ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Combine cultural icons Andy Warhol and Mick Jagger with aggressive bidders and the auction house was jumpin’. A 43-7/8-inch by 27-7/8-inch screen print of Jagger full face overlaid with gray and green, signed by both the artist and the subject, was the top lot at the Brunk Auctions sale May 1. The screen print opened at $18,000, its reserve, and bidding worked up from there to $26,450; the high estimate was $30,000. All selling prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Although there was just one Mick Jagger, the sale featured a number of much larger collections; at 65 lots, rugs were one of the longest and strongest categories. Four of the sale’s top ten lots were rugs. Leading the way was a 14-foot by 14-foot-3-inch 19th century Chinese rug with a scalloped yellow central medallion that encompassed approximately 90 percent of the rug’s area. Inside the medallion were trees and peonies amid a rocky landscape. It sold to the phones for $18,400 (estimate $3,000-$6,000).
From the same consignor was a 6 foot 2 inch by 10 foot 6 inch 19th century Chinese rug with hundreds of stylized bats in rows across the large center section. The medium pile rug went to a phone bidder for $11,500 (estimate $2,000-$4,000).
Continuing a two-year trend, Chinese porcelain finished strong: 18 of the 25 lots sold within or above estimate. The lot with the most presale buzz, an unadorned hu vase with blue Guangxu mark (1875-1908) carried the category’s highest estimate at $5,000 to $10,000; it sold within estimate for $7,475.
Over the past year, surprises have surrounded the Chinese porcelain category and the May 1 sale was no exception. A 6-3/8-inch Chinese vase with blooming prunus tree on a puce background with a pale turquoise glaze on its interior, exceeded its humble $1,000 to $2,000 presale estimate to sell for $11,500. It was the top Chinese porcelain lot.
A set of eight 20th century Chinese wine cups with iron-red Daoguang seal mark (1821-1850), each with one of The Eight Immortals, went from a $400 opener to $4,830.
Two of the 64 Southern lots that included furniture, pottery, maps, Civil War, miniatures and paintings were among the top ten lots of the sale: a 19th century powder horn and an inlaid Federal sideboard.
The powder horn was made by Tim Tansel (Kentucky/Indiana, 1810-1852), one of the few carvers who produced more than 50 carved and engraved powder horns during his brief lifetime. The signed, but undated horn had Tansel’s trademark fish-mouth edge at the spout. Engravings include a woman in a polka dot dress, an eagle shield, a man on horseback and the words “E Pluribus Unum,” “Protection” and “Indemnity.” Eleven phones were active during the sale and one bought the horn for $9,775 against a presale estimate of $2,000 to $4,000.
Bidders could not miss the star inlay on each door of a 19th century Federal sideboard from either Eastern Tennessee or Western North Carolina. Woods were figured maple and walnut with yellow pine secondary with dovetails and cut nails. In addition to the prominent stars, there was extensive bellflower and string inlay throughout. In the same North Carolina family since about 1940, the fresh to market sideboard brought $8,050 (estimate $2,500-$5,000).
Of the 96 paintings offered, eight were passed and one made it into the top ten lots sold. That was a signed, dated (1899) and untitled oil on canvas by Colin Campbell Cooper (California, 1856-1937) of a canal, possibly in Belgium. The Cooper opened at $1,000 and closed at $9,775 (estimate $1,000-$2,000).
For more information on Brunk Auctions visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.
Photos courtesy Brunk Auctions.
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