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Diverse offerings spur strong sales at Moran’s Feb. 17 auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 13:45

Collectively realizing over $110,000, this set of three Noguchi ‘Rudder’ stools and table was consigned by the original Chicago owner. John Moran Auctioneers image

PASADENA, Calif. – Presenting a catalog peppered with a number of pleasant surprises, Moran’s Feb. 17 decorative art auction proved attractive for collectors across a number of specialties, including modern decorative art enthusiasts, collectors of fine silver and those whose tastes run more toward traditional French furnishings, with sales running well over half a million dollars.

LiveAuctioneers.com facilitated Internet live bidding.

The 20,000-square-foot auction floor within the Pasadena Convention Center was packed to capacity with offerings. The cataloged session alone comprised 252 lots, with an uncataloged discovery auction offering an additional 200 pieces.

Modern and contemporary prints earned excellent sale prices, including a color pouchoir on paper by Henri Matisse (1869-1954 French) from his “Jazz Suite”, dated 1947. La Nageuse Dans L’Aquarium (The Swimmer in the Aquarium) carried an initial estimate of $10,000 to $15,000 and found a buyer at the high estimate. After competitive bidding via telephone with every available line reserved, Roy Lichtenstein’s (1923-1997, New York) Best Buddies, dated 1991, found a new home for $18,000, within the estimate range of $12,000 to $18,000. A private collector purchased both of the Mixographias by Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) on offer in Tuesday’s auction, including Pajaro Liberado (Freed Bird), which was assigned an estimate of $3,000 to $5,000 and exceeded expectations with a final price of $7,500.

Moran’s received a collection of more than 50 photographs from a local Los Angeles collector, with subjects ranging from show business celebrities to American presidents. Two photographs by Helmut Newton (1920-2004 German) exceeded expectations. The first, a quirky portrait titled Maria Felix at home in Cuernavaca, was estimated to bring $800 to $1,200 and achieved an excellent selling price of $3,250. The second work, carrying the same estimate, was titled Vincent Price at the Magic Castle; that portrait found a buyer at $2,300.

Echoing John Moran’s successful February 2013 auction, a set of three Isamu Noguchi “Rudder” stools and one table, models IN-22 and IN-20 respectively, were offered in this catalog, and exceeded expectations. Hailing from a single-owner collection in Chicago, the set was purchased new directly from the Herman Miller showroom in the 1950s. Evidently, the consignor’s 1950s investment paid off, as the stools each earned between $25,000 and $27,500 hammer and the table brought a very respectable $17,000. The Noguchi lots earned a combined sum of over $110,000 including buyer’s premium.

Decorative highlights included art glass, silver and bronzes. One of the most notable examples was a Loetz iridescent art glass vase of unusual undulate form that sent collectors into a frenzy. Sent to the block early in the auction, the piece sold for an impressive $8,400 to a determined telephone bidder, well over the conservative $400 to $600 estimate.

A handsome Tiffany & Co. sterling silver table vase from a private Pasadena collection went to a private collector for $4,500 (estimate: $2,000 to $3,000). A two-piece lot of diminutive cold painted bronze female figures performed within expectation, ending up with an $1,800 price tag (estimate: $1,000 to $2,000). Finally, a charming gilt bronze and white metal-mounted Dutch tortoiseshell box accompanied by a letter certifying its purchase via a 1929 auction at the Danish palace was offered with a $1,000 to $1,500 estimate, selling online for $1,630.

Traditional Continental and French furniture and decorative arts were well represented in the sale. A Regence-style gilt bronze-mounted vitrine cabinet with an impressive central Vernis Martin door, found to have one mount faintly stamped “PS” and therefore possibly by maker Paul Sormani (1817-1887 Paris), surpassed the conservative initial estimate and delighted the Pasadena area consignor by earning $60,000 at the auction block. A pair of neoclassical torchieres with armor-clad figures supporting four-light standards garnered a fair amount of presale interest. Expected to find a buyer for between $3,000 to $5,000, the set earned $4,200. An impressive early 20th century Rococo-style carved giltwood marble-top table sold to a floor bidder for just over the estimated $2,500 to $3,500 range, bringing $4,200.

One of the most extraordinary lots offered in the sale was an intriguing Italian Renaissance automaton cabinet, informally named the Mystery Cabinet, offered for $6,000 to $8,000, which earned $9,600. Dubbed an “engine d’esbattement” by French Renaissance contemporaries, the piece is a rather mild iteration of automatons commissioned by European Renaissance-era aristocrats meant to tease, embarrass and/or delight their guests. This particular cabinet calls into question the character of a particular lady of the Rucellai family, who is revealed to be a devil when the viewer moves to expose her partially obscured portrait. Facing competition from multiple online bidders, a telephone buyer proved successful in taking the oddity home.

Additional highlights included a Bacon Banjo Co. tenor banjo, circa 1930, which incited a fervor of online interest and sold for $1,560 (estimate: $800 to $1,200). Shortly after, a Swiss-made Bolex H-16 REX-4 16mm film camera in excellent working condition realized $1,200 (estimate: $300 to $500).

Select works of fine art did quite well, with the majority of the higher-earning works from California artists. A work by Emil J. Kosa Jr. (1903-1968 Los Angeles) featuring a seated clown holding an accordion was one of a number of circus-themed artworks offered in Moran’s February auction. The offbeat portrait found a buyer for a respectable $3,500, well over the $1,000 to $2,000 estimate. A jewel-toned landscape by Carmel, Calif. painter Nell Walker Warner (1891-1970) from a Washington estate sold for $1,680, squarely within the $1,200 to $1,800 estimate. A large-scale oil on canvas by Los Angeles-born Frank Bowers (1905-1964) depicting buccaneers on a beach charmed quite a few bidders in attendance, one of whom was successful at $1,080. Capturing an unexpected vantage point from above Seattle’s iconic Space Needle, San Francisco watercolorist Jack Laycox’s (1921-1984) aptly titled composition Space Needle found a new home for $1,882 (estimate: $700 to $1,000).

