Published: August 21, 2012
“We are all very happy.” Those words were heard from three people: Cheryl and Paul Scott and Stephen Fletcher, the face behind the auction at Skinner where The Private Collection of Cheryl and Paul Scott went public on Sunday, August 12. The gallery was filled with collectors, dealers and friends, a phone bank played a heavy part in the sale, left bids were plentiful, and online bidding accounted for a good number of sales. All in all, there was every reason to be happy, including the $578,000 the sale grossed, with buyer’s premium. Note: the buyer’s premium is included in all auction results in this review.
The first lot, a large cast and sheet iron “S” monogram and arrow weathervane, 80 inches long, and the last item in the sale, a watercolor on paper, “Chanting Moon Guidance” by Kenneth T. White II, were both passed, but as Cheryl Scott noted, “Look at what happened in between.”
“There were no real blockbusters in the sale, just great material collected with great taste and the kind of things that remind people that collecting can be lots of fun,” Stephen said.
Lot 2, a large gilt copper and zinc lyre-form bannerette weathervane, American, late Nineteenth Century, 59¼ inches long, doubled the high estimate, selling for $10,073; a carved foot Queen Anne high chest by the Bartlett School of Cabinetmakers, Salisbury, N.H., 10¾ inches high, sold on the phone for $2,844, and a black painted cherry candlestand, New England, late Eighteenth Century, with candle drawer mounted underneath, original surface, brought $13,035.
A small blue painted turned wood bowl, early Nineteenth Century, 2¼ inches high and 6½ inches in diameter, sold for $1,896 against a high estimate of $500, and a miniature turned and paint decorated mortar and pestle, 3½ inches high, Nineteenth Century, yellow with ochre stripes, also had a high estimate of $500 and made $948.
A fine carved and string-inlaid cherry slant front desk, possibly Connecticut River Valley, late Eighteenth Century, the lid carved with large fan, had a high estimate of $3,500 and sold for $8,295. It was followed by a Chippendale mahogany reverse serpentine chest of drawers, Massachusetts, late Eighteenth Century, ogee bracket feet on platforms, that sold for $8,888. The provenance lists Jon and Carla Magoun, Paris, Maine.
There were about 30 carved and painted birds in the sale, all the work of Jess Blackstone, Pembroke, N.H., that Paul Scott had been collecting for years. “It all started when we bought a chickadee for $10 about 33 years ago,” Paul said, “and we would give Blackstone carvings to each other for Christmas, holidays and birthdays over the years.” The collection actually numbers close to 100, and two more sessions of Blackstone birds will be in future sales at Skinner. The first one offered was a hummingbird in flight, estimated at $200/400, that sold for $711, and a miniature bluebird figure, 25/8 inches tall, went for $1,541, just over double the high estimate.
A carved and painted humorous Fisherman/Dad figure, Maine origin, mid-Twentieth century, depicted a standing figure holding a bent fishing rod, with a string attached to the seat of his pants. Measuring 14 inches tall, it carried a presale estimate of $800․1,200, and sold for $3,555.
A carved and painted wood Dalmatian dog figure, Maine origin, 8 inches high, went for $770, causing Stephen to comment, “Bidding is spotty on this lot.” Among the furniture lots was a diminutive grain painted maple and pine tavern table, New Hampshire, mid-Eighteenth Century, with overhanging top above a single drawer, vase and ring turned legs and on turned feet with stretched base. It retained an early surface and the top measured 28 by 17¾ inches.
“We should have no hang-ups selling this lot,” Stephen said, while offering a Nineteenth Century Federal hat rack into the bidding. With baluster turned column, nine arms and tripod legs, 73¼ inches high, the rack went over the high estimate of $800, selling for $2,489. Lot 716, a miniature mahogany split baluster mirror, American, Nineteenth Century, with bull’s-eye corner blocks, the flat surface with gilding, 8½ by 6½ inches, brought $2,252 against a high estimate of $600.
A black and white painted wood finial, Nineteenth Century, 20¼ inches high, sold for $563 against an estimate of $5/10. With the provenance reading “Purchased from Stephen Fletcher at the Amherst Flea Market, Amherst, N.H., around 1981,” Stephen commented, “That was a lot more than they paid for it.” Lot 731 proved to be a popular, a yellow painted cast zinc sunburst architectural element, American, late Nineteenth to early Twentieth Century, once mounted on the top of a gate. It was flat across the bottom and measures 17¾ inches high, 31½ inches wide. The high estimate was $800, and it sold for $5,925.
“I was amazed at the price for the wrought iron hearth kettle tipper that we bought from John Carl Thomas,” Paul said after learning that it went for $2,370 against a high estimate of $600. The piece, American, dated from the late Eighteenth Century and was 19½ inches long. A mustard yellow painted pine sawbuck table, New England, early Nineteenth Century, with concave front, rounded corners, deep medial shelf, old surface, measured 28¾ inches high, 82½ inched long and 28¼ inches wide, sold for $14,220. The high estimate was $2,500.
Lots of interest was shown for a squirrel doorstop, painted cast iron, attributed to Bradley & Hubbard, the figure seated on a log eating a nut, 12 inches high, that was estimated at $800․1,200 and went out for $4,029.
Lot 774, one that will probably never be duplicated, was a large ash bowl filled with gilt and patinated copper spheres, Nineteenth Century, about 30 of them accumulated over 25 years from weathervanes the Scotts bought and sold. Estimated at $400/600, the lot went for $1,304. A carved and painted boomerang-shaped snipe shorebird decoy, New England, with wrought iron nail bill, 9 inches long, estimated at $400/600, sold for $4,740. It was another of the lots that the Scotts had purchased at the Amherst Flea Market.
A carved mahogany bust of William Shakespeare, Nineteenth Century, mounted on a carved plinth, 6½ inches high, sold for $2,370, twice the high estimate, and a painted cast iron rabbit and squirrel carnival arcade targets, early Twentieth Century, sold for $2,083, far exceeding the $300 high estimate. Two white painted iron “Everlasting Comfort Chairs,” Trudo Mfg Co., Waltham, Mass., one with rockers and dating from the first half of the Twentieth Century, sold for four times the high estimate at $2,489.
When asked what is in the future, Cheryl said, “It was time for all the pieces we cherished and enjoyed to find new homes and it is time for a change for me and this was such a nice way to close a chapter in my life and now go on to explore different paths. I will still buy and sell antiques.” As for Paul, he noted that “the sale went very well and since we did not keep anything back, it is time to start collecting again and that I have been doing.” He also mentioned that, in time, he hopes to get back into the antiques business.
Jonathan Trace of Portsmouth, N.H., one of many antiques dealers attending the sale, said, “This auction in encouraging for the business.” And he is so right.
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