Reverse serpentine mahogany Chippendale chest brings $34,500 at Fontaine’s, Oct. 18

A gorgeous reverse serpentine mahogany four-drawer ball-and-claw foot Chippendale chest, measuring 39 1/2 inches wide by 34 1/2 inches tall by 23 1/2 inches deep, sold for $34,500 at a two-session, multi-estate sale held Oct. 18 by Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. The chest was the top lot in a sale that saw around 500 lots change hands and grossed a little more than $1 million.

The first session, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., comprised about 200 lots from the estate of Henry Brownell, a longtime antiques dealer from New Bedford, Mass., who passed away earlier this year. His estate, most of it early American period furniture pieces, was sold without reserve. The second session featured about 300 lots from prominent local estates, plus consignments from Oregon and Cleveland.

“I was very pleased with the results of this auction, considering we’re in the midst of uncertain economic times,” said John Fontaine of Fontaine’s Auction Gallery. “I think savvy investors are getting out of the stock market and into tangibles. And quality antiques and collectibles have historically done very well.” The auction was held in Fontaine’s showroom at 1485 W. Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, Mass.

Following are more highlights from the sale. All prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Vintage rifles scored a bull’s-eye with bidders. A nice Frank Wesson rifle with long scope, 45 inches long, hit the mark at $26,450; a T. Ketland & Company rifle, 59 inches long, etched with “W. Mathenson,” brought $12,650; an .80 caliber Civil War rifle made by the London Armour Company realized $11,500; and a Springfield flintlock rifle with walnut stock, marked “Tower,” rose to $10,925.

Furniture pieces did very well. A 9-piece figural carved walnut parlor set with standing putti, figural maidens and classical scenes chalked up $24,150; a Queen Anne tap table in red paint earned $23,000; an 18th-century walnut bannister back stenciled arm chair hit $20,700; and an early pine 5-drawer salesman’s sample gentleman’s chest in red finish with graduated drawers gaveled for $9,488.

Table lamps lit up the room. A Tiffany Studios dichroic Greek Key border table lamp, 22 inches tall, coasted to $25,300; a Tiffany Studios dichroic acorn border table lamp, 29 inches tall, commanded $21,275; a Tiffany Studios pomegranate table lamp with signed shade and base, 24 inches tall, garnered $12,075; and a Handel reverse painted autumn scene table lamp (#6549), 23 inches tall, made $7,475.

Fine art was served up in abundance. The star of the category was an original oil on canvas work by Adolph Schreyer (German, 1828-1899), titled The Startled Team, that climbed to $21,275. The work measured 71 1/2 inches wide by 45 1/2 inches high. Mr. Schreyer was known for his figural paintings in the Arabian warrior genre. Other original works of art that got paddles wagging included:

•    A signed oil on canvas ocean scene by Charles Henry Gifford (Mass., 1839-1904), done in 1882, titled Lobstermen. The work, 13 1/2 inches wide by 9 1/2 inches high, went for $10,350. Mr. Gifford was a noted marine, landscape and portrait painter who worked in watercolors and oils.

•    An oil on panel work by Louis Icart (French, 1888-1950), titled Tea Time ($8,625). Icart is a highly collected artist who lived in France, but spent time in New York in the 1920s, where he became known for his Art-Deco etchings of glamorous women. He painted and etched figures and animals.

•    An oil on canvas coastal scene with ships by Robert Dunning (Mass., 1829-1905), done in 1903 at Westhort Harbor with a large hay bail in the foreground and signed by the artist ($8,625). Mr. Dunning was a founder of the Fall River School in Massachusetts. It emphasized still life paintings.

•    A large 19th-century handmade scenic tapestry of a European village scene, done by an unknown artist and measuring 171 inches wide by 109 inches tall ($6,038).

Rounding out the top lots, a Pulvers 1897 one-cent mechanical gum ball dispenser in a nice oak case, 24 inches high, went for $11,500; a Lochmans original Model B upright music box, playing 24.5-inch discs, with a double comb and 12 bells, rang out at $8,050; a 17-inch Daum Nancy cameo glass and enamel decorated leaf and berry vase reached $6,613; and a Walter Durfee banjo clock hit $6,325.

Next up for Fontaine’s Auction Gallery is an Antique Discovery Auction on Dec. 6 and a Cataloged Antique Auction in January 2009 (date to be determined). The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call them directly at 413-448-8922. Or, you can send them an e-mail, at info@fontaineauction.com.

To learn more about Fontaine’s Auction Gallery and its calendar of upcoming events, log on to www.fontaineauction.com.

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