John Moran is seeking consignments for the April 21 decorative art and May 5 fine jewelry auctions. Interested parties are invited to contact John Moran Auctioneers directly for more information regarding the consignment process. Friendly and knowledgeable specialists are readily available by phone: 626-793-1833 or via email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Collectively realizing over $110,000, this set of three Noguchi ‘Rudder’ stools and table was consigned by the original Chicago owner. John Moran Auctioneers image

‘Best Buddies’ by Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997 New York), estimated to bring $12,000 to $18,000, attained $18,000 at John Moran’s Feb. 17 auction. John Moran Auctioneers image

This large Loetz iridescent art glass vase wildly exceeded expectations when it sold for $8,400, largely due to its unusual form. Its estimate was $400 to $600. John Moran Auctioneers image

With gilt bronze mounts very possibly by the celebrated French bronzier Paul Sormani (1817-1887), this elegant Regence style Vernis Martin vitrine cabinet sold for $60,000 (estimate: $5,000 to $7,000). John Moran Auctioneers image

This Italian Renaissance automaton cabinet was offered at Moran’s February Auction with an estimate of $6,000 to $8,000 and found a buyer for $9,600. John Moran Auctioneers image

One of the most popular lots in John Moran’s February auction was this ‘Eucalyptus’ landscape by Carmel, Calif., artist Nell Walker Warner, which earned $1,680 (estimate: $1,200 to $1,800). John Moran Auctioneers image

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 March 2015 14:29
 

PBA Galleries sets house record for single-session auction, Feb. 8

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 12 February 2015 17:04

From the 1632 William Shakespeare Second Folio edition auctioned by PBA Galleries for $114,000 on February 8, 2015. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and PBA Galleries

SAN FRANCISCO - A 1632 Second Folio edition of William Shakespeare would qualify as headline news at any book auction. Yet there was an even bigger story to report at PBA Galleries, where the rare tome sold for $114,000 on February 8th. The event was the auction of Rare Books & Manuscripts with Early Medical Works from the George Bray Collection, and yes, there were a few oohs and aahs when the cornerstone of English literature sold to a phone bidder. But it was the second section of the sale, which featured a selection of rare and important books on the medical sciences, put together by Dr. George Bray over many years, that provided the spark and sizzle of the 196-lot auction.

The sale was held in the same hotel as the 48th California International Antiquarian Book Fair, with Internet live bidding available through LiveAuctioneers. The start time was 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time, intentionally early so bidders, many of whom were dealers exhibiting at the fair, would be free to leave after the conclusion of the sale and tend their booths when the fair opened at 11:00 a.m.

An extremely rare inscribed presentation copy of James Lind’s seminal 1753 work, A Treatise of the Scurvy, suggesting that scourge of seamen could be alleviated by the addition of oranges, lemons and green vegetables their diet, was bid to an astonishing $66,000 in a battle of floor bidders. Other highlights in the Bray collection included Über die Erhaltung der Kraft by Hermann Helmholtz, 1847, the first comprehensive statement of the first law of thermodynamics, which sold for $27,000; William Harvey’s Du motu cordus & sanguinis in animalibus, 1636, the third edition of his groundbreaking work on circulation of the blood, which sold for $24,000; A Discourse Upon the Institution of Medical Schools in America, by John Morgan, published in Philadelphia in 1765, bid to $19,200 against an estimate of $6,000 to $9,000; and De honesta voluptate: et valitudine, by Bartholomaeus Platina, 1480, the third edition of the first published work on food and drink, being a guide to a healthy diet as well as a recipe book, was hammered down at $18,000.

The first section of the catalogue was more than just prelude to the Bray collection, comprising a broad spectrum of rarities old and new. Besides the second folio of Shakespeare, the high points included a 10-line fragment of an ink manuscript by Sir Isaac Newton on Christ's capacity to open "the sealed book" of Revelations, selling for $24,000; a first edition, first printing of James Joyce’s Ulysses, limited to 750 copies, bound in early blue cloth with the original wrappers included, fetching $12,000; a stunning calligraphic manuscript by Alberto Sangorksi of Rudyard Kipling’s poems “If” and “Recessional,” bound in full morocco by Riviere, splitting the estimate at $16,800; and the first American edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, an exceptional copy in the rare dust jacket, bringing $10,800.

The third section of the auction was comprised of more modest offerings, but for a good cause. These final 47 lots were books donated by ABAA members and sold for the benefit of the Elisabeth Woodburn Fund, which provides financial support for scholarly research and education relevant to the antiquarian book trade. Bidding was often spirited, and $10,000 was raised for the fund.

Overall, the sale results totaled just shy of $625,000, including the 20% buyer’s premium. This was the highest total for a single-session auction in the history of PBA Galleries, eclipsed only by a two-day auction of rare golf books in 1998.

PBA Galleries holds sales of fine, rare and collectible books every two weeks. For more information regarding upcoming sales, consignments, or auction results, please contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

View the fully illustrated catalog for PBA's Feb. 8, 2015 auction, complete with prices realized, at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

From the 1632 William Shakespeare Second Folio edition auctioned by PBA Galleries for $114,000 on February 8, 2015. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers Archive and PBA Galleries

Last Updated on Friday, 13 February 2015 12:10
 

Portraits in high demand at Case Antiques auction Jan. 24

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:35

A portrait of the artist’s mother by American modernist painter Beauford Delaney (American, 1901-1979) fetched $48,380, four times its low estimate. Case Antiques Auction image

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Portraits proved to be among the most sought-after lots at the Winter Case Antiques Auction, held Jan. 24 at the company’s gallery in Knoxville. The top selling lot was a 1963 oil on canvas portrait by noted Knoxville-born African-American artist, Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), of his mother, Delia, which soared to $48,380 (est. $12,000-14,000) amid competition from local and East Coast bidders.

LiveAuctioneers.com provided absentee and Internet live bidding. According to LiveAuctioneers.com, the auction attracted more than 2,200 approved registered bidders, making it the site’s most active auction for the month of January in terms of unique bidder registrations.

A second Delaney painting, a face painted on a pillowcase during the late 1950s, when the artist lived in Paris but was too poor to buy canvas, hammered for $24,180 to a private collector. It is one of a handful of Delaney works painted on nontraditional supports (another such work, painted on a raincoat, was featured in a traveling exhibit of his work organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 2005-2006). All prices in this report include the buyer’s premium.

Several antique portraits fared well too. A pair of circa 1830 oils by President Andrew Jackson’s favorite portrait painter, Ralph E. W. Earl (1788-1838), depicting the president’s close friends, the Rev. Hardy Murfree Cryer and Mrs. Cryer, sold for $24,780 against a $6,800-$8,400 estimate. A miniature portrait depicting Montgomery County, Alabama Judge Benajah Smith Bibb, painted the same period, doubled its high estimate at $3,422. It was signed by English/American artist Hugh Bridport (1794-1868), and was one of several items being sold from the private museum of the late Judge George Greene of Phenix City, Alabama. A large, unsigned, late 18th century portrait of an English military officer, in the manner of Thomas Hudson, attracted considerable overseas interest but ultimately hammered to an American buyer for $7,316 (est. $2,000-$3,000). A portrait of a lady in the manner of Thomas Sully, with South Carolina provenance, realized $3,224, and a rare engraved image of President James Madison sold to the Montpelier Foundation for $826.

Folk art faces were in demand as well. A wood sculpture collage by Helen Bullard (Tennessee, 1902-1996), composed of 15 carved human faces, and titled Does Anyone Know What Comes Next? – a reference to race relations – earned $2,600 (est. $800-$1,200). A Southern carved stone female bust by an unknown artist, dated 1849, brought $2,596 (est. $1,400-$1,800).

The phone lines were at capacity when a vivid California landscape by Maurice Braun (1877-1941) crossed the block; it tripled its high estimate at $24,780. A landscape by Hermann Herzog (1832-1932), depicting sheep threatened by an approaching storm, realized $22,420, while a pastoral landscape by East Tennessee painter James Wiley Wallace (1852-1921) rested at $4,956. An autumn landscape by Tennessee impressionist Catherine Wiley (1879-1958) sold for $9,440, a seascape by Florida Highwaymen artist A.E. Backus (1906-1991) brought $14,750, and a small (9in x 16in) limestone sculpture of a bird by William Edmondson (1884-1951) flew to $14,160 despite a repaired break to its tailwing.

Case made newspaper headlines in the weeks leading up to the auction for its offering of an archive related to Lt. Dabney Scales of the CSS Shenandoah, a Civil War Navy ship whose crew became the last Confederates to surrender on Nov. 6, 1865. After the war, Scales went on to become a Tennessee state senator. His diary chronicling events on board the Shenandoah sailed to $19,470 (est. $10,000-$12,000). The Tennessee State Museum paid the same price for Scales’ photo album featuring more than 30 CDV images, many of them identified Confederate Naval officers. An 1863 Scales diary, accompanied by his 1860 ship practice log, fetched $8,946. The World War I archive of Scales’ son, George, including his pilot’s aviator uniform and related documents and photographs, flew to $2,232 (est. $700-$900). An archive of early East Tennessee slave documents, discovered by Case in a hidden cavity of a blanket chest consigned for auction, was divided into two lots, which brought $2,124 and $1,652 respectively. Also discovered in the chest was a Civil War letter archive relating to E.S. Cassady of the Georgia 9th, including his ambrotype. It rallied to $5,456. The chest, meanwhile, sold for a modest $295. (Look for more documents from the cache to be sold in Case’s July 18 auction).

The paper category was hot overall: an Andrew Jackson signed document approving the sale of land in Alabama by a Creek Indian to a white settler doubled its estimate at $2,832, the same price paid for a Revolutionary War and early 1800s account book relating to early Middle Tennessee settler Gen. James Winchester. A 1799 map of Tennessee brought $1,416, and a pair of 17th century maps by Gerard Mercator, depicting America and the Straits of Magellan, charted $4,712.

An East Tennessee vine-and-fan-inlaid Federal chest of drawers led the furniture category at $19,470, while a sugar chest in the form of a miniature sideboard, from the estate of Bertha Wright of Kentucky’s famed Calumet Horse Farm, served up $6,844. A Tennessee sugar chest of traditional form with turned legs sold for $4,484, the same price as a Kentucky two-part Jackson Press; an East Tennessee walnut chest of drawers with provenance relating to a Revolutionary War soldier reached $4,956, and a Southern blanket chest on tall turned legs brought $2,242. A Mid-Atlantic smoke decorated blanket chest doubled expectations at $1,770.

Southern pottery has a strong following at Case. Multiple bidders chased an East Tennessee redware jar with manganese splotches to $17,110 (est. $4,500-$5,500). A double-handled stoneware jar by N.H. Dixon of North Carolina, which descended in the family of the potter, sold for $3,422, while a Georgia or Alabama alkaline glazed jar with illegible script decoration wrote up $1,534. A rock-teethed face jug by Lanier Meaders of Georgia earned $1,003, and a Southwestern Native American acoma olla with polychrome geometric design, measuring 10-1/2in high, brought five times its estimate at $4,484.

Featured in this auction were 60 lots of Southern coin silver, collected over a lifetime by John Montague of Memphis. Case signed on as a co-sponsor of the Natchez Antiques Forum to help promote the collection, and it appeared to pay off. A plain water pitcher bearing the mark of Samuel Cockrell of Natchez, Mississippi, brought $2,950, while a smaller cream jug marked for Emile Profilet of Natchez brought almost as much at $2,714. A Natchez fish slice by George McPherson served up $1,770. A New Orleans coin silver repoussé pitcher by Adolph Himmel brought $4,012, while a ladle by early New Orleans silversmith Pierre Lamothe hit $2,478, and a set of 12 coin silver dessert spoons by Samuel Bell of Knoxville, Tennessee, rang up a strong $3,068. Other silver standouts included a set of four George III sterling candlesticks by William Cafe, $8,732 (est. $2,400-$3,400), and a 169-piece set of Kirk Repoussé pattern sterling flatware, $4,720.

It was a good day for jewelry, with several lots bringing within or well above estimate. A GIA certified 3.10-carat round diamond solitaire ring sparkled at $16,250, while a 2.02-carat diamond ring with guard brought $7,688, and an 18K Patek Philippe men’s pocketwatch, circa 1916 with original paperwork, ticked to $4,956.

This auction contained an above-average number of French decorative arts. Highlights included a Napoleon III French inlaid commode with bronze mounts stamped for Victor Paillard of Paris, $14,260; a French Empire period giltwood and marble pedestal, $5,900 (est. $500-600); and a French gilt bronze and champlevé enamel clock and garniture, retailed by Tiffany, $8,680.

There were more bidders participating from China than any country except the United States, and most were bidding online. Highlights included a large Chinese Export silver bowl pierced with dragon and cloud designs, which roared to $14,750, and a 10-piece Chinese Export silver tea service, $4216. A framed silk Buddha-themed Tibetan thangka surprised at $6,136 (est. $600-$800), while two pairs of Ming period framed silk embroideries with figures and dragons executed in metallic threads brought $10,416 ($5,208 apiece) and a Qing Yixing teapot with animal finial made $3,596.

“This sale exceeded our high estimate, and was one of our most successful to date,” said company president John Case. “The 20th century art and historical document categories, in particular, were very active and we look forward to offering more outstanding pieces in these and other categories in the year to come.”

The company is currently accepting consignments for a Spring Asian, Silver and Jewelry specialty auction and its Summer Fine and Decorative Arts auction. Inquiries may be directed to the company’s Knoxville Gallery (865-558-3033) or Nashville office (615-812-6096), or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

A portrait of the artist’s mother by American modernist painter Beauford Delaney (American, 1901-1979) fetched $48,380, four times its low estimate. Case Antiques Auction image

A face painted on a pillowcase, circa 1953, bore witness to the days when American abstract impressionist painter Beauford Delaney (1901-1979) was living in Paris, struggling to afford art supplies. It sold for $24,180 to a private collector, underbid by an institution. Case Antiques Auction image

A pair of circa 1830 oils depicting the Rev. and Mrs. Hardy Murfree Cryer, by President Andrew Jackson’s favorite portraitist, Ralph E.W. Earl (1788-1838), proved a winning combination at $24,780. Case Antiques Auction image

American landscapes fared well, including this work by Maurice Braun (California/New York, 1877-1941), which brought $24,780. Case Antiques Auction image

The sale included a number of warmly received French decorative arts. This Napoleon III marquetry inlaid cabinet with marble top and ormolu mounts stamped for Victor Paillard of Paris (1805-1886), sold for $14,260. Case Antiques Auction image

Several overseas bidders were in the hunt for this large (11-1/2 inches diameter) Chinese export silver bowl, which hammered for $14,750. Case Antiques Auction image

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2015 15:05
 

Philadelphia Chippendale tea table hits $1.9M at Keno auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 03 February 2015 16:42

Potter-Crouch-Jordan Family 18th century Chippendale tea table. Price realized: $1,895,500. Keno Auctions image.

NEW YORK – Keno Auctions’ Winter Sale on Jan. 31 provided a dramatic conclusion of Americana Week in New York. The sale, which was composed of only 13 lots, totaled an impressive $3,456,500 with a 92 percent sell rate by lot.

John Nye of Nye & Co., served as the auctioneer while President, Leigh Keno was on the phone throughout the sale with clients.

LiveAuctioneers.com facilitated absentee and Internet live bidding service.

Lot 1 was a newly discovered Chippendale tea table signed by the important Philadelphia cabinetmaker Henry Cliffton that brought $1,895,500, nearly quadrupling the low estimate.

“The table is truly a tour de force of pre-Revolutionary rococo design and carving in Philadelphia,” said Keno. “I recall my excitement when I discovered that the signature ‘Henry … ’, in chalk on the underside of the top was that of Henry Cliffton, famous for having signed and dated the earliest example of Rococo furniture extant – a high chest at Colonial Williamsburg. The table is a rosetta stone of American furniture that sheds light on some of the world’s most famous 18th century creations by some of the best carvers in Colonial America.”

Known as the Potter-Crouch-Jordan Family tea table, it has descended in the family of the original owners for over 250 years and remarkably, retains its original finish. Keno noted that “of the four factors that can be used to evaluate a scalloped-top Philadelphia tea table – quality, rarity, condition and provenance – this example ranks at the very top, representing the apogee of Philadelphia Rococo craftsmanship.”

After spirited bidding in the room, phones and Internet, a 1973 copper and brass S.621 Untitled, Hanging, Six-Lobed Multi-layered interlocking forms with a sphere in the third lobe sculpture by Ruth Asawa (American, 1926-1913) brought $965,000 – almost four times its high estimate. “The result for the Asawa is a new record for an example dating to the 1970s as well as world record for any Asawa work under 80 inches in height.

An important aspect of this astonishing work is that the artist was videotaped in Robert Snyder’s 1973 documentary Ruth Asawa: Of Forms And Growth. In the film, she describes the labor-intensive process involved in bringing to life her unique creations, a clip of which can be found on the Keno Auctions website. Snyder has stated that the video captures, “…the intensity and sensitivity that pervades her life … we experience her humanness, and her views on art, growth and life itself.” Her works, each unique, are three dimensional drawings in air and by their very existence inspire us to redefine negative space, its relationship with the object itself and with the viewer.

The phone lines were also full for two Alexander Calder (American, 1898-1976) works in the sale. A diminutive sheet metal, brass and wire 1968 standing mobile, Pig’s Tail, soared above its estimate of $50,000-$100,000 to bring $365,000, while a brightly colored gouache, Spotted Orb and Pyramids from 1956, made $78,750.

“We had bidders from all over the world, including Australia. The market for great quality modern and contemporary art with strong provenance is extremely robust. The high number of active internet and telephone bidders in this sale from around the world was witness to this fact,” said Keno.

