Lambertville, NJ: Rago Arts and Auction Center’s October Great Estates and Curiouser and Curiouser Auctions brought in $1,720,006 in sales on October 21-22. This two-day, 998 lot auction series saw the sale of works of art and design, as well as a healthy serving of exceptional objects and artifacts, spanning centuries and continents.
Saturday’s Great Estates auction got off to a strong start with the first lot of the day, a gem cameo vase by Thomas Webb & Sons, vaulting past its high estimate of $9,000 to sell for $26,250 amid fierce bidding. Works of fine silver sold admirably including lot 1020, a pair of French silver candelabra retailed by Tiffany & Co. which sold for $20,000 against an estimate of $8,000-12,000 and lot 1201, a pair of sterling silver swan centerpieces by Buccellati which sold for $17,500 against an estimate of $5,000-8,000. Stand-out ephemera from the sale included a 1792 letter signed by Alexander Hamilton (lot 1716) which defied its high estimate of $15,000 to sell for $37,500 and lot 1759, a collection of signed and numbered 1st editions from the Dark Tower series by Stephen King which sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $1,000-1,500. Decorative arts and period style furniture achieved solid sale prices, including lot 1267, a Louis XVI style brass and brushed steel bureauplat which sold for $26,250 against a $1,200 high estimate and lot 1498, a pair of George II mahogany armchairs which sold for $17,500 against an estimate of $3,000-5,000.
Commanding sale prices continued into Sunday with Curiouser and Curiouser, a sale of exceptional objects and eccentric art curated by dealer Marion Harris. The sale saw high prices achieved for mannequins, including lot 39, a life-sized articulated artist mannequin which sold for $45,000 on the Bidsquare online bidding platform; natural and scientific objects, including lot 20, a didactic collection of rubber mushrooms which sold for $7,500 against an estimate of $1,500-3,000; and for select works of outsider art, including works by Morton Bartlett and The Connor Brothers, both of which enjoyed sale prices that largely fell within or above their respective estimate ranges.
Also of note: lot 1215, a pair of silver pagoda candlesticks originally retailed by Tiffany & Co. which sold for $12,500, more than 40x their high estimate of $300; lot 142, a one-of-a-kind private commission titled ”The Frog Prince,” which sold for $36,250 against an estimate of $9,000-12,000; lot 1498, a George III style mahogany settee which defied an $800-1,200 estimate to sell for $18,750; and lot 166, an oil painting titled “George Dressed for the Masqurade” by outsider artist Jon Serl which sold for $10,625 against an estimate of $2,000-3,000.
“This was a fantastic sale with strong results throughout, particularly for furniture and fine silver. We are thrilled with the prices we were able to achieve for our consignors and plan to build on the success of this sale for our April 2018 auction.”
– Gina Tomasello, Director, Great Estates
“I found it fitting that one of the top items in the sale, the Ann Morris life-size mannequin, had been coveted for decades by decorators and collectors when it was on display in their Manhattan store window, but never available until this sale. It gives credence to the idea that the sweetest pleasures are those hardest won.”
– Marion Harris, Curator, Curiouser and Curiouser
Weekend Total Hammer: $1,376,005
Hammer + 25% buyer’s premium: $1,720,006
Low Estimate: $1,411,800
High Estimate: $2,107,200
Bidders in-house: 77
Bidders on phone: 145
Absentee Bidders: 95
Number of lots: 998
Online bidders: 2,503 from US, The Bahamas, Brazil, UK, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, Slovakia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Hungary, Canada, Egypt, Finland, Monaco, Australia, New Zealand, Ukraine, Latvia, Ireland, Denmark, India, Malta, Vietnam, Poland, Germany, Austria, China, Switzerland, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Lithuania, and United Arab Emirates.
Great EstatesHammer: $1,015,070
Hammer + 25% buyer’s premium: $1,268,838
Low Estimate: $1,046,000
High Estimate: $1,588,400
Number of lots: 783
Curiouser and Curiouser Hammer: $360,935
Hammer + 25% buyer’s premium: $451,169
Low Estimate: $365,800
High Estimate: $518,800
Number of lots: 215