Copley’s Winter Sale Returns to Charleston on February 12, 2015

  • CHARLESTON, South Carolina
  • /
  • January 14, 2015

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after John James Audubon (1785-1851), Snowy Owl, hand-colored engraving, 38 ¾ by 25 ⅞ inches, ($60/90,000)
Copley Fine Art Auctions,

Copley Fine Art Auctions ( is pleased to announce its upcoming Winter Sale 2015, which will be held on February 12th at the American Theater in Charleston, South Carolina. Copley will return with a dynamic offering of over 560 items including American paintings, drawings, prints, folk art, bird decoys, and antique bamboo fly rods and reels. A preview of the lots will be available on Wednesday, February 11th from 5-7 PM and again on Thursday, February 12th from 8:00-10:00 AM. The auction will begin at 10 AM, and online bidding will be offered through Bidsquare and Invaluable.

Copley extends the momentum of the American and Sporting art worlds through this winter. The summer Sporting Sale saw high-water marks in both painting and decoy categories, with Frank Benson’s oil painting Redheads in Flight selling for $360,000 and Ogden M. Pleissner’s oil painting, The Visitors, setting a new world record for a non-sporting scene by the artist when it sold for $198,000. Copley sold the top decoy lot of the summer with Maine carver Augustus Aaron “Gus” Wilson’s red-breasted merganser drake with an open bill selling for $330,000, and a swimming brant by Nathan Cobb sold for $168,000.

Copley is excited to offer an exceptional group of paintings with marked rarity and significance during this winter’s sale. These include a portrait by noted British artist Sir Alfred J. Munnings of the horse Traveler, estimated at $80/120,000. Traveler belonged to Hilda Rice Ayer, who commissioned Munnings to paint her favorite horse in 1924 during his visit to Ledyard Farm and the United States.

A notable offering of original John James Audubon double elephant folio prints distinguishes this winter’s sale. The cover lot, Audubon’s Snowy Owl plate, leads the group with its $60/90,000 estimate. Also slated to cross the block is Audubon’s Great White Heron, highlighting the artist’s Charleston connection with a $30/50,000 estimate.

Nathan Cobb Jr. (1825-1905), Hissing Brant, c. 1890, ($80/120,000)
Copley Fine Art Auctions,

These works join with a selection of works by American Sporting notables including A.B. Frost, Frank Benson, Edmund Osthaus, Ogden Pleissner, and Aiden Lassell Ripley. A rare original watercolor from Frost’s Shooting Pictures series from 1895, titled Quail - A Covey Rise, is estimated at $40/60,000, and a unique oil self-portrait with setters from 1911 by Edmund Osthaus will cross the block with a $20/40,000 estimate. Offerings from master Frank Benson include an exquisite watercolor depicting Swans in Flight ($25/35,000) and over twenty-five of his etchings and drypoints, including scarce interior scenes such as Candlelight ($20/30,000) and Mother and Child ($20/30,000).

Additionally, Copley brings an exceptional offering of hunting scenes and polo scenes to the market, such as a vibrant fox hunting watercolor by Aiden Lassell Ripley ($18/24,000) and over 19 lots of original works by Paul Desmond Brown. Among these works is a grouping of pencil drawings from important historic polo matches, such as the 1933 East-West Match. Additional artists such as David A. Maass, William J. Koelpin, Lynn Bogue Hunt, John Whorf, and Richard E. Bishop are also represented, among many others.

Sir Alfred James Munnings (English 1878-1959), Traveler, 1924, oil on board, 20 by 24 inches, ($80/120,000)
Copley Fine Art Auctions,

The decoy portion of the sale is headlined by the important Southern carver John William’s ruddy duck drake ($120/140,000). This ruddy duck was hunted at the Narrows Island Gun Club in North Carolina’s Currituck Sound. A Nathan Cobb, Jr. hissing brant ($80/120,000) out of the rig of the Virginia carver’s son, Elkanah, offers another rare and exceptional opportunity for the discerning collector to buy a piece of decoy history.

A bold and racy red-breasted merganser from New Hampshire maker George Boyd ($60/90,000) joins with superb examples of a willet ($20/30,000) and dowitcher ($15/25,000) by Charles Sumner Bunn or William Bowman.Additionally, decoy carvings by A. Elmer Crowell, and Joseph W. Lincoln, along with many other named makers, will round out the offering of top-tier birds available this winter.

Rounding out Copley’s offering of folk art and fine sporting collectibles is an important group of antique bamboo fly rods and reels, as well as miniature furniture from the collection of Richard V. Strawbridge. A notable collection of items originating from the sporting outfitter Abercrombie & Fitch joins the offering, together with fine art items from the estate of Thomas W. Connally.

Online bidding on over 560 items will be available through,, and on A full color catalog will be available three weeks before the sale. The auction will take place at the American Theater in Charleston, SC, with a preview on Wednesday, February 11th from 5-7 PM and Thursday, February 12th from 8 to 10 AM, with bidding to commence at 10 AM. For more information, a full schedule of events, or to order a catalog please send an email to, call 617.536.0030, or visit

Leah Tharpe
Copley Fine Art Auctions

Copley Fine Art Auctions
214 Lincoln Street #104
Allston, Massachusetts
About Copley Fine Art Auctions

Copley Fine Art Auctions is the world's leading American sporting art auction company. Located in Boston, Copley specializes in antique decoys and 19th- and 20th-century American, sporting, and wildlife paintings.

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