Debt crisis does nothing to slow down New Orleans auction action

In the midst of the government’s debt crisis deliberations, New Orleans Auction Galleries hosted one ofits most successful sales to date July 30-31, 2011, showing signs of strength in the luxury and auction markets. An elaborate Chinese carved coral group brought $67,650, far surpassing the pre-auction estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. Other notable sales in the category included a colorful Chinese Famille Rose porcelain plaque set in a custom wooden frame and stand hammered for an astounding $67,650, and a Mughal-style jade handled dagger which sold for $34,440 following ten minutes of bidding.
Read More +

More than 500 rare and vintage clocks and assorted memorabilia offered with no reserve

An antique discovery clock auction, Aug. 27, 2011 is loaded with more than 500 rare and vintage clocks from a single-owner collection. Included in the sale are American large wall clocks and case clocks, grandfather clocks and examples from England, France and Germany. This more than just a clock action. Tucked inside the sale are pendulums, weights, watchmakers’ benches and multi-drawer cabinets, watch and clock ephemera and advertising signs.
Read More +

Former FBI agent turned author Robert Wittman’s first-ever art crime seminar a ‘hit’ with attendees

Former FBI agent and author Robert Wittman’s first-ever seminar June 13, 2011 on how the art business can protect itself against the growing threat of art crime attracted 13 attendees, including Antique Trader columnist Caroline Ashleigh. The week, consisting of five days of instruction and discussion with field experts, was a one-of-a-kind seminar in which each participant personally interacted with the material and presenters. The result was a seminar described by participants as unmatched in quality of topics, expert presentations, and atmosphere.
Read More +

Louis XVI bedroom suite brings $72,000 in California antique furniture auction

At a time when furniture is down in most circles, a June 14 auction in Los Angeles delivered what bidders wanted in their antique furniture: quality, variety and provenance. A Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted mahogany suite of bedroom furniture, dating to the late 19th century, sold for $73,200 and a ; a Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted marquetry bois satine and George III mahogany secretary bookcase from the estate of director, writer, producer and actor, Tim Whelan and his wife, actress and Los Angeles interior decorator, Miriam Seegar, sold for $30,500.
Read More +

Furniture Detective: Don’t underestimate sandpaper’s ability to close wood pores and even grain color

Furniture Detective Fred Taylor asks after a piece of antique furniture is stripped, what happens next? The purist will say to finish it in some exotic concoction of wax and oil and leave it alone. The hack next door will recommend three coats of tinted gloss polyurethane rubbed between coats with fine steel wool. The professional will say: "Sand it first." Sand it? Why in the world would you sand it? Because preparation is 90 percent of finishing, and the best finish in the world won’t look good if the piece isn’t properly prepared for the finish. So what exactly is the objective of the sanding process?
Read More +

Horner dining set sells for more than $100,000, vintage Tiffany dominates lamp selection

A monumental circa-1890 R.J. Horner figural carved mahogany 12-piece dining room set soared to $100,300 at a cataloged auction held May 21, 2011 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. The set was the top lot in the sale, which attracted a large amount of Tiffany lamps and decorative objects. An unusual Tiffany Studios bronze crab inkwell with an exceptional brown and deep red patina with green highlights went for $23,600.
Read More +

Check the drawers for the first sign of age on antique furniture

Furniture Detective columnist Fred Taylor says in an effort to determine the range of the age of a piece of furniture, we have the beginnings of a built-in time line if the piece has drawers. A drawer is a fairly difficult thing to build when you get right down to it. It is a five sided box that must fit perfectly within a case (a six-sided box) and be removable on demand without binding or breaking either the drawer or the case.
Read More +

Massachusetts’ finest estates and collections coming May 21, 2011

More than 500 lots of top market antique furniture, vintage lighting, fine art, decorative accessories, period furniture, clocks, estate jewelry and watches, including a 12-piece R.J. Horner figural carved dining set is set to light up a May 21 sale in Pittsfield, Mass. The sale is punctuated by several pieces from Tiffany studios. A key find is a bronze inkwell with the fine figure of a crab, its claws reaching forward, pinching the coiled handles of the inkwell pot mounted with an oyster shell.
Read More +