Sleeper: Chinese porcelain bowl flies to 200 times estimate

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. – An unassuming Chinese green glazed oval footed porcelain bowl with a presale estimate of just $1,000 to $2,000 soared to $200,000 at Nye & Company Auctioneers’ Collectors’ Passion Auction held Jan. 31, online and in the firm’s showroom at 20 Beach Street, Bloomfield, N.J.

“I would have to judge this sale a huge success, with strong bidding across all categories, led of course by the Chinese porcelain bowl, the true definition of a sleeper lot,” said John Nye of Nye & Company Auctioneers. “The enthusiastic bidding really reminded us of the good old days.”

Chinese Porcelain Bowl Stuns 

Chinese porcelain bowl

This Chinese green glazed oval footed porcelain bowl with a pre-sale estimate of just $1,000-$2,000 soared to $200,000, making it the auction’s top lot. (All photos courtesy of NYE & Co.)

Phone bidding and internet bidding were especially high and active. Both LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com, the internet bidding platforms, saw heavy participation. There were over 5,000 approved online bidders and a little more than 700 registered bidders from around the world. By the time it was all over, the final tally fell just short of the $1 million mark.

Andrew Holter added, “On the heels of Americana Week in New York, Classical American furniture showed strong resilience and was buoyed by a recamier (fainting couch) that sold for $25,000.” He was referring to lot #202, a Neoclassical parcel gilt mahogany recamier, made in New York City between 1815 and 1825, partly ebonized and measuring 7 feet long.

The auction featured several important highlights. The events include a collection of American and English furniture from a prominent estate in Mount Kisco, N.Y.; a fine collection of fresh-to-the-market American furniture from a collection in Princeton, N.J.; a highly curated collection of Neoclassical American furniture; and American paintings out of a New York City estate.

Artwork Dominates

Following are additional auction highlights; all prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
Original artwork dominated the auction’s list of top lots. A watercolor painting by John La Farge (Am., 1835-1910), titled “Figure with Wreath,” realized $15,000. Meanwhile, a pair of oil on canvas riverscapes by Thomas Doughty (Am., 1793-1856), sold as a single lot for $12,500. 

Another painting that was attributed to Doughty, an oil on board titled “Gilpin’s Mill on the Brandywine,” 7 3/4 inches by 11 3/4 inches, changed hands for $10,625. Also, an oil on board of two figures by William Aiken Walker (S.C., 1839-1921), the artist best known for his genre paintings of black sharecroppers in Reconstruction-era America, titled “Field verso,” hit $11,250.

Another highlight from the Asian category is a ceramic pillow. It measures 7 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide, and is in good condition. It realized $15,000. A pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain covered jars, brought $11,563.

Nakashima Furniture Legacy Reigns

American furniture was led by a figured cherrywood bedstead, signed and dated 1994 by Mira

Mahogany chairs

Near pair of Chippendale mahogany side chairs attributed to Thomas Tufft (Philadelphia), made circa 1770 and refinished and restored ($18,750).

Nakashima (New Hope, Pa.), daughter of the legendary craftsman George Nakashima, made for a king-size mattress and signed by her ($11,250); and a Federal figured mahogany desk-and-bookcase, made in Massachusetts circa 1800-1820 ($10,000).

A near-pair of Chippendale mahogany side chairs attributed to Thomas Tufft (Philadelphia), circa 1770, finished at $18,750. From France, an 18th century Regence marble-top parquetry inlaid commode rose to $10,000.

Returning to original artwork, two oil on canvas paintings posted identical selling prices of $9,375. One was a work titled “Birch Trees” by Robert Strong Woodward (Am., 1885-1957), artist signed lower left and 26 1/2 inches by 30 inches (sight). The other was titled “Piccadilly Scene” by Fernand Lungren (Am., 1857-1932), signed lower left and pencil inscribed 1899 on the stretcher.

For more information about Nye & Company Auctioneers, visit www.nyeandcompany.com.

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