Keno Auctions also offered a number of rare documents. “We were pleased to work with leading document expert Seth Kaller in offering a select collection of rare documents,” said Keno. “We have worked with Seth before, and he always has great pieces of American history.” Two rare 1789 issues of the New York Gazette of the United States newspaper did especially well, including $43,750 for the earliest obtainable printing of the Bill of Rights and $36,250 for Washington’s first presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation. A unique 1769 Sons of Liberty document capturing patriotic toasts for the fourth anniversary of Boston’s Stamp Act Riot made $15,000.

Keno was very pleased with the results. “Our approach for the Winter Sale is a first for Keno Auctions; the Rococo table produced by Henry Cliffton circa 1755 was no less avant-garde in its day than the 1969 standing mobile by Philadelphia-born Calder or the 1973 hanging sculpture by California-born Asawa. These select pieces are not only beautiful but increasingly valuable assets. We look forward to another masterworks sale, and have already started planning,” he said.

All prices include buyer’s premium.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Potter-Crouch-Jordan Family 18th century Chippendale tea table. Price realized: $1,895,500. Keno Auctions image.

Ruth Asawa, ‘S.621 Untitled, Hanging, Six-Lobed Multi-layered’ interlocking forms with a sphere in the third lobe sculpture. Price realized: $965,000. Keno Auctions image.

Alexander Calder, ‘Spotted Orb and Pyramids,’ 1956. Price realized: $78,750. Keno Auctions image.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:34
 

Morphy's back-to-back sales of advertising & art hit $2.2M

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 02 February 2015 10:10

1902 Coca-Cola poster emblazoned ‘Drink Carbonated Coca-Cola in Bottles, $40,800. Morphy Auctions image

DENVER, Pa. – A blockbuster lineup of more than 800 lots of antique advertising opened the doors to a three-day marathon of consistently strong auction prices at Morphy’s, Dec. 5-7. Online bidders participated through LiveAuctioneers.

The combined total for the sessions, which also included fine and decorative art, was $2,184,000. All prices quoted in this report include the 20% buyer’s premium.

The Friday advertising session’s prices realized were led by a historically important 1891 Coca-Cola calendar that came from the renowned Gordon P. Breslow collection. Years prior to Breslow’s acquisition of the near-mint rarity, it had surfaced in Louisiana within a pre-1900 pharmaceutical collection.

The calendar was especially significant to collectors because it also promoted Asa C. Candler & Co., a retail and wholesale drug business on Peachtree Street in Atlanta that served Coca-Cola at its soda fountain. In 1891, Candler paid $2,300 to become sole owner of Coca-Cola, and a year later, he dissolved his pharmaceutical business and formed the Coca-Cola Bottling Company along with four other partners. The early and iconic calendar – one of only two known examples of 1891 Coke calendars, each a unique version – reached its high estimate at auction, selling for $150,000.

Produced in 1902, a brilliantly hued Coke poster emblazoned “Drink Carbonated Coca-Cola in Bottles” featured a young woman in a fancy plumed hat and pearl-covered red dress holding a fountain glass of the fizzy beverage. It reached the top of its estimate range at $40,800.

An exquisite 1904 Coca-Cola boudoir clock, celluloid over cardboard with an embedded clock face showing the soft drink’s name in flowing script, was described in the catalog as being in excellent-plus condition. It featured an elegantly gowned model in a Gibson Girl hairdo, standing beside a 5-cent Coca-Cola display. The clock finished within estimate at $22,000. Not far behind at $21,600 was a rare version of a 1908 Coke calendar featuring a finely attired lady sipping daintily from a glass, a bottle of the popular beverage placed prominently on the sofa-fountain table before her.

Other highlights recorded on the Friday included a three-dimensional painted coffee pot trade sign touting T&K Coffee, $15,600 against an estimate of $3,000-$6,000; a 25- by 17-inch paper sign for Remington Auto Loading Rifles, $6,600 (est. $600-$900); and a richly graphic Canadian porcelain sign advertising King Cole Tea and Coffee, $7,200 (est. $2,500-$5,000).

The Saturday session, which introduced the first 634 of 1,400 lots of fine and decorative art to be auctioned over the weekend, included early photographica, fine jewelry, coins and bronzes, among other subcategories.

Leading the numismatic lots was an 1803 $10 gold coin with Lady Liberty on the obverse and an American Eagle, US Shield and stars on the reverse. It cashed out at $13,600. A beautiful 1876 20-cent proof MS65 coin with “mint luster” exceeded its estimate range in settling at $9,000.

The perennial appeal of Georg Jensen silver was evident with the above-estimate $6,000 price paid for a simple oval tea tray, 60 ozt, with reeded rim and beaded accents. An impressive 14K yellow gold and platinum ring with 1.2-carat solitaire diamond (VS1 clarity, G color) also exceeded expectations, reaching $5,800. The fine selection of bronzes included a Meroni Radice casting of Maurice Guiraud-Riviere’s anatomical figure of an athletic man, $4,800; and an 11-inch-wide classical bronze of a nude lady warrior in a dramatic pose with spear and shield, $4,000. A tinted stereoscopic daguerreotype of a nude woman with a sheer veil neared its high estimate at $3,600.

Sunday’s session opened with 275 rare antique telephones from the Peter D’Acosta collection. The former Texas broadcast executive spent 25 years amassing his premier collection, which included 30 telephones believed to be sole survivors.

Among the telephone lots ringing up the day’s highest prices were several rare “candlestick” types: an 1898 Manhattan Electrical Supply phone with “rope” shaft, $18,000 against an estimate of $6,000-$7,000; a historically important 1895 Western Electric No. 3-A “Potbelly,” $16,800 (est. $12,000-$15,000), and an unusual 1904 Western Electric No. 30-A 100-station peg dialer, which functioned as a primitive switching system exchange. Estimated at $4,000-$5,000, it connected with phone enthusiasts and was bid to $12,000.

