Sotheby’s New York Americana Week auctions total $17.9 million

Sotheby’s Americana Week auctions concluded in New York with a combined total of $17,900,261 – Sotheby’s highest total for this annual week of sales since 2007.

Ammi Phillips, Portrait of a Winsome Young Girl in Red with Green Slippers, Dog and Bird, circa 1840 (est. $300/500,000). Photo: Sotheby’s.

The Important Americana auction on Friday and Saturday was led by two record-setting results: the previously undocumented Exceptional Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Arnold Shell-Carved and Figured Mahogany High Chest of Drawers with Open Talons made by John Townsend in 1756, which set an auction record for any high chest of drawers in selling for $3,554,500 (est. $2/3 million*), and An Extremely Rare and Highly Important Gold-Inlaid and Deep Relief Engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver, Samuel Colt, Hartford, Connecticut, circa 1853 that brought $1,142,500 and set a record for any single firearm at auction (est. $800,000/1.2 million).

On Sunday, Important American Schoolgirl Embroideries: The Landmark Collection of Betty Ring totaled $4,389,503 – exceeding its pre-sale high estimate of $3.4 million – and set a new auction record for any needlework sampler at auction when a Rare and Important Needlework Sampler, Mary Antrim, Burlington Country, New Jersey, Dated 1807 achieved $1,070,500, more than ten times its high estimate of $120,000.

Important Americana – 20 & 21 January 2012
The first day of the Important Americana sale saw top prices for American silver, featuring an exceptional group of 17th, 18th and 19th century pieces from First Parish Church in Dorchester, Massachusetts that brought a total of $1,721,313, led by The Governor Stoughton Cups: A Rare Pair of American Silver Standing Cups that achieved $1,082,500 (est. $1/2 million). The Church will use the proceeds from the sale of this historical group to move its mission in the Dorchester community into the 21st century – not only by updating the physical building and its systems, but also becoming a resource and active center for its multi-faceted community.

In addition to strong prices for American furniture and decorative arts, Saturday’s session saw several remarkable results for American folk art: Ammi Phillips’s Portrait of a Winsome Young Girl in Red with Green Slippers, Dog and Bird, circa 1840 – one of only 11 portraits in red by the artist – well exceeded its $500,000 high estimate in selling for $806,500, while a View of the John Hancock House, Beacon Hill, Boston (Fireboard / Overmantel) painted circa 1780 achieved $614,500 above a high estimate of $250,000. The work is one of the earliest and most complete views of the famous Hancock residence.

Important American Schoolgirl Embroideries: The Landmark Collection of Betty Ring – 22 January 2012
In addition to the record-setting result for the Mary Antrim sampler, Sunday’s auction dedicated to the celebrated collection of Betty Ring was highlighted by several pieces that greatly exceeded pre-sale expectations: a Fine and Rare Needlework Sampler, Susannah Saunders, Sarah Stivours School, Salem, Massachusetts, Dated 1766 nearly quadrupled its high estimate of $80,000 in achieving $314,500; a Fine and Rare Needlework Sampler, Betsy Gail, Marblehead, Massachusetts, circa 1790 brought $170,500 above a high estimate of $60,000; and a Rare Needlework Sampler, Sarah Cooper, attributed to Ann Marsh’s School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dated 1792 sold for $170,500 above a high estimate of $80,000.

*Pre-sale estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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