Published: June 26, 2018
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack
MARION, MASS. – Frank McNamee and Dave Glynn, together as Marion Antique Auctions, had a selection of fresh-to-the-market paintings, furniture, marine items, gold and silver coins, jewelry and more for their June 9 auction. They had an outstanding collection of antique French paperweights, automata, Seventeenth Century armor, plus samplers, clocks, ceramics, as well as rare books and ephemera – just about something for everyone. Internet bidding was available on two platforms, several phone lines were used throughout the sale, there was a good-sized crowd in the gallery, and there were about 75 absentee bids, many of which were successful. The sale grossed $567,620.
Paintings and drawings were expected to do well and they did. Bringing $15,210 was “Paysanne,” a charcoal drawing by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). Pissarro was a Danish French impressionist painter who was born on St Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. The drawing was bought by a woman in the room who was later asked what her interest was in the drawing. Her answer, interestingly, was, “Pissarro was born on St Thomas and I have a home on the island. I’m taking it back to its birthplace, so to speak.” An unusual boldly colored mixed media drawing by Irish artist Harry Clarke (1889-1931), estimated at $5,000, drew an opening bid of $6,000 from an internet bidder and it finished at $9,945. Clarke was known for his stained glass work and his book illustrations. It was signed on the back, “The Gnome unpublished and unreproduced, Harry Clarke.” There were four paintings by Harry Neyland (1877-1956), an impressionist artist who settled in New Bedford, Mass., in 1930. His work often turns up in the area, and McNamee said that he has sold about 50 examples of the artist’s work over the years. Three of the paintings sold for under $1,000, but an unsigned landscape with stylized trees, titled on the reverse “Nature’s Tapestry” was described by McNamee as “one of the best examples of Neyland’s work I’ve ever seen. The consignor’s father was a friend of Neyland and had gotten it directly from the artist.”
This one sold for $4,212 and was bought by Skinner’s executive vice president Steve Fletcher, who has a home in the area and said that he liked the subject matter. As Glynn was selling an Art Nouveau-style painting of a woman by Astley D.M. Cooper (1856-1924) for $4,797, he mentioned that it had been bought at a yard sale in Florida for $35.
A collection of French paperweights was sold to benefit the local library. The paperweights were an unrestricted gift to the library where they had been displayed for the last year and it was decided to raise funds for the library by selling the collection. The collection had been assembled by William Claflin Sr, a wealthy industrialist who had been governor of Massachusetts and a member of Congress. The collection was cataloged for the auction by Kirk Nelson, director of the New Bedford Museum of Glass. Bidding was strong and most exceeded the estimates. A St Louis paneled millefiori weight, with green and red star ribbon design, topped the group, bringing $7,020. It went to an internet buyer who bought others as well. Not far behind this weight was a Clichy millefiori cinquefoil example with garland on an upset muslin ground. It earned $6,669, and a Baccarat millefiori weight, marked and dated 1848, with silhouettes of horses, dogs and other animals brought $4,563.
A small selection of music boxes and automata included a large, 26-inch-tall, French Nineteenth Century blackamoor figure with glass eyes, carrying a serving tray with three pieces of fruit, which opened to reveal a monkey’s head, a dancing bride and groom and a running mouse. The figure’s head and eyes also moved. The figure’s costume was in fine condition and all actions were in working condition. It realized $11,700. A smaller Nineteenth Century clown automata that blows bubbles came from the same collection and sold for $3,744.
A collection of Seventeenth Century armor and weapons included a crossbow, probably Swiss, that was inlaid with ivory and silver and had elaborate hand forged iron fittings. It included its jack and was thought to be in operating condition. It went out for $2,340, and an 86-inch-long Swiss or German halberd brought $498. Drawing the highest price of the group was an iron German-style helmet with visor and gorget. It realized $2,691.
An Eighteenth Century cherry secretary/desk that had been sold in 1976 by Bernard and S. Dean Levy realized $9,945. It had been made in Colchester, Conn., had a bonnet top with a broken arch pediment, flame and urn finials, dentil molding and stop-fluted columns with elaborately carved pinwheels. The brasses were original, and the surface was an old one. An Eighteenth Century Queen Anne tiger maple highboy base with a fan carved central drawer, earned $2,106, well over its estimate. An elaborately carved oak E. Howard tall case clock in working condition, with raised panel sides and base, realized $5,265.
Ephemera and books were sold at the end of the auction but that doesn’t mean that buyers had lost interest. A handwritten letter and other autographs by Amelia Earhart sold for $936. They were on the stationery of New York’s Hotel Seymour where Earhart had maintained an apartment. A large 1856 two-volume set of Colton’s Atlas of the World attained $2,340, but the best of the group was the Four Gospels of The Lord Jesus Christ illustrated by Eric Gill and published by the Golden Cockerel Press in 1931. The edition was limited to 500 copies. A copy is owned by Great Britain’s Royal Collection Trust. Sotheby’s sold an exceptional copy in vellum in 2015 and had this to say about the book: “As noted in the bibliography of the Golden Cockerel Press, …this is the Golden Cockerel book usually compared with the Doves Bible and the Kelmscott Chaucer. A flower among the best products of English romantic genius, it is also surely, thanks to its illustrator, Eric Gill, the book among all books in which Roman type has been best mated with any kind of illustration.” It had been estimated to sell for about $300 but it wound up at $5,850.
Marion Auctions is a collaboration of McNamee and Glynn. McNamee operates the Marion Antique Shop, and Glynn operates Turkey Creek Auctions in Citra, Fla. Both men have been in the business since they were teenagers, and they’ve been friends since high school. They run two auctions a year in Marion; Glynn runs eight or ten a year in Florida. Glynn started in the business while too young to drive so he used a wheelbarrow to transport his purchases. McNamee started in the business with his mother while still in high school. They formed this business about six years ago.
After the sale, McNamee said he was pleased. “Most of our material is sold without reserves so we don’t pass a lot of stuff. I was pleasantly surprised with the results of the paperweights and glad that the library raised a substantial amount of money. I’d been getting calls on the paperweights ever since the catalog went online a few weeks ago. The Neyland painting that Steve [Fletcher] bought was the best I’ve ever sold, and the Harry Clarke painting also did quite well. The YouTube videos of the automata were effective and we’ve learned that we need to be utilizing whatever technologies we can. It was a good sale.”
Prices are given with buyer’s premium, as reported by the auction house. For information, www.marionantiqueauctions.com or 508-748-3606.
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