Published: November 13, 2012
It was a busy Sunday, October 28, at Skinner when 782 lots were offered for sale, including two well-known collections; 110 pieces from the collection of the late Robert Skinner and 210 lots of The Patriotic Americana Collection of Marilyn and Michael Gould. The entire sale grossed $1,871,635, including the buyer’s premium, with the Gould sale accounting for $183,376 of that amount.
Stephen Fletcher, head of the American furniture and decorative arts department, said the sale “went very well, with its expected ups and downs, but in the long run evened out very nicely.” The gallery was not filled to capacity, but there were countless absentee bidders, a busy Internet and a bank of eight phones making a great many calls.
The auction began with the lots from the Skinner Collection, and, as Stephen Fletcher noted in the front of the catalog, through Bob’s association with many of the collectors and dealers in the late 1960s “he learned to love country furniture with great old paint and surface, early American wrought iron, folk art, woodenware, painted tin and children’s miniature furniture and objects. His love and keen eye for the simple, beautiful country antiques brought him and Nancy great joy.”
Without question, those bidding on his things shared his appreciation for good country, witness two painted wooden firkins, American, Nineteenth Century, with covers and swing handles, one with a yellow painted banner inscribed “G. Cassia” on dark olive ground, the other painted gray, that sold for $5,100 against an estimate of $300/500. Two lots later, a miniature classical maple games table, “Manufactured by Samuel Hersey Hersey Street, Hingham, Mass.,” folding rectangular top with rounded corners, scroll feet and measuring 3 7/8 inches high, 2 5/8 to 5 3/8 inches wide, brought $8,400 with a $600 high estimate.
A New England red painted, pine-framed mirror fragment, late Eighteenth to early Nineteenth Century, 12¼ inches high with the shaped pine panel pierced for hanging, brought $3,360 against an estimate of $600, while $4,800 was paid for an inlaid cherry candlestand with drawer, possibly Connecticut River Valley, square tray top, string inlaid, tripod cabriole legs, pad feet, old surface, that had a high estimate of $2,500.
An American painted checkerboard, painted black and yellow with flowers and leaves decorating the corners, 15 inches square, was estimated at $600/800 and sold for $2,760. A painted sack back Windsor chair, New England, early Nineteenth century, with vase and ring turnings, old worn black over earlier salmon paint, went well over the $1,200 high estimate, realizing $4,500. A candle sconce with embossed tin reflective pan, American, early Nineteenth Century, petal-shaped embossed disks, 10 inches high, went for $3,480 against a $500 high estimate.
An oil on panel depicting figures fishing on a riverbank, railroad bridge with train in the distance, 15 by 20 inches, by James Burt, in later molded gilt-gesso frame, sold for $5,400, almost twice the high estimate. The framed silhouette of a gentleman, American, circa 1830, with printed jacket with pencil details, 6½ by 5½ inches, carried a high estimate of $500 and sold for $2,640.
The furniture and decorative arts section of the sale, various owners, got off to a good start with a Queen Anne carved walnut side chair bringing $31,200, just over twice the high estimate. It was followed by lot 112, a Chippendale carved and inlaid mahogany and mahogany veneer oxbow desk/bookcase, probably Massachusetts, late Eighteenth Century, the lower section with string inlaid fall-front lid opening to an interior of 18 drawers, a case of four drawers, 83½ inches high, that sold for $7,800, just over the high estimate.
A creamware mug with hand painted decoration, “Success to ye City of Boston&” England, late Eighteenth Century, enamel decoration depicting a village scene, went for $8,400, ignoring the high estimate of $1,200. It had some staining and was lacking the handle. A dressed miniature portrait of a gentleman, attributed to Mary Way (New London and New York, 1769‱833), unsigned, watercolor on paper and fabric, mounted onto black velvet, 2 inches in diameter, went for $6,000, four time the high estimate.
A Queen Anne tiger maple high chest of drawers, New England, late Eighteenth Century, refinished, 69 inches high and 36½ inches wide, went over the $6,000 high estimate, fetching $10,800. With a Pennsylvania origin, a Chippendale carved walnut chest on frame, circa 1760‱780, thumb molded drawers, reeded quarter columns on the base, cabriole legs ending in trifid feet, old refinish, 70¼ inches high, brought $12,000, just over twice the high estimate.
A Federal carved cherry and bird’s-eye maple inlaid settee, possibly Connecticut River Valley, circa 1805‱810, the concave back continuing to downward sloping arms, 64¾ inches long, went just over the high estimate for $18,000, and 14K gold and cameo brooch depicting John Quincy Adams, circa 1840, oval relief carved shell, bust-length profile portrait, in a hinged red leather silk and velvet lined box, went for just over twice the high estimate, selling for $12,000.
A pair of classical mahogany Klismos side chairs, attributed to Duncan Phyfe, New York, with carved crest rail above an ogee banister back, cylindrical reeded front seat rail, hairy shank and paw front legs and square tapering legs, purchased from Israel Sack in 1963 and from the estate of Virginia Couper Johnson, 1963, went for $27,600, with a high estimate of $15,000.
An oil on canvas depicting a yachting scene off Sandy Hook, N.J., James Edward Buttersworth, signed lower right and in a period molded giltwood frame, 12 by 16 inches, opened at $37,500 and finally sold for $90,000, over a $60,000 high estimate. It retained a label from Kennedy Galleries, Inc, New York City, on the backing paper. A Currier & Ives “Trolling For Bluefish” lithograph, 1866, with hand coloring on paper, 22¾ by 29 7/8 inches, in a carved walnut frame, went for $10,200, just under twice the high estimate.
A Chippendale carved mahogany scroll-top chest on chest, Boston, circa 1760‸0, the bottom section’s top drawer opens to a foldout writing surface with an interior of nine compartments and five drawers, original brasses, minor restorations, 88 inches high, sold within estimate at $9,600. A gilt copper setter weathervane, attributed to J.W. Fiske or E.G. Washburne, New York, late Nineteenth century, 16 3/8 inches tall and 33½ inches wide, went over estimate, bringing $9,600.
A stoneware jug with incised cobalt decorated ring-necked pheasant, 14½ inches high, brought $2,400, within estimate, and a Federal tiger maple drop leaf dining table, probably Massachusetts, early Nineteenth century, with deep drop leaves above a straight skirt joining four tapering legs, refinished, 54½ by 48 inches when open, sold for $3,480, just under three times the high estimate.
Skinner announced in its latest catalog that its website, www.skinnerinc.com , is now in the final phase of redevelopment, designed to show richer imagery, a dedicated auction page for every sale, faster and more accurate search and a new and improved SkinnerLive online bidding platform. For information, visit the website or call 617-350-5400.
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