Fairfield, Maine, August 23-26, 2011. As Hurricane Irene moved north pounding the east coast, and mere days before reaching New England, Julia’s recent auction was described by department head Bill Gage as “a perfect storm” referring to everything from the quality of the merchandise to the excitement of the bidders being aligned to effect record results. For over two decades of their illustrious 40 year history, James D. Julia, Inc. has marked the end of summer with the biggest and best antique & fine art auctions in the state. Their most recent sale topped them all and ended the summer with a bang. Hailed as the division’s largest sale to date, the auction pulled in a massive $5 million! With over 1,700 registered bidders representing 29 countries, Julia’s proved once again that fresh, quality items that are conservatively estimated, combined with the most expansive marketing campaign, guarantees maximum results. Gage stated, “We saw new buyers entering the market, which is a reassuring sign that the market is on the upswing.”
The four day sale was brimming with fine art, historical items, nautical pieces, folk art, furniture ranging from early to modern, clocks, jewelry, and other antique accessories. The most popular and highly sought after items were from a large and diverse offering of Chinese and Oriental pottery and porcelain. Included were over 150 lots from the private collection of Dorothy-Lee Jones. Jones was the founder of the Jones Museum of Glass & Ceramics in Sebago, Maine. She spent the majority of her life studying glass and ceramics, but her true joy was lecturing and educating lovers of fine art glass and ceramics. This phenomenal offering was highlighted by the little lot that could, amazing Julia staff and those in attendance. The unassuming lot consisted of six small bowls from the Ch’ing Dynasty of the late 19th or early 20th century. It included one footed bowl decorated with red bats within green bands of clouds as well as other shallow more plainly decorated bowls. In a seemingly unending battle between numerous bidders in attendance and those on the phone, the lot multiplied its $300-500 estimate over 1,245 times to ultimately sell for $373,750! The stellar prices didn’t stop there. Also from the Jones collection was a lot of four Chinese polychrome decorated bowls from the early 20th century. Emulating an earlier style, the two pairs of bowls were richly decorated with floral and berry vinery and delicate scrollwork. Surpassing an estimate of $600-900, the lot brought $71,875. A large Chinese paint decorated vase with allover decoration of flowering trees and exotic birds likewise exceeded its $600-900 estimate to settle in at $11,500. Dorothy-Lee Jones’ Asian collection went beyond pottery to also encompass a number of watercolor silk scrolls. A lot of three such scrolls from the early 20th century depicting landscape and nature scenes sold for $16,100 against expectations of $700-900. Joining the Jones collection was over 100 lots of other porcelain and other Chinese artifacts representing a good cross section of works consigned from the private collection of the grandniece of the Last Emperor Puyi (reign 1906-1917) of the Qing Dynasty, granddaughter of Puji, and great-great granddaughter of the Dowager Empress Cixi (reign 1861-1908). Highlights included an important Qing Dynasty carved rhinoceros horn Tibetan Buddhist tower with floral and foliate carvings, and silver mounts depicting a frog on a lily pad. Complemented by carved Foo dogs on its pedestal base, the piece saw active bidding well beyond its $15,000-20,000 estimate to sell for $224,250. A unique and important natural crystal carving of tribute from 1894 depicting a bearded Buddha standing among a winged dragon and stylized trees was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A birthday gift to Empress Dowager Cixi in celebration of her 60th birthday, the fanciful clear crystal carving changed hands at $115,000 against a $60,000-90,000 estimate.
From the same collection came a rare Qing Dynasty carved soapstone covered fruit dish. Deeply carved with a finely detailed dragon surrounded by bands of more stylized dragons the amber hued dish sold for $78,200 versus expectations of $10,000-15,000. A rare Qing Dynasty carved Tibetan Buddhist head in its presentation box went out at $60,950 over its $8,000-12,000 estimate. And a stellar example of 19th century craftsmanship is a finely carved jade covered teapot. Carved from the solid with scrolling leaf tips and petal decoration, the piece sold for $23,000, more than ten times the low end of its $2,000-3,000 estimate.
The second session of Julia’s end of summer auction has traditionally been set aside for selling fine art. Enthusiasts were treated to approximately 670 paintings and bronzes including an outstanding work by Abbott Fuller Graves. Depicting a young woman seated in a rural Maine flower garden setting, the fine oil on canvas brought $109,250 within expectations of $100,000-150,000.
This was joined by other American works such as Edward Mitchell Bannister’s summer landscape scene showing two women standing in the summer breeze. Capturing a moment in time, the piece sold midway through its $15,000-20,000 estimate to bring $18,400. Theodore Wores’ brilliant portrait of a woman wearing a light colored kimono placing her hand on a fresco went out at $16,675 (est. 15,000-20,000). Also up for bid were several selections from the Frederick Woolworth estate. Mr. Woolworth was an heir to the Woolworth department store family whose home was on a hill overlooking the family compound on Maranacook Lake in Monmouth, Maine. Over the years Julia’s sold the entire contents of the family compound, which included vast quantities of fine art and antiques. Now with Mr. Woolworth’s passing, Julia’s was chosen to handle his personal collection. His marvelous oil on canvas scene entitled “Apple Pickers of Pomona” by Waldo Peirce found favor among collectors, selling for $15,525, just over its $10,000-15,000 estimate.
