Published: May 5, 2020
Review by Greg Smith, Catalog Photos Courtesy Tim’s Inc Auctions
BRISTOL, CONN. – Tim Chapulis put up 826 lots on April 26 as part of his firm Tim’s Inc Auctions’ 28th Annual Cabin Fever Auction. The prescient title for the sale, that he has used for nearly three decades, would hit the nail on the head this year.
“We had unbelievable interest, questions for sizes, condition, everything,” Chapulis said. “I can never recall interest like this going back ten or 12 years, and I attribute that to the cabin fever.”
The sale featured a number of estates, including the DeLeon estate of Watertown, Conn. The DeLeons were attorneys who practiced law from their office in Waterbury, Conn.
“They predominantly represented immigrants that would come in to Waterbury to seek jobs,” Chapulis said. “They were very decorative people, very ahead of their time. What they bought and decorated their home with was very desirable.”
The sale found its leader in a circa 1895 wheel-carved cameo glass vase by Émile Gallé that brought $37,760. It features gray overlaid on striated crimson and brick red glass. The central panel scene depicts a scene of a man slaying a lion, perhaps David or Hercules. The vase measures 8¼ inches tall and came from the estate of a consignor who had done business decades ago with Chapulis’ father. When the consignor’s parents passed away and it descended in the family, the consignor said her parents wanted Chapulis to sell it.
“We established a fabulous price for that,” Chapulis said, “and I believe it’s going to be shown in a museum.”
A sleeper in the sale was found in a Hans Wegner Ox chair and ottoman in poor but restorable condition that brought $12,160 on a $400 estimate. The vintage chair had a sizable hole chewed into the foam backrest, but that didn’t deter bidders who would likely fix the divot and recover it anyway.
“The chair was a good surprise,” Chapulis said. “We started getting calls early from people who wanted to bid on the phone on it.”
Early Twentieth Century pottery found a few winners. Chapulis attributed two 33-inch-tall floor vases to Fulper, and bidders put a sold ticket on them for $2,560. Behind were two Rookwood Vellum vases: an 18-inch Carl Schmidt marine scene example that took $1,920 and a 12-inch Lorinda Epply landscape waterfront scene that brought $1,792.
Group lots were desirable for bidders as an estate currency collection brought $3,200. Binders included $1 and $5 silver certificates, World War II ration tokens, foreign currency and Civil War bills, including Confederate, State currency and decorative bills. Another estate coin collection lot sold at $1,250. Fetching $2,560 was a large lifetime postcard collection that featured stamps, early photos, book marks, advertising, Disney, holidays and more.
Chapulis had found a painting by German emigre Hermann Fuechsel (1833-1915) in a Litchfield home. It went well above estimate to catch $7,040 on a $2,000 estimate.
The auctioneer noted that postsale interest was quite strong, including the sale of a Coca-Cola clock for $1,920 and six matching wall panels decorated with royal crests for the same price.
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