Important Maritime Collection Brings a Record Price at Bonhams

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • April 20, 2010

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A rare cut-away model of the R.M.S. Ascania (circa 1925) which fetched $122,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-70,000.

Bonhams New York’s April 14 An Important Maritime Collection, Including Maritime Paintings and Shipbuilders’ Models auction totaled over $1.385 million and during the proceedings a new world auction record for a builder’s model was set. The sale in its entirety consisted of over 100 lots and represented an important vignette into ship design and Maritime history from the mid-19th through the mid-20th century.

The top lot of the sale, and the builder’s model record-breaker, was a rare cut-away model of the R.M.S. Ascania (circa 1925) which fetched $122,000 against a pre-sale estimate of $50,000-70,000. A passenger liner, Ascania was built for the Cunard Line and left for her maiden voyage in 1925 from London to Montreal and stayed on that route until the outbreak of war in 1939 when she was placed in service as a troop carrier. She was the only A class liner to return to passenger service after the war and was finally broken up in January 1957.

Gregg Dietrich and Alan Fausel, specialists in the charge of the sale, say: “We are delighted with Bonhams continued strength in the Maritime field, and we were particularly happy with the new world auction record for a builder’s model. Private buyers came from all over the world joined us in our Madison Avenue saleroom, and we noted strong interest from Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Middle East and all over North America, especially from Canada. We now look forward to our next New York sale, taking place on June 22.”

Elsewhere in the sale a large model of the T.S.M.V. Glenearn for the Glen Line Ltd., English (circa 1938) sold for $95,160. Built by the Caledon Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd. at Dundee, she was initially used to carry troops and supplies to France on the outbreak of war. In 1940 she was converted into an Infantry Assault Ship and on June 6th, 1944, she carried troops to the Normandy beaches.

Other models that performed strongly included a fine shipbuilders’ model of the French Line passenger liner La Champagne (circa 1885) which sold for $85,400; a shipbuilders' model of the cable layer ship C/S "Restorer" for the Commercial Cable Co.,British, (circa 1902) that realized a final price of $51,850; and a shipbuilders' model of the S.S. "Seaford" for Denny Brothers (circa 1894) which fetched $36,600.

In the paintings section, notable performers were a William Howard Yorke painting of the British bark Estrella which brought $30,500 against an estimate of $15,000-25,000, and an Anthony D. Blake painting that realized $37,820. Additionally, nine Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen works were sold.

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