Exceptional Whaling Journal Headlines Eldred's Fall Sales

  • EAST DENNIS, Massachusetts
  • /
  • November 08, 2018

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Exceptional illustrated journal covering a whaling voyage from Nantucket to the Pacific

East Dennis, Mass. – An exceptional illustrated whaling journal, a complete set of Elmer Crowell miniature songbird carvings, a Tiffany Studios tea screen, a rare Simon Willard & Sons lighthouse clock and paintings by Robert Salmon and Ralph Cahoon are just a few of the highlights in Eldred’s eclectic series of auctions taking place November 15, 16 and 17 at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis, Mass., on Cape Cod.

Thursday, November 15 will be a dedicated Marine Art Auction with just over 500 lots of scrimshaw, paintings, models, woolworks and other artifacts. Eldred’s, building off the success of its annual summer maritime art auctions, which over the past three years netted between $1.8 million and $3.1 million, is now planning to have two marine sales each year, one in the fall/winter, and one in July. The highlight of his inaugural “off-season” sale is an extraordinary whaling journal, covering an 1848-1852 voyage of the ship Charles Carroll from Nantucket to the Pacific, illustrated on nearly every page with colored ink and pencil drawings of whales and other sea life, ships, flags and landscapes.

“It’s everything you could want in a journal,” said Bill Bourne, head of Eldred’s Maritime Art department. “The illustrations are incredible, it’s a Nantucket vessel with connections to Owen Chase of Essex fame, and it was part of the Barbara Johnson collection.” Bourne compared it favorably to the illustrated logbook kept by his great-great-grandfather, a whaling captain from Massachusetts, which sold for $93,000 in 1989, believed to still be the record price for a whaling journal or logbook. The journal in Eldred’s sale is estimated at $50,000/100,000.   

The sale also includes almost 190 lots of scrimshaw, highlighted by two private collections – the MacCormick Scrimshaw Collection and a private collection from Falmouth, Massachusetts. Both are old collections that were started in the 1960s and 1970s and include a range of pieces, from clothespins and bodkins to a “Susan’s Tooth” by Frederick Myrick and a superb pie crimper with hinged fork. Other anticipated top lots of scrimshaw include a double-sided polychrome tooth with a brig entering a tropical harbor on the obverse and an elaborate portrait of a woman on the reverse, estimated at $10,000/15,000, a remarkably large pair of whalebone double blocks, also with Barbara Johnson provenance, estimated at $8,000/10,000, and a heavily and finely carved whalebone cane, estimated at $5,000/7,000.    

Other highlights from the sale include two paintings by Montague Dawson (United Kingdom, 1890-1973), a portrait of the Cutty Sark, estimated at $40,000/$60,000, and “The Eyes of Fleet” depicting a vessel in distress, estimated at $12,000/18,000, four Antonio Jacobsen (New York/New Jersey/Denmark, 1850-1921) works, with an average estimate of $8,000/12,000, a large figurehead in the form of a woman with long hair and veil, estimated at $10,000/15,000, and a miniature model of the H.M.S. Bounty’s launch by Lloyd McCaffrey, part of a prominent New York Collection, estimated at $5,000/10,000.

“It’s a wonderful fresh offering of material over a wide cross section of price points,” Bourne commented. “There’s a wonderful group of Lighthouse Society pieces, some very fine tillers from the New York collection, and a nice group of wool works and T. Willis paintings. There is a lot of variety in the 500 lots.”

The two remaining auction sessions, The Fall Sale, on Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17, include Americana, Sporting Art, Paintings and Decorative Art and more, for a total of 850 lots.

The top lot in the sale is the Simon Willard & Sons lighthouse clock, a rare form named after its resemblance to a lighthouse rather than any horological association with them. Patented in 1818, they were the first alarm clocks produced in America. This example has a bell affixed to the top of the works, a white enamel dial signed “Simon Willard & Sons Patent”, and its original mahogany base and works. It carries a $70,000/90,000 estimate.

