Nantucket baskets, original regional art finish high at Osona Summer Americana Continental, Fine Arts and Marine Auction

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NANTUCKET, Mass. — There was lots to celebrate after the Rafael Osona Americana, Fine Arts, and Marine sale. Held Aug. 7, 2010, in the American Legion Hall on Nantucket; the auction consisted of just over 300 lots. The hall was filled for most of the sale with Rafael Osona’s usual customers, his retail clientele from the island. An excellent grouping of classic English and American marine, consisting of whaling items, paintings, and Nantucket baskets was offered up as auction fare.

The top lot of the sale was the portrait by British Artist George Chinnery (1774-1852). Chinnery was the only western painter of his time to make his home in Southern China. “The Portrait of Hou Qua”— who virtually ruled the International Trade in Hong Kong. A customer bidding by phone from Hong Kong won the portrait for $98,600. A fantastic 1800 bone model of a 106-gun ship, with full, detailed female ship figurehead, sold mid-way through the sale for $87,000.

An oil on canvas by British artist William Callcott Knell (1830-1876), “In the Shipping Lane,” a dramatic painting, signed on the lower left, W.C. Knell, and measuring 31 inches by 47 inches, sold early in the sale for $3,190. Another marine painting sold was the diminutive “View of American and British Ships Engaged in Battle in 1812.” The oil on panel was attributed to Thomas Whitcombe (British 1763-1824), and measured just 5 1/4 inches by 8 inches. It sold for $2,610.

Among the many whalebone items offered was the sailor made whalebone and whale ivory yarn swift, dating from the 19th century. Polychromed incised lines and tortoise shell inlay helped this swift realize $5,800.

A rare Nantucket Indian basket, circa 1840, with carved initials “C.H.L.,” measuring 5 inches tall and a 13-inch diameter brought $2,320.

A stunning oval double-handled Nantucket basket with whale ivory stars as inlay in the pine base, measuring just 4 inches tall, 11 3/4 inches long, and 8 3/4 inches wide, with one later replace handle, sold for a solid $3,190.

The Nantucket sewing basket, dating from around 1900, had heart shaped handles, and 10 concentric circles on the base. This sewing basket measured 3 3/4 inches high with a 9 1/4-inch diameter, brought $5,800, after competitive bidding.

A “Heroic Size” whalebone sailor made double block, carved out of one piece of panbone with whalebone shiv, which measured 7 inches high and 3 1/2 inches wide, brought $5,510.

An 11 1/2-inch by 15 1/2-inch oil on artist’s board view of “Sailboats tied to Nantucket Dock,” signed on the lower left “E. Saltonstall,” sold for $5,800.

Other high notes from the sale included the Nantucket basket made by A.D. Williams that had a round swing handle and a pagoda cover. A handwritten label was still affixed to the base that read “Lightship Basket made by A.D….120 0 Nantucket.” This basket had never been on the market before and drew considerable interest, ultimately selling for $18,560.

An oil on masonite by Anne Ramsdell Congdon (American 1873-1958) – a depiction of “Topgate,” an Island view that was signed on the lower right “Anne Congdon, 1940.” There was considerable action on this painting as it finished at $46,400.

For more information call 508-228-3942 or visit Osona’s website at


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