Cornelius Vanderbilt's gold cigar case. A New Orleans Voodoo Clock. And "one of the greatest collections of Americana ever assembled" are what Sotheby's says are on offer this week as part of Americana Week in New York. City-wide auctions, shows, exhibitions and events kicked off on Wednesday, and the auctions continue through Jan. 23. The Winter Antiques Show continues through Jan.31 at the Park Avenue Armory.
The dedicated 3-day auction of Irvin and Anita Schorsch's collection has already shown some top results from 1,000 lots providing an encyclopedic view of furniture, ceramics, books, silver, fine art, needlepoint samplers and decorative arts of the early-American period. Nearly busting its top-end estiamte of $1 million was the Burnham-Manning Chippendale mahogany bombe bonnet-top chest. The circa-1770 piece, probably from Salem, Mass., had its exquisite sculptural modeling still intact. Only seven such bombé chest-on-chests are known today, according to Sotheby's. The last known example was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2009 for the World Record price of $1,762,500.
Coming up on Jan. 23, “American Beauty: The American Folk Art Collection of Stephen and Petra Levin, Part I” offers about 100 examples from the folk art assembled by the Levins, known as astute collectors. Their focus has been thematic groupings - Patriotism, Fire-Fighting, Whimsy, Fantasy, Eroticism - and there are several stand-out lots. One of is a very early and rare rendition of a woman playing golf, in the form of a circa-1900 weathervane. The piece, estimated at $500,000-7000,000, came through dealer David Wheatcroft.