72-piece sterling service soars to $41,000 at Leland Little auction

A 72-piece sterling silver service (circa 1948-1955) by the Mexican silversmith Hector Aguilar, in the Aztec motif, sold for $41,400 at a two-day, four-session multi-estate sale  by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd.

The silver service was large and rare, with the incised bands, scrolls and applied beads that exemplified Aguilar’s bold eye for design. It was a superlative example of mid-20th century Mexican silver, and was the top seller of the nearly 1,000 lots put up for bid.

“This was a wonderful way to conclude the year,” said Leland Little of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, and we anticipate more great sales in 2009.”

Following are additional highlights. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.

Spectacular period furniture pieces were offered in abundance. The stars of the category were a rare North Carolina paint decorated Rowan County blanket chest (circa 1800), from the Yadkin River area and having a six board poplar case with dove-tailed construction ($36,800); and a pair of classical card tables (Philadelphia, circa 1820-1830), having mahogany veneers with gilt decoration ($13,800).

A late 18th-century Southern walnut corner cupboard made in Piedmont, N.C., with one-piece form and Southern yellow pine secondary, brought $5,463; a 19th-century French country trestle table with three-board burled hardwood rectangular top supported by two shaped legs realized $4,830; and a 19th-century birch and walnut Southern sugar chest with hinged lid and bread board ends made $3,795.

Fine art, a staple at many Leland Little quarterly cataloged sales, commanded prices that were within the estimates and, in some cases, beyond.

Highlights included:

A signed pastel on silk work by Elizabeth O’Neill Verner (S.C., 1883-1979), titled Jamie ($28,750).

A signed oil on canvas by Emile Gruppe (Mass./Fla., 1896-1978), titled Winter Brook ($18,400).

A signed oil on canvas by Harry Berman (Penn., 1900-1932), titled Pennsylvania Hills ($5,520).

An untitled canine rendering by Roy Dean de Forest (American, 1930-2007), signed ($2,645).

Sculptures were also offered. Two works deserve mention here. They are:

A bronze figural work by Charles Paillet (French, 1871-1937), signed, on marble base ($3,450).

The auction featured the single-owner photographica collection of Arnold Doren and Caroline Cornish. Top earners included a gelatin silver print by Andre Kertesz (Hungarian, 1894-1985), titled Chez Mondrian, signed and dated 1926 in pencil en verso and in a Kulicke frame ($6,325); and an untitled gelatin silver print by Minor White (Minn./N.Y., 1908-76), of hands holding a bowl ($4,600).

A pair of Tiffany Studios bronze bookends (circa 1920), with Orientalist design of mythical griffin forms on either side of a medallion profile (and bearing a resemblance to L.C. Tiffany in his later years) achieved $6,900; an antique Louis Vuitton monogram steam trunk (circa 1926), with classic flat top, reached $3,680; and a pair of late 19th-century Venetian glass wall sconces rose to $3,105.

A Sioux quilled, carved and polychrome pipe stem (circa 1900), carved in high relief and boasting wonderful mellow patina and surface, hammered for $5,060; an impressive North Carolina pottery vase attributed to J.B. Cole (circa 1930s), salt glaze stoneware with overall cobalt glaze, made $920; and a North Carolina pottery figure of a lion by Billy Ray Hussey (circa early 1980s) hit $863.

The auction also featured the outstanding coin collection of Dr. Hank Landon. Highlights included a roll of 20 brilliant uncirculated 1878 7TF Morgan silver dollars with nice cameo surfaces ($4,255); a lot of 42 brilliant uncirculated Walking Liberty half dollars, dated 1934, 1935 and 1946-D ($3,680); and a 1907 Liberty $20 Gold Double Eagle coin, graded in NGC MS61 condition ($1,035).

A Peer Smed sterling Art Deco three-piece coffee service, all hand-wrought, totaling 42.5 troy ounces, comprising a coffee pot with ivory handle, a creamer and covered sugar bowl, changed hands for $3,335. Also, a set of four Chinese porcelain panels with the Chien Lung mark to the left corner, and with each panel polychrome enamel decorated with figures enjoying leisure activities made $2,530.

Rounding out the top lots, a signed Handel reverse painted table lamp, with a landscape scene of a windmill with tall trees and a lake, lit up the room for $2,760; a Chinese dragon rug (circa 1910), 6 feet 9 inches by 4 feet 2 inches, with a large white and beige dragon figure, gaveled for $2,645; and an Anatalia silk prayer rug, 67 inches by 50 inches, red with lamps and Arabesque border, brought $1,725.

For more information call 919-644-1243, e-mail info@llauctions.com or visit www.llauctions.com.

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