Review and Onsite Photos by W.A. Demers, Additional Photos Courtesy Nadeau’s Auction Gallery
WINDSOR, CONN. — A painting that was originally cataloged as an unsigned oval oil on canvas painting of the three-masted American sailing vessel Spiridion traveled leagues beyond its $4/8,000 estimate at Nadeau’s auction on October 15 to finish at $22,800. Having come out of a home in Connecticut, the painting went to a phone bidder in Maine. “We were finally able to determine the artist the day before the auction,” said Ed Nadeau Jr, the firm’s president. His son, Edwin J. Nadeau III, spotted the nearly imperceptible artist’s signature — “Wm Yorke L. Pool” — on the bottom center of the 28-by-38½-inch canvas after an expert told the auctioneers that the painting had all the hallmarks of William Gay Yorke (1817–1892). Come auction day, the Spiridion, shown off Liverpool, circa 1860, became the top lot of the 525-lot sale. A Captain William Jordan Class 1 vessel, the Spiridion, was a white oak wood vessel, 18 feet 3 inches by 32 feet 6 inches by 21 feet 6 inches, 1,148 tons with two decks and a 21-foot draft. It was built in 1859 by R&JW Jacobs, Maine.
More than 100 years later, Ford Motor Company built a 1965 Mustang coupe, which was offered in this sale as Lot No. 1. Outfitted with a 289-horsepower V8 engine, all factory original, the red with black interior one-owner car that had spent its life in a garage, save for 46,093 miles, sped off at $15,000.
That was a sweet price over its $6/12,000 estimate. Sweeter still was a wonderful furniture offering with provenance to the Francis Du Pont collection that had come from a home in Farmington, Conn. — a Shaker tiger maple candlestand, circa 1800, that fetched $9,600, close to its high estimate. The stand had a square top over two drawers and was set on plain turned shaft set on tripod base. Measuring 23¾ inches high, its 13-7/8-by-16-inch top had been refinished.
American antiques, guns and sporting items, paintings and prints, including a major print collection from Credit Suisse’s Americana collection, were the focus of the sale. As well, there was folk art, silver and property from the Francis Du Pont collection and various estates and homes in the surrounding area. There were 2,825 online registered bidders representing 51 countries and a combined total of 332 absentee, phone and in-house bidders.
The diverse sale showcased a wealth of sporting material and firearms, the most notable of which was a J. Purdey & Sons side-by-side 12-gauge shotgun that took $9,000. With self-opening side-lock ejector, 30-inch nitro barrels, the piece was engraved “J. Purdey and Sons Audley House South Audley Street London England.” Reeling in $3,240 and $1,560, respectively, were two other sporting highlights — a rare Edwin Vom Hofe, N.Y., Bakelite fishing reel and a Bradford & Anthony, Boston, salmon reel in Bakelite and nickel silver with its original leather case.
History buffs at the sale were drawn to a set of six portrait mezzotint printed engravings that came out of the seemingly inexhaustible Credit Suisse Americana collection that Nadeau has been dispersing over the past year. One print shows Charles Lee, major general of the Continental Army in America in a three-quarter length portrait, wearing his military uniform, standing, facing slightly left, gesturing with his right hand, with a cannon firing in the background next to a flag proclaiming “An Appeal to Heaven.” Other Revolutionary figures in the set included Horatio Gates, major general of the American Forces; Commodore Hopkins, commander in chief of the American Fleet; Israel Putnam, major general of the Connecticut forces and commander of the engagement on Bunker Hill near Boston; John Hancock of Boston in New England, president of the American Congress; and John Paul Jones, commander of a squadron in the service of the 13 United States of North America. The set sold for an above-estimate $7,500.
The Credit Suisse collection also contributed a Federal gilt three-part over-the-mantel mirror, circa 1820, that finished at $2,375, more than three times its high estimate. In original gilt, it featured a large cornice top over turned columns, the mirror flanked by turned columns and carved leaves.
And another notable lot from the Du Pont collection was a pair of famille rose porcelain pots, circa Nineteenth–Twentieth Century, decorated with painted wild flowers and butterflies. They were 15 inches high and 15½ inches in diameter and commanded a surprising $6,000 against a $500–$1,000 estimate. “The paint was wonderful on these pots,” said the auctioneer. “They were not signed, but probably Republic period.”
Surprising, too, was the $4,200 realized for a two-door cupboard that was in the sale, its doors featuring raised panels and carving. Perhaps French Canadian, it had been expected to bring just $250/450.
Additional sale highlights included a Shaker oval four-finger box in old red paint going out at $1,920 and a Wilkins cast iron and pressed steel dray wagon drawn by two horses and piloted by a driver in a derby hat. Inside the wagon are seven wooden barrels, one labeled “Gold Medal.” The 21-inch-long toy was bid to $1,320.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, www.nadeausauction.com or 860-246-2444.