This weekend saw a bidding jamboree in our two-day, two-session auction on July 8-9. The sale focused predominately on American Furniture and Fine Arts with exceptional results and record-breaking prices coming for Southern objects.
The top lot in the summer auction was an Important Daniel Huger Horry/Rutledge Family Chinese Chippendale mahogany arm chair. The chair, attributed to 1765-75 Charleston, South Carolina, was met with profound interest by in-house and phone bidders. The prized piece of Southern furniture ultimately sold to an anonymous phone bidder, realizing $120,000.
A museum letter from 1923 accounts for the existence of a pair of these chairs, but their whereabouts were an uncertainty until recently. They are illustrated in Rauschenberg and Bivins, The Furniture of Charleston 1680 – 1820. The mate to this important chair was previously sold at Brunk Auctions in March 2013 for $47,200.
View From My Window, an architectural scene by prolific North Carolina artist Claude Howell sold for $36,000. This price marks a new record for the Dean of North Carolina Artists. The previous record for the artist was set in July 2013 at Brunk Auctions with the coastal scene entitled Weighing Shrimp, selling for $23,600. Howell, who was active for seven decades, was the first North Carolinian to show his works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Down Church Street, Charleston by Alfred Hutty sold for $90,000 during the second session of the July auction. The lot was accompanied by an old photograph of the painting and a 1951 letter from Hutty to the original buyer. The balcony of white house depicted in the painting, 78 Church Street, is said to have been the site where George Washington addressed the residents of Charleston, South Carolina during his week-long visit to the city in 1791.
Other Southern objects to achieve exceptional results include a pair of North Carolina/Virginia Cellarets selling for $60,000, a signed and dated 1845 North Carolina painted table selling for $33,600, and a Tennessee townscape by Will Henry Stevens selling for $31,200.
Significant jewelry also sparked attention at the auction block during the auction with a fine 5.39 carat diamond ring selling for $45,600 and a storied Cartier Platinum, Sapphire, and Aquamarine Brooch Clip selling for $64,800. The brooch was presented to Mrs. John King Lucey by the Sun Shipbuilding Dry Dock Company as a gift for christening the ship Sea Serpent during WWII. The Sun Shipbuilding Dry Dock Company was one of the major shipbuilders of the day and presented gifts to an estimated 6000 women sponsors including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The brooch offered in the auction was consigned by the estate of Mrs. John King Lucey, and was accompanied by the original Cartier case.
All prices listed include appropriate buyers premiums. In total, the July Catalog auction brought $2.16 million, with a sell-through rate of 92.1%.