Published: April 8, 2008
Tim Chapulis of Tim’s Inc, always packs them into the Litchfield Firehouse for his Cabin Fever auctions, which start off his auction season every year. On March 22, though, he had a record crowd, squeezing in more than 500 potential bidders for the event, now in its 16th year.
With 800-plus lots of fine early antiques and collectibles set aside since last year’s sale, the event was long anticipated for the great offerings that would be changing ownership that day. Besides floor action, absentee bids and the phones played a big role, keeping staff busy all day long.
Buyers routinely come from near and far for this event. This year’s edition had one buyer drive seven hours each way from Montreal to attend (and buy), and another couple came in from the Adirondacks, packed up at midnight and got home early the following morning in time for Easter celebrations.
“Overall, it was a great auction. We had one of our record turnouts and crowds,” Tim said. “The market is continuously changing and swiveling, but as long as you keep up to date, you’ll be fine.”
The auction also raised money for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital with the donations for the catalog at $5 each and the sale of a Gibson guitar signed by Les Paul, who was a Connecticut resident at one time. Altogether more than $3,500 was raised for the charitable cause in memory of Peter W. Chapulis, the auctioneer’s father, who had been an ardent supporter of the hospital. This is a record amount the auction house has raised in a one-day sale, Tim said.
Promptly at noon, a 1964½ Mustang coupe crossed the block. The car, an older restoration, was complete and in drive-away condition. As such, interest was high and the final price was $5,750.
A few lots later came the auction’s top lot, a 2002 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that achieved $9,775 from a California buyer, who bought it as a 48th birthday present to himself. The machine had a 1200cc rubber mounted engine, Roe Machine frame, with custom chrome and styling in orange flame paint.
Precision models of early cars, each about 18 to 20 inches long, attracted a fair amount of interest. There was a 1934 Rolls Royce, an Alfa Romeo, a 1937 Cord and more. The car models went for $488 each. A few other motor vehicles, including an early steam engine and a Harley-Davidson, were $143.
An Art Deco bar that opened to a complete set of glasses and mixologist’s paraphernalia, all in excellent condition, reached $1,725. Leading baskets was a Nantucket swing handle example, with metal attachments for the handle in very good condition, that hammered down at $287.
Music, music and music in several forms was available. A rare early Edison record player with a large trumpet made of oak and still in playing condition attained $2,300, while an early Monumental cylinder music box, patent dated September 22, 1886, reached $4,485. An Olympia disc music box was $1,955.
The sale included a great many early lamps, both oil and electric. Three Bradley and Hubbard examples included a piano oil lamp at $718, an onyx parlor table lamp for $1,035 and a banquet oil lamp for $805.
Furniture was offered throughout the day, typically as soon as it was cleared of the items being displayed atop each piece. A three-section barrister bookcase was $402, a Victorian-era Gothic four-poster bed achieved $2,415, a later walnut carved bed was $546, a Kittenger custom-made three- part dining table from the Williamsburg collection was $2,702, and an oak roll top desk with an S-shaped tambour was $1,150.
Other highlights included a walnut inlaid Cherub Renaissance Revival table that went for $1,840, and a walnut umbrella stand, shaped like a partially open umbrella, that was bid up to $3,105.
Clocks were selling all day, but Connecticut was historically the home for many of them, the auctioneer pointed out. A Waterbury Standard Time weight driven oak regulator wall clock was $1,610. From New Haven, Conn., a 30-day ornate oak wall clock went for $2,012, and a Gilbert from Winsted, Conn., fetched $1,035.
Clocks from other areas included an oak time recorder from National Recorder Co. in Binghamton, N.Y., that sold for $575, a two-weight Vienna wall regulator in mint condition that made $1,897, and three French carriage clocks that ranged from $270 to $1,725 .
The top lot among timepieces, though, was a Hershede 9-tube grandfather clock with phase and moon dial, turn of the Twentieth Century, that attained $6,900 from a Netherlands buyer.
Silver performed solidly, including a collection of 77 pieces of early sterling and coin going out at $690; most were early American coin spoons. Several collections of American flatware service sold well, including a 94-piece set of Francis First Sterling that reached $3,737; another smaller set totaling 65 pieces went for $2,587. An ornate silver teapot, with no signature found, was $345.
Other objects in the sale included a collection of $5 gold coins that were offered on choice with the first ones going for $826 and the most popular mint strikes going for $218. A group of 50-cent commemorative coins were sold individually for prices ranging from $52 to $408 for the highest, which was a 1936 Norfolk.
The jewelry category offered great values, including a lady’s platinum diamond and sapphire watch by Knapp reaching $2,300, a lady’s diamond ring totaling 1.84 carats at $1,725, and a pair of platinum and diamond earrings going for $800.
All prices reported include the 15 percent buyer’s premium. Tim’s Inc has auctions most every month in the Litchfield County area. The next sale will be May 2 in Northfield, Conn. For more information, 800-255-8467 or www.timsauctions.com .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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