Rago holding largest discovery sale in firm’s history

LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — A long-hidden cache of English art and antiques will auction without reserve, with 600 other largely unreserved lots, at the Rago Arts and Auction Center on Aug. 7-8, 2009.

The estate of English and Continental antiques dealer Joseph Stanley has been shuttered in a New Hope, Pa., mansion since the mid 1980s. Rago’s will sell its many rooms of property, along with additional lots of fine art, 19th and 20th century furniture and design, rugs, jewelry, watches, silver, ethnographic art and collectibles.

Aug. 7, 2009 at 10 am: Discovery Auction

A lot of great, affordable pieces come to Rago’s with consignments destined for its high-end cataloged sales and on its Appraisal Days. This is the property that goes up for auction twice yearly in Rago’s Discovery Auction, where the high bid – whatever it may be – takes the prize. Rago’s invites you to take part in its biggest and best Discovery sale to date, which includes additional property from the estate of Joseph Stanley.

“The Discovery sales are the most fun we get to have all year. It’s the way great country auctions used to be – but with a way broader selection for people who want anything from the perfect sofa to silver, modern design or antiquities, lighting, an original work of art or garden items,” says David Rago.

This Discovery auction includes over 200 lots of jewelry, silver and accessories, many from Tiffany & Co., Omega, Mont Blanc, Lalique, Baccarat, Cartier, Guerlain and Gucci. Also look for over 400 American silver coins including more than 200 silver dollars.

Modern furnishings are abundant in this sale – there are over 100 lots to choose among, from Dakota Jackson’s dining table to furniture by Warren Mc Arthur, Norman Bel Geddes, Heywood Wakefield, Howell Co., Paul McCobb, Edward Wormley, Wendy Murayama, George Nelson, Paul Evans, Charles Eames, Alvar Aalto, Wolfgang Hoffman, Knoll and Dunbar.

Glass, metal, smalls and lighting include work from Gunnell Sahlin, Barovier, Paulo Venini, Orrefors, Fratelli Toso, Chase, Krome Kraft, Fantoni, Gambone, Curtis Jere, Tommy Parzinger, Russell Wright, Jamie Walker and a great bowl by Jonathon Bonner.

The walls and floor of the auction house will be filled with Discovery fine art. Among the paintings, works on paper and sculpture is work by Rockwell Kent, Diane Burko, John Grabach, Karel Appel, Robert Morris, Julius Bloch, Robert Kushner, Richard Anuszkiewicz, Jules Olitski, Yoshitomo Nara, Nicola D’Ascenzo, Cornelius Peck, Cesare A. Ricciardi and Douglas Volk.

This Discovery sale contains the largest selection of traditional furniture, fittings and decorative accessories to date – many from the estate of Joseph Stanley. Buyers will find a pine stepback cupboard circa 1810 and an Irish pine corner cupboard; period English furniture including Victorian, Chippendale, Empire, Queen Anne and country styles. Among the smalls, look for Chinese export porcelain, Meissen, Staffordshire and Minton china. Browsers will also find Georgian mirrors, a bracket clock, quilts, samplers, field baskets, decorative brass accessories, 18th century hardware and fittings including fireplace trivets, andirons, fenders, screens and tools.

Rago’s is known for early 20th century design and a number of nice pieces have been accepted for this sale. Among them is a Gustav Stickley wicker armchair, as well as other furniture by Gustav Stickley, L&JG Stickley, Harden, Lifetime and a reproduction sideboard by E. J. Audi.

It’s the season for gardens, so there should be good homes available for a selection of wrought iron and wire furniture, decorative ironwork and cast stone ornaments.

Tribal offerings appeal to collectors and design buffs alike, as they look great in many styles of room settings. Here are African works in wood, bronze, pottery and textile, Oceanic works from New Guinea and, from the New World, Native American baskets and Pre-Columbian pottery.

More, there are rugs, weathervanes, 1939 World’s Fair memorabilia, advertising signs, including an Apothecary sign, reference books on art, architecture and antiques; Asian snuff bottles, bronzes, cloisonné, netsukes and ivory.

Aug. 8, 2009 at 12 pm: The estate of Joseph Stanley

“Buyers will find the best of the Stanley estate in this Saturday sale, all unreserved,” says Tom Martin, the specialist in charge of estates at Rago’s. “We’ve included 200 lots of his antique English furniture and over 100 paintings and 100 lots of decorative arts and accessories. It’s a treasure trove.”

From the Stanley estate comes a fine selection of Georgian and Regency desks, tables, chairs and cabinetry including a Regency breakfront, desks, sofas, knife urns, cellarettes and wine coolers, card tables, chests of drawers, breakfast tables, whatnots, dining tables, upholstered chairs, campaign furniture, kneehole desks and writing tables, plus much more. Also offered is 17th century oak English furniture, including dressers, side and drop leaf tables, armoires, cassone, a paneled blanket chest and chairs.

Fine art offered from the Stanley estate includes 18th and 19th century portraiture, marine art, animal art, 19th century landscapes, Chinese export paintings and works of art of the 20th century, including work from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts and the New Hope school.

English and Continental Decorative Arts and accessories highlights include 19th century English tea caddies in tortoiseshell and fruitwood; a 19th century English miniature desk; an English Girandole mirror with candleholders and eagle finial; a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk (estimate $3,000-$5,000); and a 19th century Biedermeier mantel clock (estimate $1,500-$2,000). Many more wonderful smalls from the Stanley estate and other owners include English samplers and bronze statuary.

Americana and folk art highlights include a circa 1900 patchwork quilt in the “Bethlehem Star” pattern (estimate $400-$600); a 19th century English apothecary cabinet with original yellow glass pulls and label remnants (estimate $2,000-$3,000); a circa 1900 American copper weathervane topped with a rooster (estimate $1,000-$1,500); and a 30-hour Philadelphia grandfather clock by Joseph Wills with brass dial and works, in walnut case, 19th century (estimate $2,000-$3,000); and stoneware.

Among the Asian offerings are Chinese export porcelains, lacquer furniture, ivories and bronzes.

Serapi, Heriz, Sarouk, Kashan and Caucasian rugs are offered, including a 19th/20th century Serapi measuring 108 inches by 132 inches (estimate $500-$800); a 142-inch by 107-inch Sarouk, circa 1930 (estimate $2,000-$3,000), and a 156-inch by 120-inch Heriz (estimate $1,000-$1,500).

Also of interest: 20th century garden statuary of two male and two female figures depicting each of the four seasons (estimate $400-$600); books and ephemera; a collection of Kennedy memorabilia (estimate $1,500-$1,800), and a Franklin Delano Roosevelt pardon.

Auction previews will be held through the morning of Aug. 8 at Rago Arts and Auction Center, midway between New York City and Philadelphia (near Princeton, N.J.). Hours are 12-5 p.m. and by appointment. Doors open at 8 a.m. on Aug. 7 and 9 a.m. on Aug. 8.

Bidding is available in person, by phone, by advance bid and online. Rago’s has engaged the services of Live Auctioneers (www.liveauctioneers.com) to provide its clients with online bidding.

For more information and to view a complete online catalog visit www.ragoarts.com.

Photos courtesy Rago Arts and Auction.