A heavily carved Norman dining room suite, crafted in 1911 by the Oriel Cabinet Co. and previously owned by a direct descendant of Guilford Dudley, former President Richard Nixon’s ambassador to Denmark, sold for $83,600 at a multi-estate sale held May 30-31 in the Stevens Auction Company gallery in Aberdeen, Miss.
The Norman suite was the top seller in an auction that saw nearly 450 lots cross the block over the course of two days. About 240 people attended the event, light by Stevens Auction standards. “We usually attract more than 300 people, and I’m guessing the price of gasoline may have kept some people away,” said Dwight Stevens, “but we also had more phone bidders than at any auction before.”
Stevens said phone bids were made on more than 300 of the 440 lots offered. “We had eight phone lines and all were used,” he remarked.
Oriel Cabinet Co. manufactured the Norman suite before consolidating operations with Berkey & Gay in 1912 and becoming Berkey & Gay’s Plant #1. The suite included a set of beautiful Irish Chippendale dining chairs, purchased at the same time as the suite (circa 1911), and featured massively carved mascarons, Norman soldiers, atlantes and caryatid figures, plus griffins in full relief.
Following are other highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 10 percent buyer’s premium.
A two-piece rosewood Victorian bedroom suite with bronze plaque and beautiful gold incising, attributed to Allen Brothers (circa 1865), gaveled for $36,300; a three-piece Mitchell & Rammelsberg walnut Victorian bedroom suite (signed, circa 1860) rose to $21,450; and a massive rosewood 3/4 tester bed, signed Mitchell & Rammelsberg (circa 1860, 103 inches tall by 74 inches long) realized $17,600.
An extraordinary pair of Victorian gilt and patinated bronze Argand lamps, signed I & I Cox, N.Y. (circa 1850), soared to $27,500; a 32-light bronze and crystal chandelier, electrified, 4 feet long by 2 1/2 feet wide (circa 1875), lit up the room for $5,500; and a large Federal convex mirror with eagle and cherub figures, originally housed at Hamilton Hall in Columbus, Miss. (circa 1820), went for $3,520.
A carved mahogany 9-tube, 4-weight grandfather clock, 8 feet 6 inches tall by 28 inches wide (circa 1890) chimed on time at $17,600; a monumental carved oak 5-tube grandfather clock with elite movement, 9 feet, 3 inches tall by 3 feet wide (circa 1880), hammered for $8,800; and an Old Paris clock with figural top fetched $1,980. Also, a 1952 Chevrolet pick-up truck, fully restored, with 28,000 original miles, made $11,550.
Nearly two hours of the Friday session were dedicated to selling about 50 rare and vintage dolls, at prices that averaged around $300 each. Top achievers included a 23-inch Jumeau bisque head doll with joint composition body (circa 1860s, $2,915); an 18-inch Steiner walking automaton with kid body ($990); and an 11-inch Etienne Denamur French bisque head doll with composition body ($495).
From the fine art category, a pair of works realized identical prices of $6,380. One was a 19th-century oil on canvas family scene by J. Hayes (4 feet 5 inches by 5 feet 6 inches); the other was an Italian oil on canvas of a Venezia scene, signed by an unknown artist (4 feet 5 inches by 6 feet). A 19th-century rosewood and satin harp with ladies in partial relief, by Browne & Buckwell (N.Y.), reached $6,160.
A museum-quality 19th-century Meissen centerpiece with figurals draped in flowers (31 inches tall) changed hands for $13,200; a 19th-century Meissen urn with delicate design and scene of Jesus in Galilea (30 inches tall) topped out at $6,380; a pair of Victorian gilt bronze Sevres cobalt blue vases went for a combined $5,060; and a pair of 19th-century Sevres and gilt bronze vases fetched $3,960.
A rare, round Belter Rosalie pattern marble-top center table with laminated skirt and fruit basket finial (circa 1855) sold to a determined bidder for $8,800; a Thomas Brooks walnut marble-top parlor table (circa 1860) made a respectable $3,080; and an 1810 Federal mahogany pedestal made a surprising $3,080.
An early solid cherry Southern Jackson press (94 inches tall by 44 inches wide, circa 1820) sold for $5,060; a carved walnut Victorian sideboard with rams’ heads, attributed to A. Roux (5 feet wide, circa 1860) realized $4,950; a mahogany fiddle-backed drop-front secretary with oval door panels (circa 1850) achieved $3,740; and a mahogany Federal dining table (Philadelphia, 1819) hit $3,300.