Published: January 24, 2012
New Year’s Day was a day filled with surprises at Nadeau’s Auction Gallery and it was also a day that auctioneer Ed Nadeau hopes will be emulated throughout the 2012 auction season at his midstate auction gallery. The annual New Year’s Day auction was well received by a standing-room-only crowd that bid actively throughout the day, resulting in the vast majority lots exceeding estimates. Internet bidding was near an all-time high, and the telephones were busy throughout the day as well.
Nadeau commented that he was “very happy with the crowd and the final results.” He added that the New Year’s Day auction has been an extremely popular event at the auction house for many years.
Featuring a good selection of art, European and Oriental porcelains, jewelry and †Nadeau’s newest niche †ladies designer vintage handbags, the sale also saw a large assortment of custom furniture by Hartford-area makers Margolis and Fineberg cross the auction block.
A smattering of antique furniture †once a mainstay at the gallery †was also sold; the smalls outnumbered antique furniture lots almost three-to-one.
Preview for the auction was well attended and, by sale time, a large crowd filled virtually every chair in the gallery; the sides and rear of the hall were also packed with bidders.
The auction began with a good selection of jewelry, starting out with a diamond ring that sold at $6,900. A 14K gold Tiffany cigarette box and lighter case went out at $4,600, and a lady’s Rolex gold and diamond watch brought $4,312. Leading the jewelry was a large gold and blue enameled Tiffany Schlumberger bracelet that handily exceeded the $3/5,000 estimate, bringing $9,775. A pair of Schlumberger gold earrings set with emeralds realized $3,450. A Tiffany lapel watch with reticulated gold butterfly pin surprised many in the gallery, soaring past the $800․1,200 estimate to bring $7,015.
Not as deep of a selection as has been offered in previous years, handbags, totes, wallets and luggage by Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci and Judith Leiber were met with enthusiastic bids by the ladies, or their gents, in the gallery. The selection began with a Louis Vuitton luggage handbag with zippered compartment below that sold for $1,610 to a gentleman and his lady in the rear of the gallery. A Judith Leiber cat-form bag encrusted with crystal faux jewels was sold with a similarly formed pill box at $2,127, an assortment of Louis Vuitton wallets, pad holders and an umbrella realized $1,092, and a Chanel bag in bronze went to a lady seated in the center of the gallery for $862.
After knocking down the jewelry and handbags for premium prices, Nadeau commented that he might consider changing the gallery’s focus toward purses and jewelry. Pointing toward the large assortment of furniture that has been the “bread and butter” at the gallery for the past 20-plus years, he quipped, “They sure are a lot easier to move around than the furniture.”
The top lot of the auction came from the selection of paintings, with a Herman Herzog oil on canvas selling at more than three times the estimate. The painting, titled “Rough Seas at the Life Saving Station,” listed a provenance of Nettie and Samuel Browne, the founders of Drew University, to the present owners and it carried a $8/12,000 estimate. The attractive oil opened for bidding just below the estimate and took off, with several in the crowd and on the telephones chasing the lot. Fast-paced action saw the lot finish at an impressive $44,850.
Other art in the auction that did well included an oil on artist’s board by Abraham Manievich titled “Bronx, N.Y.,” that sold at $11,500. A pastel on paper by Paul Lucien Maze titled “Henley Regatta” also soared past the $2/4,000 estimate, selling at $9,200. A nice watercolor by Aiden Lassell Ripley depicting two grouse on a pine limb opened at $5,000 with crossing absentee bids, and hammered down moments later for $8,625.
A painting on porcelain depicting circus characters by Louis Ferdinand LaChassaigne went to a phone bidder, selling at the high end of the estimate at $14,950.
Ivy League art collectors were no doubt enthralled by two paintings by Harold von Schmidt, both titled “Yale vs Harvard” and dated 1933. Both of the paintings depicted football scenes and each sold within estimates at $7,475 and $6,900, both hammering down to the same phone bidder.
One lot that surprised many in the crowd was a Continental inlaid desk box that had been cataloged as Eighteenth Century. Estimated at $300/500, the lot opened for bidding above estimates and took off, with Internet and telephone bidders chasing the lot. Nadeau seemed surprised as the lot made its way past the $5,000 mark, even more so when it cleared the $10,000 mark, and he found cause to pause when it finally hammered at $14,950, commenting that if anyone had any small boxes they wanted to consign, to “please bring them in.”
Consigned from a local estate, a small collection of Wedgwood Fairyland Lustre was offered. The top lot from the collection came as a cylindrical vase in the Ghostly Wood pattern, decorated with ghosts and ghouls was offered. Also featuring the rare rabbit decoration, the vase was discovered during preview to have a small repair to the bottom, which kept the price from exceeding estimates; it sold at $6,325. Another cylindrical vase in the Fairyland Lustre pattern sold at $4,485, a footed bowl brought $3,450, a trumpet form vase $3,220, and a 9-inch-diameter bowl went out at $2,875.
A pair of Meissen porcelain figures with nodding heads depicting a preacher and his wife, thought to be late Eighteenth Century, attracted a great deal of interest and realized $7,475. A German porcelain Pagoda figure depicting a male with moving tongue and hands shot past estimates as it sold for $2,300, and a Meissen figure of a bearded man reading a book with nodding head fetched $2,185.
A set of Baccarat crystal stemware did well, the lot consisting of 72 assorted glasses ranging from champagne flutes to rocks glasses and also including a pair of candlesticks. The lot brought $5,750.
Custom furniture included a miniature Chippendale high-style bonnet-top chest on chest that had come from the Margolis shop. Estimated at $2/3,000, the rare benchmade chest attracted a great deal of attention, and sold to a buyer in the room at $6,037. Also sold was a classic Margolis triple shell carved four-drawer blockfront chest that went out reasonably at $1,725.
Several of the lots sold throughout the course of the day brought surprising prices, but none more than the final lot of the auction. A bleary eyed and hoarse throated Nadeau, who had just auctioned off 509 consecutive items without a break, presented a pair of colorful earthenware chargers measuring a little more than 18 inches in diameter. Thinking that they were either Portuguese or Italian pieces, the pair was moderately estimated at $400/700. Bids came fast and furious for the pieces, with the pair climbing to $6,900.
“It was a great way to close out the auction,” commented Nadeau. “Let’s hope that momentum continues through the year.”
All prices include the buyer’s premium.
An auction featuring Modernism, silver, jewelry, Margolis furniture and decorative accessories has been scheduled for February 25. For information, 860-247-2444 or www.nadeausauction.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm