Chippendale tiger maple desk hits $41,400 at estate sale

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. – A late 18th century Pennsylvania Chippendale tiger maple desk, probably from Lancaster County, sold for $41,400 against a presale estimate of $5,000-$10,000 at a multi-estate Historic Hillsborough Auction held Sept. 19 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. The desk was the top achiever of the more than 700 quality lots that changed hands.

It was just the second major auction held at Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.’s new, state-of-the-art gallery facility, located at 620 Cornerstone Court in Hillsborough.

Sold were hundreds of lots of fine art, period furniture, decorative accessories and more. Featured was the estate collection of the late W. Samuel Tarlton, the former respected art dealer and co-owner of an antiques shop in Raleigh.

“This was quite simply the best sale we’ve ever had,” said Leland Little of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. “I feel a renewed freshness and energy in the auction business I haven’t experienced in some time. The mid-range market items, especially, such as jewelry and decorative accessories, did extremely well, much better than in previous sales. This is all very encouraging to us and the industry.”

Mr. Little added, “Our decision last year to build a new facility, which gives us greater access and visibility near the interstate, was a timely and prudent one. The new location is equipped with specialized gallery lighting, greatly expanded exhibit space and green building components. This building is a major asset to our business.”

The auction, which grossed a little under $1 million, attracted a standing room only crowd of more than 300 people. In addition, 752 bidders were registered online and over 700 pre-bids were posted via Phone and absentee bidding was active, as 1,200 pre-absentee and phone bids were lined up prior to sale. In all, close to 1,000 people registered to bid live, by phone and through absentee bids. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

The Chippendale desk came out of the Tarlton collection. Other furniture pieces from his estate included a set of six Knoll & Saarinen white tulip chairs, circa 1960, and pedestal dining table, $3,336, against its presale estimate of $800-$1,500; a mid-18th century American Queen Anne maple center table, possibly from the North Carolina Chowan River Basin reached $4,830; and an 18th century Massachusetts Chippendale oxbow slant lid desk sold for $4,600, against its presale estimate of $2,000-$3,000.

Also from the Tarlton estate: a New Hampshire Federal bowfront chest of drawers, circa 1800-1810, 12-panel form sold for $5,750, against its presale estimate of $2,000-$4,000; and an American miniature Hepplewhite inlaid chest, early 19th century ($2,530). Mr. Tarlton’s artwork featured a bronze by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973) titled Yawning Tiger hammered for $12,075, against its presale estimate of $3,000-$5,000; and a still life oil on board by Jacques Blanche Fr., 1861-1942 reached $4,140.

In the fine art category, the sale also included many pieces acquired in the 1960s and 70s by the Mead Corporation of Richmond, Va. Top earners included an oil on canvas painting by Robert Harvey (b. 1924), titled Brother Home on Leave and signed and dated 1964 sold for $4,370 against its presale estimate of $1,000-$2,000; and an oil on canvas work by Jim Herbert (Ga., b. 1938), titled Oriental and housed in the original frame sold for $1,840.

A nice pair of clocks got paddles wagging. One was a French cloisonné mantel clock with two matching candlesticks, stamped to indicate the maker won a silver medal in 1855 sold for $5,520, against its presale estimate of $400-$800; and a late 18th century English Chippendale tall case clock, mahogany, 89 inches tall sold for $3,220. Also, a Tiffany Studios counterbalance desk lamp with a bronze base and green damascene shade hammered for $8,050 against its presale estimate of $5,000-$8,000.

Intriguing offerings included a Turkoman Asmalyk (circa 1890), wool and silk with all-over decoration, woven edging and five-sided camel decoration for the wedding procession carrying the bride sold for $7,762, against its presale estimate of $300-$600; a pair of vintage concrete foxes with bushy tails and attractive weathering sold for $2,415; and an antiques toleware tray, 19th century, with a painted harbor scene depicting a Spanish galleon sold for $1,265.

A 163-piece sterling silver flatware service in the Pointed Antique pattern by Dominick & Haff and Reed & Barton climbed to $4,370 against its presale estimate of $1,500-$2,500, while a beautiful Southern coin silver ladle by Linebach of Salem, N.C., went for $3,680 against its presale estimate of $600-$900. In estate jewelry, a 1.15 carat round brilliant cut diamond stone brought $2,070 (against its presale estimate of $1,000-$1,500, and a 1.09 carat emerald cut diamond stone garnered $2,070.

Returning to fine art, a signed oil on panel by Julian Onderdonck (1882-1922), titled Rock Quarries, fetched $29,900; an oil on linen signed by French artist Adolphe Binet (1854-1897) and titled Les Alezans, breezed to $23,000; an acrylic on canvas by John McCracken (b. 1934), titled Mandala IV, made $19,550; and a gilt bronze creation by Giorgio de Chirico (1888-1978) hit $3,680.

A pair of works by Richard Anuskziewicz (b. 1930) got the attention of bidders. An acrylic on canvas, titled Soft Cover Vermilion, topped out at $25,300, while an untitled oil on pressed board realized $10,350. Also, two large French School murals, 18th century oil on canvas, each measuring 120 inches by 96 inches and depicting tranquil landscape scenes, sold for a respectable $18,400 and $14,950 against presale estimates of $3,000-$5,000 each.

Cellarets wowed the crowd. A George III example with mahogany veneer in the rare diminutive form, soared to $4,830, while an English wine cellaret, circa 1830, casket form on carved paw feet, hit $4,370. Also, a 19th century tortoise shell tea caddy, octagonal form with pagoda lid, rose to $1,725; and an Eero Saarinen for Knoll grasshopper chair, circa 1950s, with laminated wood frame garnered $1,265.

Vintage car enthusiasts weren’t disappointed. A bright red 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole with just 49,013 miles sped off for $24,150. Also, a 1930s Jugtown Chinese blue Persian jar, rich red with a strong blue contrast, achieved $16,100 against its presale estimate of $3,000-$6,000; a rare group of six Baccarat “Czar” crystal-stem blown and cut glasses coasted to $4,600; and a unique pair of 19th century famille rose garden seats hit $2,990.

From the entertainment and movie memorabilia collection of Bill Morrison, former art critic of the Raleigh News & Observer, a 1935 lobby card for the Alfred Hitchcock thriller 39 Steps went for $2,530, while a 1977 Star Wars movie poster fetched $920. Also, a rare 18th century cookbook and an inscribed first-edition book by author Ayn Rand each brought $1,265.

Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, 919-644-1243,,

Photos courtesy Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales.