Online and in person – a beautiful day at Bunte

ELGIN, Ill. – The hundreds who flocked to Bunte Auction in Elgin, Ill., May 17-19 had a real treat! The weather was great, more than 850 lots were sold on Sunday alone and the food in the snack area was delicious.

More than 400 registered bidders competed for treasures of all kinds. In-house bidders had competition from phone and absentee bidders; more than 100 lots went to eBay buyers. When Kerry Bunte was asked how the demise of eBay’s auction service  would impact his business, he said, “It really won’t be a problem for us. We already have other Internet auction services and will have no difficulty continuing our on-line live auction.”

Alaeddins Lamp, an antique shop in Highland Park, had to close because of the death of the owner; the family consigned several items. On the catalog’s cover, and a prominent spot on the display floor, was a pair of Vernis Martins walnut vitrines. They are beautifully carved and decorated with one having a drop-front writing surface with fitted interior. They sold for $15,925, well above the estimate of $6,000.

A 28-inch, 19th century Italian carved alabaster sculpture of a semi-nude woman resting on a mythical lion-form bench – Donna Sulla Rocca – signed G. Pochini sold for $3,480, above its high estimate. A carved marble sculpture of similar size, sold for $2,640. This piece was of a maiden resting her arms on a column wall and was signed “A Luchini.”

A local church is no doubt pleased with their decision to consign their Alberto Pasini painting to Bunte. The painting had been donated to the church many years ago by a prominent community member. The painting, 50 inches by 29 inches, depicting the Bay of Naples, had some damage, which did not seem to deter bidders. Signed and dated 1878, it brought $66,000, well above its high estimate of $25,000.

Another painting with a religious connection did not do as well. It was reported that the painter, Jose Hernandez, had negative feelings about the Pope and painted an “unflattering” picture of him titled Reliquia Relic, 1970. The painting, 51 inches by 38 inches, was unframed. Its estimate was $30,000-$50,000, and it sold for $18,000.

An attractive smaller painting, 10 1/2 inches by 7 3/4 inches, showed exquisite detail for a small work. An oil on wood painted by Austrian Max Schodl was signed and dated 1887. The oriental still life depicted a water pitcher and sword mixed in with other pieces. Its high estimate was $3,000, and it was hammered down for $9,600.

A Gibson six-stringed banjo, still with original labeled  “Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Co.,” was consigned by Dave Pflederer, who had and used the instrument for 40 years. His uncle gave it to him, and the original owner was Dave’s great-uncle; so it has been owned by three generations of Pflederers! Dave played a few bars from Deliverance to prove that it still worked!  It sold within estimate for $3,593.

There are always some price surprises, and a set of four 19th century European carved ivory figures was an example.  Each was a classical female figure, all about 9 inches tall and with minor damage. High estimate was $3,000; they sold for $15,600. A 20-inch-high oriental carved ivory figure of Kwan Yin with a damaged stand sold for $1,700, well above its high estimate.

Smaller items sold well. A 4-piece set of Kalo sterling silver jewelry, all signed “Kalo Handwrought Sterling,” and with original pouch, sold for $1,470, slightly above its high estimate. A rare 1793 Flowing Hair large cent coin sold for $3,120. A handsome English shell, veneer and wood box, 4 1/2 inches high and 6 1/4 inches wide, attracted a lot of attention and sold for a reasonable $368.

Several oriental rugs closed the sale day and even, at that late hour, the crowd was still present and attentive. A good time was had by all!

All prices reflect a 20 percent premium for in-house buyers and 22.5 percent for eBay bidders. For more information, call 847-214-8423 or contact