Other highlights included Eric Sloane’s nicely executed scene of an open barn door within a stone façade that shows a glimpse of the interior stairway. His use of light and dark and shadows draws in the viewer. It also drew in bids to the level of $15,525, exceeding expectations of $8,000-12,000. Hayley Lever’s New York street scene shows an aerial view of a procession appearing to honor American soldiers sold for $10,925 (est. $6,000-8,000). Also worthy of mention was an early work by Grant Wood, artist of the renowned and revered “American Gothic”. Done around the time the artist was in his late teens, it depicts an older man standing in front of his farmhouse. The piece sold for $6,325 versus a $3,000-5,000 estimate.
The auction continued with a variety of European art such as a French pointillist scene attributed to Henry Edmond Cross of a colorful row of trees overlooking the coastline. It brought over ten times its low estimate, selling for $32,200. An abstract watercolor and graphite scene of trees by German artist Ernest Kirchner found a buyer at $19,550 versus an estimate of $5,000-10,000. And an outstanding, masterfully executed landscape pastoral scene by Dutch artists Alexandre Daiwaille and Eugene Verboeckhoven of cows and sheep at rest beside a rocky stream went out at $7,475 against a $5,000-8,000 estimate.
Other works included a generous offering of bronzes such as a limited edition figural bronze entitled “The Winchester Rider” by Robert Scriver. Modeled after the famous Winchester logo of a frontiersman on horseback galloping through the sagebrush it sold at the upper end of its $8,000-10,000 estimate for $9,775. These were joined by several contemporary British bronzes by Geoffrey Dashwood. His somewhat stylized but finely crafted forms included a life-size pheasant and eagle owl that sold for $9,775 and $6,900, respectively with each falling at or above estimate.
The following day was highlighted by a truly phenomenal trove of Boston Evening Post and other local newspapers from the Revolutionary War period collected by 18th century Boston merchant Harbottle Dorr. His collecting began in January 1765 in the midst of the Stamp Act controversy and ran every week thereafter for the next twelve years. Harbottle Dorr would write his comments and views on various articles in most of the papers. His daily musings provided a continual “man on the street” perspective from the heart of the rebellion in Boston, Massachusetts. Totaling an astonishing 3,280 pages in four volumes, the offering in this lot represented Volume IV (with the first three volumes already residing in the Massachusetts Historical Society). This volume that contained the July 18, 1776 edition in which appeared the first public printing of the Declaration of Independence was a truly unique offering. It now joins the other three volumes in the Massachusetts Historical Society’s collection for all to enjoy for generations to come. The lot, which provided an extraordinary historical insight and showed tremendous foresight and commitment sold above its $150,000-300,000 pre-auction estimate for $345,000.
This session also brought with it a large selection of folk art including a molded copper full body weathervane of a Massasoit Indian with feather headdress and drawn bow. Discovered in a barn in New York State, it brought $29,900 against an estimate of $18,000-22,000. A fine flat copper gilt rooster weathervane attributed to A.E. Jewell & Co. in marvelous untouched original condition sold for $27,600 against a $5,000-10,000 estimate. A rare double stamped copper weathervane by Harris & Company of Boston showing a trotting horse sold above its $8,000-12,000 estimate for $15,525. And an unusual weathervane depicting a busy beaver finished up at $14,950 against expectations of $5,000-8,000.
The diversity continued with more magnificent folk art, nautical items, scrimshaw, marine paintings, and Nantucket baskets. Of particular note was a rare contemporary Jose Reyes Nantucket Lightship purse accented with ivory and a cameo eagle in the lid. It sold for $5,175 against expectations of $1,500-2,500. An exceptional and unique pair of Koa figural armchairs carved from the solid depicting Hawaiian native figures as integral parts to the back, legs, and arms of the chairs sold for $16,675 against a $10,000-15,000 estimate.
Nautical items included various scrimshaw pieces such as an American two-sided whale’s tooth. Decorated with an image of the U.S.S. Columbia and American flags it came from the Frederick Woolworth Estate estimated for $1,000-2,000 and sold for $7,187. From the same collection, a scrimshaw pan bone depicting the U.S.S. Constitution along with the Guerriere and an unidentified British ship went out at $3,105 against an $800-1,200 estimate. And a phenomenal model of the Danish warship Fredericus Quartus, featuring 100 gun turrets with gun ports painted to represent the Danish flag, this highly detailed scale model with meticulous rigging and other fine elements also came from the Woolworth estate with a $4,000-8,000 estimate. It found a buyer at $10,350.
