Chinese vases, Coca-Cola items and a Hunt Slonem painting lead the way at Bruneau's July 13 auction

  • CRANSTON, Rhode Island
  • /
  • July 23, 2019

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Expressionist painting by Hunt Slonem (N.Y./Me./La., b. 1951), titled White Sulphur and depicting white butterflies over a powder blue background, artist signed ($10,000).
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

CRANSTON, R.I. – A gorgeous Chinese Qing dynasty robin’s egg blue vase, 12 ¾ inches tall, soared to $50,000 to take top lot honors at an Antiques, Collectibles & Fine Art Auction held July 13th by Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, online and in the Cranston gallery at 63 Fourth Avenue. Just over 400 lots came up for bid in the sale that was highlighted by Asian arts and Coca-Cola.


The Chinese robin’s egg blue vase was potted bulbous baluster form having a corseted quatrefoil neck and rim with archaic handles and finished in a mottled robin’s egg blue glaze on a finely ground foot. The high-quality piece of porcelain bore a Qing dynasty mark to the underside and had been drilled, showing some minor kiln pitting. That didn’t deter bidders eager to claim it.


“The beauty of Asian arts is when two collectors fall in love you never know what the price will be,” said Kevin Bruneau, the president of Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. “When first looking at the robin’s egg blue vase, we were unsure of how much the drilled bottom would affect the value. But in the end it didn’t really matter.” He added, “It was a strong auction overall and a fun time.”


Another Chinese vase – a Qing dynasty blue and white porcelain example, made circa 1909-1912 with the underside bearing a Xuantong six-character mark – changed hands for $10,000. The 15 ¼ inch tall vase was globular form, with an elongated and corseted neck decorated with an allover lotus flower and tendril pattern having a foliate motif. It, too, had minor kiln pitting.


The auction was headlined by the single-owner collection of Russell Buteau of Millville, Mass. – a lifelong collector of Coca-Cola items and antiques for over 40 years. The first 136 lots in the auction were from Mr. Buteau’s collection, which included Coca-Cola machines, coolers from numerous brands, over a dozen advertising clocks, and tin, porcelain and paper advertising signs.

Fine Chinese Qing dynasty vase, 12 ¾ inches tall, potted bulbous baluster form with corseted quatrefoil neck and rim and finished in a mottled robin’s egg blue glaze ($50,000).
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers


Coca-Cola is Mr. Buteau’s specialty and one lot that attracted intense bidder interest was a circa 1939 Coca-Cola salesman’s sample ice chest cooler in the original paint, including advertising booklets. The metal chest, 9 ¾ inches tall and 12 ¼ inches by 7 ¼ inches, displayed very well and was in all-original condition, with just some light paint wear. It changed hands for $2,250.


“It was an honor to handle the collection of a long-term family friend,” said Travis Landry, a Bruneau & Co. specialist and auctioneer who’s known Mr. Buteau since his first job working at a local auction house when he was 13 years old. He added, “Plus the rare stuff did perform. I felt the results were strong for items such as the salesman sample cooler and the Vendo 44 machine.”



The auction also featured a large array of European furniture, art glass, porcelains, fine paintings (featuring artists such as Hunt Slonem and Charles Henry Gifford), bronzes and other sculptures, chandeliers and lighting, plus a robust selection of fresh estate jewelry.


Following are additional highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by,, and, as well as the mobile app “Bruneau & Co.” on iTunes or GooglePlay. Telephone and absentee bids were also accepted. All prices quoted in this report are inclusive of a sliding scale buyer’s premium.


An expressionist painting by Hunt Slonem (N.Y./Me./La., b. 1951), titled White Sulphur (1988), depicting white butterflies over a powder blue background, went for $10,000. The painting was executed using Slonem’s signature sgraffito technique and was housed in a 40 inch by 40 inch frame. It was signed (“Hunt Slonem”), and titled and dated on verso. In May, Bruneau & Co. sold a painting by Slonem, titled Butterfly’s (2003). It was the sale’s top lot, realizing $15,000.


A rare, hand-drawn and colored map of the Georgia territories by Daniel Sturges, dated 1808 and executed for a client, Mr. Bohl Bohlers, gaveled for $5,938. Included in the lot was the original 63,000-acre land deed issued to Mr. Bohlers in 1775 and over ten letters of correspondence, including one that appeared to be from Sturges’s friend Andrew Jackson before he was president. The map, measuring 16 ¾ inches by 21 ¼ inches, was in a remarkably fine state of preservation.

Pitcher and two tumblers from the Dugan Glass Company (Pa., circa 1907), comprising a ruffled rim water pitcher with applied handle and two tumblers, all in a swastika pattern ($1,750).
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers


A pitcher and two tumblers from the Dugan Glass Company (Pa., circa 1907), comprising a ruffled rim water pitcher with applied handle and two tumblers, all in a swastika pattern and opalescent green, fetched $1,750. Both tumblers had minor flecks to the rim; the pitcher was in overall good condition. The swastikas were embedded in the pattern in a muted, non-Nazi way.


A Tiffany & Company Swiss-made 14kt gold lady’s watch with a white Roman numeral dial, housed in a simple, circular 14kt yellow gold bezel with a chain link band fastened with a ladder clasp, slipped onto a new wrist for $2,125. The 7-inch-long watch was marked “Tiffany & Co.” on the face and “Tiffany & Co. 14K Swiss Water Resistant” on the inside of the watch’s clasp.


A six-piece Oceanic carving group from the South Pacific (20th century) featuring a pair of wood divination plates, a wood mortar, a wood page turner, a figural dolphin with mother of pearl and a figural whale with mother of pearl, sold as one lot for $2,000. The whale was 18 ¾ inches long and the dolphin was 16 ¼ inches long. All pieces were made from wood and mother of pearl.


Bruneau & Co.’s next major event will be an Estate Antiques & Fine Art Auction, August 17th.


To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers, visit Updates are posted frequently. To contact the company via e-mail, use Or, you can phone them at (401) 533-9980. The company is always accepting quality items for future sales.


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Travis Landry
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers
63 Fourth Avenue
Cranston, Rhode Island
(401) 533-9980
About Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers

Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers is a full-service auction company based in Cranston, R.I. The firm specializes in fine art, antiques and collectibles in the liquidation of estates and collections.

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