Bonhams New York to Auction An Important Private Maritime Collection

On April 14 at Bonhams a significant private American collection of Maritime paintings, ephemera and models will be sold in New York. Entitled An Important Maritime Collection, Including Maritime Paintings and Shipbuilders’ Models, the auction features over 100 lots, and the collection in its entirety is estimated to realize in excess of $1.4 million.

As Gregg Dietrich, Head of Maritime, states, “This collection represents an important vignette into ship design and Maritime history from the Mid-19th century through the Mid-20th century, charting the evolution from sail to the steam era.”

Models feature prominently in the collection, with around 30 on offer. A key model in the collection, and one to entice the international ship model collecting community, is a fine shipbuilders’ model of the French Line passenger liner La Champagne (circa 1885). Launched on May 15th 1885, she was built to accommodate over 1,000 passengers and could travel at speeds of up to 17 knots. She left France on her maiden voyage to New York in May 1886 and in 1915 she ran aground outside of St. Nazaire harbor, ending her career (estimate: $60,000-80,000).

Another notable model is rare ship cut-away model of the R.M.S. Ascania (circa 1925). A passenger liner, Ascania was built for the Cunard Line, with a passenger accommodation of 1,700. The Ascania 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 (estimate: $50,000-70,000).

One other model sure to draw substantial attention is a presentation model of the S.S. Almanzora (England, c. 1914). The Almanzora was built in 1914 as an auxiliary armed merchant cruiser for the Royal Navy. Following the War, she was refitted as a passenger ship and worked the mail route between Southampton and La Plata. In 1939 she was altered to a troop ship and served until 1947 (estimate: $25,000-45,000).

The collection also includes a well-curated section of Maritime paintings. Highlights include a work by Anthony D. Blake (pictured, left) depicting ships Britannia and Vigilant on crystal seas, under an idyllic blue sky – the work is rendered with startling realism and expected to fetch $30,000 to $50,000. An early work by American artist Antonio Nicolo Gasparo Jacobsen depicting the fierce waters off the coast of Cornwall dates from 1877 and carries an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000. And a painting by William Howard Yorke entitled “Esther Roy.” of Maitland. H. McDougall. Holyhead 12 May 1898′ is another notable American addition with an estimate of $15,000 to $25,000.

Rounding out the sale are a number of interesting Maritime ephemera including a metal windvane in the shape of a stylized whale (estimate: $3,000-5,000); a brass Chelsea clock presented by Yachting Magazine in 1917 to the winner of the Inter Yacht Club Trap Shooting contest (estimate: $2,000-3,000); and a Russian Star Globe, dated 1970, with a print of the constellations and presented in a wooden case (estimate: $500-800).