Published: April 15, 2003
Whale’s Tooth Pulls a $35,750 Winning Bid at Waterhouse Gallery
By Jackie Sideli
SEEKONK, MASS. — It was standing room only for the annual auction that Michael Collins’s Waterhouse Gallery held at the Ramada Inn in Seekonk on Sunday, March 23.
At this point, Collins, who is also an antiques dealer, holds auctions once a year, but the gallery has plans to increase that schedule, eventually holding two or more sales annually. After the auction Collins said that they registered more than 300 buyers for this totally unreserved sale, which largely featured material from local estates. Collins is already assembling material for the next sale.
The top lot of this auction was the circa 1820 whale’s tooth that had scrimshaw decoration on both sides. The tooth weighed one pound, six ounces, measured 71/4 inches long, and was decorated with a depiction of Mount Vernon on one side and a whaling scene on the other. Found in a house in Connecticut, the tooth sold for $35,750.
A dealer in Indian material purchased the Haida argillite pipe, which sold for $6,325, with a phone bid.
A painted tin toy surfaced at this sale, which, despite its slightly rough condition, did extremely well. Described by the auction house as “rare,” the 28-inch Markli Clockwork battleship was marked “Ohio.” Even though it had its smokestacks missing, it brought a solid $17,050 from a toy collector in New York.
A Northwest Coast fish fetish, measuring 181/2 inches, vividly painted and with a carved person inside its belly, sold for $3,960.
Paintings that were offered at the sale included an oil still life of peaches by Bryant Chapin, which brought $4,400. An oil painting on canvas by J.C. Spencer sold for $4,125. A landscape by E.D. Lewis, an oil painting measuring 30 by 50 inches, brought $4,400. A small Nantucket basket in excellent condition sold for $660.
All prices cited include the ten percent buyer’s premium.
Collins said he was, “very, very pleased with the sale. The customers responded to the freshness of the material, and to our policy of no reserves.”
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