As you might have guessed by now, I am a fan of auctions. I’ve been attending them for years, and regardless of whether I buy something or not, there’s always something to be learned.
For new collectors, auctions are great. You can pick up the piece, look underneath it, heft it in your hands, check for damages, and thoroughly examine the piece before you bid on it. Most of the better auction houses have catalogues which you can either purchase or download from their website and they give you some information about what’s going under the hammer.
One of our local auction houses has an auction about every six to eight weeks, and it’s a lot of fun to attend. I usually attend one of the previews, so I can check things out before the actual auction. I generally have the catalogue in hand, so I can mark off the lots that interest me. It’s also a good social time, as you frequently see the same people time after time.
After talking about intaglios and reliefs in my last post, I was delighted to see several lots of mounted collections of these pieces. Most of them came from one collector, and they were originally collected during a Grand Tour of Europe. Some of them are marked 1821.These collections are estimated at between $200 and $600.
I was also rather taken with a set of mother-of-pearl fruit knives and forks, English-made with marks. The marks indicate that they were made in Sheffield, England in 1946; the head and the HA are the maker’s marks. I just got an amazing app for my phone which shows all of the English silver marks. It’s so handy!
For a while, I’ve been on a search for a Governor Winthrop desk, and one got away from me at the last auction. This one’s a little more expensive, but it’s in great condition.
There’s also a smaller desk, made of bird’s eye maple, so if I don’t get one, I might bid on the other.This one needs a bit of work, but I am pretty good friends with a furniture maker, so maybe he’d help me clean it up.
The auction will take place over three days this weekend. More details, and the catalogue here.