Published: April 7, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy S&S Auction Inc.
REPAUPO, N.J. – Fine art and Victorian furniture reigned at S&S Auction Inc’s 453-lot March 26 sale.
“We’re all in uncertain times, and we were probably a lot more nervous about this sale than we have been about past auctions,” said auction house owner Phil Amaradio. “But in the end, we were okay with the results. There were buys, but we’re an auction house, people come here to get buys. But other things did well, we had a perfume bottle that went unexpectedly high. Some of the Victorian was good. We had around 400-500 people watching online, that was promising. That’s higher than in good times.”
Outside of a sparsely attended preview, Amaradio related that the sale ran smoothly. He said bidding did not slow down for his sale, “there didn’t seem to be any hesitation. If they wanted it, there was no problem at all going after it.”
The most robust category in the sale was the selection of Victorian furniture. A $7,500 result was found in a Victorian rosewood etagere attributed to Meeks. The two-piece etagere featured a mirrored back with detailed carvings and turned posts. An Alexander Roux center table with marble top and measuring 50¼ by 32¾ inches went out at a healthy $3,125. Works from R.J. Horner were in attendance, including a Renaissance-style sideboard, three caryatid legs on the base and two griffins atop supporting the mirrored back, which brought $2,125. A Horner bookcase in carved oak featuring a central drop-down-desk and carved with a Northwind face to the cornice went out at $2,000. An oak Horner hall seat with floral decoration and lion’s heads with a mirror back took $1,750.
Fine art produced the sale’s top lot in a 15¾-by-20-inch Impressionist painting by contemporary artist Laurence Campbell, which brought $24,375. Titled “Chestnut Street,” the Philadelphia scene depicted the city in the midst of a snowfall with American flags waving throughout. The painting was executed in 1994. An oil on canvas signed (?) Smith featuring a girl kneeling in her yard in front of a cottage sold between estimate at $3,437. Rising to $1,800 was a Victorian beach scene painting by contemporary artist Gregory Frank Harris. The painting measures 25 by 36¾ inches.
A Walter H. Durfee tall case clock with ball and claw feet and three brass finials atop sold for $4,375. Durfee was an antiques dealer who opened his own shop in Providence, R.I., in 1877 at the age of 20. A 2012 write up by Jay Holloway for The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors reads, “Mr Durfee claimed that he bought and sold over 400 tall case clocks in his first 8 years in business. By mid 1880, Durfee decided to purchase new English bracket clocks and resell them in his antique shop in Providence RI. It was from this venture that Walter Durfee met the fine quality clock manufacturer in London of Jennens and Sons. Jennens and Sons sold their clocks directly to the public but also through leading jewelry stores in London, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, New York and Boston. Jennens saw Durfee as another outlet for their products. Tall case clocks had a renewed popularity due to the song by William Clay Work known as ‘Grandfathers Clock.’ Durfee took this theme and began to have Jennens & Sons make tall case clocks for him.”
Other notable clocks included an Ansonia mantel clock featuring two figures flanking each side of the central face, all on a platform, which doubled estimate to bring $1,875.
Bidders sung for a 69¾-inch-high antique Victorian harp with gilt accents that sold for $1,500. A paint-decorated and signed Japanese vase, measuring 8¼ inches high, sold for nearly triple estimate at $1,375.
“As far as payment and pickup, it has been pretty smooth,” Amaradio said. “We’ve been doing our best with however people want to do it. Everybody has been pretty fair and easy to work with, we’re all in the same boat and trying to get through it.”
S&S has another sale of Mid-Century Modern scheduled for April 15 and another sale on the 23rd. Amaradio said that if collectors have anything they are interested in selling, to give him a call.
All prices reported include buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For information, www.ssauction.com or 856-467-3778.
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