A set of 25 A. Elmer Crowell miniature songbirds carved circa 1930, estimated at $20,000/30,000, is one of the highlights of the sporting art lots, which includes decoys, antique and collectible firearms, and fine art.

The sale also includes a “really interesting group of furniture, including some labeled examples that are hard to find,” Bourne remarked. Highlights include a Circa 1750 New York Queen Anne Card table with porringer top, a circa 1780 Chippendale chest-on-chest attributed to Thomas Elfe of Charleston, South Carolina, and circa 1770 Chippendale chest-on-chest attributed to Abraham Tourtellot, signed in chalk “AT” on the back. All three carrying a $20,000/30,000, estimate.     

Three works by Ralph E. Cahoon, Jr. (Massachusetts, 1910-1982), all with his characteristic folksy charm, are amongst the anticipated top paintings. A pair of wooden eggs with scenes of French hot air balloonists are estimated at $3,000/$5,000, a scene of a mermaid reclining on a bench, titled “Arrowback Settee” is estimated at $20,000/30,000, and “American Seamen’s Society”, an interior scene of mermaids and gentleman eating and drinking around a table, is estimated at $30,000/50,000. There seems to be some resurgence of the Cahoon market, with Eldred’s selling two works by the artist for $90,000 and $156,000 this summer.    

Other notable paintings include “Loch Lomond” by Robert Salmon (Massachusetts/England, 1775-1848), estimated at $20,000/30,000, an untitled abstract by Le Corbusier (Switzerland/France, 1887-1965), from the collection of famed pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton, estimated at $15,000/20,000, and “Guineyboats Gloucester, Mass.” by Frederick John Mulhaupt (Massachusetts, 1871-1938), estimated at $12,000/15,000.

A circa 1920 Tiffany Studios leaded glass and bronze tea screen with three panels depicting blossoms and foliage in shades of purple and green, estimated at $5,000/7,000, has received significant early interest from collectors, as has a rare leaping dear copper weather vane attributed to Cushing & White, estimated at $6,000/8,000.  

Joshua Eldred, president of the firm and head of the Fine Arts department, also commented on the diversity of material. “When building this sale our intent was to include some of the very best pieces from across the broad range of collecting categories we handle at Eldred’s. The material came from all parts of the country and the globe and is a solid reflection of what we bring to market.” Jewelry, silver, Oriental rugs, ethnographic American native and other indigenous artworks, art and antique glass, Chinese Export and ceramics are also included in the sale.  

All lots in both the Marine Art Auction and the Fall Sale can be viewed on Eldred’s website, www.eldreds.com. They are live auctions and all three are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. Phone and absentee bidding is available with pre-registration. Online bidding is available through Invaluable.com. The sale preview will be held Wednesday, November 14, from 10 to 5 p.m. at the firm’s headquarters in East Dennis. Catalogs may be purchased by calling 508-385-3116.

About Eldred’s

The Robert C. Eldred Co. is New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house, now in its third generation of ownership under the Eldred and Schofield families. In addition to its headquarters on Cape Cod’s historic Old King’s Highway in East Dennis, Mass., the firm also has an office at 5 Roosevelt Avenue in Mystic, Ct. Eldred’s conducts approximately 25 auctions per year encompassing Americana, paintings, Asian art, European decorative art, maritime antiques, sporting art and collectibles. It was recently named one of the top worldwide auction houses by Art + Auction and holds auction records across a wide range of collecting areas.  

For more information please call (508) 385-3116 or email info@eldreds.com. 

Cheryl Stewart

1483 Route 6a
East Dennis, Massachusetts
About Eldred's

Eldred's is New England's oldest established antiques and fine arts auction house. Approximately 25 auctions are held year-round encompassing Americana, Asian Art, Americana and European paintings, European decorative art, Maritime antiques, and collectibles.

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