NOKOMIS, Fla. – The nine-inch-tall, exquisitely carved vase was acquired in 1926 from S. & G. Gump Co. of San Francisco by self made American millionaire and collector William Boyce Thompson. The vase, featured in the two week online sale ending March 3 hosted by iGavel, came with the original receipt. According to the receipt, “This vase is made of the finest quality of clear perfect white water jade, possessing remarkable luminosity.” The vase was also distinctive for its 35 link, 13 1/2-inch interior chain linking the cover to the vase.
This lot established a new single lot record for both Elder’s and iGavel. Auction owner Don Elder said, “I knew this piece was going to go through the roof. It was that good.” From the opening bid of $7,000 the lot moved smartly up the chart garnering 41 bids before reaching the hammer price. A private Chinese collector was the winner. Elder’s Fine Art & Antiques was a charter member when Sotheby’s began online sales in 2000 and was also a charter member when iGavel was formed in 2003.
Most of the Oriental ceramics and porcelain in the 400-lot sale belonged to a collector in North Florida and had been acquired in the 1960s and 1970s while living in Thailand, Burma, Japan and China. The collection was well received with 78 percent of the lots selling, many for far more than the presale estimate. A three section 19th century Thai gilt bronze with Buddha seated on a lotus throne, closed at $9,300 against the estimate of $1,000-$1,500. A 4-inch-wide gourd form celadon water scoop, Chinese 18th century, with three gourd form feet and a fitted rosewood stand closed at $7,800 (est. $2,000-$3,000) and a pair of Qing Dynasty cinnebar table screens depicting courtyard life on the fronts and birds and blossoming flowers on the reverse with rosewood stands sold for $7,446 (est. $600-$800). A woodblock print, Village at Night, by Kawasae Hasui (Japanese 1883-1957) eclipsed the $200-$300 estimate to close at $2,040 and six Han Dynasty gray pottery tomb attendants ranged from $1,000-$1,624. Elder noted that while many of the Oriental lots sold offshore, a few were staying stateside.
But Elder’s Fine Arts had more to offer than Oriental art in this sale. A Cartier jadeite, platinum, diamond and enameled 18K gold necklace sold for $13,440. Another Cartier piece, a gold folding travel clock with ribbed decoration on the body and a 15-jewel Swiss movement more than doubled the estimate at $4,440. On a more whimsical note an American Folk Art whirly-gig with four action figures sold for $1,500.
The sale also included 18 works by American painter Ben Wilson (1913-2001). Wilson was among the little recognized painters of the Abstract Expressionist school of the 1930s through the 1960s and was a veteran of the WPA. His best work in the sale, an oil on masonite entitled Memories of Present gathered 18 bids to close within estimate at $4,560.
Elder’s Antiques offers Asian, American and European antiques including fine art, furniture and objects d’art in a series of auctions held throughout the year. For more information contact Don Elder at 941-488-1005 or visit www.eldersantiques.com. Elder’s is located at 901 Tamiami Trail (US 41) South, Nokomis, FL 34275.