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18th century mahogany chest triples presale estimate to finish at $73K

A small 18th century block front mahogany chest, soared past its presale estimate to a final price of $73,160 at Willis Henry Auctions' March 29 sale.

MARSHFIELD, Mass. — The small 18th c. block front mahogany chest was consigned by the Lombard family of Scituate, MA, having descended through four generations. Dr. Lombard purchased it from the Stillings family from Portsmouth, NH. He had the foresight to have a notarized receipt stating how it descended in the Stillings family. The piece had a

Block front chest

18th century block front chest. (Photo courtesy Willis Henry Auctions)

name in chalk on the bottom and it was thought to have been made in Boston or Portsmouth. The estimate was $15,000-20,000, dictated by recent sales of other block front chests. The consignor had moved from Scituate to Chicago, flew in to see the piece as it was sold, and was exuberant with the amount it brought ($62,000 plus the 18% buyer’s premium equaling $73,160).

A pair of Staffordshire lions with lambs were of fine early quality and reached $2,478. The lions were from the Priscilla Archibald estate of Powder Point, Duxbury, MA. She had a great love of animals and wildlife, and many pieces in her collection embodied that, such as a horse weathervane which sold for $900; and an Audubon print, “Whip-poor-Will” printed by R. Havell (37 ¾” x 25”) which sold for $2,596.

Priscilla’s husband, the late Frederick Archibald was, among other things, a marksman, and had a fine collection of Colt, and Smith & Wesson pistols. The top seller was a Colt .44 #350799, two cylinders with ivory grip, which brought $7,670. A Smith & Wesson target .22 pistol, #735, with a metal box brought $2,596.

A good portion of the sale represented some fine pieces from the Ed Clerk Connecticut estate. Two Tiffany Studio desk lamps, with signed Tiffany glass shades, brought $7,080

Tiffany lamp

Tiffany lamp (Photo courtesy Willis Henry Auctions)

and $6,844. Ed also had owned two early-mid 20th century paintings. One by Agnes Pelton fetching $3,658; and another by Jimmy Ernst (son of Max), a fine artist in his own right, was snatched up by a New York Gallery for $3,304. Willis Henry Auctions looks forward to selling more Shaker antiques from Ed’s estate on September 6th at the Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA.

Early American antiques pulled some weight in the auction with a diminutive country slant lid child’s desk, descended in the family of the 19th c. historian Solomon Lincoln of Hingham, MA, sold for $9,440. A wonderful unsigned Hudson River landscape sold for $6,962, and a rare double tier, New England, oxidized and painted tin chandelier went to a collector for $3,540.

A lovely mine cut one carat diamond set in platinum with a gold band sold for $1,888; along with a boxed set of heirloom sterling silver flatware for 12 in the Damask Rose pattern which brought $1,947; a fine Sarouk garden rug went to a collector for $3,068.

A refinished cherry Connecticut highboy, with a 34” upper case and 36 ½” lower case, sold for $7,670 to a Florida dealer for his own collection.

For more information on this auction, please contact Willis Henry Auctions at 781-834-7774 or by email at All prices include the 18% buyer’s premium.


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