Published: January 25, 2011
Three days of Americana Week sales at Sotheby’s from January 21 to 23 produced results of $14.4 million.
Highlighting the $8 million auction of important Americana, including stoneware assembled by Mr and Mrs Edwin Hochberg, was a serpentine front cherry wood chest of drawers that descended in the Searls family of Connecticut. It sold to G.W. Samaha for $872,500. The chest has the quirky stylistic details and exuberant inlays that connoisseurs associate with rural Massachusetts cabinetmaker Nathan Lombard, who is presumed to have made this and five related chests. The case piece is signed by Ebenezer Howard, a Sturbridge, Mass., craftsman who worked for Lombard.
Other furniture highlights included an elegantly proportioned Federal veneered dressing table. Attributed to Judkins and Senter of Portsmouth, N.H., it fetched $278,500, selling to C.L. Prickett Antiques of Yardley, Penn.
A New York marble top mixing table of about 1765 was knocked down to Pennsylvania conservator Alan Miller for $230,500.
A five-legged New York games table sold to the phone for $182,500.
Leading 120 lots of silver was the Ptarmigan vase, a monumental copper, silver and gold mokume vessel measuring 25 inches high and dating to around 1900. It achieved $662,500 from a Canadian dealer bidding on behalf of a Canadian museum. The vessel descended in the family of Tiffany designer Paulding Farnham, an investor in the Ptarmigan mines in British Colombia.
An enameled gold Order of the Cincinnati made for General Nathanael Greene to a design by Major Pierre L’Enfant by Duval & Francastel of Paris in 1784 sold near low estimate, for $242,500. Greene, a Rhode Island native, played an important role in George Washington’s surprise attack on Trenton in 1776.
A collector from Canada purchased Ammi Phillips’ “Portrait of a Rosy Cheeked Girl in a Pink Dress” for $290,500.
A brilliantly stitched Boston canvaswork picture of a shepherdess and piper went to young collectors seated in the room for $122,500. Needlework specialist Carol Huber underbid the piece from her booth at the Winter Antiques Show.
Among 39 lots of stoneware was a J&E Norton 4-gallon jug decorated in cobalt with a horse, $80,500, and a heart-shaped New York inkwell decorated with love birds, $31,250.
Buyers snubbed Sotheby’s single-owner sale of important Americana from a private collection. Heavily bought in, the sale totaled $944,945 but made only 38 percent of estimate. Sotheby’s will likely negotiate privately on some of the pieces in this collection. New York dealer Leigh Keno offered to buy a star lot, a Boston Queen Anne veneered dressing table with a trompe l’oeil painted shell, for a client for $110,000 after the gavel dropped.
Sotheby’s concluded with the Hascoe family collection on January 23, adding another $5.4 million to its coffers and bringing the house’s three-day total to $14.4 million. A pair of silver wine cups made by Paul Revere, Jr, of Boston in 1792 brought $752,500. Moses Michael Hays, who founded the Massachusetts Bank in 1784, commissioned the cups. The Hascoes’ collection of Czech art will be auctioned in London.
Prices include buyer’s premium. Look for a complete report in an upcoming issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly .
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