Bidders seek provenance in Maine antique auction


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This Maine or New Hampshire-made birch root settee, circa 1910, originally estimated at $1,500 to $2,000, sold for $26,450. Photos courtesy Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

THOMASTON, Maine — Beautiful spring weather did not deter bidders from participating in Thomaston Place Auction Galleries’ pre-Memorial Day weekend sale on May 21-23. Items with Maine provenance, Oriental antiques and historic artifacts were particularly popular among bidders – driving many prices above presale estimates. Sales prices include 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Important fine art pieces garnered the sale’s highest prices, including a large oil on canvas painting by Andrew Wyeth (PA/ME, 1917-2009), (entitled ‘Ridge Church’, that was passed during the sale, but immediately sold post auction for $230,000; ‘The Lofty Trader Scottish Moors’ by Montague Dawson (British, 1895-1973), that brought $71,875; ‘The Garden of Eden’, an oil on canvas laid to board by Erastus Salisbury Field (MA/NY, 1805-1900) that sold for $26,450; ‘Mother and Child’ by Louise Nevelson (ME/NY, 1900-1988) that garnered $20,700; and an circa 1920 unsigned oil on canvas portrait of a girl in a yellow dress that sold to an internet bidder for an astounding $11,500, shattering its $600 to $800 presale estimate.

A group of Oriental antiques generated enthusiastic international bidding, and many pieces brought prices well above ingoing estimates. These include a Chinese Beijing enamel famille rose-palette globular vase that sold for $63,250; a Yung Cheng period (1722-1735) Canton enamel Chinese Export dish that brought $21,850; a Japanese Imperial grade smooth bore musket, circa 1635, sold for $10,063; a richly decorated Ch’ien Lung period (1736-1795) Canton enamel export dish raised $9,200; a 19th century ivory carving of two female figures on rosewood base brought $8,050; a rare Chinese porcelain figural carp three-part bowl with brass handles that sold for $6,325; a Chinese Export urn converted to lamp that generated $5,750; an early Chinese Export punch bowl with cobalt decoration that sold for $4,600; and a pair of 19th century carved ivory foo dogs that raised $4,313. There was also strong interest in a circa 1856-1905 Ottoman military belt and box that sailed past its $1,000 to $1,500 estimate to sell for $9,775 and an Isfahan decorated wall tile, circa 1880, that tripled its ingoing estimate to bring $3,450.

The strong performance of two Maine or New Hampshire-made circa 1910 birch root furniture lots was a major surprise. The settee, originally estimated at $1,500 to $2,000, sold for $26,450, and two matching arm chairs, with the same presale estimate, brought $25,300. Several other furniture pieces also did very well, including a Louis XV marquetry inlaid table d’accouchee, circa 1755, that brought $17,250 and a coastal Maine 18th century Queen Anne maple daybed that sold post auction for $5,750.

There were many high flying items of historic significance, such as a group of six circa 1871 cabinet photos of Washington Roebling atop New York’s Brooklyn Bridge under construction along with his Chief Engineer and a childhood friend that brought $12,650; a page containing the clipped autographs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson that sold for $5,175; a 25-volume autographed edition set, “The Writings of Mark Twain,” that brought $4,600; 20 pencil and charcoal Drawings of WWII Pacific Theatre War Scenes by Kerr Eby (1889-1946) that raised $4,600; and an engraved portrait and an original enameled gold lapel pin “Survivor, CSA, 1861-1865” presented to Jefferson Davis by The Confederate Survivors Association of Augusta, Ga., that sold for $4,025.

Vintage Louis Vuitton luggage continues to attract strong interest, with a wardrobe generating $8,625 and trunk selling for $5,463. A grouping of brass and copper items with U.S. Lighthouse Service provenance sold for $5,175 (versus a $500 to $700 presale estimate). A 4-piece lot of early 20th century American art pottery rocketed past its presale estimate of $750 to $1,000 to achieve a sales price of $7,475. Other items that dramatically exceeded presale estimates were a Sevres gilt bronze mounted urn with hand painted panels signed E. Soitevill that brought $6,900; an early 19th century large Italian majolica charger depicting the Adoration of the Magi that sold for $5,175; and a signed Weller vase by Hester Pillsbury that brought $4,025.

For more information on this and other Thomaston Place auctions, visit www.thomastonauction.com.

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More Images:

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A four-piece lot of early 20th century American art pottery rocketed past its presale estimate to achieve a sales price of $7,475.
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Garden of Eden by Erastus Salisbury Field (MA/NY, 1805-1900) that sold for $26,450.
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Yung Cheng period (1722-1735) Canton enamel Chinese Export dish that brought $21,850.
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Louis XV marquetry inlaid table d'accouchee, circa 1755, that brought $17,250.
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A group of brass and copper items with U.S. Lighthouse Service provenance that sold for $5,175.
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Vintage Louis Vuitton wardrobe that sold for $8,625.
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One of a group of six cabinet photos taken circa 187? of the construction of New York's Brooklyn Bridge that brought $12,650.
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A circa 1856-1905 Ottoman military belt and box that sold for $9,775.

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