Published: July 15, 2015
Bidding was active for Rockwell Kent material. This lot, sold for $1,035, included a framed, signed Christmas card and three books.
Story and onsite photos by Rick Russack
Additional photos courtesy Foreside Antiques
YARMOUTH, MAINE — On June 26–27, Foreside Antiques president Colleen K. Donovan auctioned property from the estate of naturalist John M. Kauffmann, offering books and ephemera onsite on Friday evening and household contents the following day at North Yarmouth Academy.
Published in 1676 and in very good condition, this first edition copy of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler, Part II went for $489.
The Kauffmanns were avid outdoorsmen and fisherman. The library reflected this interest. Many of the books had been in the family for generations. Included were a number of desirable private press titles, such as a 1676 first edition of Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler, Part II.
John Kauffmann was also an antiquarian. According to Donovan, antiques and collectibles from his estate drew a solid crowd of locals, dealers and collectors who came to buy on Saturday. Bidding was competitive on Asian items and good furniture. Remaining household items were scheduled to sell at a yard sale at Yarmouth’s July 17–19 Clam Festival.
Kauffmann died at 91 in 2014. It was his stated wish that his collections be auctioned, with proceeds to be divided among the environmental and educational organizations that he cared about, among them the Maine Forest Society and the North Yarmouth Academy. Kauffmann had worked for the National Park Service and was a contributor to National Geographic magazine. He traveled widely in Africa in the 1940s and wrote two books, one on Alaska’s mountains. His library contained well over 100 books on Alaska.
About 48 dealers and collectors attended the Friday evening book auction. Donovan had prepared a comprehensive listing of the books, and the sale proceeded smoothly. The opening bids she asked for were reasonable and the crowd responded promptly. Leading the book category was a fine copy of the Kelmscott Press edition of Edmund Spenser’s The Shepheardes Calendar: Conteyning Twelve Aelogues Portioanable to the Twelve Monethes. The book contains 12 full-page illustrations from woodblocks. This 1896 edition was limited to 225 copies. It sold for $1,725, probably a very good buy as the only copy listed on the Internet is priced at more than $4,300 from a book dealer in Switzerland.
The library contained several private press books. A copy of Thoreau’s The Maine Woods, published by Ascenias Press in 1998 and in a handmade wooden case, brought $1,035.
A copy of Thoreau’s Friendship published by the Roycrofters Press and inscribed by Elbert Hubbard to John Kauffmann’s grandfather earned $195.
Angling in America by Charles Goodspeed, signed by the author and published by the Riverside Press in a limited edition, sold for $201.
Four books with fore-edge painting elicited spirited bidding from the crowd after Donovan took the time to explain the technique. Bringing the highest price of this group was a copy of The Book of Common Prayer. Published in London in 1831, with a fore-edge painting of Hampton, it earned $460.
The 1797 edition of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler with a fore-edge painting of Lambton Hall finished at $431. And speaking of Walton’s The Compleat Angler, a first edition of Part II, dated 1676, achieved $489. The buyer, who asked that his name not be published, told Antiques and The Arts Weekly, “I’m just a fisherman who liked the book. I don’t have any other Waltons, but I thought it would be nice to own a first edition since it was available. I have no idea what it’s worth. I’ll be salmon fishing next week and I’m very glad to have this book.” The salmon fisherman got a good buy. The only copy on the Internet is priced in excess of $800.
“They came to buy books,” Donovan told Antiques and The Arts Weekly after Friday’s session. Her comment was echoed by Frank Wood of DeWolfe and Wood, book dealers in Alfred, Maine. “Good books, good auction and good prices,” Wood said.
The costliest item in the two-day sale was this imposing Seventeenth Century carved oak bed at $7,762
The lead item in Saturday’s session was a Seventeenth Century English carved oak tester bed, $7,762. Kauffmann’s mother bought the bed on her travels in Europe. From the same period, a carved oak coffer seemed like a good buy at $517. An American tall chest went out at $1,150 and a five-drawer camphor wood campaign chest made $2,530. One unusual item was a complete set of bagpipes, $5,060.
Paintings included “March Day” by Lee Lufkin Kaula (1865–1957). It went for $805, probably a good buy as her paintings often sell in five figures. She and her husband, also a painter, summered in New Ipswich, N.H. Their work show the influence of Edmund C. Tarbell, a leader of the Boston school of painting.
Donovan was pleased with results. She should have been.
Prices include the buyer’s premium.
For additional information, www.foresideantiques.com or 207-452-4018.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm