Published: April 25, 2017
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Catalog Photos Courtesy of Hap Moore Auctions
YORK, MAINE – The April 1 snowstorm, the same day of Hap Moore’s sale, was much heavier inland than it was along the coast where the auction took place, so many hardy New Englanders were still able to get there, though some were not. Moore does not use the internet, so you almost have to be there.
Auctions here comprise fresh-to-market material from local estates, and Hap Moore says, “I’ve never sold for dealers.” A selection of early furniture was offered, along with some very good paintings, woodenware, folk art, Currier and Ives prints, clocks, artwork, rare books and gold and silver jewelry.
Moore has been in the antiques business for more than 30 years. While employed as a social worker, he got his start selling at the old Faneuil Hall flea market in Boston. In the late 1970s, he managed the well-known Portsmouth antiques shop owned by Win and Scotty Carter. In 1985, he got his auctioneer’s license after coming to the conclusion that “all the good estates were going to auctioneers” and conducted his first auction. It grossed $10,000. And it has only gone up from there. Until securing his present gallery space on Route 1 in York, he conducted his auctions at rented facilities in the area.
Several good paintings were in this sale. The top selling lot was an abstract oil on canvas, by G.R. Santosh (Indian, 1929-1997) titled “Bond.” It brought $18,400. Santosh had more than 30 solo shows, and his works have been exhibited in several major museums. A landscape of a field of heather by A. DeBeaumont realized $9,890, and a pastel by Abbot Fuller Graves (American, 1859-1936), depicting a woman in a doorway, finished at $6,210. An oil on canvas still life of roses, by the same artist, earned $3,163.
The highest grossing piece of furniture was an early Seventeenth Century bun foot chest. Its success came as a surprise to Moore, as it finished at $7,130. A carved mahogany tall case clock with painted dial and pinwheel carving earned $2,300. Several New England Windsor chairs crossed the block. A pair of Eighteenth Century bowback Windsor side chairs, one branded N. Doggett, seemed reasonable at $130. A 39-inch Sheraton seven-drawer mahogany chest, with one drawer marked “bought in Charlestown 1828” earned $520.
Also among furniture were a nice New England birch one-drawer stand with bird’s-eye maple drawer front and top reaching $180 and a Chinese Nineteenth Century three-fold floor screen with silk panels that realized $650, while a refinished four-drawer oxbow chest achieved $260. Much of the other furniture in the sale came from the Weare estate, and had been refinished in the 1950s-60s. That did not help prices.
The selling price of a good wooden sculpture of a nude woman by Robert Laurent (American, 1890-1970) was diminished, having been in a backyard garden for the last 20 years or so. Laurent studied in Rome and at the British Academy. His works are well regarded and several are in the Smithsonian. The 53-inch hardwood sculpture brought $2,300.
There were some pleasant surprises. A 1779 book by Benjamin Franklin, Political, Miscellaneous, and Philosophical Pieces, finished at $3,220, and a 1927 Tyler Co. catalog, #56 Elevator Cars and Elevator Entrances, realized $374. For a home with strong walls, an exceptional but heavy 63-inch wall-mounted, spread-winged eagle sold for $575. An early Shaw and Clark sewing machine, made in Biddeford, Maine, in the 1860s, brought $805. The history of the company and its marketing and advertising makes interesting reading. The website of the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society states, “Of all the unlicensed pirate operators who produced machines without succumbing to paying license fees to the patent holders, the Biddeford, Maine, company was probably the most successful, with its Monitor machine proving the mainstay of its business.” The website also discusses the company’s deceptive advertising.
After the sale, Moore said that the weather conditions did not seem to be much of a factor. “We had a good sale with a good crowd. Several people previewed the material the day before, so that helped. I was pleasantly surprised with the two-drawer blanket chest that sold for more than $7,000. It had been made for the Weare family and had been included in an exhibit of York furniture. It was unfortunate that some of the other furniture from the Weare estate had been refinished in the 1950-60s. We had a good selection of jewelry and that accounted for over $60,000 of the total. Overall, we did about $200,000 and I am pleased with that.”
All prices include the buyer’s premium. For more information, www.hapmoore.com or 207-363-6373.
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