Dozens of stunning American art-glass lamps followed the telephone selection, with all of the most desired brands represented, including Tiffany, Pairpoint and Handel. Results included $15,000 for a Pairpoint Apple Blossom on Tree Trunk base; and $8,400 for a Handel cameo lamp reverse-painted with the image of colorful parrots, which had been estimated at $1,500-$3,000.

The star of the Sunday session, to no one’s surprise, was an 1890 Martin & Bros., stoneware Wally Bird humidor. Its cheeky expression, rare-color blue eyes and perfect condition combined to take it to a lofty $37,200. Other standouts in the decorative art category included a Roseville “Tourist” 33-inch jardinière and pedestal, $7,800; and a signed George Ohr teapot with lid, $5,400.

Morphy Auctions’ next major Advertising auction will take place on March 28 and will feature scarce soda fountain syrup dispensers. On April 4, Morphy’s will hold its next Fine & Decorative Arts sale, for which consignments are currently being accepted. Contact Morphy’s by calling 717-335-3435 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

View the fully illustrated catalogs for Morphy's Dec. 5, 6 and 7 auction sessions, complete with prices realized, at www.liveauctioneers.com.

Day 1: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/63787_premier-advertising-auction/page1

Day 2: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/64113_december-6th-fine-and-decorative-arts/page1

Day 3: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/catalog/64145_december-7th-fine-and-decorative-arts/page1

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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

1902 Coca-Cola poster emblazoned ‘Drink Carbonated Coca-Cola in Bottles, $40,800. Morphy Auctions image

1803 $10 gold coin with Lady Liberty on obverse, American Eagle on reverse, $13,600. Morphy Auctions image

Only known 1891 Coca-Cola calendar of its type, ex Gordon P. Breslow collection, near mint, $150,000. Morphy Auctions image

Meroni Radice casting of Maurice Guiraud-Riviere’s figure of an athletic man, $4,800. Morphy Auctions image

Three-dimensional painted coffee pot trade sign touting T&K Coffee, $15,600. Morphy Auctions image

1898 Manhattan Electrical Supply telephone with ‘rope’ shaft, $18,000. Morphy Auctions image

1895 Western Electric No. 3-A ‘Potbelly’ telephone, $16,800. Morphy Auctions image

Pairpoint art glass lamp, Apple Blossom pattern, Tree Trunk base, signed and stamped, $15,000. Morphy Auctions image

Rare R.W. Martin Brothers stoneware Wally Bird tobacco jar, 1890, beautiful form with rare blue eyes, mint condition, $37,200. Morphy Auctions image

Roseville ‘Tourist’ 33-inch jardinière and pedestal, $7,800. Morphy Auctions image

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 16:56
 

Halaby painting soars at Gray's Jan. 28 Modern & Contemporary auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 17:22

Samia Halaby (Palestinian, b. 1937-), #270 Rainbow Spirals, $102,000. Gray's Auctioneers image

CLEVELAND - Gray's Auctioneers in Cleveland achieved impressive results at their Modern and Contemporary auction on Wednesday, January 28th. Live Auctioneers provided live online bidding, with bidders participating from all over the globe.

The main attraction was a diverse collection of paintings and prints from Cleveland collector and gallerist Stanley Yulish. The star of the collection was Palestinian-born Samia Halaby's magnificent 1973 oil-on-canvas titled #270 (Rainbow Spirals), which sold for $102,000, inclusive of buyer’s premium.

The success of this auction follows Gray's first highly successful Post-war and Contemporary Art auction held in November 2014 where they broke the global auction record for Andy Warhol's Moonwalk at $120,000.

Gray's is currently accepting consignments for its next Modern and Contemporary auction, which will be held May 6th.

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About Gray's Auctioneers & Appraisers:

A boutique company with a global reach, Gray's Auctioneers and Appraisers is northern Ohio's premier auction house. They accept consignments and offer complimentary vaulations every day. For more information, please contact Serena Harragin at 216-458-7695 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Samia Halaby (Palestinian, b. 1937-), #270 Rainbow Spirals, $102,000. Gray's Auctioneers image

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), Moonwalk (Pink), 1987, $120,000. Gray's Auctioneers image

Last Updated on Monday, 02 February 2015 10:37
 

Famous collection gets overwhelming reception at Clars

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Written by Auction House PR   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:01

The top lot of the Mellon Scaife collection was this lot of three 19th century Royal Worcester urchin and dolphin compotes that sold for an impressive $10,115, setting an auction record for this form. Clars Auction Gallery image

OAKLAND, Calif. – On Jan. 17 and 18 Clars Auction Gallery brought to market the first offering of the expansive collection of majolica, porcelains and antique furnishings from the estate of Richard Mellon Scaife. This initial offering featured 300 lots that soared well past estimates achieving over $250,000.

LiveAuctioneers.com provide Internet live bidding.

“The formidable global market reaction to this collection exceeded all of our expectations,” said Deric Torres, vice president and director of decorative arts and furniture for Clars. “Bidding was incredibly strong, particularly from Europe and Britain. A majority of the pieces offered sold for over high estimate with several going for two and three times the high and more. The provenance combined with the quality of the offerings resulted in prices not seen, particularly on majolica, since before the 2008 downturn. It was a very exciting sale to be part of and a very exciting weekend indeed.”

The top lot of the collection offered, which went for almost 10 times high estimate, was a lot of three 19th century Royal Worcester urchin and dolphin compotes that sold for an impressive $10,115, setting an new auction record for this form. Also going for four times high estimate was a Royal Worcester shell form tazza, circa 1885, which went out at $5,600.

In the majolica, the top sellers included a lot of two Copeland shell form vases, circa 1885, which sold for $4,400 (estimate: $800); another lot of two Copeland shell form spoon warmers, circa 1870, achieved $2,400 (estimate: $1,500); and again from Copeland, a 19th century swan and bulrush vase sold also sold for $2,400 against its high estimate of $800. A lot of 10 Portuguese corn luncheon service that was offered for $500 sold for $1,500 and a lot of two William Brownfield & Son conch shell vases, circa 1880, sold for $4,100 (estimate: $1,500).

