An oil on canvas rendering of the Archangel Uriel holding a musket and standing before a mountainous landscape, painted around 1700 by an unknown artist in the Spanish Colonial School, sold for $14,375 at a multi-estate sale held September 13 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. The painting was one of 615 lots that changed hands in a sale that grossed $690,000.
Most of the lots were drawn from seven important and prominent estates and lifetime single-owner collections. The Archangel Uriel painting came from the estate of former U.S. Ambassador Findley Burns, Jr., of Southern Pines, N.C. “Mr. Burns and his wife only collected choice, worldwide material,” said Leland Little. “It didn’t surprise me his estate drew so much attention from bidders.”
And there were plenty of bidders vying for the largely fresh-to-the-market merchandise. About 250 people packed the showroom in Hillsborough, while record numbers of phone and absentee bids – nearly 1,000, vs. the usual 750 at most Leland Little sales – were posted. In addition, more than 1,400 online registered bidders participated through LiveAuctioneers.com, which facilitated Internet bidding.
Following are additional highlights from the sale. Prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The top lot of the auction was a Regina automatic disc changer 27-inch music box (circa 1900) that soared to $18,400. The two-door cabinet boasted a carved dragon grille on the upper door and an interior lithograph depicted the Goddess of Music. Included were 20 discs. Another music box – a Criterion double-comb example on a stand, with mahogany case and 40 discs (circa 1900) — hit $5,060.
Fine art did well. An oil on canvas painting of a forest interior by the New York artist Jervis McEntee (1828-1891), signed and dated (1864), coasted to $12,650; an oil on canvas work by Jerry Okimoto (Hawaii/New York, 1924-1998), titled Beneath the Sea, made $6,612; and an oil on canvas work by the French artist Francoise Gall (1912-1987), titled Plage Deauville, hammered for $4,370.
Silver pieces were in abundance. Paddles wagged over a Tiffany & Company sterling Japanese pitcher with a beautiful hand-hammered finish (circa 1873-1891) that finally gaveled for $13,225; a hand-wrought American silver sauce boat by New York silversmith Samuel Tingley (circa 1770) earned $4,600; and a Gorham sterling silver soup tureen with cover in the Neoclassical style fetched $3,910.
Also from the category: a French silver wine taster, made in the late 18th century and inscribed “Tour a Tour,” climbed to $3,105; a Warsaw silver sugar box with Russian marks (circa 1857), in a rectangular form with hinged lid raised on four ball feet, garnered $1,840; and an Alabama coin silver mug by James Conning (circa 1842-1872), cylindrical form with cast and applied handle, made $1,495.
From the furniture group, a pair of 18th-century English George II walnut side chairs hit the mark at $9,200; an American Late Federal tiger maple sideboard made in the first half of the 19th century rose to $4,830; and two stools by Wharton Esherick (Penn., 1887-1970) – one with a cherry seat and ash legs, the other with a walnut seat and ash legs, both made in 1966 – went for $5,750 each.
Americana examples pumped up the crowd. An important historic sampler, executed in 1828 by Louisa Gash of Buncombe County, N.C., worked on linen in wool embroidery floss, sold for $9,200; an early American painted leather fire bucket dated 1785, owned by the Baker family of Hingham, Mass., reached $6,325; and a vintage Iroquois wooden face mask with a split leather strap on back hit $9,775.
Civil War and militaria enthusiasts were not disappointed. An Italian Renaissance steel armor front plate, fashioned around 1580, went to a determined bidder for $6,612; a Confederate D-Guard Bowie knife, with iron guard and blade and carried during the War Between the States, achieved $5,520; and a sixth-plate ambrotype of a youthful Confederate officer (circa 1860) chalked up $2,645.
Polychrome figures were in evidence. A pair of polychrome Santos figures, depicting Mary and Joseph, likely Spanish Colonial and executed in the 18th century, rang out at $4,600; a carved polychrome reclining horse, also likely Spanish Colonial from the 18th century, hit the mark at $4,312; and an 18th-century polychrome and gilt wooden winged Triton holding a branch aloft made $4,140.
From the books and maps group, a rare Italian book by Alfonso Isacchi, published in 1619 and one of only a few examples known, soared to $3,335; a map by John Speed titled A New Description of Carolina (London: Bassett & Chiswell, 1676), depicting the area from Delaware to Florida, brought $2,760; and another map by Speed, A Map of Virginia and Maryland (London, 1676), made $2,645.
Clocks chimed right on time. A Reed & Barton Chelsea ship’s clock, made in the early 20th century and with a hinged gilt brass case and an engraved and enameled steel dial, found a new owner for $4,830; and an antique sub-miniature Swiss carriage clock (circa 1900), with an enameled porcelain dial, exquisite gold-toned grand sonnerie movement and guilloche starburst pattern on top, hit $2,875.
Jewelry brought handsome prices. An 18kt Andrew Grima diamond and adamite brooch, with beautiful composition by a celebrated artist and juxtaposing diamonds, gold and crystal, rose to $4,485; an 18kt Greek hinged lion’s head bracelet, a gorgeous reproduction of a 4th-century B.C. piece, fetched $2,185; and a 16-inch Carolyn Morris Bach pearl and silver necklace, artist signed, gaveled for $1,840.
A Byzantine marble column capital from Kerak, Jordan, with a custom-fitted wooden base, crossed the block at $5,750; a large antique Chinese wooden Buddha (circa 19th century), with an ornately carved pierced arch back behind the figure and heavy gilt with red lacquer field on the robe, topped out at $5,175; and a beautiful pair of French ormolu cassolettes (circa 1800) reached $3,680.
An antique Japanese Mu-Mei Katana Samurai sword, possibly from the 15th century, unsigned, changed hands for $2,070; a large Chinese medium-blue porcelain vase from the 19th century, unsigned and exhibiting excellent form, achieved $3,795; and (speaking of China) a 97-piece Copeland Spode china set in the Blue Fitzhugh pattern, with 12 dinner plates and 12 lunch plates, reached $2,530.
Rounding out the top lots of the day, an alkaline glazed stoneware five-gallon storage jar by North Carolina potter James Franklin Seagle, stamped with the most unusual Roman numeral “V” and stamped with the maker’s initials, realized $5,635; and an antique Kazak area rug, six feet by four feet, made in Southwest Caucasus around 1870 and with a wool base and hooked medallions, made $3,105.
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