Native American totem climbs to $120,000

A Haida argillite totem, the work of master carver Charles Edenshaw, soared to $120,000 before the gavel fell, making it the top lot of a November 2015 auction offered by Fairfield Auction.
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Haida argillite totem that sold for $120,000. (All photos courtesy Fairfield Auction)

MONROE, Conn. – A box full of Native American artifacts consigned from a small Connecticut museum resulted in a big result at Fairfield Auction’s November 2015 estate auction. Among the disparate objects was a Haida argillite totem which was attributed to Charles Edenshaw, master carver of the Haida tribe. In the final few minutes of the online sale, it rapidly climbed from $16,000 to a final selling price of $120,000, selling to a member of the trade.

More than 400 lots were sold with many top lots coming from a strong selection of jewelry. A Cartier Art Deco platinum and diamond bracelet with onyx links, circa 1925, which sailed past the presale estimate ($8,000-$12,000) before selling at $52,800. From the same estate came a Cartier Art Deco Tank wristwatch with enameling that brought $10,800. A pair of Tiffany Art Deco cuff links brought $2,400 and a ladies Rolex Presidential brought $2,880.

Strong results among the fine art included Heinrich Burkel at $10,800 as well as small gems by Addison T. Millar at $3,840 and William Cary at $3,600. An impressive landscape with figures by A.W. Calcott sold for $3,600 an elegant portrait of a lady by William Palin made $2,280. A portrait by Frans Verhas earned $2,880 and a small landscape by William Whittridge brought $2,140.
Works on paper included the Aperture portfolio, Edward Steichen: The Early Years, 1900-1927, which hammered at $2,280. Books were lead by James Joyce’s Haveth Childers Everywhere, pencil signed by the author from the limited first edition. It sold for $4,320. The Democratic Book, 1936, signed by Franklin Roosevelt, earned $900.

A large New Haven estate loaded with Mid-Century furniture was lead by Paul Kjaerholm’s PK-54 dining table, which brought $6,600. A pair of Knoll sofas brought $1,560 and $1,800. An Eames model 670 lounge sold for $2,280 and a pair of Warren Platner wire stands went out at $1,200.
Americana was lead by a molded zinc Gabriel weathervane, which was taken home for $10,200. A fraternal “seeing eye” wall fragment sold for $3,120, and a published, carved and painted eagle sold for a reasonable $1,800.

A large sheet metal trade sign brought $9,000 and a pair of Loring’s 12-inch table globes attracted numerous bidders before going out at $6,000.


Of special interest was an attic found group of early baseball cards. The cache of M116 Sporting Life blue background cards included the three key players: Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Christy Mathewson, all in near mint condition. Those three sold for $8,400, $5,520 and $1,440 respectively. The remaining ten cards sold as a lot for $2,400.

A large selection of estate carpets did well in a market that had been very soft in recent months. A room size Heriz brought $6,000, a room size Mahal brought $5,760 and a room size Kerman doubled estimates at $2,880. A Caucasian prayer rug went for $1,800.

All prices quoted include a 20 percent buyer’s premium. Fairfield Auction offers free appraisals (up to five items) every Tuesday in its gallery at 707 Main St (Route 25), Monroe, Conn. For more information call 203-880-5200 or visit

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