Other offerings from the Mellon Scaife collection that brought surprising prices was a French Industrial gilt bronze automaton lighthouse clock and barometer, circa 1890, which was expected to sell for $4,000 but sailed over the top selling for $7,100. Perhaps the most “whimsical lot in the sale,” according to Torres, was a monumental brass bell and striker which sold for an amazing $4,750 against its $1,500 high estimate. Also of note in the fine furniture that was offered was a 19th century Continental pietra dura side table that was expected to achieve $1,500 but realized an astounding $7,700.

Overall, Clars Jan. 17-19 auction was the third highest grossing January sale in the firm’s history, realizing over $850,000. While the Mellon Scaife collection was the focus of the three-day event, the top lot of the entire sale came from the Asian category. A Chinese Longquan-type celadon vase from the estate of U.S. Navy Capt. Edward S. Pearce, was expected to sell for $1,600 but highly competitive bidding on this piece drove the final sale price to an exciting $35,700.

The fine art category also performed well realizing $225,000. The top sellers in this category both sold for $14,280. The first was Harbor Scene with Sailboats by Georgi Alexandrovich Lapchine (Russian, 1885-1951) and the second, a color woodblock print titled Nude, 1950 by Kiyoshi Saito (provenance: deaccession – Nevada Museum of Art, Reno). While both of these offerings sold for over high estimate, the final sale price of the Kiyoshi woodblock print was 14 times its high estimate.

Rounding out the sale was the jewelry and timepieces category where watches reigned supreme this month. The highlight was a men’s Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute stainless steel wristwatch, Ref. 809, circa 1962, which solidly surpassed high estimate selling for $6,545.

For a more information on this sale email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.



ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

The top lot of the Mellon Scaife collection was this lot of three 19th century Royal Worcester urchin and dolphin compotes that sold for an impressive $10,115, setting an auction record for this form. Clars Auction Gallery image

The top seller in majolica was this lot of two Copeland shell form vases, circa 1885, which sold for $4,400, far beyond the $800 estimate. Clars Auction Gallery image

Also from Copeland, this 19th century swan and bulrush vase sold for $2,400 against its high estimate of $800. Clars Auction Gallery image

This French Industrial gilt bronze automaton lighthouse clock and barometer, circa 1890, which was expected to sell for $4,000, finished at $7,100. Clars Auction Gallery image

In the fine furniture that was offered, this 19th century Continental pietra dura side table topped out at an astounding $7,700. Clars Auction Gallery image

The top lot of the auction overall was this Chinese Longquan-type celadon vase that sparked bidding to $35,700. Clars Auction Gallery image

This color woodblock print titled ‘Nude,’ 1950 by Kiyoshi Saito sold for $14,280. Clars Auction Gallery image

The highlight of the jewelry and timepieces category was this Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute stainless steel wristwatch that sold for $6,545. Clars Auction Gallery image

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 16:56
 

Noel Barrett’s $1.1M auction ventured into obscure and offbeat territory

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Written by Auction House PR   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 15:30

Baranger Studios Pirate Ship animated window display, made in 1945, $19,360. Noel Barrett image

NEW HOPE, Pa. – If variety is the spice of life, auction house owner Noel Barrett was the undisputed king of condiments over the weekend of December 5-6. His 926-lot Antique Auction colorfully ran the gamut from carousel figures and German Christmas ornaments to tattoo memorabilia and jewelry store motion displays. “And there were buyers for every single niche category,” said Barrett, known to collectors from coast to coast for his avuncular demeanor and expert appraisals on PBS Television’s Antiques Roadshow.

The auction, which had an online sell-through rate of 35.5% (by lot) through LiveAuctioneers, was anchored by two important collections: the Libby Goodman dollhouse and miniatures collection and a wonderful array of antique toys and trains amassed by renowned magician the late John Daniel and his wife, Kathy. In addition, the lineup featured a wealth of other toys, trains, signs and curiosities from approximately 40 other American and European consignors.

“This was one of our most eclectic sales ever. It contained a number of unusual single-owner pieces – family heirlooms that had been passed down through several generations,” Barrett said.

Grossing $1,120,000 (inclusive of 21% buyer’s premium), the sale breezed past its presale high estimate of $925,000. Leading the prices realized was a rare Marklin toy train replicating the real-life Stephenson’s Rocket that road the rails at record speeds from 1829 to 1840. Consisting of a locomotive with tender and two cars, the 25-inch-long train was offered with a $25,000-$35,000 estimate and ultimately sold for $121,000.

“It came to us from a German consignor and was purchased by a German collector, so the train went on quite a journey before returning to its homeland,” said Barrett.

The veteran toy appraiser went on to explain that the reason the train is so valuable is because relatively few were made in the first place.

“Marklin produced the toy more than 60 years after the real Stephenson’s Rocket was retired. It was not a good seller because it was not a train that kids could relate to. Because so few of the trains were marketed, it was rare to begin with, and even fewer survived over the century to follow,” Barrett said.

Known as Germany’s premier golden-era toy maker, Marklin also produced the Gauge 1 hospital car with 7 patients and 8 beds (est. $7,000-$8,000) and a circa 1923-1928 Locomobile steam plant with dynamo (est. $10,000-$12,000). Each of the two lots achieved $14,520.

Barrett said he was not expecting the $21,780 (4 times high estimate) price paid for a 19th-century Clinton fire pumper model consigned by descendants of its designer, Edgar Lasak. Accompanied by two framed fire company membership certificates issued to Lasak – one of them dated 1847 – the finely detailed, 18-inch-long model had survived in “brilliant condition,” according to its catalog description.

A 19th-century salesman’s sample of a Stebbins & Walker seeder (farm machine) cultivated an $11,200 selling price against an estimate of $3,500-$4,500. It was one of several rarities in the sale that had come to Barrett subsequent to an Antiques Roadshow appraisal.

