Published: July 19, 2022
Review and Onsite Photos by Rick Russack, Additional Photos Courtesy Withington Auctions
GOFFSTOWN, N.H. – Antiques and The Arts Weekly readers probably expect that auction reviews will discuss early American furniture, paintings, Oriental rugs, folk art and so on. And this one will. The highest price of the day, however, $6,600, was earned by a taxidermy lioness, 78 inches long, shot by a New Hampshire big-game hunter. There were other taxidermy animals, all in fine condition, along with Aubrey Beardsley drawings, an extensive stamp collection, books and more.
A good Portsmouth Federal period sofa with solid provenance to the Dartmouth College campus led the furniture selection, finishing over the estimate at $4,200. The eight-legged sofa had reeded posts with birch veneer and stood on reeded legs. It is known that the original owner was Dartmouth professor Ebenezer Adams and the sofa appears in a daguerreotype of his house, which stood on Dartmouth property. The house was built in 1810 and was demolished in 1912 to make room on the campus for the Tuck School of Business.
A Connecticut River Valley Pilgrim century board chest, probably from the Springfield, Mass., area was dated 1693. It was decorated with geometric patterns of arches and lozenges and had crease molding. It retained old red paint with black paint on the molding, cotter-pin hinges and rose-head nail construction. There were some condition issues, which held the price to $3,120. Related examples are discussed in Gerald W.R. Ward’s The Great River; Art and Society of the Connecticut River Valley, 1635-1820 (1985). A Pennsylvania mahogany highboy base with one drawer over three earned $1,680. Its bottom center drawer was carved in the Philadelphia style, with a deeply carved shell and floral motifs. Selling below the estimate was an 1840s New York dining table with demilune ends and a center drop leaf table. It had provenance indicating that it may have been used in the New York governor’s mansion in the late 1880s. That possibility didn’t help as it went out for $720. When extended, the table was nearly 11 feet long.
Folk art included vintage and contemporary. A well-made Nineteenth Century copper running horse weathervane with directionals earned $1,140, nearly twice the estimate, even though the horse’s tail was missing. A carved wooden cigar store figure, complete with Native headdress and cigar box, made by contemporary carver Gil Russell earned $1,440.
Two pen and ink drawings by Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898) each sold for $1,560. An English illustrator, his black ink drawings were influenced by Japanese woodcuts and depicted the grotesque, the decadent and the erotic. He was a leading figure in the Aesthetic Movement, which also included Oscar Wilde and James McNeill Whistler, and he contributed to the development of the Art Nouveau style. Both of the drawings were illustrations for the 1894 production of Oscar Wilde’s play Salome.
Some early stamps had been removed from a large collection housed in volumes one through five of Scott’s international albums. The collection also included an album of US first day covers and 1939-1965 blocks of four. With some rare stamps from Russia and other European countries, the collection realized $1,320.
After the sale, Mike Reopel, one of the owners, commented, “There’s no question that the good stuff will do well. The better furniture did, and the rugs also did. We had a lot of bidders, and condition was important to them. One of the bargains of the day was a large 1970s custom-made Chinese wall unit with four cabinets and two hutches. The cost of shipping that would have been substantial, so a local buyer got a great deal. All in all, we are pleased with the results.” His partners in the business are Gary Yeaton, a furniture specialist who has more than five decades of experience in the business, and Ken Labnon, who also has more than five decades in the business, and who has participated in more than 2,000 auctions. Reopel’s background is somewhat unusual in the antiques and auction world. He graduated from West Point and Harvard, served as an Airborne ranger and worked in the White House.
Prices given include the buyer’s premium as stated by the auction house. For information, www.withingtonauction.com or 603-478-3232.
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