Published: March 30, 2004
An extremely rare Gustav Stickley Grueby tile-top table, picked from a New Haven home within the past month, sold for $104,500 at Jamie Selig’s Central Street Antiques auction this past Saturday, March 27.
Depicted in the Early Works catalog as a Chalet Plant Stand, the rare table attracted the attention of collectors and dealers nationwide. The table, with a double cross stretcher base, keyed thru tenons attaching the top to the legs and Mackmurdo feet, is one of four known examples of the table and one of two known with a with a tile top.
Six bidders were poised on the telephones and several in the gallery as the lot was offered. It opened for bidding at $15,000 and moved quickly in $1,000 increments with bidders on the floor dropping from the action by the $25,000 mark. Selig continued in $1,000 advances to $60,000 where the competition narrowed to two phone bidders, Manhattan dealer Robert Kaplan of Cathers and Dembosky, and a “secretive” bidder on the other telephone. The auctioneer jumped to $5,000 increments asking for $65,000 and got it without hesitation. The lot continued to advance quickly with it eventually selling to the secretive phone buyer at $95,000 plus premium.
The only problem with the table is that the keys had come loose over the years and were missing; other than that, the table was in exceptional original condition.
“It was fantastic,” commented Kaplan. “When I first saw it my heart jumped right out of my mouth, the tile was great, the finish was great, it was a great color – it was totally exceptional. Someone is very lucky to own this piece, it is truly fantastic.”
He added, with a pang of remorse, “Just wish it was us.”
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