The June 22 sale at Burchard Galleries featured an outstanding collection of American gold coins from an Orlando estate that far exceeded the pre sale estimate in 14 of 16 cases. The top coin lot and the top lot of the sale was a 1905 Lewis and Clark gold $1 graded from PCGS as MS64. These coins graded better than MS62 are very rare. 35,041 of the commemorative coins were struck at the Philadelphia mint in 1905. The odd 41 were for mint inspection services. Of the remaining 35,000 only 10,000 were actually sold to the public for the market price of $3. The unsold balance was melted for gold stock. The coins were not perceived as being especially valuable when issued and few were stored carefully with many being melted in the Depression for scrap. Auction spokesman Todd Burchard pointed out that the coins were graded MS64 some time ago under a more stringent grading system than that in use today. He expects the coins to be regraded to a higher mark.
This MS64 Lewis and Clark had a presale estimate of $1,500-$2,000. Crossing the block late in the sale the lot drew a surprising 17 bids. The winner was a local collector/dealer in the room who bid $14,000 before the buyer’s premium. A 1904 Lewis and Clark gold $1 with a similar grade, estimated at $1,000/1,500, had a hammer price of $7,250 and a Panama Pacific 1915-S $2½ gold piece, graded from PCGS MS64, brought $5,750 against the $1,500-$2,500 estimate.
Other good gold included a 1913 $5 Gold Half Eagle, graded MS64, selling five times the high estimate at $5,000 and a 1932 $10 Indian Gold Eagle, MS64, hammering at double the estimate to close at $4,000.
Smiles were not in short supply on other lots either. An abstract oil on canvas by Piero Ruggieri (Italian 1930-) from the Daytona Museum of Arts and Sciences was estimated to sell at $400-$600. The 44-inch by 38-inch work, entitled Le Lampade 1956 was signed lower right, titled and dated verso. The work was in overall good condition needing cleaning with some flecks of paint loss. It rounded up forty bids to close at $11,500 to a buyer from Italy. But the real surprise in the art department came as lot #140 in the 483 lot sale. An unsigned American Western scene, oil on canvas, also from the Daytona Museum, depicted waterfalls, a river and a chain of mountains with three figures of Native American Indians in the foreground. This unassuming 29-inch by 44-inch work had several tears and abrasions and was estimated presale at $400-$600. With a very strong attribution to Alexander Loemans (Canadian ? – d1898) it was hotly fought for in the room and online with 62 bids, closing at $6,500. Also in the American art category, an early work by Florida Highwayman Harold Newton (American, 1932-1994), a Florida landscape typical of the genre’ sold within estimate at $3,750.
Good wood also would do good with a Chinese Meiji period rosewood etagere having elaborate and fine carvings in berry and bamboo motifs surrounding open shelving and one closed compartment closing above estimate at $6,250. It was followed by a Chinese carved rosewood desk, late 19th century, with a carved gallery above a drawer flanked by doors. With the matching chair, the set sold over estimate for $2,000. But the star of the furniture show was a beautifully patinated 19th century two piece Federal mahogany tambour desk, banded and inlaid with upper interior drawers and two full length drawers below. The square nails in the back attested to the age. This elegant office in a box, estimated at $400-$600 created enough excitement to close at $3,000. A six piece quarter sawn oak bedroom set from the Mission Collection of L. & J.G. Stickley sold within estimate at $4,000.
The sale was carried live online by LiveAuctioneers.com and had 363 registered bidders from around the world including Israel, Australia, Italy and France. Burchard Galleries, Inc. owner Jeff Burchard and his son Todd called the 8-hour sale. For more information call 727-821-1167, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.burchardgalleries.com.
The Gallery is located at 2528 30th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, Fla. Burchard Galleries normally has an auction the last weekend each month with a “discovery auction” on Saturday and an antiques sale on Sunday. Check the Web site for details.