Published: March 17, 2020
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Winfield Auction Galleries
NORTH BIG FLATS, N.Y. – On Saturday, March 7, Winfield Auction Galleries conducted its fourth-ever online-only auction, with about 87 percent of the nearly 400 lots offered selling. The sale achieved a total of approximately $100,000, a figure that was anticipated to change with post-auction sales still ongoing at press time. Private collectors accounted for roughly two-thirds of the buyers, and the sale showed a larger audience than previously enjoyed, with the auction attracting 1,167 registered bidders from 27 countries, many of whom were successful buyers.
After the sale, Winfield’s director of e-commerce, Hope Thomas, reflected on a trend she saw during the sale. “For many generations our industry catered to collectors with period-specific interests, translating into item valuation predominantly being determined by age. However, the antique market no longer places value solely on age. Desirability and value are now primarily based on aesthetic appeal and function, with secondary interest in age. Offering items within this framework was critical to the success of this sale. As an example, our buyers responded extremely well to our Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century English furniture offerings, a traditionally soft segment of the market, as these items are not only old, but also aesthetically appealing with each contributing a story. In conversation with our individual buyers, I have been struck with most relaying the setting details into which these items will be placed, many even volunteering to send images of their final vignette. Moving forward, we look forward to continuing our growth trend by offering items which appeal to our evolved marketplace.”
Thomas acknowledged that Winfield Auction Galleries has seen tremendous growth during the two years it has been holding sales, seeing recurring 25 percent growth over each previous edition. “We had such a large base of phone and absentee bidders that we are in discussion to open it up to a live sale,” Thomas said, also confirming that a third annual sale was also in discussion.
Leading the sale at $3,198 was a painting by Adolphe Etienne Piot (French, 1825-1910) titled “The Sea Maiden,” that sold to an online bidder. “It was just a lovely painting,” said Thomas of the oil on canvas that was in a giltwood frame measuring 36 by 28 inches tall. Another fine art offering that performed notably was a landscape by Giuseppe Camino (Italian, 1818-1890) that measured 44 by 56 inches and was catalogued as “oversized,” that brought $1,722. For $984, an Italian buyer acquired a fruit and flower still life in the manner of Severin Roesen; it was a good buy, not quite meeting the low estimate.
All of the English furniture in the sale came from an estate in the Elmira/Corning, N.Y. area. According to Thomas, the family was from England and had collected things there, bringing their collection to the United States in the 1960s. Bringing the top price of that collection – and the second-highest price overall at $2,583 – was a Jacobean drop-leaf table with unusual relief-carved top and leaves. Thomas said one theory floated during the preview and sale was that the relief carving had been done later, but she said the patina on the table was old verifying it was not recently carved. The table had provenance to Glastonbury Abbey, as did an Eighteenth Century Elizabethan oak side chair that achieved $399. Other pieces from the Elmira/Corning area included a Jacobean draw-top table that made $$1,476, a Jacobean oak stool that rested at $1,107 and a Jacobean trestle table that bidders took to $861.
“No matter what room it ends up in, it will be statement piece,” Thomas said, reflecting on an oak china cabinet attributed to R.J. Horner based on the presence of “Man in the Mountain” supports that Winfield’s had described as “monumental.” It sold within estimate at $2,460, to an absentee bid left by a local collector.
Early modern furniture in the sale came from different sellers and largely outperformed expectations, with several noted makers being represented. Leading those offerings was a set of six Arts & Crafts Roycroft Mission oak side chairs that finished at $1,968; and an Arts & Crafts three-door china cabinet attributed to the Stickley school that sold for $1,845. An Arts & Crafts oak wastebasket by Gustav Stickley saw a lot of pre-sale interest and surpassed its high estimate to achieve $$1,599, while a circular single-pedestal L & JG Stickley oak table realized $1,230.
A seven-piece suite of bedroom furniture in the Louis XVI style and attributed to Francois Linke was offered in individual lots but only one sold; Thomas was not sure if the remaining pieces from the set would be sold post-sale or if they would be reoffered.
A smaller-than-usual selection of textile works was headlined by a circa 1920 Persian Kashan silk runner with cartouche inscription that Thomas said was “absolutely beautiful, the finest weave I have ever personally seen” that brought $1,353. Another notable piece in this category was a Belgian Flemish verdure tapestry depicting a hunt scene. Though it was catalogued as Nineteenth Century, Thomas said there were a few people who thought it might be earlier. It sold for $922.
Silver lots typically sold close to estimate, with a few surprises, namely a set of six gold-wash sterling silver “Labors of Cupid” knives by Dominck & Haff that made $1,168, nearly four times the low estimate; and a Gorham “Lily of the Valley” sterling silver cup with presentation inscription that nearly tripled its high estimate to sell for $276. The silver lots that brought the higher prices included a 72-piece Kirk Stieff Rose flatware set that made $1,230, the same price achieved by a Continental .800 silver five-piece coffee and tea set.
Notable pieces of ceramics include two Italian hand-painted Majolica tile hunt scenes. One depicted a stag hunt, the other a boar hunt; both had been estimated at $400/600 with the former bringing $1,168 and the latter realizing $799. A Weller school oversized vase that Thomas thought might be more appropriately called a jardiniere was the first lot in the sale and set a strong tone, surpassing the high estimate to realize $276. Selling at $799 – essentially the low estimate – was a Royal Doulton flambe seascape Sung vase that had been featured in presale advertising. An Essex jug by Castle Heingham also benefitted from early marketing and more than tripled its low estimate to bring $159, but a Loetz Phanomen-style art glass vase fell short of its $1/1,500 estimate and only brought $351.
Watch and clock offerings were led, respectively, by an 18K Universal Geneve watch with diamonds that closed at $1,168 and a French Empire gilt bronze and marble clock that finished at $1,045.
Prices, with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. The date of the next sale has not yet been determined.
Winfield Auction Galleries is at 26 Palmer Road. For information, www.winfieldauctiongallery.com or 607-438-3082.
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