Published: January 21, 2003
The Auctions of Americana Week: Sotheby’s Grosses $15.9 Million
NEW YORK CITY — A full house, plus standing room, was on hand for Sotheby’s Sinking Spring Farms: The Appell Family Collection sale on Saturday, January 18. This collection, the bulk of which was put together in the 1930s, brought 363 lots fresh to the market. As a result the sale was 98 percent sold for a total of $3,720,080, including premiums.
The top lot, 1221, was a Federal eagle inlaid and highly figured mahogany games table, Massachusetts, circa 1795, sold to C.L. Prickett Antiques of Yardley, Penn., for $153,600 including premium. The high presale estimate was $35,000. This sophisticated example of Boston Neo-classical furniture had an old dry surface, dark brown color, and measured 301/2 inches high, 353/4 inches wide and 171/2 inches deep. The provenance lists Joe Kindig, Jr, of York, Penn., who sold this piece to the Appells on February 11, 1936, for $800. The records kept by the Appells provided interesting provenances for a great many of the lots, including not only the date purchased, but the price. A major portion of the collection came via Joe Kindig, Jr.
The sale of Property From A Private Collector led off a day of auctions on Saturday, January 18, at the firm. As noted in the catalog, “the objects in this sale speak for themselves,” and that they did. The sale was 87 percent sold, 109 lots, for a gross total, including premium, of $4,231,620.
The top lot of the sale was a Chippendale carved mahogany hairy-paw foot tea table, Philadelphia, circa 1770. The top measures 271/4 inches in diameter and is the only known example of the form with hairy-paw feet known to survive from Colonial Philadelphia. It was estimated at $800,000/1,200,000, and sold for $1,072,000 to Leigh Keno American Antiques of New York City. Keno is also listed in the provenance as the former buyer at auction.
Important Americana, a sale encompassing prints, porcelain, silver, furniture and folk art, was conducted over a period of three days at Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries. It was during the Friday afternoon session on January 17 that the top lot was sold, an important Chippendale carved and highly figured mahogany blocked serpentine-front bombe chest of drawers, Boston, inscribed and dated Nathan Bowen, 1772. It carried a presale estimate of $1/1. million and sold for $1,464,000 including premium to Luke Beckerdite, decorative arts consultant. This piece is one of only 11 other examples know and is among the rarest made in Colonial Massachusetts. According to Leslie Keno of the American Furniture department at Sotheby’s, this chest was found in the maid’s quarters of the Boston home and had been used as a surface for ironing.
This portion of the sale offered 608 lots, 64.64 percent sold, and grossed $6,984,200, with premiums. The gross for the schedule of auctions at Sotheby’s was $15,925,726.
Fewer than 100 lots had been sold during session three on Friday, January 17, when a rare silver and mixed metals “Japanese style” five-piece tea and coffee set by Tiffany & Co., New York, crossed the block. This set was designed by Edward C. Moore, circa 1878, and carried a presale estimate of $80/120,000. It sold for $$265,000 to an anonymous buyer and was listed as the property of a European private collector.
“To Arms: Uniforms, Painted Knapsacks, Canteens, Hat Plates and Other Related Militia Accoutrements” from the Collection of William Guthman crossed the block at the gallery on Sunday, January 19, as the final session of the firm’s sales during Americana Week in New York City. A total of 353 lots comprised the sale, a collection that was put together over a period of close to 50 years. The sale was 74 percent sold and grossed a total of $989,826.
The top lot in the sale was a painted militia dragoon helmet, New Milford, Conn., 1820-30, that went well over the high estimate of $25,000, selling for $45,600, including the buyer’s premium. It sold to a Connecticut private collector. The helmet was ornately decorated and painted with a huge pierced-metal crest, a red and gold sunburst beneath an arching band of gold, and five stars. It measures 11 inches tall and was lettered with the regiment name.
Complete reviews of all sales will appear in future issues of Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
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