Bunte Auction Service scores with eclectic sale

ELGIN, Ill. – Bunte Auction began its fall season with a successful sale on Sept. 28-Oct. 1.

The Chicago Cubs had just clinched the Central Division, the weather was beautiful, and the mood festive. On Sept. 30, the Bears were playing, so auctioneer Kevin Bunte gave the packed gallery updated scores. More than 460 people had registered to bid, not including scores of eBay bidders. A bank of eight telephones handled phone bids, along with many written absentee bids.

On Sept. 30 alone there were more than 700 lots, with the auction not ending until 9:40 p.m. The crowd was still enthusiastic as furniture and oriental rugs closed out the day. Most of the items at the auction were from estates, with a large collection of music boxes and clocks coming from a local collector.

When asked about possible auction surprise items, the staff indicated much attention was being paid to two items. One was a Paul Ysart art glass paperweight, clear glass with internal mouse and cheese decoration, and included the original label and box. Estimate was $300-500, and it later sold on eBay for $1,920. All prices include a 15 percent buyer’s premium for in-house buyers and 20 percent for eBay buyers.
High presale attention also focused on an oil painting of an orientalist scene depicting an Arabic girl by Emile Vernet Lecomte. The 23-inch by 16-inch painting sold for $27,600, more than 10 times its low estimate. The painting was consigned by a local art and antique enthusiast, who is also an avid flea-market and estate-sale shopper. He paid next to nothing for it, primarily because the signature was difficult to identify. Bunte staffers researched the painting, confirmed it as authentic, and the consigner made a nice profit.

Numerous table lamps were on display, including a 26-inch Williamson leaded-glass example with minor age cracks, which sold for $5,450, and a Chicago mosaic leaded-glass, 30 inches high, which sold for $6,325.

Eleven music boxes, most from the same estate, attracted much attention. In the center of the group was a 19th-century Swiss box, fitted with a 13-inch cylinder, numerous bells, drums, and two dainty dancing ballerinas. Fitted in an ebony and rosewood case, it went to a new owner for $5,175.

A small painting of children at play, 10 inches by 7 inches, done by Norwegian Erik Theodor Werenskiold, briefly stopped the auction. After spirited bidding it sold for $11,500, more than five times its auction estimate.

One of the larger artworkswas also one of the most popular. It was an original working drawing by Alexander Calder, done for the sculpture The Universe, now located at the Sears Tower in Chicago. It is gouache and ink on paper, 30inches by 43 inches. Signed and dated 1973, and even with a small bit of staining, it sold for $42,000 to an online buyer.

bunte_2.jpgBronzes were also in plentiful supply. Two that adorned the cover of the catalog were by Emory P. Seidel, a local artist who was active during the Art Deco period. One was a bronze centerpiece showing two kneeling ladies holding lovebirds, with a mounted center bowl between them. It brought $7,475, which was within estimate. bunte_1.jpgThe companion piece was a pair of Art Deco kneeling bronze figures, each bearing candleholders. This sold to the same buyer for $4,300.

Two diamond rings were of special interest. Both were set with old European-cut diamonds and had additional decorative stones. One had a diamond of 3.43 carats in platinum mount, which sold for $11,500, while the other was 4.34 carats, also platinum mount and went for $18,400.

For more information, call 847-214-8423 or visit www.bunteauction.com.