paintings, many of them of tall-masted clipper ships. The original owner was a ship’s captain, leading Bodnar to speculate that many of the items consigned to the sale had their origin in Europe and were shipped stateside by the merchant seaman to his home.
The piece, which measured 4 feet in diameter and 2 feet in height, was engraved with the Christofle hallmark on its base and dated from 1842‱866, according to Bodnar. Manufactured in France, the base featured four segmented shallow indents.
It was sold to a New York City dealer who bid by phone.
Other highlights included a pair of Nineteenth Century angelic figural bronze candelabras, unsigned, 2 feet tall with full wings extended, selling for $5,250 to a phone bidder from Connecticut.
A Nineteenth Century European oil on canvas in its original gold gilded frame, measuring 3 by 1½ feet, unsigned, depicting four women seated, one holding a sword with a gentleman in the background sold for $1,900, while a Rose Medallion center bowl at 30 inches in diameter, dating from the early Twentieth Century, went out at $3,000.
Several pieces of Nineteenth Century rosewood furniture were sold, including a matched pair of upholstered fanning sofas for $1,550, a set of six Eighteenth Century French-painted chairs at $1,500 and a pair of Victorian-era Rosewood carved armchairs that took $450.
Missing the top backsplash, a Nineteenth Century Chippendale carved box front man’s chest earned $925, while a Nineteenth Century black ebony Federal-style game table with bronze mounting and inlaid chess board fetched $375.
A carved mahogany dining room table with dragon heads on the base sold for $1,100, and an unsigned oil on canvas depicting sail ships racing on open water took $375.
Measuring 2 by 3 feet, unsigned but showing characteristics of Louis Vuitton, an early steamer trunk sold for $675. A shipping label affixed to the trunk bore the Vuitton factory address in France.
Bodnar’s monthly sale at the Ukrainian Cultural Center saw 4,739 lots sold to 420 registered bidders. Bibliophiles had a field day, with a selection of first editions, children’s books, history books and among the more than 1,500 books were sold, with multiple-volume lots selling between $30 and $200.
The books came from an estate in Flemington, a lifelong collection bolstered by the collector’s purchase of the contents of small public libraries. Bodnar said he will continue to parcel out the book collection over his next six to seven auctions.
The auction also featured 500 lots of Lionel trains and accessories, some consigned to the sale by a hobby store forced to close after 18 years in business, according to Bodnar.
Highlights included mint boxed sets of 027 gauge trains and accessories, such as a Pennsylvania RR set with engine and freight cars for $275 and a Lone Ranger Wild West set for $300.
Bodnar also offered 100 showcases of costume jewelry, much of it dating from the 1940s‶0s. “The demand for costume jewelry seems to be growing at every sale,” he said.
Bodnar said the auction was one of his most successful; with more than 600 people in attendance, total sales resulted in his second highest gross in 17 years of business.
“The trend is strong; people are buying,” Bodnar said.
All prices reported include the 13 percent buyer’s premium.
For more information, www.bodnarsauction.com or 866-349-7378.
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