Americana Week Brings $14.4 Million at Sotheby's

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • January 24, 2011

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An Unusual American Silver Teapot Engraved with Hunters in a Landscape, Jacob Hurd, Boston, circa 1750 that more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to sell for $278,500.
Sotheby's

Sotheby’s Americana Week concluded with a 3-day auction total of $14.4 million, comfortably above the cumulative low estimate of $11.5 million. The sales brought significant prices for American furniture, silver and folk art, led by An Important Searls Family Chippendale Highly Inlaid Cherrywood and Mahogany Chest of Drawers that achieved $872,500 in the Saturday afternoon session of Important Americana. The dedicated auction of Property from the Hascoe Family Collection performed strongly on Sunday, bringing $5,446,466 and selling 92% by lot. Additional Hascoe property will appear in sales throughout the spring auction season, culminating in a second dedicated auction in London devoted to the Hascoes’ impressive collection of Czech art.

Friday, 21 January
The first day of the Important Americana sale saw major prices for silver pieces with exceptional histories. The session was led by The Ptarmigan Vase: A Monumental Copper, Silver and Gold Mokume Vase, circa 1900-05, which sold for $662,500 to a Canadian dealer on behalf of a prominent Canadian museum (pre-sale est. $80/120,000*). Tiffany & Co. designer Paulding Farnham invested heavily in the Ptarmigan Mines in British Columbia around the turn of the century, and designed The Ptarmigan Vase at the time to celebrate what he hoped would be a highly lucrative venture. Through intensive research, Sotheby’s discovered that the five signatures at the base can be traced to master craftsmen who worked for Tiffany during the period.

Other silver highlights from Friday included An Unusual American Silver Teapot Engraved with Hunters in a Landscape, Jacob Hurd, Boston, circa 1750 that more than doubled its pre-sale high estimate to sell for $278,500. The teapot bears the arms of Foxcroft, probably for Judge Francis Foxcroft, son of Francis Foxcroft, warden of King’s Chapel, and Elizabeth Danforth, daughter of Governor Danforth. General Nathanael Greene’s Enameled Gold Order of the Cincinnati, Designed by Major Pierre l’Enfant, and Construction Attributed to Duval & Francastel, Paris, 1784, which was offered by a direct descendent of Nathanael Greene, brought $242,500. The Revolutionary War hero was a founding member of the Society of the Cincinnati, and his signature appears with those of George Washington, Henry Knox and other officers on the charter drawn up on 13 May 1783.

Saturday, 22 January
The day began with the auction of Important Americana from a Private Collection, which brought just under $1 million. The second session of the Important Americana sale in the afternoon was led by An Important Searls Family Chippendale Highly Inlaid Cherrywood and Mahogany Chest of Drawers, Attributed to Nathan Lombard, Sutton, Massachusetts, circa 1800, which achieved $872,500 and was the top lot of the sale (pre-sale est. $250/700,000). Few other comparable American chests are known with a shaped front and ambitious inlaid decoration of this exceptional quality. By the end of the day, the Important Americana auction brought $7,959,947 in total.

Saturday saw additional American furniture that greatly exceeded pre-sale expectations: A Very Fine Federal Flame Birchwood-Veneered and Ivory-Inlaid Mahogany Dressing Table, Attributed to Judkins and Senter, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, circa 1805 from a Massachusetts family soared past its pre-sale high estimate of $30,000 to achieve $278,500, while The Important Wells Family Diminutive Chippendale Carved Mahogany Marble-Top Mixing Table, New York, circa 1765 more than tripled its high estimate to bring $230,500.

American folk art in the sale was led by Ammi Phillips’s Portrait of a Rosy Cheeked Young Girl in a Pink Dress painted circa 1832, which exceeded its presale high estimate in achieving $290,500. The work is closely related to similar portraits by Phillips in the Edward Duff Balken Collection of American Folk Art at Princeton University as well as the American Folk Art Museum in New York. A rare and important Fishing Lady/Shepherdess and Piper Canvaswork Picture, done by Polly Burns, Boston, circa 1768 that brought $122,500 is one of the earliest and most extravagantly-worked schoolgirl embroideries done in the mid-18th century in pre-Colonial Boston by the daughters of Massachusetts’s most prestigious families.

Sunday, 23 January
Property from the Hascoe Family Collection: Important American & English Furniture, Fine & Decorative Art performed strongly on Sunday, achieving $5,446,466 and selling 92% by lot. The sale was led by An Important Pair of American Silver Wine Cups, Paul Revere, Jr., Boston, 1792 that brought $752,500, far exceeding its pre-sale high estimate of $200,000. The cups were commissioned by Moses Michael Hayes, who founded The Massachusetts Bank in 1784, which operates today as Bank of America. During his time in Boston, Hayes was a friend, business partner and an exceptional patron of Paul Revere.

Furniture by John Goddard performed well in the morning, with An Important Pair of Queen Anne Carved and Figured Mahogany Side Chairs, circa 1765, Newport, Rhode Island, Attributed To John Goddard selling for $230,500 and An Important Chippendale Shell-Carved Figured Mahogany Side Chair, circa 1765, Newport, Rhode Island, Attributed to John Goddard bringing $146,500, more than double its pre-sale high estimate. The afternoon session was led by the The Important Colonel Guy W. Walker Queen Anne Carved and Figured Mahogany Bonnet-Top High Chest of Drawers and Companion Dressing Table, circa 1760, Massachusetts, which sold to an Asian private collector for $350,000. The rare matching pair, which carries an exceptional provenance, epitomizes mid-18th century Boston Baroque.

Property from the Hascoe Family Collection continues with works appearing in additional sales throughout the spring auction season in New York, London, and Amsterdam, including a second dedicated sale devoted to what is unquestionably the finest and most important collection of Czech modernist paintings, sculpture and works on paper outside the Czech Republic. Separate release available.


*Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium


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