Three Russian eggs were the stars of the show at the Aberdeen-Auctions sale of Aug. 2-3. The top cackle rights went to a 5-inch-tall burgundy model with gold exterior decoration made in the manner of Carl Fabergé. It opened to reveal a small bouquet of porcelain and silver flowers. Nestled in its custom made case with Cyrillic markings the egg brought a winner of $17,250 including the 15 percent buyer’s premium. A diminutive 4-inch version made of porcelain with a gilded body and star within a sunburst on the reverse featured the figure of a female saint on the face. Manufactured by the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory of St. Petersburg and signed “FNB” in unclear Cyrillic, the egg attracted 24 bids closing at $14,950. A third egg also porcelain by the Imperial Manufactory displaying the figure of a Russian pope, signed “KZ” in Cyrillic, hammered at $12,650.
The 365-lot online sale carried by LiveAuctioneers.com registered 326 online bidders, five absentee bids and 27 phone bidders representing dealers and collectors from 28 countries.
Several pleasant surprises were recorded in the sale. One of the best was a two volume set in Russian entitled Travels in the East of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia When Cesarewith by E. E. Ukhtomskiy, published in St. Petersburg in 1893. From the collection of P. Dunkan, it was illustrated by N. N. Karzan and included more than 500 lithographs. Estimated at $4,500-$6,000, it raked in 58 bids with a winner of $14,370. Another little eye opener was a Russian silver and enamel napkin ring enameled with colorful foliage. Circa 1902 with Cyrillic maker’s marks, the 1 3/4-inch by 2 1/2-inch ring was estimated at $440-$500. It closed at $1,350.
Horses were as popular as eggs – at least the bronze ones were. A 7-inch-tall bronze figure of a mounted peasant boy with two more horses, by Evgeni Lanceray (1848-1886), inscribed with signature and foundry mark brought a winning bid of $14,650 against the $11,000-$13,000 estimate. Another work by Lanceray, a 9-inch-tall figure of a Kirgiz horseman went for $7,474 and a 9 1/2-inch bronze by Vasili Grachev (1831-1905) mounted on a rose marble base depicting a couple kissing while on horseback with a date stamp of 1877 sold for $9,200. Substituting cast iron for bronze worked for a Russian troika being pulled by a pair of horses, marked and dated 1912, the 18-inch by 10-inch by 7-inch figure set sold for $4,150 against the estimate of $1,000-$1,500.
Russian art also did well starting with a Russian gilded silver and enamel photograph frame, the work of master Antip Ivanovich Kuzmichov, Moscow 1888. The enamel featured colorful cloisonné and translucent royal blue enamel. The 5-inch frame bore the maker’s mark in Cyrillic, the assayer mark, a Moscow hallmark and a scratched inventory number 3955. It sold within estimate at $14,950. But the art itself was the top lot of the sale. A 25-inch by 20-inch framed oil on canvas of theater action by Natal’ia Sergeevna Gonchaova (1881-1962) signed lower left sold over estimate for $20,700. It was closely followed by a pair of village scenes, oil on canvas, by Jacopo da Ponte Bassance (Italian 1610/18-1593). From a private collection in Lexington, Ky., the framed 46-inch by 70-inch paintings sold for $18,400. A framed work by Walter Dendy Sadler (English 1854-1923), oil on canvas entitled The Complete Angler, dated 1884, 41 1/2 inches by 55 inches, sold for $11,788.