“There were many eye-opening prices paid in this sale, but nothing was as shocking to me as the bidding battles over the Barangers,” said Barrett, describing the animated, tableau-style window displays produced from 1927 through 1957 for “mom-and-pop” jewelry stores. “The highest price I had ever seen for one at auction was $6,000. In our December sale, there were three from the collection of John Daniel, who wrote the book about Baranger Studios motion displays.” A 1945 Pirate Ship sailed to a $19,360 finish (est. $3,000-$5,000), a Turtle Sightseeing Bus with Passengers made $13,310; and a Rip Van Winkle with Nodding Elves was bid to $16,940.

Carousel animals and decorative elements from the collection of carousel restoration artist Tony Orlando were joined by a C.W. Parker striding camel that was formerly in the private collection of Leon Perelman. It trotted off to a new owner for the above-estimate price of $17,570. Other five-figure highlights included an animated Santa with toys window display, $10,890 (est. $1,500-$2,000); and a quarter-scale display model of 1932 Hudson made for the New York Auto Show. One of only seven known in all-original condition, it coasted to the top of its estimate range at $29,040.

Collecting “off the grid” seemed to be a consistent theme for the December sale. Quirky pieces that were in high demand included: an Edward Kelty Ringling Brothers “Congress of Freaks” panoramic photo, $5,700; an Art Deco zeppelin and crescent moon tubular metal lamp, $1,330; and an Adolph Friedlander (1851-1904) lithographed poster of a reclining tattooed lady with the message “Expert Tattooing Done Here,” $4,840. The latter poster, which was documented in early retail catalogs for tattooing equipment, had been conservatively estimated at $200-$400. It sold to a phone bidder in England.

Noel Barrett is currently accepting consignments for his next auction, which will be held over the weekend of November 20-21, 2015. Tel. 215-297-5109 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

View the fully illustrated catalog for Noel Barrett's Dec. 5-6 auction, complete with prices realized, at www.LiveAuctioneers.com.

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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Baranger Studios Pirate Ship animated window display, made in 1945, $19,360. Noel Barrett image

Animated window display of Santa in toyshop, 24in tall, $10,890. Noel Barrett image

Original C.W. Parker striding carousel camel, ex Leon Perelman private collection, only extant carousel camel of its era that was designed to move up and down, $17,470. Noel Barrett image

Quarter-scale display model of 1932 Hudson made for the New York Auto Show, one of seven known in all-original condition, $29,040. Noel Barrett image

Adolph Friedlander tattoo shop poster with image of tattooed lady, $4,840. Noel Barrett image

Edward Kelty Ringling Brothers ‘Congress of Freaks’ panoramic photo of circus sideshow performers, $5,700. Noel Barrett image

19th-century Clinton fire pumper model consigned by descendants of its designer, Edgar Lasak, $21,780. Noel Barrett image

Marklin circa 1923-1928 Locomobile steam plant with dynamo, $14,520. Noel Barrett image

Marklin locomotive with tender and two cars produced in 1902 to replicate the high-speed Stephenson’s Rocket, which was in service from 1829-1840, $121,000. Noel Barrett image

Marklin Gauge 1 hospital car with accessories including 7 patients and 8 beds, $14,520. Noel Barrett image

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 January 2015 17:27
 

Estate jewelry, Simonetti painting big draws at Kaminski auction

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Written by Auction House PR   
Monday, 26 January 2015 16:22

Art Deco Chinese-style platinum and carved jade pin with circular diamond border and cabochon rubies, circa 1920-’30s, marked ‘T.B. Starr.’ Price realized: $11,400. Kaminski Auctions image

BEVERLY, Mass. – On Jan. 18 Kaminski Auctions presented the estate of Mary L. Alchian of Palm Springs, California. Alchian was a prominent Palm Springs businesswoman and jeweler with a discerning eye for fine jewelry and California art.

LiveAuctioneers.com provide Internet bidding services.

With over 10,000 signed up to bid on the Internet, 300 phone bids and 80-100 present in the audience there was spirited competition on every lot.

A vivid watercolor by Ettore Simonetti (Italian, 1857-1909) titled Market Scene and, signed lower right, was the top lot of the sale achieving a price of $21,600 against an estimate of $3,000-$4,000.

Alchian’s jewelry collection included rare Cartier pieces. A pair of 18K yellow gold earrings, signed Cartier, with 18 natural emeralds and 16 diamonds was hammered down at $20,400, while an unusual Art Deco Cartier 14 carat yellow gold compact with diamonds and sapphires, marked A1170, sold for $5,400.

Her vast collection of jewelry included many unusual Art Deco pieces. A featured lot in the sale was an eye-catching platinum, diamond and sapphire bow bracelet that sold for $14,400.

Numerous phone bidders and collectors online vied for a rare T.B. Starr Art Deco Chinese carved jade pin from the 1920s or ’30s. Set in platinum with a circular diamond border and cabochon rubies, it was valued at $2,500-$4,500 and was finally hammered down at $11,400. A pair of lovely Art Deco diamond and platinum drop earrings with 20 diamonds sold for $6,600.

More eclectic items in the collection included a circa 1920s 18K white gold, pearl and diamond purse in the style of Boucheron with 52 diamonds. It achieved a price of $11,400, while a 19th century harp by the Charles Lindeman Co. of Chicago, numbered 800, sold for $4,800.

Various lots from other estates achieved solid prices as well, including an English sterling silver lidded wine cooler with grape motif, hallmarked for London 1826-27, by makers Rebecca Emes and Edward Barnard that sold for $14,400.

For information call 978-927-2223.

Click here to view the fully illustrated catalog for this sale, complete with prices realized.


ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE

Art Deco Chinese-style platinum and carved jade pin with circular diamond border and cabochon rubies, circa 1920-’30s, marked ‘T.B. Starr.’ Price realized: $11,400. Kaminski Auctions image  

Pair of 18K yellow gold earrings, signed Cartier, with 18 natural emeralds. Price realized: $20,400. Kaminski Auctions image  

Platinum, diamond, and sapphire bow bracelet, diamonds approximately 8 carats. Price realized: $14,400. Kaminski Auctions image   

 Ettore Simonetti (Italian, 1857-1909), ‘Market Scene,’ watercolor. Price realized: $21,600. Kaminski Auctions image

Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 16:59
 
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