The antique world is buzzing over Charlton Hall’s most recent auction From Museum Vaults, held on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of December. Many highlights of this exceptional sale were from a collection of 17th through early 20th century decorative arts deaccessioned from the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas at El Paso and private collectors from the East coast and Midwest.
The sale proved to be one of Charlton Hall’s most popular to date as bidders were especially eager to acquire fresh merchandise from the museum that had not been on the market for decades. Due to the increased interest, most available phone bid lines filled up days before the auction. The total sale featured 1064 bidders from 34 countries vying for the 1300 lots.
This three day sale began on Friday afternoon with a selection of edged weapons and firearms acquired by the museum in the 1930s-1950s in part from the famed Philip Medicus collection of New York. Leading the swords was lot 16, a U.S. Infantry officer’s saber and scabbard, circa 1815 – 1830 which sold for $4,317 (all prices listed include buyer’s premium). Other items sold on Friday included sporting art and sporting guns, including lot 73, a Parker Bros. VHE .410 shotgun, made by Remington circa 1935, which sold for $10,350. Sporting art was highlighted by an oil painting of a cheetah running down a gazelle, lot 33 by South Carolina artist Randall McKissick which realized $5,750. Two carved and painted driftwood sculptures of sea turtles by Jim Yarden lots 170-171 topped out at $2,300 and $2,185. Lot 168, a pair of leather faux alligator club chairs with ottomans attracted attention and left the gallery at $3,565.
Over the next two days the auction floor often resembled a stock exchange as bidders scrambled to obtain prized lots which included lot 572, an extensive Faberge silver flatware service in its original case that sold for $115,000 and lot 514, a painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert that went for $57,500. Saturday’s session began with seven lots of clocks which totaled $76,245 and set the tone for sessions two and three of this sale. Lot 302, a monumental French ormolu-mounted porcelain urn with clock topped out at $37,950 and lot 300, a French champlevé enamel clock garniture sold for $12,650. The best price for a clock however, was produced on Sunday when lot 1099, a rare double faced Cartier jade desk clock attracted fourteen phone bidders but sold to an audience bidder for $115,000.
Fine French furniture was in the spotlight Saturday and Sunday. Several signed pieces included lot 309, a Louis XV style marble top center table by Francois Linke that left the room for $13,800 and lot 313, a vitrine by Linke realized $14,950. Another marble top center table in the Louis XVI style, lot 374, bearing the stamp of L. Cueunieres, made $19,950 and lot 430, a bronze mounted porcelain pedestal table stamped H. Picard sold for $21,850. The Herter Brothers also had a presence in the auction room with three lots. A discovery, too late to catalog, found that these lots were commissioned by William H. Vanderbilt in 1880 for his Fifth Avenue, New York City apartment. The three lots consisted of lot 429, a pair of silver gilded chairs at $19,950, lot 957, an Art Nouveau cherry and bronze mounted étagère at $32,200 and lot 958, a pair of Aesthetic Movement rosewood and mother-of-pearl side chairs at $97,750.
In addition to the Faberge silver service, Russian objects attracted a good bit of attention. A fine cloisonné and vermeil tea service, lot 573, by Pavel Ovchinnikov reached $62,100 and lot 578, a silver tea and coffee service by Gavril Grachev sold for $12,650 along with lot 575, a fine Nikolay Nemirov-Kolodkin tea caddy that garnered $9,200.
Paintings and jewelry generally fare well at Charlton Hall auctions and this sale was no exception. In addition to the Gilbert portrait, lot 509, a Flemish school unsigned still life brought $86,250 and lot 702, an unsigned French/Russian school oil titled “The Escorts” sold for $13,800. In the jewelry category, lot 419, a 7.93 ct. yellow diamond ring left the bidding at $33,350 while another 3.70 ct. diamond ring, lot 983, realized $17,250 and lot 1113, a pair of Cartier platinum and diamond earrings sold for $9,775.
Sunday’s session included a selection of Chinese export porcelain from the J. Louis Binder collection. Leading the collection offerings was lot 963, a hunting scene punch bowl for $10,350 and lot 1007, a Canton enamel European subject charger at $3,910.
One of the benefits of the sale was the museum’s agreement establishing conservative estimates to ensure that a majority of items would sell. This strategy seemed to attract more interest in collectors. Fresh to the market merchandise with low estimates is a key to the success of any auction and was certainly evident for this sale.
Charlton Hall’s next antique auction will be in March and will have more of a focus on Americana. Already on the slate is a great selection of southern stoneware including a signed eight gallon Dave pot, two Colin Rhodes jugs and an early Georgia face jug. Some very nice New York Classical furniture together with southern pieces are headlining the furniture section for this sale. Consignments for this sale are currently being taken and additional information can be found at www.charltonhallauctions.com or by calling 803.779.5678.
Contact:Ronald D. Long
Charlton Hall Auctioneers
7 Lexington Drive
West Columbia, South Carolina