More than 1,300 lots of merchandise culled from an impressive list of institutions, private collections and estates crossed the auction block at Ron Bourgeault’s Northeast Auction over the weekend of November 6 and 7. The sale, offering deaccessioned rdf_Descriptions from Colonial Williamsburg, the Valentine Richmond History Center, the glass collection of the late Donald and Pam Levine, mocha from the estate of Bill Lewan and Paul Revere through a direct descendant, was well attended with lots of action.
Leading the auction were two painting jewels that captured the attention of collectors and the trade – one unassuming, the other dominate.
The auction began with part one of the renown collection of Sandwich and New England glass of the late Don and Pam Levine. The coveted pieces attracted attention from glass enthusiasts from all over the country and drew bidders to New Hampshire from as far away as Texas. The opening lot, a pair of teal green Sandwich lamps in the loop pattern did well selling at $11,500. They were followed by the star of the first session of Levine lamps, a pair of New England cobalt lamps that opened for bidding at $2,000 and sold to a telephone bidder for $21,275.
An extremely rare peacock green chamber stick, the only known example in this color, did well with it selling to a buyer in the room after competitive bidding against the phones at $9,775. A rare clear free-blown “money box” did very well selling at $15,575.
Other top lots from the Levine collection included a pair of violet Sandwich candlesticks that sold for $4,025, a pair of sticks in an opalescent electric blue, $5,280, a single amber pressed loop pattern lamp, $7,820, and a light green three-printie pattern lamp at $5,405.
A jade green star and punty pattern lamp was actively bid to $6,210, while a mottled opaque blue tulip pattern candlestick on circular stepped base brought $4,560.
The mocha, highly anticipated after the previous offering a few months back, performed well with dealers such as Vermonter Bill King and New York dealer Jonathan Trace each competing for several of the lots. The first of the lots to attract serious attention was a tile with marbled slip in black, rust and white. The rare piece was bid by several in the crowd with it selling to Trace at $5,750. A mocha carpet ball with scrottled glaze also went to Trace at $5,750, as did a small beaker in similar glaze at $3,120.
Bill King chased a large mug with seaweed decoration in a marbleized field but relented to a phone bidder at $4,255; a nice marbleized mug brought $1,610, and a small 4-inch marbleized tea caddy $4,630. King won out on a mug at $5,290. A mug with earthworm decoration brought $3,910, a pepper pot, $3,680, and the top lot of Lewan mocha was a wonderful earthworm and squiggle decorated pitcher with chips, cracks and an early tin replacement handle that sold for $7,187.
The top lot of the day came as an unassuming portrait of Mary Coffin executed by John Brewster Jr crossed the block. Five telephone bidders were poised for action as the lot opened at $22,500. Bids bounced back and forth between the telephones and the room and as the lot hit the $70,000 level the pace slowed; $72,500 saw two bids at the same time, with one of them advancing quickly to $75,000. Newburyport dealer Joan Brownstein hit the lot a while later at $82,500, a quick bid of $85,000 came from the rear of the room. The telephones took over for a while with the lot selling moments later to one of them at $129,000.
The Sunday morning session got off to a quick start with a select offering of silver. Included among the 32 lots was a George II silver nine-basket and dish armorial epergne by Thomas Pitts, London, circa 1762. The rare piece with two-tiered frame with leaf-capped C-scroll supports and ruffled C-scroll terminal supporting pierced trays and hanging baskets with a pierced center bowl, carried a presale estimate of $10/15,000. Strong interest from several in the gallery and a host of phone bidders saw the lot quickly surpass estimates with it ultimately selling at $48,300.
Consigned from a direct descendant of Paul Revere was a Boston Federal inlaid mahogany sideboard. According to the family, the sideboard belonged to Revere, but was sold at auction “to a man from Canton” who returned the case piece to Revere’s grandson John Revere. It had remained in the family ever since. The sideboard had also been illustrated in a sketch by Howard Laskey in the book, The Life of Colonel Paul Revere. Estimated at $25/35,000, the sideboard was bid actively to a selling price of $40,250.
A pair of Chippendale mahogany side chairs with foliate carved crests, trapezoidal slip seat and cabriole legs ending in ball and claw feet sold at $25,300.
A rare Chippendale armchair with close stool with a provenance of Benjamin Franklin passed at $55,000 against a $60/80,000 presale estimate, although the auction gallery reported interest after the sale.
The surprise of the furniture came as a pair of English George II walnut backstools that carried the provenance of Glenham Hall crossed the auction block. The rare pair of chairs, conservatively estimated at $4/6,000, attracted attention from several in the gallery and eight phone bidders. Bidding on the lot opened at $4,000 with ex-Antiques Roadshow host Chris Jussel competing with several on the telephones all the way to a selling price of $71,300. The chairs, manufactured at the Great Queen Street, Soho factory of John Vandrebank, circa 1710, featured cabriole legs ending in pad feet and they retained an English tapestry pattern covering, possibly by the Mortlake factory.
A Boston Sheraton mahogany and bird’s-eye maple dressing chest with mirror attributed to Thomas Seymour sold at $37,375, a New England Hepplewhite inlaid mahogany secretary with diamond glazed upper doors above two tambour doors did well at $27,600, a Federal inlaid mahogany taper-leg one-drawer stand thought to be of Baltimore origin exceeded estimates bringing $18,400, and a Portsmouth, N.H., Chippendale mahogany Pembroke table with pierced Gothic returns and an X-stretcher base with heart cutouts realized $16,100.
The top lot for the Sunday session came late in the day as a Rockwell Kent mountainous winter landscape with farm buildings at twilight was offered. Consigned by a “furniture dealer,” the painting was believed to be fresh to the market having come from a home. Bourgeault kicked the lot into bidding asking $140,000 with eight phone bidders and several in the gallery in hot pursuit. Bids advanced quickly with all of the action eventually coming from the telephones with it selling at $332,500.
The paintings session of the sale produced some strong numbers from the more than 150 lots offered. Included among the selection of art was a collection of works from the studio of John Gadsby and Conrad Wise Chapman. The paintings, executed throughout their careers, had been deaccessioned from the Valentine Richmond History Center in Richmond, Va. The museum, in accordance with its collection management policies, kept the Chapmans that had Richmond history and consigned the remainder of the works. Numerous interesting pieces were offered including a couple of artists’ wooden pallets with painted scenes. The top lot of the group of three pallets was one by John Chapman with a self portrait of the artist painting that realized $6,900.
Another painting to do well was a Dennis Bunker oil on canvas from his Britany works titled “Breeton Harbor, Larmor” that sold at $57,500.
One of the more interesting moments in the sale came as an assortment of unusual rdf_Descriptions deaccessioned from Colonial Williamsburg was offered. Amidst the assortment of needleworks, cookware and furniture was a large barrel that had been formed from a tree trunk. The massive piece was wheeled to front of the room on a dolly and as Bourgeault began to look for bids, Northeast paintings and ceramics expert Carl Crossman sprang up from the inside the barrel causing Bourgeault to momentarily loose his train of thought.
The auctioneer quickly regained his wits remarking that the barrel was to be sold “with contents, everything is as is and all sales are final.” When the chuckling had subsided, Bourgeault continued the sale with the barrel selling, sans the contents, for $805.
All prices include the 15 percent buyer’s premium.