GENESEO, N.Y. – A lovely 18th century Virginia Queen Anne tray-top tea table, having a scalloped skirt, pad feet and a fine old refinish, sold for $299,000 at a two-day Fine Art & Antiques Auction held Feb. 20-21 by Cottone Auctions, in the firm’s gallery located at 120 Court Street in Geneseo. The table was the top lot in an auction that grossed about $2 million.
Around 150 people per day packed Cottone’s gallery to participate in person, while nearly 3,000 others registered to bid online, via LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com. In addition, all 15 phone lines were in full use throughout the sale, and hundreds of absentee (or left) bids were also recorded. “There was tremendous interest both days,” said Matt Cottone of Cottone Auctions.
The auction came with some pedigree and featured items from the collections of Walter Vogel of Rochester, N.Y., a long-time pioneer collector and dealer; Richard F. Brush, one of Rochester’s leading philanthropists and the founder of Sentry Safe Co.; Richard Bright and Kyle Goodman of Corning, N.Y.; The Memorial Gallery of Rochester; The Strong Museum in Rochester; and items (comprising 16 lots) descended in the family of General and former President Ulysses S. Grant.
In all, approximately 750 lots came up for bid. Following are additional highlights from the auction. Al prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
Mr. Brush is a huge fan of George Rickey (Am., 1907-2002), the father of precisely engineered kinetic sculpture. Several of Rickey’s creations were sold, including a stainless steel gyratory kinetic sculpture from 1987 titled Three M’s and One W II ($115,000); and an aluminum and stainless steel kinetic sculpture from 1993 ($21,850). Both sculptures were one of three made.
A Sevres cobalt and gold enameled tureen, dated 1812 and descended in the family of prominent Philadelphia dignitary William Weightman, rose to $59,800; a rare 18kt gold presentation box purportedly given by France’s King Louis XVI to Marquis de Lafayette (circa 1778) hit $18,400; and a late 19th century Meissen porcelain figural group emblematic of commerce made $24,150.
The 16 lots of items descended in the family of Ulysses S. Grant sold for a combined $115,000. The top sellers were a pair of Chinese porcelain luncheon plates with Grant’s monogram within a laurel wreath, from a service of 360 pieces ordered in 1868 for White House use ($12,650); and a rose medallion punch bowl from the same service, also bearing Grant’s monogram ($12,075).
The jewelry category featured a dazzling 3.16-carat diamond and platinum ring boasting a round, brilliant cut diamond (color I, clarity VS1), with a good cut grade ($40,250); and a ladies’ 14kt gold and diamond ring with three old European cut diamonds, the center diamond being 1.83 carats (clarity: VVS1, color: K), and two side diamonds totaling about 1.8 carats ($9,545).
Asian objects included an early Chinese carved jade and zitan wood scepter with a handle carved with dragons and the jade having carved birds and fruit, 19 inches long and presented as a gift to the ambassador of Panama ($25,875); and three late 19th century Chinese carved soapstone court figures, 14 inches tall and sold by The Strong Museum to shore up its collection fund ($17,250).
In the furniture category, an 18th century Massachusetts Chippendale block front chest-on-chest, mahogany, with ogee base and fan carved drawer, rose to $18,975, and two lots posted identical selling prices of $14,375: a small 18th century New England Chippendale block front knee-hold desk, mahogany; and an 1818 mahogany small chest with ogee bracket base (Nantucket, Mass.).
Americana was a hit with collectors. A Stephen Taber (Mass.) shelf clock with inlaid mahogany case an ogee bracket base chimed on time for $19,550; a pair of patinated bronze wall sconces by Frank Lloyd Wright (Am., 1867-1959) with original patina fetched $18,400; and a Revolutionary War-era powder horn inscribed “Live Bennedick, Satterlee His Horn, Fort Eadward” hit $10,580.
Watercolor paintings by noted American artists proved to be real crowd pleasers. They included a 1916 watercolor and graphite on paper by Charles Ephraim Burchfield (1893-1967), 14 inches by 20 inches, titled September Sunlight ($34,500); and a watercolor by Walter Gay (1856-1937) titled No. 7, The Boudoir, 14 inches by 11 inches, in the original condition and frame ($13,512).
Oil on canvas paintings by American artists also fared well. A rendering of Lake George, N.Y., by George W. Waters (1832-1912), signed lower right and housed in a period frame, 30 inches by 50 inches, garnered $16,100; while an interior scene with two young ladies by John Hubbard Rich (1876-1954), signed and dated (1909), 30 inches by 29 inches, in a frame, brought $11,500.
Works by artists from other countries also came up for bid. An oil on canvas by Irish-Canadian painter William John Hennessy (1839-1917), depicting a mother and her daughters in springtime, in a period frame, 30 inches by 54 inches, coasted to $11,500; and a pair of oil on canvas works by Rafael Coronel (Mexican, b. 1932), titled Cabeza I & Cabeza II, both signed, made $13,800.
Other sculptures, in addition to the Rickeys, piqued bidder interest. A metal sculpture by Albert Paley (b. 1944), from the Richard Brush collection, 5 feet 10 inches tall, topped out at $15,525; while a late 19th century bronze sculpture of the American patriot Nathan Hale, artist unknown, with a plaque reading, “I only regret that I have one life to lose for my country,” made $11,500.
Tops in the hand-made Persian rugs category were a circa-1900 fine Serapi rug with overall even pile, 18 feet 10 inches by 11 feet 5 inches, finished at $21,275; a late 19th century Bakhtiari rug with overall pattern and good pile, 17 feet 2 inches by 16 feet 11 inches, went for $16,100; and a circa-1900 Heriz rug in nice condition, 11 feet 10 inches by 8 feet 4 inches, realized $15,812.
Cottone Auctions’ next big auction will be another two-day affair, on May 8-9. The sale will feature advertising, music boxes and decorative accessories. Consignments are being sought.
Cottone Auctions is always seeking quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, call (585) 243-1000; or, you can e-mail them at email@example.com. Cottone Auctions' gallery, at 120 Court Street in Geneseo, N.Y. (zip: 14454) is located just south of Rochester and east of Buffalo. For directions and all other inquiries, call (585) 243-1000.
To learn more about Cottone Auctions and the upcoming May 8-9 auction, please visit them online, at www.cottoneauctions.com. Updates are posted frequently.
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120 Court Street
Geneseo, New York
About Cottone Auctions
Cottone Auctions is a full-service auction company based in Geneseo, New York.