BOSTON – Copley Fine Art Auctions, LLC, held its 3rd annual Sporting Sale on July 23-24 at the Radisson Hotel in Plymouth, Mass. Outstanding results included world record prices for Edmund Osthaus, Aiden Lassell Ripley, C.F. Tunnicliffe, and Chet Reneson. Copley’s superb offerings of sporting art, folk art, and decoys included more than 500 lots that rang in at $3,200,000. On the heels of the sale’s success, Copley President and CEO Stephen O’Brien, Jr., stated, “We were extremely pleased with the bidder turnout, as well as, the prices realized for this year’s auction which exceeded expectations. To be up 20 percent from last year’s sale and set world records for major sporting artists in this economic climate is a testament to our firm’s position in the market place.”
The first day of the sale began with fierce bidding for paintings; ultimately, world record prices were set for four artists. First, the captivating oil titled Pointer with Quail (estimate $40,000-$60,000) by Edmund Osthaus nearly quadrupled its high estimate selling at $225,500. Point in the Corn ($30,000-$50,000), a noteworthy example of Aiden Lassell Ripley’s realistic sporting scenes, nearly doubled its high estimate, establishing a new world record for the artist at $89,125. Following last year’s success with works by contemporary artist Chet Reneson, Copley broke their own record for the artist, selling Coming In (estimate $3,000-$5,000) at $7,425. A new record was set for a C.F. Tunnicliffe watercolor, from the William S. Brewster Snipe Art Collection, Snipe at Low Water selling for $13,800.
In addition, a superb selection of Frank W. Benson consigned directly from the artist’s granddaughter exceeded expectations. Woodcock (estimate $2,000-$4,000) sold for $5,463; Pair of Snipe (estimate $600-$900) doubled its estimate at $1,995; both Reneé (estimate $6,000-$8,000) and Marsh Gunner (estimate $8,000-$12,000) did exceptionally well, selling for $11,500 and $16,100, respectively. Five out of the six Benson watercolors found buyers, with four soaring above their estimates, including Heading Home ($60,000-$80,000) at $97,750 and Wigeon ($60,000-$80,000) at $132,250. Benson’s ink wash Jim Crow ($10,000-$15,000) doubled its high estimate selling for $32,200.
Works by renowned watercolor artist Ogden Pleissner, from the Woolworth Collection, performed well. Waiting for the Rise (estimate $40,000-$60,000) came within $1,200 of breaking the world record for a Pleissner watercolor, selling for $94,875. Duck Hunting at Dawn (estimate $40,000-$60,000) and Below the King Post Bridge (estimate $40,000-$60,000) sold for $63,250 and $43,125, respectively.
Three Harry Curieux Adamson oil paintings sold within or above their estimates, with the highlight being Golden Marauder ($10,000-$15,000), selling for $21,850. Also, an exceptional example of Havell’s 1836 John James Audubon print Canada Goose ($40,000-$60,000) brought $43,125. The highlight of the Brewster collection was Archibald Thorburn’s watercolor Snipe in the Rushes selling for $33,350.
Day two of the sale featured duck decoy carvings, starting with contemporary carver Mark McNair. The very first lot, a Preening Black Duck (estimate $3,000-$4,000), established a new world record for the artist selling for $6,900, but the record lasted all of five minutes when it was bettered by his Preening Curlew (estimate $1,000-$1,500) which sold for $7,188. Another decoy highlight was the John Tax Tucked-Head and Sentinel Geese ($100,000-$150,000) which garnered $103,500.
Harry Shourd’s Bufflehead Drake (estimate $20,000-$40,000) went well above its estimate selling for $52,900, as did Os Bibber’s American Merganser (estimate $20,000-$30,000), selling for $39,100. The Ward Brother’s Pair of Black Ducks (estimate $18,000-$22,000) sold near its high estimate at $21,850 while a Mason Factory Premier Grade Merganser Drake (estimate $30,000-$50,000) reached $37,950. Joseph Lincoln’s Canada Goose (estimate $30,000-$50,000) went just above the high for $52,900. The carver’s Exceptional Matched Pair of Canada Geese ($60,000-$90,000) also sold within estimate for $69,000.
Copley CEO Stephen O’Brien, Jr. continued to be the go-to person for A.E. Crowell carvings. Last year O’Brien brokered the two highest priced decoys of all time with a Crowell Preening Pintail and Preening Canada Goose selling for $1.13 million each. This year was no different, with a Crowell Life-Size Reaching Black Duck ($80,000-$120,000) selling at $209,000 and setting a new record for a standing Crowell decorative duck. Crowell’s “Dust Jacket” Black Bellied Plover ($80,000-$120,000) proved to be a good buy selling at $69,000. A few lots later his Golden Plover ($25,000-$35,000) surpassed estimate selling for $42,550.
A full list of Copley’s prices are available on their Web site at www.copleyart.com.