Bidders seek provenance in Maine antique auction

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

You might also enjoy:

     •  Native American items fly high at Thomaston Place
Sampler sows big bucks at Thomaston Place auction
Oriental furniture and art finish strong in antique auction
Economic silver lining found at Dargate auction
Chippendale chairs sell for $6325 in antique auction


Great books, CDs, price guides & more

Warman’s Antiques & Collectibles 2011 Price Guide

Interact with other antique collectors in Antique Trader’s online forum

Browse hundreds of FREE online classified ads

Sign up for your FREE email newsletter

For more columns and features for antique dealers, restorers and collectors, get your own subscription to Antique Trader magazine