A magnificent bronze by Early 20th Century American artist Henry Merwin Shrady sold for $276,000, the highest price ever realized for the artist, providing an exciting climax to Eldred’s two-day Americana, Paintings & Sporting Art Auction, conducted April 3-4, 2015.
Shrady’s “Elk Buffalo” was consigned to Eldred’s from a private collection in southeastern Massachusetts, having descended in the family of the consignor since the 1950s. The focus of much pre-sale publicity, a packed crowd and a full bank of phone bidders saw the final price on the sculpture far exceed its very conservative pre-sale estimate of $30,000/$50,000 and besting Shrady’s former world record by nearly $33,000.
“It was a privilege to handle such an exceptional and important piece of American sculpture,” said Joshua Eldred, company vice president and fine art director. “We took the honor very seriously and made every effort to ensure a strong result, including taking the piece on numerous personalized visits so prospective bidders could personally examine it in detail. It is very gratifying to be able to achieve a world record price on behalf of our consignors.”
An A.E. Crowell early yellowlegs carving, descended in the family of the original owner, who hunted with Crowell on Cape Cod, was the first big seller of the day, bringing in $21,600. Other highlights from Friday’s session include a rare Henry rifle, which more than doubled its pre-sale estimate of $12,000/$15,000, selling for $39,000, and an expansive fox hunting scene “Green Spring Hounds” by Trafford Partridge Klots, which sold for $10,800 on a $1,000/$2,000 estimate. A private Massachusetts collection of works by illustration artist Charles W. Hargens, Jr., mostly western cowboy scenes, sold above estimate, often after lively contests between bidders. The collection brought in a total of $33,647 for the thirteen lots.
Saturday’s auction session started right out of the gate with a spirited bidding war on the first lot of the day, a circa 1886 sand art bottle by Iowa’s Andrew Clemens, finally selling for $32,400 on a $4,000/$6,000 estimate. The bottle, which featured a bald eagle clutching an American flag, was created with naturally colored grains of sand, painstakingly arranged with rudimentary wire and wood tools. Although Clemens was prolific within his lifetime and produced hundreds of these bottles, it’s estimated only about 50 remain intact. The bottle was part of a 36-lot private collection from Brooklyn, New York, which also primarily all sold within or above pre-sale estimate.
The stand-out lot from the third featured collection in the sale was a Mid-19th Century sea chest with a painted inscription from presumably its original owner, William Swain of Orleans, Massachusetts, surrounded by charming heart, moon and star decoration. It sold for $8,400. Also from the collection, which came from a Cape Cod estate, was a gold-plated cane marked “Daniel Webster Amesbury Mass.”, which sold for $1,680, and a New England Chippendale bureau with corner fan inlay, which sold for $2,375.00
Other notable prices realized on furniture lots include $7,800 for a Chippendale birdcage tea table, $7,200 for New England Queen Anne highboy, and $5,100 for an Early 19th Century Southeastern Massachusetts blanket chest with an exceptional grain-painted finish.
Paintings continued to be a strong sales category for the firm. Works by E.E. Finch, Charles Francois Daubigny, Guy Carleton Wiggins, Antonio Maria Blanco and John Whorf all sold within or above pre-sale estimates. “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution”, a commissioned Ralph E. Cahoon, Jr. painting, sold within estimate for $51,000, maintaining Eldred’s position as the preeminent house for Cahoon paintings.
“I am very encouraged by the results. It was our best spring auction in quite some time. The room was near-full both days and we saw a record number of phone lines and Internet bidders, resulting in strong prices across all categories,” Eldred said.
Other highlights from the sale include an Audubon elephant folio “Pileated Woodpecker”, which sold for $18,000, a circa 1800 Connecticut tall-case clock, which sold for $9,000, and a Gershom Jones pewter tankard, which sold for $5,700.
The auction took place at the company’s main facility, located at 1483 Route 6A, in East Dennis, Massachusetts. Eldred’s next scheduled auction is the Spring Asian Art sale, which will take place May 1 and 2, 2015, also at the company’s main facility. Interested bidders can visit www.eldreds.com for a complete sale listing and to register to bid via phone, absentee bid or online. Those wishing to bid live in the audience may register at the offices the day of the auction.
About the Robert C. Eldred Co., Inc.
The Robert C. Eldred Co. Inc., New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house, holds approximately 25 auctions per year encompassing Americana, paintings, Asian art, European decorative art, maritime antiques and collectibles. With a strong commitment to personalized, expert service to its worldwide clientele, Eldred’s was named one of the top auction houses in North America by Blouin Art Info. Eldred’s has been owned and operated from the same location on historic Route 6A in East Dennis, on Cape Cod, for three generations.