FAIRFIELD, MAINE – James D. Julia’s most recent antiques and fine art auction was its largest winter sale to date, grossing nearly $2.9 million over three days, January 31–February 2.
One of the most noteworthy nautical finds in many years was an exceedingly rare American pilot chart book from 1794. The book is one of the first editions produced detailing the Eastern seaboard from the West Indies to Newfoundland. Single charts from this edition surface on occasion, but an entire chart book is almost unheard of. Discovered recently in a coastal Maine home, it became apparent that its $50/100,000 estimate was going to be trampled when an unassuming gent in the audience quietly but deliberately advanced the bids to a final selling price of $408,250 amid thunderous applause.
A rare and important Yale Wonder Clock combined elements of a coin-op arcade, gambling and trade stimulators with a disc playing music box, and is one of only a few in existence. Coming from a private Maryland collection where it has been for 30 years, it was fresh to the market and sold for $86,250.
An English Chippendale painted and carved chest of drawers, circa 1760, featured hand painted flowers on a faux tortoiseshell background with relief carved base and gilt pierced scrollwork feet. Offered with an $8/15,000 estimate, it caught the eye of several American and European collectors, going to a phone bidder for $155,250.
The second of three sessions featured an array of folk art, mid-Atlantic and early American furniture, Oriental rugs, marine paintings, nautical pieces and accessories galore. Of the fine furniture, an exceptional Delaware River Valley Queen Anne cherry bonnet top highboy was a beauty. Circa 1770, it featured a molded cornice, three urn-spire finials and central fan-carved drawer; it realized $28,750.
An unusual Continental beech table from the late Eighteenth Century that doubled as a chair with a flip of the top sold at more than eight times its $1,500 low estimate to bring $12,075. Arts and Crafts furniture included a pair of signed Gustave Stickley oak Morris chairs, which fetched $20,700.
A fine Pennsylvania Chippendale pine corner cupboard, circa 1840, was a thrilling find for one bidder, who was able to get it for a mere $1,725; a Pennsylvania Queen Anne figured walnut chest on frame was also a good buy at $4,025.
The session devoted to American and European paintings included a fine oil on board Venetian scene by Jane Peterson that greatly surpassed its $15/25,000 estimate to sell for $66,125. A large oil on canvas nighttime scene by American artist Mauritz Frederik De Haas brought $34,500.
Other highlights included a marvelous oil on canvas street scene by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Depicting various provincial women in a European flower market in the town square, this piece realized $39,100. An oil on mahogany panel scene by Nineteenth Century Dutch artist Wouter Verschuur, depicting three stout workhorses being led through a stream, pulling a cart laden with quarry rocks, sold for $46,000.
An Emile Gruppe oil on canvas scene titled “Covered Bridge in Vermont” realized $23,000. His three-quarter view portrait of the schooner Henry Ford in full sail sold for $17,250.
Anthony Thieme’s “Motif #1” showing Rockport Harbor in the foggy morning hours sold at $28,750, while his oil on Masonite scene of St Augustine, Fla., brought $13,225.
Maine scenes by Cape Ann artists included a large harbor scene by William Lester Stevens, one of his finest works, which sold for $19,550.
A marvelous Currier & Ives lithograph depicting the great fire of Chicago in 1871 was filled with breathtaking imagery and vibrant colors; it made ashes of its $2/4,000 estimate, ultimately selling for $18,400.
A folk art copper eagle weathervane from the Heldenbrand estate was rescued from the Morrill House in Portland, Maine. It was largest weathervane of its type that Julia’s has offered, and sold for $23,575.
A Lavar Kirman room-size Persian carpet, circa 1900, sold for $14,375.
All prices given include the buyer’s premium.
For more information, contact Julia Auctions offices at 207-453-7125. James D. Julia, Inc., P.O. Box 830, Dept. PR, Fairfield, ME 04937. E-mail: [email protected].