A late 18th century Pennsylvania Chippendale tiger maple desk, probably Lancaster County and crafted from strikingly figured tiger maple with poplar secondary, sold for $41,400 against a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$10,000 at a multi-estate Historic Hillsborough Auction held Sept. 19 by Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. The desk was the top achiever of the more than 700 lots that changed hands.
Featured was the estate collection of the late W. Samuel Tarlton, the former respected art dealer and co-owner of an antiques shop in Raleigh.
“This was quite simply the best sale we’ve ever had,” said Leland Little of Leland Little Auction & Estate Sales, Ltd. “I feel a renewed freshness and energy in the auction business I haven’t experienced in some time. The mid-range market items, especially, such as jewelry and decorative accessories, did extremely well, much better than in previous sales. This is all very encouraging to us and the industry.”
The auction, which grossed a little under $1 million, attracted a standing room only crowd of more than 300 people. In addition, 752 bidders were registered online and over 700 pre-bids were posted via LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bidding was active, as 1,200 pre-absentee and phone bids were lined up prior to sale. In all, close to 1,000 people registered to bid live, by phone and through absentee bids.
Additional highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The Chippendale desk came out of the Tarlton collection. Other furniture pieces from his estate included a set of six Knoll & Saarinen white tulip chairs (circa 1960) and pedestal dining table ($3,336, pre-sale est. $800-$1,500); a mid-18th century American Queen Anne maple center table, possibly from the North Carolina Chowan River Basin ($4,830); and an 18th century Massachusetts Chippendale oxbow slant lid desk ($4,600, pre-sale est. $2,000-$3,000).
Also from the Tarlton estate: a New Hampshire Federal bowfront chest of drawers (circa 1800-1810), 12-panel form ($5,750, pre-sale est. $2,000-$4,000); and an American miniature Hepplewhite inlaid chest, early 19th century ($2,530). Mr. Tarlton’s artwork featured a bronze by Anna Hyatt Huntington (Am., 1876-1973) titled Yawning Tiger ($12,075, pre-sale est. $3,000-$5,000); and a still life oil on board by Jacques Blanche (Fr., 1861-1942, $4,140).
Staying in the fine art category, the sale also included many pieces acquired in the 1960s and ‘70s by the Mead Corporation of Richmond, Va. Top earners included an oil on canvas painting by Robert Harvey (b. 1924), titled Brother Home on Leave and signed and dated 1964 ($4,370, pre-ssale est. $1,000-$2,000); and an oil on canvas work by Jim Herbert (Ga., b. 1938), titled Oriental and housed in the original frame ($1,840).
A nice pair of clocks got paddles wagging. One was a French cloisonné mantel clock with two matching candlesticks, stamped to indicate the maker won a silver medal in 1855 ($5,520, pre-sale est. $400-$800); and a late 18th century English Chippendale tall case clock, mahogany, 89 inches tall ($3,220). Also, a Tiffany Studios counterbalance desk lamp with a bronze base and green damascene shade hammered for $8,050 (pre-sale est. $5,000-$8,000).
Intriguing offerings included a Turkoman Asmalyk (circa 1890), wool and silk with all-over decoration, woven edging and five-sided camel decoration for the wedding procession carrying the bride ($7,762, pre-sale est. $300-$600); a pair of vintage concrete foxes with bushy tails and attractive weathering ($2,415); and an antique toleware tray, 19th century, with a painted harbor scene depicting a Spanish galleon ($1,265).
A 163-piece sterling silver flatware service in the Pointed Antique pattern by Dominick & Haff and Reed & Barton climbed to $4,370 (pre-sale est. $1,500-$2,500), while a beautiful Southern coin silver ladle by Linebach of Salem, N.C., went for $3,680 (pre-sale est. $600-$900). In estate jewelry, a 1.15 carat round brilliant cut diamond stone brought $2,070 (pre-sale est. $1,000-$1,500), and a 1.09 carat emerald cut diamond stone garnered $2,070.
Returning to fine art, a signed oil on panel by Julian Onderdonck (Tex., 1882-1922), titled Rock Quarries, fetched $29,900; an oil on linen signed by French artist Adolphe Binet (1854-1897) and titled Les Alezans, breezed to $23,000; an acrylic on canvas by John McCracken (N.Y./Calif., b. 1934), titled Mandala IV, made $19,550; and a gilt bronze creation by Giorgio de Chirico (It., 1888-1978) hit $3,680.
A pair of works by Richard Anuskziewicz (N.J., b. 1930) got the attention of bidders. An acrylic on canvas, titled Soft Cover Vermilion, topped out at $25,300, while an untitled oil on pressed board realized $10,350. Also, two large French School murals, 18th century oil on canvas, each measuring 120 inches by 96 inches and depicting tranquil landscape scenes, sold for a respectable $18,400 and $14,950 (against pre-sale estimates of $3,000-$5,000 each).
Cellarets wowed the crowd. A George III example with mahogany veneer in the rare diminutive form, soared to $4,830, while an English wine cellaret (circa 1830), casket form on carved paw feet, hit $4,370. Also, a 19th century tortoise shell tea caddy, octagonal form with pagoda lid, rose to $1,725; and an Eero Saarinen for Knoll grasshopper chair (circa 1950s) with laminated wood frame garnered $1,265.
Vintage car enthusiasts weren’t disappointed. A bright red 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole with just 49,013 miles sped off for $24,150. Also, a 1930s Jugtown Chinese blue Persian jar, rich red with a strong blue contrast, achieved $16,100 (pre-sale est. $3,000-$6,000); a rare group of six Baccarat “Czar” crystal-stem blown and cut glasses coasted to $4,600; and a unique pair of 19th century famille rose garden seats hit $2,990.
From the entertainment and movie memorabilia collection of Bill Morrison, former art critic of the Raleigh News & Observer, a 1935 lobby card for the Alfred Hitchcock thriller 39 Steps (Gaumont, British) went for $2,530, while a 1977 Star Wars movie poster (20th Century Fox) fetched $920. Also, a rare 18th century cookbook and an inscribed first-edition book by author Ayn Rand each brought $1,265.