A selection of ship portraits included Antonio Jacobsen’s portrayal of the S.P. Hitchcock sailing right to left amid the choppy green sea. It brought $11,500 within a $10,000-14,000 estimate. Julian Davidson’s “White Island Light off Portsmouth, New Hampshire” was a stunning scene of a three-mast ship rounding the Portsmouth lighthouse. It sold within its $18,000-24,000 estimate for $20,125.
A selection of rare hand colored Audubon prints including three from a Boston area estate included an outstanding chromolithograph of a male flamingo in bright red plumage hunched over a tidal pool. It sold for $9,775 against an estimate of $4,000-6,000. A double elephant folio of a trumpeter swan failed to find a buyer and is currently available.
From a Massachusetts home came an oil on canvas interior scene by G. Robitzer. With folk art elements, it depicts a man with a disproportionate head seated in a library speaking with a caricature of an Asian man of the period with various owls perched around the room. The scene is believed to represent Harry Elkins Widener, member of Harvard’s former secret society, The Owl Club, who later was a passenger on the ill fated Titanic. This fascinating painting sold for $10,350, just above an estimate of $5,000-10,000.
The day continued with a selection of furniture including Early American. A George III burr walnut two-door linen press in original finish exceeded its $1,500-3,000 estimate to bring $10,350. From the auction’s fourth day was a gorgeous 4-piece Aesthetic Movement rosewood parlor suite attributed to Herter Brothers. Comprised of a triple-back settee, a pair of armchairs, and an additional conforming armchair, the set was decorated with marquetry vine borders, elaborate carvings, and ornate crest work. It went out at $23,000 against a $10,000-15,000 estimate.
Clocks from the third session included George III inlaid mahogany tall case clock by George Quarman. Circa 1775, this gorgeous example brought $8,050 against a $5,000-7,000 estimate.
This third session was further enhanced by a collection of Oriental rugs from various homes and estates. Included was a wonderful antique Serape Oriental carpet from the last quarter of the 19th century. Its center indigo and salmon medallion surrounded by arabesque patterns with floral and geometric accents helped to bring the final price to $18,975 against expectations of $6,000-9,000.
The fourth and final session centered on the extraordinary clock collection of Dr. Charles Bradley of Lubbock, Texas. Representing one of the finest collections of Victorian mantle, floor, and wall regulator clocks to ever come to market, over 150 examples were offered. Highlights included a rare Seth Thomas regulator Number 19 Santa Fe Railway System regulator clock with nicely carved oak case and marked glass door. In a spirited bidding war between two phone bidders, only one was victorious. It was he who went to $111,550, ignoring a $30,000-35,000 estimate. A highly desirable Sidney advertising hanging wall clock that features rotating cylinders that advertised local druggists, jewelers, etc. exceeded its estimate of $7,000-9,000 many times over to finish up at $29,900. A Seth Thomas railroad regulator #6 with two dials showing both “local time” and “railroad time” met with strong competition. It sold for $21,850 versus a $4,400-4,600 estimate. Hitting the same $21,850 mark was a Seth Thomas #16 walnut wall regulator with carved shell cresting, turned columns with carved leaf tip highlights, and classic styling.
The above clocks were complemented by two outstanding music machines, the first being a Regina Orchestral Corona Style 34, coin-operated 27” automatic disc changer. The other is a similar Regina Sublima Corona Style 31 automatic disc changer that plays the slightly smaller 20-3/4” discs. They went out at $14,950 and $10,350, respectively, each reaching the midpoint of their estimates.
Also included was a large grouping of silver including Tiffany. A pair of monumental sterling silver hand hammered candlesticks weighing in at 148 troy ounces sold for $16,100 within an estimate of $15,000-20,000. An exceptional Dominick & Haff aesthetic style repousse sterling silver pitcher was another standout piece. The square form with overlapping leaf and vine design was further enhanced by numerous butterflies. Bidding surpassed its $4,000-6,000 estimate to $10,350.
The day was finished out by miscellaneous treasures such as a rare late Victorian oak miniature letter box. This columnar form letter box in the London style likely resided in an upscale hotel for their guests. It found favor with a number of Julia’s bidders enticed by its $1,000-2,000 estimate. It went to the tenacious bidder willing to go to $7,762. Also selling for $7,762 (and exceeding a $700-900 estimate) was a lot of three Lenox pottery items a pitcher and two steins all decorated with a golf motif. And a selection of Native American items included a Northwest carved alder wood totem pole from the Nootka tribe. It brought $4,600 against an estimate of $1,500-2,500. And a southern New England Indian covered woven storage basket brought $4,312 against expectations of $400-600.
Julia’s upcoming auctions include their phenomenal firearms and military memorabilia auction that will be held in October. Their next toy & doll auction as well as their rare lamp & glass auction will follow in November. Julia’s next antiques & fine art auction will take place in February 2012. Julia’s is currently accepting consignments for these and other upcoming auctions. Call immediately for inclusion in these exciting sales. For more information or to place offers on unsold items, contact their offices at 207-453-7125. James D. Julia, Inc., P.O. Box 830, Dept. PR, Fairfield, ME 04937. E-mail: email@example.com.