Dedham , MA- Never before has the Dedham gallery of Grogan and Company Fine Art Auctioneers and Appraisers been so alive and filled to capacity, as it was for the March 24th auction of property from the Estate of the Reverend Peter J. Gomes. The large collection of fine art, antiques furniture and decorations from the Reverend’s two residences: Sparks House, Cambridge and Oceanside, Plymouth, Massachusetts, brought friends, colleagues, collectors and admirers together and realized over $350,000 for the Estate.
The Reverend Peter J. Gomes (1942 – 2011), Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard University, has been described as one of the most distinguished Christian preachers in the history of the English-speaking pulpit. Born in Boston and raised in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Reverend Gomes was a self professed anglophile who had a passion for collecting. “Not only do we bring other people’s things into our world and make them, however, temporarily, out own, but we are also possessed by that which we possess and seek;” writes Gomes in an article titled “An Unruly Passion for Things”, published in Every Room Tells a Story, Tales from the Pages of Nest Magazine, edited by Joseph Holtzman, “Thus does the past live, recreated by our hands. Collecting is the ultimate redistribution of wealth and beauty.”
Highlights from Reverend Gomes Spark’s house collection included a Scottish Tall Case Clock, circa 1820, that he acquired in 1970 for $500, which sold for $4,425 to a former student of Peter’s. His Harvard chair commemorating his 25 years of service sparked competitive bidding before it finally sold to a local woman bidding from the back of the room for $3,068, and an American school Landscape depicting a Native American by a Lake at Sunset, sold for $3,245 to another former student of Gomes. The five piece American Tea Service that Gome’s used at his coveted Wednesday tea parties, sold for $3,245 to a local antiques dealer, within it’s $2,000-4,000 presale estimate, while an American Silver Chalice, monogrammed PJG and inscribed Good Life December 2002, was bought for $3,068 by one of his closest friends. The chalice will be donated to the Bates College Chapel, which is slated to be renamed this fall in memory of Peter J. Gomes.
Property from his Oceanside Plymouth residence included a Gilt Metal and Crystal Twelve Light Chandelier, once gracing the dining room, which sold for $7,080 and a George III Inlaid Mahogany Secretary Bookcase, estimated at $3,000-5,000, which brought $6,490. The living room’s Oushak Carpet sold for $5,310 and a pair of Gothic White Painted Iron Hall Benches, exceeding the $1,500-2,000 presale estimate to sell for $4,425. “The auction attracted a large number of new clients,” commented President and Chief Auctioneer, Michael B. Grogan, “Many of them expressed how pleased they were to purchase a memento from Reverend Gome’s collection.”
The second session of the auction was held on Sunday, March 25th and was comprised of property from various estates and collections. The 450 lots of Fine Art, Furniture and Decorations, Silver, Jewelry and Rugs, achieved over eight hundred thousand dollars, more than 70% of the weekends total.
The most exciting moment of the sale occurred when two pairs of Imperial Russian Porcelain Plates from the period of Nicholas I soared well beyond their $5,000-7,000 pre-sale estimates. Fifteen phone lines competed with bidders in the room, when the Pair of Gold bordered plates from the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory of St. Petersburg, came up. The bidding opened up at $4,000, however quickly soared to $25,000 when a New York dealer jumped the bid. The fierce bidding continued between Moscow, New York, London, Germany and Florida before finally acheiving for $79,650. The next pair, with Green border, from the same manufactory, sold to the same phone bidder from Moscow for $76,700.
The top fine art lot was 19th century French artist, Emile Munier’s Girl with Kitten, an oil on canvas circa 1878, which sold over the phone to a dealer for $70,800, against a pre-sale estimate of $20,000-40,000. Other highlights included contemporary Greek artist Spyros Vassiliou’s Figures with Ship Masts, a large oil on masonite, which brought $15,340 and Spanish artist, Emilio Sanchez Perrier’s Figures in a Rowboat, a small oil on canvas, which sold for $14,160.
A set of three Rhode Island Revolutionary War period documents pertaining to military appointments for William Jones, former Governor of Rhode Island attracted significant presale interest, which resulted in several phone lines competing against each other before it finally sold to a Rhode Island collector for $11,800 (presale estimate $3,000-5,000). Other highlights included a 19th century French Silver Coffee Service by Alexandre-Auguste Turquet, which sold for $11,800, against a $10,000-15,000 pre sale estimate; and a Second Phase Native American Chief’s Blanket, from the Navajo tribe, circa 1870, once in the collection of Irene Jewett Lunt, former restorer of Navajo Rugs for the Denver Art Museum sold for $8,850 (presale estimate $6,000-9,000). Internet bidding was brisk, with a Pair of Continental Neoclassical Demilune Console Tables selling for $10,030 and a Steinway Piano brought $9,440 to bidders using Artfact Live.
A complete list of auction results can be found at www.groganco.com. For more information regarding upcoming auctions, consigning or appraisal services, please call the gallery at 781-461-9500. Prices include buyer’s premium.